Happy Birthday Jack Kerouac. This is for you.
James was brawny and tall, 6″4″, with a coif of long blonde hair that layered over his impressive head and shoulders. I couldn’t stand looking at him, well, at least in the way everyone else beheld him. I felt like a little boy, a pipsqueak of nothing. No matter what I said, tried, did, played, or wrote, it fell at his feet like broken arrows in a bad television western. I was too young to understand that James was a moment in time not an era of accomplishment. We were early twenty-somethings trying to figure out if screwing or doing or brewing was the way to be men. He called me by my last name, an insult that kept me in a place, my pathetic place, of insecure discontent that walled much more anxiety that I already experienced through my own disordered brain. Women tossed their bodies at James, he’d treat most of them with groupie indifference, work when he wanted, and get away with things that would’ve crushed my reputation. I would get lost in plotting, scheming, and pontificating how I would make the idiots around me see how I was smarter and more interesting than him. Nothing ever worked. Instead of getting attention or, God forbid, poetic justice on the smug lug, my words and thoughts would wander like smoke trailing into my nether region of envy, born of frustration. Time showed James peaked, back then. He was only what he was in front of everyone’s face. My 5’8″ brown-haired twitch of motor-mouth, dark moods, grunge clothed, music lyric spouting, notebook writing stress ball was a work in progress. I was minor league to his major league. But looks fade, people change, things move, thoughts matriculate. I used to see James as this Goliath and me this pathetic David, slingshot unarmed, a fool’s view. Years have a way of evening scores while maturity and gravity laugh at them over lunch, something grilled and diet, of course. Cheers, James. Hope you’re well.
In celebration of one of the truest artists in history, Jack Kerouac, and a nod to three prompts; StudioThirtyPlus’ “Envy” http://www.studiothirtyplus.com/forum/topic/249/page/1#2469 , Trifecta Writing’s “Trail” http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2012/03/trifecta-week-eighteen.html#comment-form, and Write on Edge’s “This week we’d like you to write about a time you found yourself comparing yourself, unfavorably, with someone else. Focus on how the comparison affected you, negatively or positively.” http://writeonedge.com/2012/03/remembered-comparisons-hurt/ I wrote in the unstructured, stream of conscience style of the late beat superstar. It’s a great day to celebrate being a writer.
Today’s song is a distant memory. This is something emo and dumb and almost forgotten that I listened to during my time of comparision to someone else. Here’s James – Born of Frustration.