Sunday, May 31, 2009
My cousin got married this weekend. He's 22, a plymouth brethren evangelical Christian and an all around good guy. His new wife shares his faith. He presented the gospel to her when they were in junior high. Ever since her conversion, they've been together. Even through four years of college, these kids didn't stop loving each other. They were married in an assembly church, and couldn't have done it better. So now it's official. As of Friday, May 29, 2009, we welcome another married Christian couple into the family.
There were three, distinct moments in which the gospel was presented to the wedding guests. Two of my uncles, and the groom's grandfather gave the good word. They reminded us that we can have eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ. They told us that we could be saved if we trust in him.
Now, it was a great wedding ceremony and reception. I felt nothing but joy for the new couple. It was a happy day, and I do not mean to bring that down in any way. But I just have to say something about giving an altar call while a bride and groom are actually being wed on at that very altar.
I think it's interesting. It's just that I am not so sure about eternal life. I mean, I don't think I really want it. It's a little excessive. By the time I'm 50, I'll probably be pretty tired. To go another 25 years will be more than enough. If somebody wants to keep living for trillions of years, well, I guess I just don't understand that. And I'm not sure if this really works in a wedding setting.
"Till death do we part" is such a beautiful promise. It's totally secular, but even the evangelicals love it. But when they "part" at death, the married people need to realize that this is a permanent departure. It's not temporary. The vow doesn't say "Until death do we part, which will be a brief break until we resume our marriage in heaven once we're both dead." No. Death is the end. And it's beautiful to tell someone that you will love them until you die, because that is true devotion.
And yet, evangelicals spread the gospel at their own weddings. In the midst of celebrating their soulmate, they set their eyes upon eternity. It's an interesting clash. Marriage isn't about eternity. Marriage is about life on earth.
Yet, upon reminiscing with my grandfather about his wife, my grandma, he reminded me that "we'll see her again." And all of a sudden, the concept of eternity has left both of us. We are concerned with true love. My grandfather loved his wife for 50 years, until death separated them. He is now without her, but his idea of heaven now includes one major ingredient, his spouse.
And I cannot say anything about this. I think that this particular longing for heaven is actually an example of real love. What good is heaven if our true love isn't there? Surely, it wouldn't be heaven at all if we couldn't recognize our spouse.
Heaven is real. We will see our loved ones there when we die. If you don't believe that, go ahead and tell it to the father who lost his little daughter to gang crossfire. Reason with the mother who is longing to eventually see her son who was killed in Afghanistan. The grandfather whose only remnant of hope lies in his belief that when he dies, he will be reunited with his beloved. Go ahead. Tell them to be rational. Tell them to give up their crutches. Tell them because you know better.
As for me, I will see my grandma when I die. And my wife. I will embrace them. I don't care about eternity, I don't care about evangelism. I just want to love. Love is more important than life anyway. Life ends after a while, love doesn't. My grandpa taught me that.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
I could continue catching waves if I wanted, but the colors weren't appealing enough. There was a blue sky and white clouds, not enough to keep my interest.
So down I went. Like a torpedo, I cut through the water. Encapsulated buildings of red and green, archways of brown and gray. I swam past them with eyes wide.
For speed, I propped my feet against the old, antique walls. I bent my knees as much as possible. I curled myself into a little ball. And then, pushing off with all my might, I torpedoed through the watery avenues. Below were sidewalks, parking meters and lampposts. Through a courtyard and into a ballroom I went. High ceilings, intricate paint and gold lining surrounded me. So much better than flying. This was so much better than air.
Until I realize that I have been without air for many minutes. I have been holding my breath in this watery metropolis. Looking around, I am now in the middle of the ballroom. I am deep, and I cannot get to a surface for at least another two minutes. My underwater journey was too far. I should have only gone half of the distance. I should have saved some lung capacity for the swim back to shore.
So now I'm here, certain to drown. I am inclined to panic, but the ballroom is beautiful. I have no one to dance with, so I'll swim alone until the end.
