Thursday, April 11, 2013

Those Left Behind

A new Ultima game is currently in the works by Lord British: Richard Garriot!!!
For your listening pleasure, Journeyman by Iron Maiden (a bard's song):  "We have cheated Death and He has cheated us.."

  Sometimes I wonder about friends and lovers I knew before.  I wasn't much of a person back then, a bit ambivalent; a bit True Neutral than Neutral Good, not as noble as I perceive myself now.  Sometimes on video games, I didn't mind playing the bad guy.  On the game Ultima VI, by master game-designer Richard Garriott, I went against the game's grain by playing a bad guy sometimes, killing off the local guards and looting the town.  I'd never even consider that now.  Back in the '70s and early '80s, a game like Grand Theft Auto would have appealed to me for mass-devastation, cruelty, and local atrocities; now it makes me nauseous to fathom it.

What conditioner is he using?
  Of course, it's easy to say that I'm so much better now than then, even a bit arrogant, yet I'm not immune to that possibility.  I still consider deeply and apart from myself, and indeed, I'm a better man, likely from my experiences.  It's a learning thing, XP.  I'm sure my Wisdom role is closer to 18 than ever before.  I wonder if I'd admire myself using a time-machine-like scrying-stone and saw myself now at age 16.  Would I be amused or annoyed, perhaps arguing I'd been conformed to a System?  Certainly a free-spirited 16-year-old would be aggravated I wasn't so brash and reckless at first glance.  It's hard to judge how I am now, but to try to carefully analyze, I'd say I still have quite a bit of independence from the norm, liking and preferring things most people don't, and having sampled a lot (far more than anyone else I know) on many things, I can formulate my own, independent opinions.

  I tried to perform this self-analysis when I was 38 and I was pretty smug and pleased with myself at my successes, now at 43 I'm a bit milder, not as spastic as I was when I was 33.  I have a more sure-as-an-arrow approach and feel more accurately decisive: hocus-focused.  I know the paths needed to get what I want in Life, and nothing is intangible.  I suspect not everyone can grasp that concept.  Case-in-point, there's a nice Corvette with my name on it somewhere.  I plan on purchasing it before my 44th birthday, eliminating a majority of revolving debt until then, getting me a better deal with the bank.  The local credit-union agrees, and Geico doesn't seem to balk at my angle.  I have a plan, I'm exacting it, and I'm succeeding at it on-schedule.  Good.  This level of assuredness could make me the leader of a small town and I would excel at it I imagine.  I bet that in 10 years I'll consider myself far too materialistic and boastful.  I'll have to review this blog then.  I doubt I could have come close at 33, nevermind 16.

  Still, I feel I've had above-average success in Life so far.  I wouldn't say everything has gone my way, but a lot of it has by perseverance, something I learned in the USAF, keeping laser-focused on one task despite being tired, sick, physically ill, etc., lest lives be extinguished by inability, or fussily dismissing my task.  I suspect far more have given-up under the same conditions.  I see folks dozing-off at work, and I'm irked they don't have the same stamina or pride of purpose.

  I luckily got into a profession I find honorable and cool, though if I was a barista, I could possible find honor in that as well, and take equal gusto I imagine.  Some folks never left their hometown; at fisrt I loathe their choice, but as the wisdom of Rush dictates, "Better people, better food, and better beer.  Why move around the world when Eden was so near?"  Time and time again, I hear folks exclaiming that food was much better where they were from originally, myself guilty of this.  Still, Colorado has some culinary acceptable offerings, their steaks are on the top of the list as the steer is local.  I can't blame them for staying put in some ways.  Sometimes the trade-off for "strange places" weighs the same for "nice home".  Ah, I miss the August night-breeze of New England as the maples and oaks flash their silver leaves against the moonlight, the sweet smell of pollen in the air and the distant white-noise of the ocean some 20 miles away to the east.

