Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dear Eric

Today is Eric Blair's birthday. One hundred and eight years ago in far away India, Ida Mabel Blair screamed her way through childbirth, and gave the world a bouncing baby boy christened Eric Arthur Blair.  That little bundle of joy would go on to reappraise his life at the age of 24, and decide to become a writer, and poof! just like that the world was given the gift of George Orwell.

Today is also my birthday, and if you reverse the numbers of the age that M. Blair reappraised his life, you have my age as of today. Birthdays are motherfuckers, they come regardless of whether you are ready for them or not, and (hopefully unless you're hit my a MATA bus) keep coming whether you want them to or not. Birthing days are tricky days, on the one hand, if you are lucky like me, you are still alive to celebrate them (unlike M. Blair), and you have a wealth of good people in your life (that you don't deserve) to wish you well, and to celebrate the day of your birth. On the other hand, as the birthdays keep piling up, you have to wonder if/when you reached your 'tipping point.' That point where you realize that you have already celebrated more birthdays than you have left to celebrate. Of course that can happen at any time, regardless of age, but MATA buses aside, you have to think positive.

I am fairly certain that I am past my own 'tipping point' and pretty sure I am also past my 'sell by date.' However, that did not seem to stop this day from arriving on time like it has for the past 41 years.  Regardless of how much drunken hope I had during last night's binge, the dawn arrived outside my window as usual, only this time bringing with it another year added to my life. It has been that life, that like M. Blair, I have been (badly as it turns out) attempting to reappraise.  It seems that I share more than just a birthday with M. Blair, I too have aspirations beyond my current situation. However, unlike him, I lack the courage to just chuck it all over, move to Paris and start writing books while I wash dishes in order to eat. I also lack another important thing that M. Blair had going for him, and that is talent. Courage can be 'screwed up', or found in a big enough bottle. Eventually, we hope, courage comes to us all at the right moment. That is how drowning children are saved, and how little kittens get out of all of those trees. 

However, if I were able to muster the courage, and that is still a big IF, I still lack the other ingredient that M. Blair possessed, and that is talent. Talent, unlike courage, doesn't come in bottles, or at least in any of the bottles I have been drinking from lately, or ever for that matter. Talent doesn't 'rise to the occasion' if you see a burning house with a child trapped inside, talent isn't the one performing the rescue, that would be courage. And courage can come without talent. Talent doesn't just show up late, like a party guest that had his dates confused. Talent just is, it can be nurtured, but I fear that I am past the nurturing age, and therefore the small (ever so small) amount of talent I possess, is all the talent I am going have. 

That small (ever so small) amount of talent is, in my own harsh opinion, not enough. Perhaps I am right in that assessment, or perhaps I am wrong. There are a few daft souls out there who think I have talent, and they believe in me. Those mad hatters are the reason that birthdays are bearable.  That belief, ill-founded as I believe it to be, allowed me to stagger out of bed today, and continue to reassess my life as it sits in front of me.  The belief, which is apparently rather strong, wants me to be a better person (which considering the right bastard I am, shouldn't be that hard to do).  Those brave souls that express their belief in my talent are the lighthouses in the darkness that my soul sometimes gets lost in, without that light, things would just be downright gloomy. They allow me the freedom to attempt to express myself on these pages, and it isn't their fault if I do it badly.

Those 'lighthouses' keep me off the shoals of self loathing, and help me realize that perhaps the measuring stick that I am using is a bit too big for me, and that I need to adjust my aim towards a goal that an everyday slob, such as myself, can hit.  Knowing how far the talent you possess will get you is the first step in allowing that talent to take you further that you can imagine, and after all, we can't all be George fucking Orwell now can we? Happy Birthday Eric!

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