Up to the top of the ballroom I float, swallowing sips of water through my nose. As close as I'll ever come to the surface. This ceiling is certainly the death of me, but it's loveliness softens my choke.
Friday, May 29, 2009
I'm not a salesman. I am not aggressive, smiley and chipper. Whatever it is I'm selling, you can choose to buy it or not.
Sometimes there are sales.
Only buy things that you need.
If I sell something, it's because somebody wanted it enough to pay for it. I am a middleman between your cause and effect. A useless tool, in need of commission.
You can support me by buying things from me, or you can read my blog for free.
I want to see anarchy. I'm tired of capitalism. I'm tired of governments. It's all anarchy anyway, we set up governments like wallpaper. They cover reality. Tear it all off. Get in touch with reality. Don't buy anything, steal. Don't save anybody, kill. Stop lying. Stop lying.
Stop lying. Stop lying.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Check out some of the people who actually are remembered. Einstein, Mark Twain, Jung, Kierkegaard and Darwin all had one thing in common; they were all on the cusp of something (respective to their fields). They may have been influenced a little bit by someone before them, but they brought things to the table that were completely new, revolutionary even. And once they got on that cusp, they elaborated extensively on it. Once they found something new, they dedicated their entire lives to it. These are the people who make history. These are the ones that we continue to study, semester after semester. Book after book is written about them, about how "important" their work was to the world (and still is).
And it's true, there have been a few individuals who led extraordinary lives. Because of them, our world exists as it is today. They will remain in the collective consciousness, and will never escape the history books.
Should I want to be a part of that group though? Is it really important to be remembered after I die? I'll be dead anyway, so what if people read about me 1000 years later? What's the point?
Cornel West interviewed Lupe Fiasco at Calvin College a few weeks ago. In response to a question about leaving a legacy, Lupe said, "if I have ever led anyone astray, I would rather not be remembered at all." Surely, a very humble remark. He is more concerned with with social responsibility than his own individuality. But I don't care if I've led anyone astray. I want to be remembered. Compare me to Hitler all you want, but I don't want to be forgotten.
Besides, I don't believe in leading people astray. I believe in free will, and if a weaker brother does wrong as a result of my influence, that's his problem. I say what I say, and you say what you say. But what I say will be remembered, because I'll say it first.
My grandma died a few years ago, but I remember her. I remember her because she was important, her life was meaningful. If she were not meaningful, not important, I would forget her.
So here is our gauge. How important was your life? How much meaning did you bring into the lives of others? That is determined in how you will be remembered. If memories of you fade quickly, you were probably leading a mediocre life. But if your name is repeated for hundreds of years after your death, you were probably on to something bigger than your own self.
I want to find that thing that is bigger than my self. When I do, I will devote myself to it. Lately, the only thing I can see is pain, suffering and death. I don't really want to devote my life to that, it would be quite contradictory. I think there's more. I hope there is anyway.
Einstein revolutionized physics. Mark Twain is known as the father of American literature. Carl Jung worked to establish modern psychiatry. Kierkegaard laid the groundwork for existential philosophy, setting the stage for Sartre and Nietzsche. And we can certainly see what Darwin has done for the science world. They set things off. They got balls rolling. With courage and patience, these regular men, no better than you or me, devoted their lives to a new idea. Not an old idea, mind you. New ideas.
And I know that I'll never be a part of their club. Because I don't know what the difference between a good and bad idea is. And if I simply latch onto whatever new idea comes my way, I very well could end up another Hitler. Truth be told, I don't really want to be grouped alongside Hitler in the history books. I empathize with Lupe Fiasco on this one.
