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13 February 2003 @ 01:00 am
A Rehearsal for Aging Gracelessly  
"If I hear that damn song when I step through the door, I'm going to kill you."

"If I hear so much as the first bar, you'll be dead before you hit the floor.

"If you sing even four notes, the final note will be muffled by your own blood."

Okay - I like that one.

I am quick to point out that the date of my birthday has exactly two major signifiers in Western society-

1. It is the anniversary of the firebombing of Dresden by Allied forces in 1944, the most destructive bombing in the history of the world (and the basis for much of Slaughterhouse-5). (As a sidenote - I have looked into it, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki barely come close for the destructive level of the assault - per bomb, that's a different issue, and for psychological effect, that's debatable.)
2. More people buy condoms on February 13th than any other day of the year.

In other news, my birthday (for sheer Julian frivolity) is shite. It's fuck-all about being born the day before Valen-fucking-tine's Day - you get to be perennially reminded of the encroaching spectre of Imminent Death™ amid people getting ready for the largest would-be fuck-fest in the Western world. Add thinking yourself unattractive and the unavoidable social niche of being single on top of all that (and a weak stomach for "self-medication" at present) and you'd be preparing how to shut people fucking up right well too, damnit.

I look in the mirror every day, but always at an angle. The hair's getting longer, so the bit on the right always foofs out more than I'd like. Since I came back to Wisconsin (but I'm coming home tomorrow, mind you), the mirrors are bigger, and clean. So I've had the first real chance to look myself in the eyes in a few months, and it isn't pretty. Just reminding myself of everything I've become, everything I have failed at doing, everything I've failed at failing at because I'm still procrastinating. My life is a fear-pit. I'm afraid of the fuckign capstone, the fucking trial, and the fucking economy. I'm afraid for my brothers who are still in school, and my mother who barely keeps her head above water. I'm afraid that my father will be dead in a year or two. I'm afraid for the friends still in school, and the friends outside school (citizens, if you will). I'm afraid that I'm in this for the long haul - or that I'm not.

I'm not there for people - and I don't seek other people out enough. I've done some things I'm not proud of, and I have a burning desire to be forgiven by those I've wronged.

It's hard - and people right now, well, they have problems with me. Probably you - and you won't tell me. Fair enough, I suppose. You never find out who has problem with you (whether it's your smell, your facial hair, your laugh, your speech patterns, anything). They feel it unnecessary or uncouth to tell you, so you only find out roundabout. That's something I intend to change, at least in my personal life. The telling, anyway.

I was listening to this song on a CD I made, and I was rounding a corner on I-94 during the blizzard on Sunday , and I just started crying. If you know me, you know I don't cry easily. You probably don't know that I don't cry. Some people cry at the drop of a hat. I can't - I stopped crying after the faux break-up with Crystal, in 1996. I've cried maybe a dozen times since then. Four of those are for the accident.

I think most of it (the crying, anyway) is based on talking to Masui about idealism, and doing the right thing, and how futile all of it is sometimes. So, here it is - I gave it to Gunn to listen to once (which didn't help her at all), because sometimes it's hard to try to do the right thing all the time. Sometimes I need to hit bottom before my spirits can lift at all.

"Superman's Song"
(lyrics and music by Crash Test Dummies)

Wasn't a ladies' man
He'd just come along and scoop 'em up
under his arm like that
quick as a cat, in the jungle

Clark Kent,
Now there was a real gent
He would not be caught sitting around
in no jungle scape
dumb as an ape, doing nothin'

Superman never made any money
Saving the world from Solomon Grundy-
and sometimes I despair the world will never see another man like him

Hey Bob -
Supe had a straight job
Even though he could've smashed through any bank in the United States
He had the strength, but he would not

Folks said
His family were all dead
Planet crumbled but
Superman he forced himself to carry on
forget Krypton
and keep going

Superman never made any money
Saving the world from Solomon Grundy -
and sometimes I despair the world will never see another man like him

Tarzan was king of the jungle
and lord over all the apes
but he could hardly string together four words -
"I tarzan you Jane"

When Supe was stoppin' crimes
I'll bet that he was tempted to just quit and turn his back on Man,
Join tarzan in the forest

But he
Stayed in the city
and kept on changing clothes in dirty old phone booths
'til his work was through
and nothing to do
but go on home

Superman never made any money
Saving the world from Solomon Grundy
And sometimes I despair the world will never see another man like him

This entry ended up being really, really long - which I think is only fair warning. And everybody who posts "Happy Birthday!" and nothing more will be summarily executed fucking killed harshly ostracized, as in, "Made into an ostrich . . ."
Josiah Carlson: chouyuchouyu_31 on February 13th, 2003 01:29 am (UTC)
*shrug* *ponder* where to start?

In any case, what you think of yourself will ultimately matter the most to you, but I'll give you my perspective as some asshole you've had the chance to talk with on occasion. Truthfully, I have not been privvy to all of the goings-on in that which is the universe of Nick, and so my perspective is quite skewed.

