Superficial Beauty

Words are powerful, especially in a poetic form. They’re also quite beautiful; however I have no idea what the author here was actually talking about. Nonetheless, I found it enjoyable despite my inability to follow him as he spoke. Here it is, transcribed, for reference:

As I was in full and celestial flight of my mid-youth I heard a voice to say that it was my fate to lose all that I had made or won just to sink into an unforgiving grave/I doubted this like any other rumour of youth and carried on so far above all others whom I now know dealt in death so poorly, all of them accepting the servitude and not the mastery of their own peril/They were so convinced in fact, that they would have me believe it too to spread their wicked fates more thinly and thus less hard to bare and conspired as plague conspires to rob me of my very life which was so bounteously alien to theirs./Their lies of life and death, proposed so confidently – sung – handing out pilfered lessons from a cardboard box/Live! Die! They wail – missing teeth/I refuse to live your folded life and die in the flames of your own death because i do not accept them/I am the master of my own creation/I am my own crooked messiah/i have saved myself from simmering damnations in a sea of sodden fools and i do not reside above or below your conjured rivet-less stage/I am too far away for that/You are the stringless puppets of my own ordained screen and you are performing very well indeed/Play on, Play on, Touchstones, Play on!
And to those who do not play at theatre, I beseech you to toss of these tailored robes that fit your rounded shoulder too well and beat out on your Acheronian drum the sound of the death of everything/The great human sigh is dead!/God is dead!/To make your humble creator proud that when you fell bloodline to the stars and inherited the sky, the earth and the heart of all that is that you sounded the first call to arms/The call to bring on the death of everything so that we will no longer have to conjure our own illusive heavens.

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Short Story – Untitled (7-9-2012)

Hello.

I haven’t posted in a while. I must say, I think my road trip posts became rather boring near the end, and I want to apologize about that. I forced it a bit. I’m here to make it up for my 8 or so readers, though. I’m sorry that it had to be so long, but I put some effort into this so don’t write it off yet.

Here’s my first real attempt at a short story. I haven’t titled it, and I just wrote it recently. I’m sure it’s a lot rougher around the edges than I can see right now, but I thought I’d share something since I’ve been away from this for a while. I hope you enjoy it.

              I think it was the director who said that Ingrid Bergman looked down better than anyone else in Hollywood. Or maybe it was one of the writers. I’m not exactly certain on that. But it doesn’t matter. Ingrid Bergman probably looks down 10 times in that movie, with the camera all soft focus and stuff, and you can see it for yourself. Man, after watching a few older movies I get the feeling that every time you looked at a cute girl before the 50s she had a bit of a fuzzy look to her. Not fuzzy like hairy, fuzzy like all soft and cute around the edges. Yeah. Now I bet that’s what women used to look like. Anyways, she does it well, there’s no denying.

             The first time I looked at her I can tell you she didn’t look all fuzzy like any of the old actresses do in the movies. Now that’s a fact. Not to say that she wasn’t a good-looking person. I’m just saying she wasn’t fuzzy around the edges with perfect hair that shimmered in the moonlight. I’ve always kinda felt like when I see that one girl who does look fuzzy like that, I’ll know that I’m gonna have to treat her with a lot of respect because she’s the one I’ll marry. Kids, suburban home, white picket fence, I’ll do what I have to do to get her. There’s no way in hell I’ll pass that one up.

            That definitely wasn’t her, but she was pretty. And I liked her. So I let myself hang out with her a few times. Even alone a couple. Not trying to be perverted or anything. Just trying to hang out with her and be good friends and see what happened. I was young and so was she. There was no harm in that. It was nice, too, because we were both pretty mature for our age. At least mentally.

            But it was right when we got to that part. You know, the part where Rick’s gonna do what he has to do and sacrifice his love for the good of the cause, despite his silly position of neutrality. You probably remember it. It’s where he gets all noble and makes a decision at the most important crossroad of his life. It’s the climax. Everybody knows it, even if they haven’t seen the movie.