I'll search for the new idea. And if I find it, the first place you'll hear about it will be on this blog. And by 2099, I'll be TIME's Person of the Century. Granted my arrogance (or insecurity) not destroy me.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
If you weren't saddened by the cancellation of King of the Hill a few months ago, you can stop reading now. As a fan of all things Mike Judge, my following review will make positive remarks about the observational genius' latest cartoon sitcom. Are the haters gone? Okay, let's talk about The Goode Family.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I visited a baby this weekend. Our friends gave birth to an amazing little baby boy about a week ago. I found myself staring at this kid's fragility, it's just an amazing miracle to ponder. The kid was really cool, and I'm happy for the family.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
My creativity is dying. I have no passion for futility. Before we know it, we will all be dead. And everything we created along with us. All we can do in the meantime is love God and each other. (Just to keep sane. If we are so inclined.)
Everything I write is mere therapy. Prayer and confession, there’s nothing more I can do. I have no stories, and even if I did, they wouldn’t be worth telling.
I have barely enough energy to eat crackers. My foray into super-villainy is at a standstill. I realized that it requires a great deal of energy, strength I don’t have. I don’t have the strength to destroy the human race, but it’s still a wish. Humans must go away. Total darkness must come.
And yet, sex is still a priority. God is still alive. But death is stronger than us. God and death will prevail. We seek God like we seek an undertaker. We admit mortality and surrender our imaginations. Fairy tales are told to children before they go to sleep at night, instilling the metaphors for the tragedies of reality before we even know what a “subconscious” is. Ironically, it’s being crafted all the while.
And then we dream. We dream in color, and aliens exist. Our dreams tell us to love and hate, kill and fly. We awake to shit, and stick around.
The world is falling apart because it is in debt. Everybody believes in capitalism, and since they believe in it, it is their truth. Their truth is being destroyed, and chaos is ensuing.
But chaos has always been here. After God put the ticking watch of the universe together, he threw it in the air. Our lives are playing themselves out according to God’s will, but we’re also spinning and falling into an unknown. We’re crashing meaningfully, and much sooner than we all think.
Everything we create is in vain. Our mechanics are embarrassing. Ice melts and fires flicker out. And we think that we can write? When the last drop of ink falls, I will be millions of years decayed. The dinosaurs are lucky.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
As far as I'm concerned, there are two ways to be a shitty person. I could never figure out which person I'd rather avoid, the mean person or the boring person. Both types will bring grief, but when it comes right down to it, who's worse?
Friday, May 22, 2009
Buffalo 66 and Blackhawk wins. Blackhawks win and LeBron is better. Basketball is the best sport, more than ever it's beautiful. B words and B B B, B B B B B B B.
For a Friday night, the people are muffled. There aren't any parties anywhere. Memorials are set up for dead veterans of war, and form fitting blouses are covered.
Let me feel you. I can touch you anywhere. On the surface. Inside. It's not rape.
A monster is an imagination. Problems are reality. Monsters don't kill, they only rile. Death isn't a problem, it's the end of reality.
We own a car, and drive it frequently. I go through the south and west side just to be around blacks. Occasionally nervousness tickles the bottom of my legs, and I hope for my own homicide.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I could never be a preacher. Unless my congregation actively disagreed with me, and we argued during the sermon. I guess that wouldn't make me a preacher anyway. The preacher preaches. And the congregation respectfully listens. I don't want people to respect me, and want them to tell me that I'm wrong.
So here is my post. I am not going to preach, because that would just be annoying (for you and for me). If people aren't disagreeing with me, then I must not have anything interesting to say.
If you all agree with me, then I'm failing at life. I'll try to make my next post a little more disagreeable. I'll do my best.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
A year ago, I thought Relevant had the potential to be a noteworthy publication. I hoped it would someday become our country's primary source for relevant discussions about faith and culture in our post-modern society. And why shouldn't it be? Q-Tip and Mickey Rourke on the double cover don't necessarily scream "christian hipster." On the surface, Relevant Magazine looks like it might be above the Christian industry. But I came to work for them as an idealist. I left bitter, and educated.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Well, it looks a lot like 2001 (set in space, future, talking robot assistant, creepy hallucinations, etc.), but man, I'm just hooked by this trailer. And an homage to Kubrick can't really be a bad idea anyway. Sam Rockwell was brilliant in Snow Angels, so I know he's got what it takes to deliver the goods.
