Sorrows of a Young Man

The sorrows of a young man in the city, being a palimpsest of Goethe's Werther.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

It's not loaded

Indeed Michael is one of the best on this planet. Something weird happened yesterday. I met him to say good-bye, 'cause I wanted to drive to the mountains (that's where I'm writing from now). So I was walking up and down in his room and I noticed he had a gun lying on the desk.
"Can you give the gun to me, just for my trip?" I said.
"Sure. If you care to load it. You know I just keep an empty gun."
So I took a gun, and he carried on: "Since I had a bad accident with it I keep it empty."
He got me curious.

"I was living together with a friend, and we had some girls in our room. I didn't load the gun, you know. Usually I didn't, but the night before, it was storming outside, and I was like, maybe we might need it. Maybe there'd be an intruder, some robber, I don't know. So I cleaned it, and I loaded it. So that night, my friend was fooling around with the girls, and I was lying on the couch, completely wasted. And he knew it wasn't loaded, thought he'd knew it, and he played around, and tried to shock the girl. And he blew of her right thumb. Just like that. Had to go to court for that, you know? Had to pay loads of money. So since that day I'd rather keep it like that, unloaded. We can try and be careful all we want, but you know, danger is just around the corner. It's like that with everything. You know..."

Yeah, I know. I like the guy, except for his you-knows. Does he really need to do that all the time? It's not like it helps or anything. If I knew it already there'd be no point in telling me. And yet he carries on and on.
Yeah, and so he did. Didn't hear more of it, though. So I felt this weird tickling, and put the gun against my head, just above my right eye.

"What the hell you think you're you doing?"
He was shouting at me and put down the gun.
"It's not loaded," I said.
"So what?! I can't believe how somebody could be so stupid and think about shooting himself. Those people make me sick."

"You people. Why you just can't talk about something without judgement. This is good, this is bad, and this is stupid, or this is smart. What do you think you're gaining by that? Is it like some deep insight you got? You want to throw statistics at me or scientific conclusions? Do you really know what you're talking about? If you really did, you wouldn't be so confident in your judgement."
"You have to agree that some things are bad, no matter for what reason they happened."
"Sure, you might be right. Then again, even for those things you find exceptions. Sure, stealing's bad. But what if you steal because you and your family's about to die from hunger? Who's the one to judge the guy who finds his beloved wife cheating on him with his best friend, and who happens to then kill the both of them? If she just happened to follow lust and forget about a life of loyalty? Even the law, the cold-blooded machinery of law will see some defense in that."

"That's completely different. 'Cause someone who's drunk or so emotional to be completely out of his mind is seen as insane."
"Oh you people are so reasonable!"
I couldn't stop laughing like a mad-man.
"Emotion! Senses! The mind! And you people are just reasonable by-standers. You walk by them and you cross your fingers and thank god you're not one of them. More than once I've been out of my mind. My emotions are never far from insanity. See, and I don't blame myself. For I know if there's a true genius, somebody aspiring to do something really great, they'll just call him crazy too. It's always been like that. And it's like that now too, all throughout life... whenever someone's doing something great, or brave, or out-of-this-world... then they call him a fool. I'm blaming all you wise-guys. Blaming all you so reasonable people!"

"You're freaking out, you know that?" Michael said, "You're going over the top. Comparing suicide with a great act or something. And that's the one thing you're wrong about. It's much easier to die than bravely stand the pain of living."

I just wanted to leave because there's nothing making me more angry then someone handing out a total clichee when you're talking about something with all your heart and soul. But I calmed myself down, 'cause I heard it before so often.

"You're calling that easy? Don't be fooled by the surface. If a society is supressed by the government, and they want to break their chains, you call that easy? Someone whose house is on fire, and all of a sudden he's carrying away things from it, things so heavy he couldn't carry them under normal circumstances, 'cause he's so full of energy at this moment? The guy's who's so raving mad 'cause he's been insulted he can suddenly fight six men his size? If defense is strength, then how can the highest possible form of defense be weakness?"

Michael kept looking at me.
"Hey, no offense. But what you're talking about doesn't really make sense here."
"Sure, it wouldn't be the first time people accused me of illogical arguments. So let's see how someone who's suicidal might feel. Someone who's about to throw away the otherwise pleasurable burden of life. Because only if we feel what he feels can we pass judgement."

I continued.
"Human nature has its limits. We can take happiness, pain, excitement... up to a certain point. If we pass that point, it's taking us down. So it's not a question of strength or weakness, but wether or not someone can continue to fight the pain, be it physical or moral pain. And calling someone who's taking his life a coward is just as good as accusing another one who's dying of fever."
"Quite puzzling. Really."

"Not really. We're calling it a fatal sickness if it destroys our body. If the body is working against us, going ways we cannot choose. Now let's apply this to the mind. Like a virus there can be ideas, thoughts, dreams entering our soul. And they keep growing inside. Growing to a level where our feelings become overwhelming and take us down.

It just doesn't matter how hard anyone would try to convince us of the perils of life. It just doesn't matter. Just as it wouldn't if you talk to someone with a deadly sickness. There's not a bit of strength you can give to someone like that."

Michael didn't seem to give too much on analogies. I reminded him of a girl who was found dead in the river two weeks ago.
"A good, young woman, growing up in a good family, going on about everyday business. Cleaning her room once a week, taking a walk with the family on Sunday, going to a party the night before. Watching TV, reading books, waitressing. And now she starts to feel a fire inside. A fire heated by the flattering looks of men around her. So more and more she becomes bored with the life she led, and then she meets a man, someone who she'll put all her hope into. Forgetting the world around her. She won't feel anything else but this man, the only one. The only thing in life. So all she thinks about now is becoming his. To make him her own. To live a happy life with him for all time. In this eternal bonding she wants to achieve all the happiness she misses so much. And he'll be comforting her, and giving her promises, and making her trust, and he'll be touching her. And her mind gets blurred, and she will be full of hope, and trust, a deep sense into the future, a future with him, and all her soul is carried away to that future, and her senses go to new heights, crossing new limits, and she will open up her arms wide, walk towards him, to catch all her dreams at once – then her lover's leaving her.

Frozen, without anywhere or anyone to go, to hope for, she'll be looking into darkness. The one who made her feel life, her whole being, broke it up and turned away. She won't be seeing the big wide world now. She won't be seeing all the others who could give her comfort. She's blind now, naked, far away somewere, freezing. She's away somewhere standing on a bridge, and it takes away her breath, because she doesn't have anything left to breathe for... and she'll be jumping down to put an end to her pain.

See, Michael? That's the story for some of us. Nature won't find a way out of this labyrinth of confusing and contradicting emotions, and someone must die. I dare you to stand up and say she was a fool! Oh, she would have found someone else, so many out there, time heals all wounds – it's just like you'd be saying, what a fool, he's dying from fever! Oh if only he would have waited until the fever would have gone, his wounds would have healed, his sickness cured... all would be well and he'd be living to this day!"

Michael didn't quite agree, and was saying this and that against my argument... like, she was a simple girl, but what if someone very intelligent faces this challenge? Someone whose mind is more open, he wouldn't understand how someone like that would just throw life away like that.

"Hey. Michael," I said. "We're all still humans. The bit of sense we might carry in ourselves is blown away as soon as emotions hit us, forcing reason to its limits. Oh well. We talk later."
I was grabbing for my car keys. I really talked myself into a high, and my heart was beating like a drum. And it's just like that. We parted, and we didn't understand each other. It's just like that – this world's not made for two people to understand each other.

[It's not loaded]


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