In the time since I've met you, I've had my quality of life improved. From being able to relate you on a geek-level, laugh with you about any of a million topics, talk about people, society, (occasionally) books and music, so many things. You helped me feel like I fit when I sat down at the gamer table during the beginning of our sophomore year. I enjoy your company. I enjoy talking with you whenever I have the chance. I enjoy hearing when you are doing well, and I wish you were feeling better when you're not.

In going to Macalester, there have been a handful of people who have implicitly pushed me to be better at what I do. In being a good computer scientist AND a good mathematician, I've always looked up to you and your abilities. That coupled with your amazing poetry and stories made me only dream of the talent that you happen to have wrapped up in your brain. Your writing makes mine look like the drivel of a 5-year old. It makes me ashamed to even post my work on the internet.

But if you call yourself a failure, call me a failure too. Why? Because along with your talents in writing, mathematics and computer science, you also are able to connect with so many people on a level I've only experienced a few times in my life. I've done my best to hold most everyone at arms length, afraid that if I get too close to too many, I'd hurt when I ultimately left the area. Fuck man, I've seen the way people look and interact with you. I'm that neat guy that hardly anyone can get close to and who seems deep, you are that amazing guy that everyone can get close to and who is deep. In becoming close to as many people as you have, I can't see how you can think yourself a failure. When you walk in, everyone smiles, 'cause hey, Doc is here. When I walk in, a couple people nod, a few say hey, but that is it. If you are to call anyone a failure, call me a failure, because I will never be able to write, do high order mathematics, or be as close to people as you are.

Don't you even attempt to cite my capstone as success, regardless of what I said during development, the thing is trivial and could be re-done in 2 weeks better. I encourage you to read my paper for the steaming pile of shit it is. I am actually more proud of a paper on TCP and PASP then I am of my capstone.

I know what you are thinking, "but what about Annie, isn't she a success?" Yes, she is. What I would consider to be my one success in life. But you've been far more successful in your friendship relationships then I have. You've been much more successful in your math career. You've been amazingly successful in your writing. How much more proof do you want?

Sleep well Nick. You deserve good sleep.
Desultorif: I like having blue eyes and dark skin...desultorif on February 13th, 2003 01:50 am (UTC)
Superman Song is one of my favourite songs.
It is a song for the loner in all of us. Usually, when I am pensive, I will sing along with Brad Roberts, until I either fall asleep at my desk or until drops of tears fall on my keyboard.

I have taken many online tests that say that I am the Champion Idealist. I have heard people tell me that I am very alltruistic. For what? I don't know. I am no more special than anyone else. I have no real cause in life. I have no other desire, aside from seeing others smile, but even I fail at that from time to time and have a tendency of making others frown.
I don't find myself appealing, though I have had many people crush over me, which should be flattering, but has no real weight in my life. And I have turned down more people in my life than I have asked out. Yet I still mope about being alone, when there are people that would date me in a heartbeat, if I could just see them as being people I wanted to date.
I don't believe that I will ever achieve perfection, nor do I strive for perfection. I don't think that I will find myself, though I haven't thought to look for myself. I have varying personalities that get me into trouble or make for excellent comic relief. I have a broken family. One drunk and one stroke survivor, both of whom have no clue what I am majoring in, despite my having told them several times. I didn't come from money, but somehow manage to live comfortably. I have been in one car accident, where my head slammed into the windshield, because I wasn't wearing a seat belt. I was hit by a car crossing a street, but never once did I try to dodge the car, as I saw it prior to hitting me.
I have no place that I consider home and I only claim about 10 material items as being truly my own possessions. None of the possessions will provide me with my basic needs for living, but are things that I will never give up. None of which I purchased, but all of which have been given to me from people that I didn't ever consider receiving them from or feel deserving enough for receiving them from. Four of which have come from you, Three from charabian, Two from paronym, and One from chesh.
I don't celebrate holidays. I hate Valentine's Day, because people smile about being special to someone else, yet I have never been able to have someone that close to me and would rather spend the day alone walking the streets. But I know that it is just because I am jealous and not because I hate the holiday. So, I would never take the holiday away from those that find some value in it, because I would like to have it there when I have someone to be with. However, for the most part, my family does not celebrate holidays. Not for religious reasons or anything in particular. They just have no appeal.

So, here is my advise to you. Today is your day of birth. In my family, we do not celebrate birthdays, though we acknowledge them. Why? Birthdays are not about the person who was born, but about the parents. I wouldn't be here, if it weren't for them. I think that it is beautiful that two people can create something pure as the snow on tree tops. I realize that my parents are not the greatest people on earth and I realize they have just as many flaws as I and everyone else. They are not perfect, but I respect them, because they probably lit a candle one year after I was born and smiled when they looked at me.

In every stage of our lives we are a superman and maybe someday, we shall see the forest through the trees...
la femme stygiangunn on February 13th, 2003 08:25 am (UTC)
Dearest Doc,

I've been thinking more about your birthday than about V-day this year. In the past couple of weeks, I have been reminded and have reminded others. You are a good friend of mine, and I am proud of who you are. I'd go to war under your banner. I'm sad that you get so down on yourself, but I still find your company pleasant and something I will seek out. I like talking to you, and I'm glad you exist in the world. I hope your birthday surprises you by not living up to all of the awful things you associate with it. I look forward to seeing you tonight.

