This is going to be the exact opposite of yesterday’s post, and it’s going to be depressing and probably offensive, but it will be real, which, of course, will make it more entertaining for you. (Smiley face goes here to pretend this is a joke.)
For the past few years, I’ve been living a lie. Most times, other people have believed it. For a long time, I tried to believe it too. But I can’t fight it anymore. You’ve probably guessed it by now, and you’re right. I’ve been living out of New York.
It’s odd, but it’s probably my darkest secret, other than raping old people at the JCC, and I don’t tell anyone. Except all of you, but you’re not really people. No offense.
I moved out of New York to go to Yeshiva and see if I could learn better there. I did for a little, but eventually I realized the problem wasn’t in which Yeshiva I went to and gave up. I should have gone back to New York then, but I didn’t, and even though it’s clear to me why, it’s not easy to explain. I guess I felt like I’d escaped. I’d escaped my father being in control of me, I’d escaped the competitive New York lifestyle. I’d just escaped everything that bothered me and now I was going to be able to be myself for the first time.
My true self. The one that wanted to study psychology in college, and make scientific breakthroughs that would fix the world, and lecture in Washington, and appreciate art, and have a funny yet informative radio show, and live in a coastal town in Maine with a beautiful wife who had a PhD in something cultured and my three blond children and a pet monkey who wore a tuxedo and helped me solve crimes.
Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned. I hated college, just like I’d hated Yeshiva. My grades dropped from awesome in Intro to Psych to just barely passing in Psych 301- “Motivation” (Yes, God’s truly hilarious). I was once again resentful and depressed, this time at college, but I still didn’t go back to NY.
I’d get a job without college and make enough money to live in this nice, friendly town, with a decent Jewish population, and best of all, no pressure to be something I’m not.
Well, if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s willfully ignoring the elephant in the room. The elephant that just got bigger and bigger every time I failed. The elephant I kept quiet with statements like, “I don’t care about these things. I’m meant to be a salesman, writer, repairman. I’m happy living in this small town with people who have small town dreams. I’m one of them too. Who needs to live in Manhattan like all my friends from elementary school and go to fancy restaurants and parties and museums, and spend summers in Antwerp, and go skiing in Swiss towns I’ve never heard of, and collect old seforim and have my children play violin? That’s empty and doesn’t bring you happiness. Happiness is a state of mind. I’m healthy, I’ll have enough money to get married, I have things I enjoy.”
That kind of talk works during the day. At night though, your mind fucks with you by telling you the truth. I dream I’m a shining dragon that everyone fears. I’m a slick Wall Street broker with a chauffeured black BMW. And I don’t wear polo shirts and jeans from Land’s End, I wear black Armani suits with wool so fine it shines. I’m in my old school, only now it’s a giant mansion in Manhattan attached to the never-ending fantastically huge park I played in as a kid, and I own it all. That’s when I wake up in the middle of the night and the despair really hits home. And there’s nothing I ever want to do again. And I pick up my phone and lie there searching randomly around the internet hoping I’ll find some connection to my dream, real life somewhere out there. And then I get up and go drink some coffee and write this on my blog and have a cigarette and try to make it through another day with my fucked up, make believe universe gradually moving into it’s position on the sidelines of my mind to bark and snarl and laugh at me until tonight when it gets to run wild and rip up the delicately constructed, normal-styled life I’ve tried to erect, yet again, in the 16 hours of daylight it was gone.