            Now, I’m not saying I don’t like that part. But part of me would have said “screw the cause, I want the girl”. Again, not being perverted or anything. She was just exactly what he wanted and they were in love. How can you deny yourself love like that? It’s our instinct to try to be with another person, with our soul mate. You’re denying millions of years of evolution for a cause that, although just, wouldn’t change your personal life. Ok, maybe it would have in that case. But still, how can you stop instinct like that? I guess it just takes a lot of self control or something. Something most real people don’t have.

            It doesn’t matter. That’s not the point. We were right at that part. And I knew I was at a crossroads, too. I had to make a decision. I had to be decisive. There was a noble thing to do, and then there was a less than noble thing to do. I knew they were both there, and so did she. Then I said to her, in my cheesiest Bogart impression, “Here’s to looking at you, kid.”

            We both giggled a little. You know, kinda nervously. I got the harmless insult of being really weird or something along those lines, and then instead of kissing her I gave her a good hard look. A real close one. Not in a weird way, just in a way to let her know that I was really looking at her. And I was. I knew I could’ve kissed her, too. But I didn’t.

            I started to see it. The way those old movies look. If she was in black and white I swear she could have passed for one of those old movie stars. She didn’t normally have that look, but right then she did.

            I’m not really sure why I saw it like that. But I did. Honest to God. I know it doesn’t happen often. I know it’s rare. And I swear I saw it this time. At the time I didn’t realize as much what I was seeing, but when I think back on it I know exactly what I was looking at.

            She left right after the movie was over. She said thanks and that we should hang out again, and then I gave her a hug like you’re supposed to. Kinda awkwardly. I mean, we were still pretty new to hanging out with each other and stuff. You know how it is. I mean, I never said I was smooth.

            I don’t know if she knew what I saw, but after she walked out the door I watched her from the doorway. It was pretty dark inside, and she was standing where the light was shining from my house. And then I saw her stop and look back kinda funny like she was making sure she hadn’t left anything behind. I don’t think she knew I was watching, but I saw it.

            We hung out a few more times after that. We never kissed, but we got close. She moved away pretty soon after that, though. Not real far, just up north a bit. It’s not like I didn’t see her anymore. I talked to her for a while. After a little while, though, we were really just Myspace friends or one of those dumb internet things. Like I said, we were young. It’s not like we were gonna be one of those couples who get together when they’re 12 and date forever and get married and die together 80 years later. We just had a moment once. Actually, I had a moment. I don’t know what she had. So, I’m sure you can predict the rest. It’s not a very uncommon story or anything. Nobody ever said I was gonna tell you a brand new story or something. I just wanted to tell you the backstory so I can let you know the important part.

            The important part came when I ended up at a random party down at school. Someone’s apartment complex, an older brother of a guy on my floor. I ran into her. Let me first say that, yes, I was drunk. Therefore, it is a bit harsh of me to judge her from that perspective. I know that there is a double standard for what drunk guys are allowed to do and what drunk girls are allowed to do. It’s not as ridiculous as they make it out to be in those dumb American Pie movies or something, but there is no doubt that alcohol contributes to a lot of men and women getting together. I understand this. But if it makes you feel better, I was only drunk because I didn’t know what else to do. I came with some people on my floor since I had nothing to do and nowhere to be. I understood that this is just what college students do, so I gave it a try.

            Most people get drunk for the first time and all of the sudden it’s amateur hour. I was no exception. I started drinking, started feeling weird, and started talking a lot and doing dumb things. Random stuff. You know how it is. There are the exceptions out there, but I’m not gonna sit here and tell you I was one of them. I was just like every other stereotypical freshman. I’m just like everybody else, at least in that respect. I was different enough than the stereotype to realize that I couldn’t drink very much more before I was gonna stop feeling giddy and start feeling bad. So I put my drink down early and decided to drift through the party. I wasn’t really good friends with the guys I lived around, I just kinda tagged along. I’m not much of a socializer either, but being a bit tipsy I thought now was as good a time as ever to turn over a new leaf. Liquid courage. It’s powerful stuff.

