Because I hate ketchup…
Holy shit, did things ever get weird. 2+ years. 4 jobs (give or take). 9 months with a pregnant wife, culminating in 1 amazing daughter (Penelope Jean, born October 2014). Too many bills and too little income. A handful of therapy sessions. A smattering of inspiration, the occasional epiphany, and a near-infinite supply of irredeemably stupid ideas.
And, of course, nowhere near enough time to reflect on (or write about) any of it.
Not an excuse, mind you. More like a bridge back to writing. I can’t catalog everything that has gone into the past couple of years, but I can guarantee it has changed me irrevocably, and I’m certain it’s going to show (as if the Dad joke in the sub-head didn’t give me away already). Possibly more confident, probably more desperate, and ultimately more invested than I’ve ever been in pushing myself and the world to get better.
Put plainly, I don’t have a choice now. Or, more accurately, I’ve made my choice and there is no turning back. “Buy the ticket, take the ride,” as the good doctor Hunter S. Thompson used to say (you know, before he killed himself, and then Johnny Depp shot his ashes out of a cannon). I have to improve myself before I can improve things around me, and allowing the destructive and anti-social ideas at the top of the heap continue to stay there is not an option.
I have to do what I can to fight systemic stupidities, because I suddenly understand in a way I didn’t or couldn’t before that the consequences of flawed thinking will be passed to the coming generation, whether they deserve it or not. It’s easy enough for me to be cynical and misanthropic about humanity and it’s future in a generalized form, but putting a face on it, specifically her face, blows the windows out of that abstraction.
So, I find myself driven not only to ensure the usual food/clothing/shelter/attention that every parent tries to provide, but also feeling a tremendous responsibility to further engage with political and social institutions and start pushing them toward better ideas (usually in opposition to their natural tendencies under current conditions). I was never particularly good at either one of these things before, and why I suddenly seem to think I can manage to juggle both with the day-to-day requirements of parenting is completely beyond me. Turns out very little about parental instinct is rational. Go figure.
But who knows? I have to think that if my perspectives could shift this drastically on the fulcrum of a single event, other aspects I’ve come to take for granted may be capable of a similar change. The only way to know for sure is to try, and like I said, it’s not as though I still have a choice in the matter. The ramifications may be dire, but that doesn’t mean my reasoning isn’t sound.