It's a love/hate thing I have for Vincent Gallo. Actually, now that I think about it, I don't love him at all. I hate Vincent Gallo. But it looks like Francis Coppola has done good again. I'm always up for a good black and white with colored dream sequenced art film.
Woody Allen and Larry David. That's it. I'm sold.
Monday, May 18, 2009
There's a lot of movement, energy and liveliness. Everybody likes to say the word "bustling." But it's for good reason. It's a satisfying word to utter. "Bustling." Go ahead, try it. "Bustling."
Unfortunately, the only time people seem to use the word in a sentence is when they need an easy adjective for busy downtown streets. "The streets are bustling." they always say. It's become a cliche of a sentence.
Downtown may bustle during the daytime, but there's nothing quite like a bustling, city laundromat at midnight. This is a completely different kind of bustle. This is where long walls of dryers spin socks and shirts around. The clothes even bustle. It's a hypnotizing bustle, especially with the looming twilight and eerily silent customers are in contrast. A late night city laundromat is a magical place, where neither nightmares nor good dreams are cultivated or remembered.
Outside on the corner, an old, dirty, bearded man on a bicycle is veering all over the road. He is yelling, "tomorrow's my birthday! But I'm getting drunk today!" He has balloons tied to his handles. He's talking to everyone he sees, asking if they want to celebrate his birthday with him. Most people avoid eye contact, and quicken their pace. Immediately they'll turn a corner. Like a laser beam they head into the el station. But nothing deters the old kook. He is celebrating his birthday tonight.
Across at the other corner, a middle aged bald man is screaming at pedestrians, "capitalists are pigs!" He holds up a sign that reads the same. He looks like he could have been laid off earlier this afternoon. With a polo shirt tucked into dad jeans, he isn't a veteran in the homeless league. But he's working towards 'rookie of the year.' "Capitalists are pigs! Sir, could you spare some change?" He has as much luck as his street corner colleague.
Eventually, the bald socialist and bearded bicyclist meet at another corner with a dreadlocked young man. A skinny skateboarder, apparently associated with these two scummy baby-boomers somehow. He has a ring in his nose like a bull, and it looks like there's dirt on his face. The bald one speaks loudly, "Hey, let's get some drugs! I got a few more bucks!" The young fella seems to be their source of nightly medicine. "All we can get right now is acid," he replies. "Acid!" the bald man is louder than the train above his head, "What about coke!"
"Nah man, acid."
"How about booze!"
"Nah, just acid."
And at the fourth corner, what looks like an old Vietnam veteran is wearing large headphones. He must be over six feet tall, and his shoulders are broad like a worn out theatre curtain. He's leaning forward against a newspaper box, playing a harmonica. Whether he's playing along with a song in his headphones, or just trying to pass time, he's blowing out the perfect soundtrack for this night. The clothes are spinning behind him, warming as they go. Another train above his head, drowning out his harp. The homeless acid trippers are still yelling, something about Hugo Chavez. And headlights meld with streetlights until nothing remains but a dancing darkness.
It's a magical night. Our minds are bustling.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Jack Mostert took the jobs that nobody else wanted. South side, west side, it didn't matter to him. If there was money to be had, he went to work. But the thing about Chicago, it had some bad neighborhoods. White folks call them "dark" neighborhoods.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Oh, sin. People have troubled themselves so much over this human problem. They say, "I've been struggling with sin," and "Christ can save me from my sins" like they parked in a handicap zone overnight or something.
Or, they avoid their sin by trying to find it in others. "Homosexuality is an abomination" they say with straightened backs and confident smirks. All it takes is Bible verse memorization, and they can tell everyone what's right and what's wrong. And since they know what's wrong, that means they don't do it. They've been saved; they "sin no longer."
