In For a Penny: The Right to be Wrong

Charles Lewis III, weighing the balance.

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“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
– William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act V, sc. 1, 30-31

You’ll have to excuse me, dear reader, but a series of first-world problems have me tempted to tear my hair out:

* My crappy smartphone of about two years now has a regular battery life of about 15 minutes because I haven’t bothered to go on Amazon for replacement battery.

* My inability to acquire gainful employment has left me lacking in both money and healthcare, so after the coming national deadline on Feb. 15, I’ll have to use a noticeable chunk of the former to cover my lack of the latter.

* Apparently I’ve done something – I have no idea what – to piss off enough friends that a noticeable number of them have dropped me on social media.

* My favorite person in the entire world is someone I haven’t seen in person in over two weeks (and I’m not 100% sure when I’ll see her again).

* I was offered a chance to direct something cool, but I haven’t officially committed yet. In fact, I look at my schedule and wonder if I’ll have time to do it at all.

* I tend to spend hours at a time standing in place, but having nothing to eat and then wondering why I’m so goddamn cranky.

* I had my first two auditions of 2015 and I’m thoroughly convinced that I was shit both times.

* I planned to be much farther ahead in my writing and have barely done a fraction of the pages I’d assigned myself. I’m still pretty much ahead with the stuff I write for my part-time job, but not as far ahead as I usually am.

* I had a really cool idea for this week’s column, but felt like such a goddamn loser that I decided to put it off for a later time. Whether it will still be as timely two weeks from now remains to be seen.

* I’ve been trying for two weeks to have dinner with good friends, but it keeps getting pushed back and I’m worried that I may have caused some undo tension between them and another friend.

* I have officially entered my mid-30s with more gray hair appearing every day, but I have nothing to show for living so long, in regards to the bar I set for myself when I was nine-years-old.

Like I said: first-world shit. I don’t know anyone who’s been kidnapped by Boko Haram, nor to my knowledge do have any close relatives or friends who have gotten sick out of contact with idiot anti-vaxxers. No, my concern is that I’m currently slapping myself on the forehead because I’m sure that each and every thing I’m doing is wrong.

That’s the kind of person I am: I blame myself for everything wrong in the world because it’s the only person I can blame without any backlash. It’s my fault the West Coast is suffering a drought whilst the East Coast is buried in snow and wind. You didn’t know that, did you? Don’t ask me how it happened, because if I knew how I’d go full-blown Ororo Munroe on a few choice people. I take in all the blame for everything then unleash it through my art. Since I haven’t had a regular artistic outlet of late – combined with a slight envy of watching everyone else fulfill theirs – I’m just carrying it around like a camel’s hump; enough stress to sustain me for days and weeks on end.

As Marissa noted last week, the theme of this month’s ‘Pub writings is passion and desire. As I’ve idiotically stressed myself out the past few days, it becomes apparent to me that it must be some kind of reaction to the fact that I currently can’t engage in the things for which I have the most passion. The logical part of my brain tells me that this too shall pass, but my Id misses the stage like the deserts miss the rain. Yes, I just wrote that. I wrote it and you read it. We both have to live with that.

So as I wait for that metaphorical rain (and the literal ones California so desperately needs), I comfort myself with the fact that there are enough things in my life going right that, were I not so myopically focused on the bad stuff, I’d be over the moon: a film I was in is got great feedback at Sundance and a distribution deal with a major studio; this past Tuesday I recorded pick-ups for a voiceover job that I’m hoping will lead to many more; although I’m not acting, I’m taking an active behind-the-scenes role for several different theatre companies; I did get that directing offer unsolicited; I do have my favorite person in the world; I have my health; I have my every-graying hair; I have my life; I have a series of opportunities that lie ahead of me. I have. That’s what I always remember: I have. It’s like that scene from The Sopranos where Tony is venting about the world to his one-legged Russian mistress. He complains about his families, both literal and crime-related, and worries he might be depressed. Said mistress – who, again, has only one leg and escaped a particularly dangerous part of Russia – rolls her eyes, lights a cigarette and tells him to stop whining.

I have no such Siberian in my life to tell me to “buck up”. I will say is that a cheery and unexpected e-mail from Ashley Cowan does wonders to lift one’s spirits.