Saturday, April 04, 2009

No Matta Where You Go, You Are What You Are Playa

You know, you've got this.. fantasy in your head about
getting outta the life and, setting the corporate world on its ear
What the FUCK you gonna do except hustle?

- Jay Z

A girl I used to know once compared me to Leonardo Di Caprio's character in The Departed. Not in the looks department, I mean (because I beat his ass in that), but in my personality. I forget the exact explanation, but I was initially taken aback.

"I'm not that violent," I had told her, kind of insulted.

As I reach the middle of my 20s, I look back and realize that for all intensive purposes, that's exactly what the fuck I was. I'm not going to tell hero stories because no one cares about them, but I've been in more violent confrontations than most. I never backed down and took my licks.

When you add to that the drinking, the questionable morals, and the severely impressionable personality that I seem to have, I realized that thank God I have good parents, because had I lived in the ghetto and no one was paying attention to me, I guarantee that I'd be selling drugs and would probably have killed someone by now.

I'm not saying that to sound tough. But I know that aside from a great few things (like rape, child abuse, or dealing in any way with prostitution), my morals are flexible. I was prone to violence because it was accepted in school and necessary for the crowd that I run with. I am prone to drinking because its accepted. Getting arrested? Oh it's happened. Everyone I know has been.

Selling drugs? That's just on the other end of my line. Murder? Very far over. However, if I was around people for whom this was acceptable for long enough, I would very likely be engaged in it. Why? That's how I am. The farther you sink and the worse shit you do, the easier it is to do it again. That sounds cliched, but when most of your good friends are drug dealers, streetfighters, drug addicts, and drunks, you realize how quick that slide is.

The better part of my life has been about trying to find out exactly who I am, and where I'm comfortable. I've gone through phases in this; when I was young, it was the country. I've always loved Lynyrd Skynyrd, had a thing for hating the government, and dug history, so it fit for a while. I was a young, blue-collar type that had somehow sunk to a lower class than his parents.

After getting the new job that yanked me buy the neck from the rough and tumble world, I became a little classier, trying to go to nicer bars, meet better looking women, wear nicer shoes. But that's faded off too after an incident on a Hoboken balcony where I realized that I'm just not comfortable around civilized people, and I doubt they're all that comfortable around me.

I still have the classier job, but my old game has come back heavily. I don't care where I drink, what I say, or how much I swear. As it always has been, physical violence is always a possibility because I'm not the, "I'm calling HR" kind of guy. Some people are taken aback by my gruffness, but I just don't know what else I can do.

There were, and still are, a lot of similarities between me and old Leo's character. A penchant for fighting, a penchant for being judgemental, a penchant for substance abuse, and a low level anger that I just can't shake. I thought I left it at my best friend's grave, and I thought I left it at my old job. But every time I think it's gone, it rears back up again. And like Leo, sometimes you try so fucking hard to not be something, and you fight against it so hard for so long, and you still end up back where you started because you realize what you thought was a line was really a circle.

I am always toeing that fine line between being an extraordinarily good, fair person and being a very stupid, very dangerous lowlife. So far, luck, a decent brain and a struggling-but-alive half a conscience has saved me.

Sometimes though, I wonder how much I got left in the tank.


Trashman said...

Other than the faact that you support the socialist prick and are kinda liberal, me and you gots lots in common.

Elle said...

This reminded me of some of the articles you wrote back in Jacobs' class. I liked it then and I still like it now. Looking forward to reading more!