Ah the unrepentant problem of sin. It never lets go. We feel guilty, and so we ask forgiveness. We do things that are wrong, and feel bad about them afterward. We are such ridiculous creatures. We act according to our nature, and then scold ourselves. A kid in a youth group leaves in the middle of the opening worship song to masturbate in the church bathroom. The girl singing and raising her hands in the air had a tight shirt on, and he could only stand it for so long. He knew it was wrong, but he did it anyway. At the end of the night, he rededicated his life to Christ. Only to masturbate again that night in bed, thinking about the same girl with the tight shirt.
We are civilized. Highly evolved. We have values and ethics. We are not animals.
Arrogance. We are so arrogant. We believe in good, and that we should pursue and practice it. Oh cursed awareness, damn it. Damn this awareness.
If we were animals, we wouldn't have to worry about sin. We would kill, eat, screw, sleep and play until we died. Essentially, humans aren't any different than animals, but we think we know better. We think we have answers. Math and science tell us things about the universe. Since we have some understanding, we think we're better.
So then we have ecology. We have justice. Charity and religion. Ethics and logic. All of these man-made studies, only created as a means of trying to fix what only we have corrupted. There is no use for ecology in the animal kingdom, it is naturally upheld in the circle of life. There is no use for justice outside of humans, there is only survival. Charity and religion are only necessary because of how selfish and violent people are, not because of anything nature did. And ethics and logic are ways to make us feel like superior beings, devices that make ecology, justice and religion sound important.
We want to save the world, or at least make it better. But if that's really true, the answer is not to "go green." We don't have to get saved and help usher in the kingdom. There will never be perfect justice, because, well there will always be stupid people in this world. See, the only way we can make the world a better place is global suicide. Go to the source, the root of the problems. We have to rid this earth of ourselves, because as long as we're here, it will only get worse.
Our sin is residing in a place where we have no business residing in. I am not talking about one race or religion, I'm talking about everybody. There is no correct religion, no stronger sex or race. We are all sinners, and we all have to die. If we don't, things will only get worse.
In the meantime, we will try our best to uphold things like justice, ethics, religion and ecology. We will lie to ourselves and say that it will get better. But as long as we make ourselves feel bad for having wet dreams, there is no way we'll be able to make this planet a better place. As long as we continue to so arrogantly believe that we are going to "cure poverty," we will perpetuate the shit.
The only way we can escape sin is to either die, or revert back to our natural state. We have to stop acting so pious, so intelligent. The sun will burn out someday, and life on earth will become impossible. If we think we're special, maybe we should learn how to change the temperature of the sun. Or maybe we should stop dying. If we're so important, death shouldn't be something we deal with anymore. Death is for natural things, animals and plants. Not humans, oh no, we're created in God's image and will live with Him in eternity when we die... yeah.
So go ahead, struggle with sin if you have the spare time. As for me, I'm going in for the full-time supervillain gig. This world is screwed, so let's just get it over with and destroy this repulsive human race. But while I'm trying to take over the world, don't let me listen to any Tom Petty, Sufjan or Bob Dylan. Then I'll change my mind and start to think that humans might not be so bad after all. That wouldn't be very "supervillain" of me.
Friday, May 15, 2009
We were invited out for some karaoke tonight. We couldn't go, because of some plans we made to acquire some cupcakes. But even if we hadn't made plans, I would have turned down the karaoke. I have absolutely nothing against Japanese culture, but I do have a problem with America's recent obsession with embarrassing, drunk douchebags singing bad songs in front of strangers. The American Idol thing is bad enough, but even that abomination isn't as frustrating as the local bars' karaoke nights.
