we need to get ice cream

There was some local singer playing guitar when we got there. Nobody was paying much attention; he was playing at the wrong bar if he wanted attention. My date excused herself to go to the bathroom, but I know she was probably just doing another line of coke, or something like that. She had that nervous, jittery, emaciated look about her. I ordered us drinks and and sat back and listened. The singer was starting to talk.

He said, "I know you're probably not paying attention. I'm not very good. I don't think I'd be paying attention either--hell, I'm not. These songs aren't real. Sometimes I feel like they make me come up here at gunpoint, you know? 'Entertain us or die.' Or just starve, I guess."

I smiled. Nobody seemed to notice he wasn't singing.

"Sometimes I wish I was at gunpoint. Maybe I'd care then. You know? Maybe we'd all care if we knew we might die." He took a drink of water. "I was driving with a friend of mine the other day, and she looked at me and she said, 'You know what we need? We need to get some ice cream.' I said, 'You're damn right we need to get ice cream.' So we pulled into the nearest Dairy Queen and ordered blizzards. Big ones. I wish--I wish more people got convicted and just bought ice cream or something, you know? I know I never do. That's why I want to be doing this at gunpoint. So maybe I'd do it right."

My date came back and told me she wanted to go do something impulsive. I smiled and told her that was the best idea I'd heard all day.


what are we here for?

Some guests came to my house this morning. I didn't know them, but they seemed certain this was the right house and I always try to be a good host. I let them in, offered drinks, and we chatted for a while.

They seemed like interesting enough people. They were students, all of them intelligent, devoted to their studies and eloquent enough to actually have something interesting to say about them. There were students of philosophy, the arts, language, psychology, and science--and all of them managed to contribute their disparate knowledge seamlessly into our conversation.

Eventually one of them asked the question, "What are we here for?" I felt the question was banal, but these were my guests. I began to answer the question, and noticed that a silence fell over the group. There were a few snickers.

"No, I mean, what are we here for? I don't remember why we're at your house."


the wizard's tower

I've studied psychology for years. I've earned my master's in the field, and am pursuing a doctorate--I know what I'm doing. I've learned how people tick. I've learned how to make them do this, that, or the other.

Lately I've noticed that I'm using my knowledge. Not just in a professional setting, seeing patients, researching, where it's expected and done voluntarily. In my friends, relationships, I've found that I use what I know to manipulate people. I capitalize on guilt, exploit psychological weaknesses--and I try not to do this for myself, mind you. Often it's for their own good, or someone else's. I'm trying to facilitate relationships here. I'm trying to do something good with what I know.

Still, sitting here in my tenth floor apartment, I can't help but feel like a wizard in his tower, and feel the resonance of that archetype. I'm using my powers for evil. It might be good in the end, but I'm using my powers for evil.


that was easy

I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not try. Whatever I do, there is no effort involved. I do not spend time studying on tests, nor hours practicing my writing. I do not do exercises. I do not dwell on what I have read, trying to absorb the words or make sense of what an author has written. And yet I understand; I know what needs to be known without all of this effort.

I want to be amazing. I want to be remarkable. I want them to remember me, to think of me when they think of greatness. And I want to know this, and to smirk, satisfied--I have amazed them all without effort!

And when my friends strive, when they exert effort, practice, dwell, contemplate, I want to breeze past them, or come up just behind, a smug grin on my face, and say, "That was easy."