Manliness in a Pickle Jar
I think by most standards, I could pass for a pacifist. I would bother to explain but I’ll just sound like a treefucking hippie (which apparently, I am) so suffice to say, “War is bad, peace is good”.
On the other side of the spectrum of war-mongering dicks who think it’s justified to pillage and murder to bring down gas prices, there’s the kind of people Europe is filled to the brink with: I call them Passivists. Why? Because they would sit passively on their stoned ass and watch while our country is pulled straight down to hell. And in case you hadn’t guessed: I don’t entirely agree with them, either.
I refrain from going into discussion with these numbskulls for one simple reason: I know how it will go and it never goes well. Usually I just get angry with the fuck, pull his head off and he won’t resist me because it’s against his principles. True story.
They have dozens of reasons and while at first glance they might make sense in some 60’s John Lennon kind of way, they have nothing to do with the fact that, hypothetically, the fucking nazis are banging the front door. Sure, our weapons would be provided by companies that get rich off our war, and sure, you can’t possibly avoid civilian casualties (those lemmings seem to get in the way of every military conflict). But let me try again: The Nazis. Are Here. What will you do about it? Hug them to death?
Yes, I am a pacifist, a militant pacifist, even. I am willing to fight for my peace. I would like to highlight that this does not mean I think it is justified to wage war, but if some misguided cocksucker plans to change my life and country in a way that I don’t agree with (such as the systematical slaughter of innocents), I’m getting me an FN Pfucking90 first thing in the morning and emptying it, point blank if possible, between his eyes. Always wanted to shoot one of those. Nazis, I mean.
All joking aside: While leaving fighting as a last resort, I will not allow any nation with “god on their side” to waltz in here. How would the future generation remember us then? If we can’t stop them, the least we should do is resist them, no? We owe the lives we have today to those who have done it before us. Three generations and we’ve already come to the point where we’re gladly forgetting all about it.
Of course this was back in the days and we’re not living in the past. Germans are people now too despite their filthy fucking language (kidding!) and we’ve moved on since. Did you know though, they are still paying off their debts to us? There’s about 6 Belgians still alive who were actually in the war but everybody seems to think it righteous for the German nation to still be paying ours. I call that disgraceful.
Nowadays we are simply manipulated into working for “their” (whoever that is) agenda and in grotesque 1984 style, are controlled like sheep. There’s different ways of combatting that but that’s besides the point, today. The point is that passively sitting by isn’t going to make an already fucked up situation, any better. In some cases it’s wise to fight fire with fire and I for one, am prepared to meet the threat should it ever arise.
On one of my last days as an intern (I hope I never have to be an intern again) my parents came to watch the show. I say “parents” because it’s shorter than “my father and stepmother” which is basically what it boils down to. We all hate her guts but you know, she’s human and so are we so I suppose we might as well get along. From a distance.
The artist was someone she’s a huge fan of (some guy named Derek) who did a tribute to Bob Dylan. He failed miserably because he could sing. I saw Bob recently and all he did was cough as if some doctor had his hand under his nuts and told him to (it’s medical procedure, ladies). I don’t know what came over me but I contacted my parents and told them about the gig, and after now 7 years of working like a motherfucker in showbiz, my parents came to see the show.
My mentor put me in charge of the lights, start to finish, design to execution, as a final test of my abilities after two months of learning the ropes. And I must say, I did put some effort into it: I reset all spots so I could start from scratch, researched complimentary colors and used unconventional, asymmetrical schemes. Seeing me work, my mentor joked, “It’s about time this kid leaves, he’s getting better than me!” That’s how much work I put into it.
I was eager to show my father what I had learned. He knows I can work, but hasn’t seen me use my head for something since I quit school.
They say it’s bad luck for a technician to have his wallet in his pocket during the show. While I’m not superstitious, I too take out my wallet, and even put my Leatherman to the side: When you’re being a light/sound tech, you are nothing else. You are part of the structure and anything that says otherwise, is nothing but a distraction. The only thing you are using is your mind, with the table as a translator for your intentions. So yes, I take my work very serious at this point, and very personal.
So then, imagine my face when suddenly, in the middle of the show, the singer goes,
“I would like to take a moment to thank Maarten, on the lights tonight. It’s his last job as an intern here and I want to congratulate him on a job well done.”
Everyone turned and stared in my direction as if I was supposed to provide some reaction. After an awkward moment I guessed I’d prove his point by rather than saying something, simply pointing a spot at myself and giving a thankful little wave.
When shoved into the light like that (although I did that part myself) you don’t really know what to think first. I was glad my father was reminded of the fact that I was doing all that, enjoying my fifteen seconds of glory, and hoping it would score me a blowjob or paid job of a different kind. Or a paid blowjob. One can only hope.
After the gig I went and found my father, slightly drunk. He seemed different than usual, something about him I had seen before, but I couldn’t place my finger on it right away. My stepmother was in line for the bathroom so we had a moment or two to talk, and nearly immediately he asked, “Don’t you wonder what your mother would think if she were here to see this?” And then it hit me: He had been crying. And he doesn’t give a shit about Bob, so that couldn’t have been it; He had been thinking about my mother and that she couldn’t be there to see it. He had been crying because he was proud of me, and believed that my mother would be, too.
I truthfully told him that no, I had other (unmentioned) things on my mind at the time. But yes, I often do wonder what she’d think about all of this. I know she’d approve, but can’t tell if she’d really be proud or just rolling her eyes saying, “About damn time.” I do think I got my cynical side from her.
Believing she would be proud of me is tied to the feeling of being proud of myself.
Since I have now two people inside my psyche, fully aware of my intentions, methods and so on, it’s twice as difficult for me to state that I should be congratulating myself. That she should be. I can’t know if she would be, so I can’t really figure out if I am. I continue to kind of just, do my thing, totally oblivious if it’s good enough and hoping to do slightly better next time. It’s like running blind but there’s no point in obsessing about it.
Do better next time, under one condition: It’s got to be immediately rewarding. Even if the job itself sucks, it’s got to be part of something I like doing, or I won’t even consider it. It’s a combination of laziness and diligence that’s working out rather well for me- Even my father said I’m actually living his dream, that he would have loved to do what I am doing today.
All in all, getting where I am today didn’t cost me all that much energy. It took one or two hard decisions but it’s not like I worked hard and long to get this far. I just did what I loved doing and persisted in that. The question is, really, if that’s something to be proud of, or not. I have great respect for people who work their bollocks off all their lives to feed their families and themselves, but I just can’t pull that off if I have a choice at all. I can’t figure out if that puts me in a position to envy, or despise. Or both, as it often goes.
Blah I give up. I’ll get back to you when I’m happily married and raised three children. Or is that just average, still? Fuckit.