            Anyways, I saw her at the party. At first, I wasn’t sure if it was her. Then, before I had fully thought through what to do, I walked up to her. I hadn’t seen her in so long that, if I was sober, I probably would have pretended I didn’t notice her to avoid an awkward situation. Nope. Not this time. I was tipsy enough to be impulsive. So there I was, standing in front of her saying her name at her like we were old friends. Of course, she had her pack of girlfriends who were around her, just hanging out and deflecting random idiots like me. Before I could get bounced by one of them she recognized me. Good thing too, because I was about to look like a pretty big moron.

            We caught up a bit. It wasn’t the best conversation. We were both a tad drunk. We got through the basics, though. After a little while, it stopped being awkward and we sat down together at a random spot to talk more. One of her friends hung around to make sure I wasn’t some creepy guy, but she eventually got bored or something and left. And after a while she mentioned she wanted to go home. So I told her I’d walk her back. She made sure all of her friends knew she was leaving with me. I didn’t tell any of the people I showed up with. I just left.

            By the time we got to her dorm, it was late enough for me to wonder if I was still drunk or feeling funny from lack of sleep. My feet were hurting, and I was starting to sober up enough to be nervous. My tongue was swelling up and my armpits were sweating. I tried to be as cool as possible. I’m not sure if you know the feeling. You probably do. Maybe girls don’t.

            We went to her room. I can’t remember where her roommate was, either out of town or home for the weekend or something convenient like that. We kinda talked a little bit to get the awkwardness of the situation out of the way. I was feeling pretty hot and nervous, but I could tell that I couldn’t really screw up at that point. I was still too nervous to make the first move. Luckily, she did. And we kissed a bit. And I hadn’t really thought about that Casablanca movie in a while, but for some reason that was the first thing that came to my mind. And that’s when I stopped kissing her. And she asked me what was wrong. And I couldn’t really tell her, but I knew I had to leave.

            I went to her dorm bathroom and threw up. I went straight home after that. I even forgot my shoes in her dorm room. I never got her number. I never saw her on campus again. Not even at graduation. I didn’t even accept her friend request on facebook, which anyone would have done. Not me. I was too embarrassed. Luckily, we had no friends in common that I know of. I don’t know if I could’ve handled the embarrassment. And, I live far enough away now that I don’t think we’ll run into each other again. It wasn’t because of that; it just kinda happened. Not to say I’m not glad it worked out that way.

            I don’t think she knew why I didn’t talked to her again. I’m not sure I even know. Every now and again I get a rush of embarrassment for that night all over again. Luckily, nobody really knows about it. I think I told someone once a while ago, but we were both drunk then and it happened so long ago I don’t think he would care enough to remember. It doesn’t matter. I just wanted to write it down to see if there’s a reason it stuck with me so long. It’s interesting how things stick to you like that. I bet when I’m 87 I’ll still think about that night. I’m not really sure why and all, I just have a feeling I will. It’s hard to know stuff like that. All I know for sure is nobody looks down the way Ingrid Bergman does. That director knew what the hell he was talking about when he said that. Or the writer. I can’t remember which.

-Brendan

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ROAD TRIP 2012 – PART II

Day 4: In which we learn what it is to have Nature take our breath away

                So, we drove through west side of the Rockies, and then Utah. And I must say, this was the most breathtaking drive I’ve ever taken in my life. There were miles and miles of tarmac with enormous moutnains in Colorado, then enormous red monoliths that were millions and millions of years old in Utah. There were parts where we would take turns and I felt like Simba in the Lion King when he was told anything the light touches was his. It was unbelievable. It’s hard to put in words – I definitely recommend you try it at some point in your life. There’s nothing like doing over 100 miles an hour while looking at some of the greatest views in America, since there was not ONE COP in all of Utah (or Nevada, for that matter).