There was that scene in Lost in Translation when Bill Murray sang Elvis Costello. That was great. But there are a few things that made that cool. First of all, it was Bill Murray. Second, it was actually in Japan. Very culturally appropriate. Third, they were in a private room. A private party of friends is a lot better than an orgy of off-key, drunk, white people in Wrigleyville. Private parties can only embarrass themselves, they're very inoffensive to the general public. Fourth, and this might be the most important, the song Bill Murray sang was by Elvis Costello. Singing the right song is important. When it's Kelly Clarkson, Blink 182 or Jason Mraz, that's just no good. But if it's Johnny Cash, Iron Maiden or Bob Seger, then we're on to something. Lastly, the group of people you're singing with, they must not be douches. Asians are always qualified for karaoke. If the majority of your group is Asian, that's a good sign. Plus, some people have better taste in music than others. I'll bet Dan Imbody would be a lot of fun to do karaoke with, but only as long as it's within a private party, in Japan, singing good songs with actual Japanese people. And, obviously, it wouldn't hurt to have Bill Murray present. But until this happens, you probably won't ever hear me singing karaoke. I just can't support the buffoonery.
I watched a documentary on Townes Van Zandt tonight. He was great. But he reminds me to never ever do hard drugs. I've said it before, but drugs would just put me over the edge. Some minds just can't handle it. My mind would really have trouble with cocaine. I just know it.
Just sayin'. To anybody reading, make sure I never do drugs. Only bad things will happen. Things like karaoke in America. And, you know, other bad things.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
On PBS right now, The Police are playing some sort of reunion show. Sting is singing 'King of Pain.' I don't know what's wrong with me, but I'm really enjoying it.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I participated in some group prayer tonight. That is, in a group of about 15 people, I kept my head down while three others took turns speaking out loud. Had I interrupted at any point, the prayer would have ceased to be, suddenly demoted to mere conversation. But I think prayer is a good practice. It's still one of those things we have a lot of reverence for. We take it seriously, as a major part of the spiritual life.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Most people don't think that there are many swamps in Illinois. But these people haven't been to Riverdale. This suburb is practically Chicago, right on the southern edge (As Evanston is to the north side, so Riverdale is to the south side. And they're as dissimilar as two suburbs can be). It looks and feels just like the south side, complete with occasional murders and gas station car jackings. If you can muster up enough courage to take the trek down Halsted, through the swamps and violence, past Harold's Chicken Shack and into the train yard under the viaduct, you'll find yourself at Artisan Signs.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Saturday, May 09, 2009
I saw my grandma last night. She's been dead for a few years, and still is, but sometime after midnight she spoke to me in the present tense. "Oh Dylan, I'm so old now. I'm an old lady," she moped from her living room chair. Sitting on the couch, I quietly smiled at her as she talked. I thought to myself, 'you were old.'
Friday, May 08, 2009
I haven't even been married for two years. So far, it's been quite an adventure. I guess we're still newlyweds, but it really doesn't feel like it anymore. Jaclyn and I have been loving each other for over seven years. If I can the word into its general terms, we've been "married" for at least five years. By that I mean we've been devoted to each other much longer than what our marriage certificate indicates.
It couldn’t have been more than two seconds. Mark opened up the door of his car and squeezed in moments before the ghastly, hooded figure collided into the door. Drew was grinding his teeth while he sat stiff in the passenger seat, watching the monstrous thug pound his fists on the windshield.
“Go! Just go! Drive!” Drew yelled at Mark.
Mark threw it in reverse, and escaped the scene. The horror was finally over. Drew was breathing so hard, he thought he may have developed asthma over the course of an hour.
The two friends drove down country roads for nearly ten minutes before one of them caught their breath enough to speak.
“Dude… what was that!!?” Drew screamed.
Mark was still breathing hard, and couldn’t do anything but shake his head.
“I mean… what the… agh!”
Drew was a mess of clenched fists and incomplete phrases. But Mark finally contributed to the lack of conversation with a suggestion: “We have to go to Adam’s house. We have to tell him about this.”
