This one’s another one from the history books, slightly before my last foray into talking about my lower-middle-class upbringing.
Back in High School, some Christian group. At least I think it was. I can’t remember. Point is it was in high school and some guys turned up to get all motivational on our asses. You know, the “do well, think about your choices” sorta shit that you’ll experience because everyone knows that if you’re not the best of the best in High School, pass your exams, say your prayers and eat your vitamins, then nothing good will happen to you and you may as well just live your life as a hobo.
So here we were, packed into the hall with these guys. One of ’em got our attention and said “time for an exercise!”
We were given a handful of ice-cream sticks each, there were two guys in black shrouds just chilling like “yo’ we’re in black shrouds”, and several people set up behind hastily-made booths with signs like “CAR”, “HOUSE”, “COOL STUFF”.
The aim of the game, was to trade your sticks for something you’d want out of life. So a couple of sticks got you a car, a house, whatever. But you couldn’t get sticks back, so you couldn’t be irresponsible and spend all your money at the “COOL STUFF” booth. The dudes in shrouds wandered around and tapped people on the shoulder. Once you were tapped, that was your lot. Because apparently the personification of Death was a college graduate sent out to high schools to make sure you weren’t a lazy fuck in your adult life.
So off we went, buying cars and cool stuff and houses and the like. Except for me, of course. Not because I was too cool for school or anything, but because I didn’t know where the hell to start. I mean, shit. I only had fifteen sticks or something, man! If I buy a house, what if I didn’t have enough to get a car or food? Being responsible for these damned sticks which -in any other setting, I’d be making a badass fort with, ended up giving me a minor panic attack.
About two minutes in, I feel a tap on the shoulder and, much like Frodo, I was taken down by a six-foot tall dude in a hood. I sat down, defeated, but hey, at least I could take my amassed pile of sticks to my proverbial grave, right?
That moment in time -which I’m sure everybody else in Class of 2003 has long forgotten about in favour of getting on with their lives and not being a massive loser writing about it in a blog, hasn’t really left me. In fact I’m pretty sure it traumatized the fuck out of me, ’cause in my mind? I’m still clutching those sticks, in that school hall, wondering what the hell I’m going to use them on. It left me with a pretty nihilistic taste in my mouth best summarised as “Well, it doesn’t matter. Cause I didn’t accomplish anything here and this was just a game. The hell am I going to do as an adult?”
I’ll be blunt. Those damned sticks are what made me write a webcomic, go to film school, write bad electronica music and put videos on YouTube because I’m so scared of achieving sweet fuckall. Even now, writing this blog in a point of my life where -even when I have accomplished things and I’ve had a pretty sweet ride, I’m still sweaty-palmed, back in that school hall, looking at the booths, clutching sticks.
That time I ran a game store? Still clutching sticks.
Premiering “Sour Grapes” at the Red Rattler? You’d better believe I was clutching sticks.
Film school? Sticks.
Anything I’ve done and anything I will do? Stick-stickety-stick-sticks.
Perhaps you’re thinking “isn’t that a good thing? Means you got to do shit with your life instead of being a lazy fuckhole!”. Maybe you’re right. But y’know what? Nothing so far has been good enough. I have a career, a girlfriend I’m in a happy, committed relationship with, a wonderful group of friends, have had opportunities practically handed to me here I am. Still wondering what to use all these fucking sticks on and dreading another tap on the shoulder.
I don’t know what you’re meant to take from this, really. I’m the last person you’d want to offer up moral subtexts. I wanted to note it down because it’s kinda amusing. But if I can impart anything to you, dear reader, it’d be avoid dudes in shrouds, and if anyone offers you a handful of ice-cream sticks? run. Run like you’re in The Matrix and you just drunkenly threw up on the shoe of Agent fucking Smith.
Till next time.