So the end of Saturday was a lot of driving. A lot of listening to music. And a lot of looking. At one point I had the opportunity to pee off of a giant cliff, which was awesome. I don’t know what it is about peeing off of a giant cliff that’s so satisfying, but it was. Maybe you should try that, too.

On Sunday morning, we woke up and decided to skip Southern Utah University and running with Cam in Nevada for running with our homeboy Ryan Hall in Mammoth Lakes. This drive was breathtaking in its own way. We drove through the greatest expanse of nothing that I’ve ever seen in my life. For those who may not know, Nevada has almost no people in it, only desert. And the people that are left are obsessed with Aliens. Seriously. We drove down the Extraterrestrial highway, and the only settlements on it were crazy dehydrated Alien hunters. Bizarro world. Oh yeah, and we saw about 10 cars in the 250 miles we drove in the desert.

Sometime before we got near the Cali – Nevada border, we almost had our first major catastrophe. A lost deer was stuck in between the two fences that were on either side of the highway, and it was running back and forth over the highway that everyone was doing at least 90 MPH on. Luckily, Andrew “Hawk-Eyes” Gazdziak was driving, and was able to slow down just in time to avoid crushing his new Ford Explorer. Big shout-out to him.

At last, we reached Mammoth Lakes. Phil tried to work his magic by calling Angela Bizarri and getting some trail recommendations, but she wasn’t available at the time. And… never called back. Rough start to our Cali babe hunting.

We managed to find a pretty awesome trail ourselves, where we climbed from the bottom of a waterfall to the top of the waterfall. We were breathing pretty heavy when we got to the top, and then we turned onto this awesome trail with SNOW still ON IT. Every once in a while we’re reminded how much snow is on these mountains; this is one of those times. It was almost 70 degrees, and we were climbing snow mounds up past our knees on this trail. It was nuts.

In Mammoth, we hiked a bit, and ice bathed a bit, and ate a bit. Then we watched River Monsters until bed time.

Still no call from Angela.

Day 5: In which we derive our trip motto

                From Mammoth Lakes, we headed to Yosemite National Park. This was also an incredibly scenic drive.  On the drive, we discussed what we really wanted out of this Road Trip. And it came down to three things: Bears, Babes, and Burgers. Yosemite would give us our bear sighting, the Call Me Maybe signs we had made in Iowa would give us our Cali Babes, and In-N-Out would give us our burgers. And that’s what it was all about.

Needless to say, we never saw a bear. We were on the sharp lookout and saw many signs warning us not to speed so we wouldn’t kill bears, but we NEVER saw even ONE single bear.

What we did see was Yosemite Falls, some of the most beautiful trails in the world, the Merced River, and Half Dome. And then, after being overstimulated for many hours, we finally brought our resident Californian home to his beloved town Palo Alto. And, before we could even unpack fully, we went to In-N-Out Burger. It was incredible. At the very least, we were able to live up to the Burgers part of our motto.

Oh, and if you ever find yourself at an In-N-Out, make sure you get the Neapolitan Milkshake. Don’t ever forget. You won’t regret it.

Day 6: In which we learn where Andrew’s Spirit Animal

                We arose early to check out Phil’s main trail, Rancho Park. It contained miles of dirt trails that rose through some of Palo Alto’s foothills.

We were on the lookout for Mountain Lions.

Sadly, we didn’t get to see any. However, we did run a nice loop on some soft ground. This trail was so cool. This is the kind of place where you can run here everyday without ever getting bored. There’s hills, there’s challenging ground, there’s some flat, and it’s fairly fast. This is comparable to the Palos trail system, although different in a few ways. But I’m rambling. Basically, if you’re ever in the Stanford Area or even the Bay Area, check it out. It’s worth it.

