This I Know Is True
I know that I am alive. I know that there are people around me who care about me.
I know that The Wire is the best TV show of all time. I know that Mad Men is really good, but I also know that Mad Men is actually overrated, until too many bloggers write about how it’s overrated, and then it will become underrated again. I know that this is the state of intellectual discourse now, but I don’t know how I feel about it.
I know that I spend a good deal of my time trying to figure out how I am going to relate the experiences I’m having at a later date as opposed to just enjoying them. I know that this makes me sad.
I know that being born in 1989 is the cutoff for a girl to tell you her first CD was Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill and NOT Ace of Base’s The Sign, and I know that there’s an entire other subset of girls who will tell you that her first CD was Green Day’s Dookie, and that almost always girls in that subset will have an older brother. (I also know that girls in this group will have a much higher chance of being interested in me than either of the former. I don’t know why this is.)
I know that if a girl doesn’t understand the importance of that question, or answers either The Titanic soundtrack or Shania Twain, there will be a near 0% chance that girl will ever want to talk to me again and vice versa.
I know that a good deal of my life is spent either feeling overwhelmed by the people around me or totally and completely alone.
I know that this “I know” gimmick is a pretty cheap literary device, and I know that you know this. I know by admitting this it is my attempt at hedging my bets against any criticism, and showing you how thoughtful I am about all the different ways this could be construed.
I know if I keep up this meta-commentary any more that you will move from “charmed” to “annoyed” rather quickly, if you aren’t there already.
I know that there is a large subset of this country that doesn’t give a shit about meta-commentary, or literary devices, and I know that I tend to dismiss those people as stupid. I know that even when I say that an illiterate person in Mississippi is just as smart as I “but in different ways,” I don’t really mean it. I know that this makes me really, really sad sometimes.
Those are the things I know.
I want to know other things. I want to know what it feels like to be a father. I want to know how it feels to publish a novel.
I want to know the right thing to say to a dying friend.
I want to know the winner of the Super Bowl now, so I can bet a shit-ton of money on it and be rich and happy once and for all. (Likewise, I want to know conclusively if money doesn’t really make you happy, because despite all the evidence to the contrary I honestly think it might.)
I want to know what it feels like to do something completely and totally for someone else, because I don’t think I’ve ever done something like that before.
Those are the things I want to know. But there’s one last group here that I’ve forgotten, and that is things that I used to know.
Like at one point in my life I knew that my dad had the solution to everything. I used to know that I would have it all figured out by 25.
I used to know that I was going to be a huge success, and wealthy. And I used to know that, eventually, I would stop feeling so confused all the time.
I used to know that everything was going to end up alright.
I don’t know those things anymore. I wish I did.
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I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”
To begin, I got totally screwed over in the dental genes department. I was born with a pretty severe overbite and a mouth that was too small.