  I can remember the path I took to get to this point, some jobs less savory than others, one being a security guard for a place called "Altron" (the company is still there) that would boldly dump silver nitrate (and other nastiness) into the local adjacent swamp because it was cheaper taking the annual fine than properly disposing it in barrels. Some of the open 55 gallon drums inside a blue-green, bubbling, foul-reeking murk, employees working with merely a light paper face-mask in an "ammonia" room.  I nearly fell faint in the 20 seconds I had to traverse it in my "rounds" of the facility all night.  Like the film, Something Wicked This Way Comes, I'm sure I lost a year for that short time I spent there, God forbid something attack the Smilax-making doom-factory, my presence merely an afterthought as an unarmed guard.  Something odd about the swamp the chemicals were dumped.  At night, there was a photo-luminescence that lit up the dead trees an orange hue.  Something jumped into the ooze and swam away.  I can't imagine what Marvel Comics demon was thriving there.  I paid my price.

  I look back at those I've met, those that stayed in Massachusetts and the surrounding region.  They seem content, settled.  I myself felt I was missing out on greatness in some measure, particularly working at "The Mall" (a now dead concept for all but the internet-sales-paranoid few) and fast-food places like Friendly's and Burger King.  I remember at the former, a short-order cook in his 30's was confused why I was there, asking if this was my future, but at 20 years old, I had no clue and I couldn't answer him, still, somehow, I knew I'd move on to some grand journey, and I did in a sense.  The USAF gave me that journey, taking a bit of my life in exchange for adventure and trade-skills, in my case, satellite operations and engineering.  I suppose it was a fair transaction, and no amount of adventure hasn't trials and strife.  I remember Kirk in Star Trek: Generations when Picard asked him why he wouldn't fight the good fight and defeat Soren, instead settling to make an egg breakfast for his beloved in the fake "Nexus" realm and Kirk replied rather jaded.  I can relate to that scene over and over again.  What would my life have been if I chose another path?  Less savory?  I had been in jail for Chrissake, the future was a bit dim an outlook.


  So have I succeeded in Life, leaving my friends behind?  Life to what measure?  They don't seem sad for me, perhaps they raise a glass in my name?  I may never know.  I'd like to think that they're proud I was one of those that escaped the "black hole" of comfort and convenience for something rarer, something more daring.  It's been a grand journey, those that might actually be reading this, I'd like to say, and I have no regret of it, the pain and suffering, and the joys, the confounding of King Darius' offspring in the same way Alexander did in 329 BC I helped to crush the oppressive opposition regime of Evil twice, and Saddam lies face-down in his grave, wrapped in bacon like a fillet Mignon, forever cursed as he cursed thousands of his own in hateful cruelty like an Anti-Christ.  Those that think the Iraqi Conflicts were unjust need only read Saddam and his sons' atrocities of diabolical hate to their own which they desperately wanted to extend onto others like a Hitler on cocaine.  As a former intel officer I know, and have seen the videos, something I can't erase.  Glad I helped to kick him in the teeth.  Bastard, may he rot for all eternity in the frozen 9th level of Hell. 

  So, yeah, it's pretty much "not bad need salt" kind of a life.  Things could be better (they always can be) [one says money can't buy you happiness, but money can buy you a Wave Runner.  Have you ever seen anyone sad on a Wave Runner?]and they can be worse (they always can be).  A grand journey I chose on my own terms and unlike some, it ended up well so far.  I took my grandma (Good Grandmother Cronis') advice that I should always give 100% with whatever I do, and I do, or try to anyway, and that seems to be good enough, not letting fear of the unknown stop me from pure bardic awesomeness.

  My dad has a little treasure chest on his desk, upon which states, "The Secret of Success".  When you open it, there's a little sign that says, "work".  I love that little chest, and no words can be more true.

  For those left behind, I raise a glass from the Cask of '43.  You chose your Fate and so be it, and I chose mine, and no measure of argument can change the fact that it's been.. fun.

  Now about that Corvette... to continue to THWART EVIL!


No comments:

Post a Comment