After that, we went to go see San Francisco. First stop on the way was Stanford (not actually in San Francisco…). We checked out the track where the magical 26:59 by Chris Solinsky went down. We actually were able to see the Heath brothers working out with their coach Jason Dunne. Once again, I believe I’m rambling a bit.

Next stop, pick up Sam Pompei (still not in San Francisco yet…). Once we got him, we headed straight to the Golden Gate Bridge for some pics. Henry was in love, even though it was a bit foggy. After that, we got some Clam Chowder at the Fisherman’s Wharf. It was a bit touristy, but tasty soup in a bread bowl. When we went out on the pier, we got to see TONS of Seals and Sea Lions. And all of them, ALL OF THEM, reminded us strongly of our boy Gadz. He could’ve got naked and jumped in to play with them and nobody on the pier would have noticed. Just one of the guys, I guess.

After this, we did some more of the touristy stuff you should do when you visit San Fran. We saw Golden Gate Park and Ghirardelli Square ($9 Ice Cream FTW). It’s all fun stuff, just rather boring read. Just do it yourself!

We got to eat a nice vegetarian dinner with the Pompei’s at night. We ate more ice cream. And then we headed to bed early so we could run at Rancho again before heading down to San Diego. Today was a good day.

Day 7: In which we see illegal fishing at its finest

Heading to So Cal. Final Leg of the journey.

We drove down Highway 1 almost the whole way. It was just as beautiful as I had heard. The only problem was the traffic. Everybody. Moovveedd. Soooo. Slllloooowwww. It took a long time to get to LA (plus we stopped once for some more PB & J’s).  Once we got to LA we met up with our USC friend Theresa and Henry’s Aunt who has been to every continent TWICE. Theresa took us to an awesome place called Mama D’s at Manhattan Beach, and afterwards we walked down the boardwalk with all of them and Andrew’s cousins from Manhattan Beach. It was great. We also saw some fisherman catch and kill a Stingray, which we were pretty sure was quite illegal. Go So Cal!

Then we headed to Escondido. Met Andrew’s Aunt and Uncle. Went to sleep.

So tired.

Day 8 and 9: In which we become touristy

We made it. Agenda for San Diego included:

-Balboa Park

-San Diego Zoo

-Gaslight Quarter

-Torrey Pines

-Swim in the Ocean and boogey board

-In N Out

-Fish Tacos

-Run at a local trail (ended up being Lake Hodges Trail, which was quite nice)

-More In N Out

-Flight home

Recap: In which we see what the score really is

[ ] : Bears

[ ] : Babes

[X] : Burgers

Fantastic trip, but we didn’t hit 2 of our 3 main goals. All that means is we’ll be going back soon to check those two things off of our list.

The lesson of the trip was that In N Out is worth traveling to California for. And that is that.

 

 

 

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ROAD TRIP 2012 – PART I

The Great Westward Expansion of 2012:

The Graduation of Philip Pompei, Declan McDonnell, and Michael Frigo into the Real World (Also known as Andrew Gazdziak got an internship)

 

 

The Plan:

Drive through the cornbelt as quickly as we possibly can, visit Rocky Mountain National Park and run a 5 mile race going 1-6, visit Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite National Park, run a 24 miler with Cam Levins while in Utah, rage in San Fran and throw up in the Pompei Swim School pool, drive down Highway One with Road Trippin’ on repeat, live it up in San Diego, and fly back to the Illinoise. Along the way we will see as many “Largest ______ in the World” ‘s as we can, eat only what we kill, listen to a wonderful road trip CD made by Felipe Pompei , get in a fight with a trucker, wrestle bears and mountain lions, ride a Big Green Tractor, run in at least 4 different states, live by yelp reviews, live twitter update everything, run on Gadz/McDonnell time, complain as everyone in the car catches Henry’s cold, and stay on the #getfit program the entire way.

Go.