Drew didn’t really want to go anywhere at the moment. He was so scared, he didn’t want to ever leave the car. Now looking at every tree on the side of the road, and paranoid of every car that drove past him, he expected a torch to come rushing at him any second. But he agreed with Mark. And thought that maybe they could even spend the night at Adam’s.
After about five minutes, they arrived in Adam’s driveway. Mark turned the car off, and they sat their silently for a moment. It had to be past 3 a.m. now.
“Man,” Drew mumbled with his head back against the headrest, “I don’t even want to walk to his door. I feel like those freaks could be anywhere… How do we know they didn’t follow us?”
Mark calmly looked at him, a strangely comfortable look. Like everything that happened that night was not really horrific after all. Like everything that happened was somehow unsurprising and usual. Drew looked back into Mark’s eyes, confused.
One on the driver’s side, one on the passengers side. A black robe and a white robe, slamming against the windshield. In the middle of a rural neighborhood block in the middle of the night, Drew started screaming again, “Turn the car on! Drive away! Get out of here!”
Amidst the new arrival of fear and chaos, Mark quietly smiled and said, “hold on…” looking out at the two hooded figures comfortably and calmly.
Drew twitched his head from Mark to the men outside, more confused than ever. “What??”
The two attackers slowly backed away from the car, putting their hands at their sides. You’ll never see a more confused face than Drew’s at that moment, as crinkled as a poorly packed dress shirt. The man in white pulls of his hood, and it is their friend, Adam. He’s smiling.
All of a sudden, Mark starts laughing. Drew’s jaw drops, and his confused face suddenly becomes enraged. “I’m going to kill him.”
“No man, haha, I was in on it too,” Mark confesses. Drew looks over at his friend, in no mood to laugh. “It was all a prank man. All for you. We were all in on it.”
Drew looked out at Adam. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. All this time, he was sure that this hooded figure was some sicko trying to kill him. The idea that it could be a prank never entered his mind.
“How… how did…” Drew was surprised and shocked. The emotions that ran through him at this moment were spinning on an axis in figure eights. “Let’s go inside,” Mark said, “we’ll explain everything."
The man in black was Adam’s friend, who had pulled the same prank on Adam years ago. Adam had pulled this prank on many of his friends before, and Mark just happened to receive the treatment last night. After such an exhilarating experience, Mark wanted his best friend to go through it as well. Every word was planned. Leaving the cell phones behind was planned. The secluded path down the train tracks was planned. Everything. It was an elaborate scheme, carefully executed. All for the sake of scaring Drew.
The four guys talked until the sun came up. Sitting at the dining room table in Adam’s house, they all shared stories of cemetery pranks from the past. Everybody had a slightly different experience. Some people try to fight the torch carrying weirdos, some turn around and run nowhere in particular, some cry and fall to the ground. Drew was the first person to run up to the street and try to wave down cars.
They were all laughing eventually. The night of horror had turned into fun. It was fun all along, but Drew didn’t know it until later.
Drew probably went back to that cemetery at least 10 more times. Some nights, he led friends down the tracks while he held the flashlight. Some nights, he put on a white or black robe and hid a lighter and pre-made torches in his pant leg. He scared people, and laughed with them when it was over. He still doesn't believe in ghosts, but has a newfound respect for the virtue of fear.
He’s still scared of the dark though. And sometimes when he’s hiding behind a tree in the cemetery, waiting in robes for his next victim, he looks behind his shoulder.
Because you can never know for sure if you’re really in on the joke.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Yesterday I wrote a story about two friends in peril. This was a true story, based on something that happened to me a few years ago. I wanted to tell this story in the first place because it's such a fun story to tell. But I couldn't bring myself to include the ending (perhaps tomorrow), nor could I use my own name. I didn't want this to be a story told in first person, because I think what the story reveals is something much greater than just one of my subjective past life experiences. The story was about beliefs. It was about fear, rational thinking and strength in numbers. A story about life and death, mystery and fact. And as I destroy all of my artistic and literary integrity with this post, I think further about what it means to believe in things.