Hillarysusanofstohelit on February 13th, 2003 08:43 am (UTC)
because you ask, no singing tonight.

What I'm doing today, I'm doing because although birthdays are a construction, this one's yours. We supposedly get one day when we're special and dammit, I want today to be special for you, because you're my friend.

so I won't say the words, but instead, "have a good day." see you tonight.
ninja in the shadows: normalme_papsanseiryu_16 on February 13th, 2003 09:05 am (UTC)
Hail the Doc
There's not much I can say that hasn't already been said, my friend, but I think it worth saying again.
You're one of the coolest people I've ever met, and I mean that honestly and in all possible permutations of the word. Like Josiah said, people perk right up the second you enter a room, because Doc is here, and you have this unconscious power to make people happy, myself included. You're also one of the wittiest and most talented people that I know, and you should never forget that. You have the power not only to find things of great beauty and share them with a grateful world (albeit one with a bad track record of showing its gratefulness), but to create things of great beauty and complexity as well. I can't fathom your math because that's not something I've studied (but since Josiah says he can't follow its extreme complexity, I'm going to assume it's badass like a picnic), but I've studied poetry like a mofo, and yours completely kicks my ass. Seriously, Nick, it's absolutely amazing, and I wouldn't shit you about this (much like I wouldn't about anything else). If you don't get a book of it published sometime in the next few years or so, I'm going to go all ninja on a publishing house and demand they offer you a contract.
I wish I could offer you the happiness you deserve - a common wish of mine for my friends - but I know all the same that you will achieve it one day. I believe this as strongly as I've ever believed anything.
Don't sweat V-day: it's just a day, after all. Even though I'm "one of those people in a relationship," I can tell you that I'm definitely not a fan of that particular holiday... it's pretty much just a plot to get consumers to drop a shitload of money trying to prove how much they care about somebody, and likely someone in the mix gets disappointed. In fact, I bet the only person who ends up totally happy is the Hallmark corp. and their cronies. I'll celebrate the holiday, but in hug form, to everyone I care about. It shouldn't be about being in a relationship, it should be about friends. Hell, I even think there should be a holiday for those who are unattached, and the people they know in a relationship have to, I don't know, pay them a tax or a tariff or something ::laugh::
Today is special because the world was lucky enough to get Nick Lindgren this day, 23 years ago. And because all of us here - on lj, at Mac, wherever - are reminded how phenomenally lucky we are to have you as a friend. Thank you, Doc, for being you. ::hug again::
Dierindierin on February 13th, 2003 09:45 am (UTC)
Yo. It's been awhile... I remember your last birthday shindig over at Masui & Nemo's, back when it was Masui & Nemo's. It was a kick. I'm not sure what's brewing tonight, but I have a paper hanging over my head that was due in Japan a week and a half ago and now the final deadline is tomorrow... a bad combo with a celebration. I need to talk a dance setlist over with you, among other things (past five months) so I'm sure I'll be seeing you soon; if I don't get to say it to your face today have a fucking happy birthday. Kill a metaphor for me.
Abra SW: holding otter's handcloudscudding on February 13th, 2003 10:46 am (UTC)
May random wonderful things creep into your life.

They're the best kind.
lyght on February 13th, 2003 11:45 am (UTC)
'Ey you. Happy birthday. Now turn me into an ostrich, dammit!!!!

Not that it helps, but in the i ching 23 is "things falling apart." That was what the 23rd year was for me; the moldfest, trying to live with fundies, then finding a couple of new age geeks to hang out with and promptly having my worldview tweaked beyond recognition. The thing about "Things falling apart" is that ultimately the individual under consideration gains the upper hand because the forces which brought hir down in the first place were not as powerful as the ones helping you out. And it's fucking true.

Might not seem like it, but I miss you. You're the one Mac kid who really reminds me where I came from. I can talk to you about the weirdass railroad tracks, real winters, Gitchee Gummi. You *get* it. I would've hung out with you in high school had I known you then and I still would hang out with you today if I were in MN.

I don't give a rat's ass about V-day. It's like the one Holy Day of Love in the Western world and that is pretty much fucked up. Every other day of the year is the Holy Day of War near as I can tell by current priorities.

And btw, there's still supermen/women out there. I've met 'em. I think you might be one of 'em too.
XCorvisxcorvis on February 14th, 2003 09:10 am (UTC)
I never had a younger brother, but if I did, I wish he was you.
(Anonymous) on March 9th, 2003 09:09 am (UTC)
this is erik from japan. you remind me of the giving tree. you probably wont read this but do you want a break from craziness. find a cheap ticket to japan and i can support you here for about a week (maybe longer, but then we gotta live more gechi gechi). this actually wouldnt result in a break from craziness but it might still be entertaining