Day One: In which we learn the importance of burning bridges

                After a visit to the Plush Horse on the eve of the Great Westward Expansion, the crew of Declan McDonnell, Henry Wolf, Philip Pompei, Michael Frigo, and I headed to the Gazdziak household for a night of packing, planning, and sleeping. I packed about 30 minutes before we actually left, of course. I managed to fit everything for the 10 day trip into one backpack. I must say, I was quite proud of my accomplishment. Until the next morning, that is…

The planned night wasn’t enough for Phil, as he felt the need to visit with a second horse that night before finally heading to bed. It seemed a necessary bridge to burn for the trip to start the right way. But I digress.

We woke up in the morning ready to run and get on the road as quickly as possible. When we woke up, it was a balmy 47 degrees out. That was when I realized that my backpack pack job may not have been as good as I thought, since I had no shirt to wear while running. Anyways, Gadz was able to lend me a shirt while still squeezing in a tearful farewell to his beloved Old Plank Trail. After a quick shower each we were finally ready to roll out. Obviously, not before we made a brief detour over to Melissa Worker’s beautiful suburban home to drop off a flower on her front doorstep, from Phil. After that, the bridge was officially burned.

Once we plugged in our first destination of Cozad, Nebraska into the GPS and saw we only had 700 miles down I-80 to drive, we knew the Great Westward Expansion had officially begun. Let’s hope nobody gets buried by the mountain of stuff that we had to pack in order to fit all 8 of Phil’s wardrobes.

Day 1.5: In which we learn the importance of 75 MPH speed limits

The rest of yesterday was spent driving down I-80 chatting and listening to music. Basically, we were road tripping like it was nobody’s business. In case you haven’t driven through the western part of Illinois or the state of Iowa, it can be described in one word: Farmland. In other words, there wasn’t much to look at it. But we kept it light with the music and the chatter and the live twitter updates.

We trucked.

And trucked.

And had a picnic and played Frisbee.

And trucked.

And stopped for a highly rated restaurant in nowheresville, Iowa.

And trucked again.

And listened to Call Me Maybe, hatching a plan that would woo many beautiful Californian women.

And kept on trucking.

And eventually ended up in North Platte, Nebraska.

And chilled at the Holiday Inn [Express].

And got back on the road.

Next stop, Estes Park in Colorado. We’ll run the course for the Family Fun 5 Miler so we can kick some stroller pushing butt. We take no prisoners tomorrow.

 We BLITZ. ALL. Night (Day).

Day 3: In which we learn the importance of banter and hitting on moms

After climbing many feet in altitude, we arrived at our destination of Estes Park in Colorado. We headed straight to the Rocky Mountain National Park trails so we could death march a 30 min easy day at 9500 ft. of altitude. Upon beginning in the trail, Frigo had the idea to start climbing just about straight up the mountain. It was one of the more difficult runs of my life, and I’m sure was up there for everybody else, too.

After the run, we decided to hike around the trails for a few hours. There were a few awesome lakes with fresh mountain streams galore and breathtaking views all around. We kept the live twitter updates coming with fresh and exciting pictures all over, as we knew the eyes of our great nation were upon us.

Our group returned down to the town to go hit up some awesome barbeque with some Tiger Butter ice cream for dessert. After that, we went to the town square, where Declan tried to pick a fight with some Elk. One animal took the bait, and almost bit his nose off. Luckily, he was able to backpedal enough to be out of range of the Elk attack. With Alpha Male dominance reasserted, the rogue Elk went back to grazing. Moral of the story is, don’t fuck with Elk. Ever.

                When we got to our beautiful Peak to Peak motel, we made sure to hit up the Man Tub to loosen us up before our Fit Family 5 Miler in the morning. It was a good time. We got to bed early that night.

In the morning, we headed up to the race course with “The Club Can’t Even Handle Me” blasting. We let the lead pack know early that us Illinoisans were not here to mess around, going out in a blazing 6:45 first mile. After the first mile, the 53 year old local was not able to hang around. We picked it up a bit and went 1-6, with a tie for first among everybody but Henry. BYAH!

