Self-denial is a powerful tool. It can obliterate your self-esteem, make you feel lower than a Stephen Hawking joke. Or, it can force you to live in a world of illusion (where everything’s peaches and cream / we all face a scarlet conclusion / but we spend our time in a dream) where you make the world revolve. It constructs barriers of arrogance to the outside world, and if you’re not careful, those barriers can come between you and your friends and family. I’ve seen the power of self-denial. It can convince you you’re right. It can limit you. It can blind you to what you want.Do you really want to be with that person? Do you even like that person? Or is it the all-too-common situation where you’d much rather picture yourself with them. That’s it, isn’t it? You like the idea of being with them. You use self-denial to tell yourself that’s what you want. Truth be told, you’re happier on your own. But reinventing yourself is too inviting. You can make yourself seem so much cooler with them. You promised yourself you’d never settle, and in your mind you haven’t. Can’t you see the hypocrisy and irony in that?
This is precisely the reason I need a laptop. I’m on my way up to Boys’ State right now. Just me and 47 other like-minded individuals. It’s kind of interesting. We don’t know each other right now. Everyone’s withdrawn in a way. I suppose this could be partially due to the time, and how tired everyone is, too. It’s really weird thinking that in a week, a lot of us on this bus are going to be friends. I’m trying to pick out how I’m going to befriend, and it’s interesting. I know next to nothing about these kids, and I’m trying to pick out the athletes, the Rock Band players, and the overall chill people I’m friends with. That kid looks promising. Look at me. This is really scary.
Taylor and I were near the back of the line, and so, following standard bus protocol, that puts us in the front of the bus. No one in the 1960’s knew this, apparentally. Rosa woulda been better off. So here I am. Front row. Staring ahead through the window and the open stretch of highway in front of us. I don’t know what we’re all expecting, but I hope that whatever we find is good. I’m a little skeptical about the trip, myself. It will be interesting to see.
That seems forever ago that I wrote that. I had a blast up at Boys’ State, and that kid I picked out on the bus turned out to be a major asshole. Whaddya know? With 300 and some kids running for political positions it was a little crazy. There was a kid up there, Riley Griffin, from Helena (which is where the camp was). He had pretty big aspirations and did all the right things. Aligned himself with Steven and John (who were elected lieutenant governor and governor respectively), kissed all the necessary asses to get where he wanted to be, and even had his dad buy donuts and drop them off at campus to secure last-minute votes. He was running for Attorney General, but anyone on campus could’ve seen that. He had giant posters and plywood signs everywhere emblazoned with his name and target position. Admittedly, the signs were pretty cool. Red and blue, with a silhouette of Lewis and Clark on them symbolizing the unity of our two counties, named after the explorers. Everything was in place for him to secure office.
I only talked to Riley once or twice. He had the annoying habit of never looking at you when he talked to you, almost as if what he was doing at the time (unwrapping a Snickers, blowing up balloons) took major precedence over you. He danced ballet but was quick to point out that he wasn’t a fag, and that he had “slept with more girls than you can count on your fingers and toes.” In other words, the guy was a prick. Majorly. He made ridiculous campaign promises he had no chance of keeping. He was well-spoken, but you could sense the arrogance in his voice. He was everything a politician should be, and no one really liked him. Because of his stature at State, no one said anything directly bad against him or anything. It was one of those things you just kept to yourself, unsure if you were in the majority or not.
Zeke Snoozy from West ran against him. By all means, Riley was more qualified and probably wanted the job more than Zeke. But Zeke was crafty. In his speech in front of the entire camp, he stood up and began talking in a low, politicians voice, reminiscent of Nixon: “My fellow Boys Staters. I have a three step plan towards getting elected Attorney General. One. I will get my dad to make me a bunch of signs. Two. I will bribe you all with donuts. Three.” He stopped. In his regular voice, “Wait a minute, Riley, did I accidentally steal your speech?” We gave him a standing ovation. A “Go Home, Riley” chant started. We were merciless. After calling Riley “peach fuzz” because of his scraggly facial hair, Zeke stepped off the platform and crushed Riley in the polls. Zeke Snoozy, Attorney General.
Riley Griffin serves as a warning tale. It’s heartening to know that we can be so vindictive to certain people that we will take what they deserve and give it to someone else who’s ballsy enough to publicly denounce them. Remember that the next time you meet new people.Sorry this blog is so long, I’ve been lazy.
Cheers, and happy summer.