We accepted our awards graciously, but not before Phil had time to flirt with the race director, Kristen (who happened to be a mother). This ended up being very important for our stomachs, as we missed out on the meal offered post-race since we all went to shower while the other competitors finished up the 5 mile course. Kristen felt bad about her top competitors missing out on the breakfast burritos, so she called up the restaurant her sister owned to give us a reservation and paid for our meal. It was a delightful surprise. Phil even had the energy to banter with the waitress. Needless to say, we left Estes Park knowing we had made a lot of good impressions, and that a lot of new women loved Phil.

And if you’re wondering about the prizes, they were just as fantastic as the website made them sound. We received a lot of gift cards for the Estes Park local stores, so we gave them away to some of the locals at the race. If we put on silly hats and fat suits you could call us the Santa Claus’ of Illinois.

After we secured our spots in the professional running world, we knew it was time to move on. We left Estes Park with full bellies and confidence that we could hang with Cam Levins for at least 5 of his 30 miles he’ll be running with us on Sunday.

To Be Continued…

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Distance without Time ; Dark wihout Light; End without Beginning

-This is it.

[-There’s a tone of finality in it. Saying it. Once and for all. This is it.

-Absolutely.

-Positively.]

What is an ending? Does it really mean the end? Does it really spell the end?

Where were you when it began? If this is the end, where were you?

-I know it’s the end. I feel it. With every bone in my body, with every muscle that twitches against my conscious will, with every fiber of my goddamn being, This is it. This is the end.

You can’t know. You just can’t. It’s a fact. We can spot the middle of something from a mile away, we can even see the end of a chapter. But the beginning and end smear against the canvas. You can’t see it. It’s an impossibility. Like seeing a fourth dimension. Know this. Know this with every fiber of your goddamn being. Know this.

-I can’t. I just can’t. Because I know the real truth. Now leave me the fuck alone.

Well, I can’t. I can’t do that. Because I know you don’t know the end. Because I know the end. And this isn’t it.

-But you said…?

No. I said you can’t know the ending. You can’t. But I… Oh yes. I can. This is what you’ve failed to recognize. You’ve always failed to understand. There are some things that you can’t know that I can. There are some things I can’t know that you can. But this. This I know. I know the ending. And this isn’t it. Not by a longshot. Not by a fucking sight it isn’t. I’ll tell you why, too. I’ll prove it to you. Listen for a second. Listen. Where are you, right now? Where are you right this goddamn second?

-I’m here.

That’s right. You’re here. And you know who else is here?

-You are.

You’re goddamn right I am. Now don’t tell me this is the fucking ending. If this was the ending, you would’ve been long gone by now. You would’ve been long gone. And you know I’m right. You know it. With every fiber of your being. Now. Tell me. Is this it?

-This isn’t it.

This. Isn’t. It.

-This is the beginning, isn’t it?

That’s something that I’m not capable of seeing. You tell me.

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Enter Title Here

There’s a man on the side of the road who sells flowers. He thinks:

I am the man who sells flowers to people. I see them buy my flowers, and take them home with them. I imagine the flowers being given from one person to another in an act of love, and it makes me happy. Though I don’t make much from my endeavors, I believe what I do makes the world a better place.

Rain, snow, sleet, or shine this man stands outside and faces the elements to see a bit more happiness enter the world.

Many people see this man for what he is. One special person in particular takes notice of the man selling flowers. He decides to buy some flowers. He thinks:

There is a good man on the side of the road selling flowers. I see this, and because he is a good man, he deserves a good life. I will help him have a good life by purchasing his flowers. Though I have no use for these flowers and no particular person to give these flowers to, I will buy them anyways.

Thus, the special person who took notice of the man selling flowers came into possession of a bouquet of flowers. And since he had nothing to do with his newfound bouquet of flowers, he decided to give them away, one by one, spreading the happiness the flower salesman wanted to be spread.

So, this man was now found on a new street corner giving out his bouquet of flowers to strangers on the street, one by one.

Small effects with enormous consequences.

One flower brightened an ill persons day.
One flower reminded a couple of their love for one another.
One flower resolved a petty fight amongst friends.
One flower brightened a bleak room in a house.
One flower reminded someone of the importance of finding beauty in something unique.
And, one flower allowed a small amount of loneliness to escape from a person’s life, if only for a moment.

You see, a flower is a reminder that there is life, and there is death. It is a reminder of the journey along this path between life and death. And, it is a reminder that, even though life cannot last forever, it is still something to be celebrated. A small amount of beauty shared between two people, whether physical or emotional, is something that is a necessity. Its importance cannot be ignored.

Our lives may be tiny little ripples in the calm ocean of the Universe, expanding infinitely outward. And the impact of our lives may be insignificant to the overall disposition of the Universe… Yet, despite all of this, the little things seem to matter a great deal. Like, letting people know they are important every once in a while with a please or thank you, or spreading happiness through a hug (or even by giving them a flower)… These things seem small, but actually have very large value.

It’s something that I’m just realizing to now. Not that I ever didn’t hear this before, but I’m actually starting to see and experience the importance of the little things. I’m starting to understand.

And I’m trying not to forget it. Ever.

Sincerely Yours,

Brendan

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Holden

“You know that song ‘If a body catch a body comin’ through the rye’? I’d like — ”
“It’s ‘If a body meet a body coming through the rye’!” old Phoebe said. “It’s a poem. By Robert Burns.”
“I know it’s a poem by Robert Burns.”
She was right, though. It is “If a body meet a body coming through the rye.” I didn’t know it then, though.
“I thought it was ‘If a body catch a body,'” I said. “Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around — nobody big, I mean — except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be. I know it’s crazy.”

– The Catcher in the Rye , by J.D Salinger

You know when you were asked what you were going to do when you grow up? When you were way younger? You probably said whatever you’d like to say, about being a professional football player, or being an astronaut. Or maybe you went in a different direction and said you wanted to be an explorer, or the Captain of a ship.

I’ll be honest. I don’t really remember what I used to say when I was younger. All I know was that by the time middle school rolled around I didn’t really have an answer anymore. I thought that would change in High School, but you know what? It didn’t.

And now I’m halfway through a college degree. I hope I’m on the right track to do what I want to do with my life, but it’s hard to say. I may want to do one thing when I’m 25, and I may want to do something else when I’m 35. It’s hard to know future Brendan as well as I know past Brendan. He may want something that I can’t predict right now.

The thing is, I’m not alone. I think most of our generation is dealing with the same issue.

It’s starting to show up more and more in movies, books, articles, Facebook, twitter, EVERYWHERE. The fundamental problem of our generation: Is this it? Is this all there is?

Will it ever be as good as I want it to be?

One day, I’ll find my dream job. I’ll live my dream life. I’ll have my niche, my purpose. It will be good. It will be great.

I’m not worried. Really, I’m not. I go to my classes everyday, and I enjoy just about all of them. I don’t think I’ll be drawing up simply supported beams for fun, but I enjoy the problem solving I get to do. I love my friends, my family, my roommates, where I’m at and what I’m doing, the feeling I get from being here, and, most of all, the sense of freedom/independence I have. I love my running, and I love the club team, both in what we do and what it has done for me. So don’t worry about me. I don’t. You shouldn’t either.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I ever met Holden, I’d give him a big hug. I’d let him know that it’s OK not to know what you’re doing sometimes. I’d talk to him, be his friend. I’d tell him that he’s a good guy, and not phony at all. Then I’d show him google, so he could find out where the ducks in Central Park actually go in the winter time. At least he could know that for sure.

As you were,

Brendan

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