I’m back in New York. Wow. Blank page. Wait, I didn’t mean that as a metaphor for my life. I meant an actual blank page that I am writing on. You see, I’m not ready yet to write anything. But a great man once said, “Just start writing something and the rest will flow.” He was an asshole, but others accepted his thought as wisdom, so why not? — I am putting on my writer’s cloak, made in the finest shop in London, and will attempt to write something.
My lack of focus with this post is amusing because earlier today, I was on the phone with Amy about our storytelling session at BlogHer, discussing the agenda, particularly what makes a “good” story. After typing out an outline about the fundamental, engraved-in-stone rules of an effective narrative, handed down by storytelling gurus from campfire to campfire, Irish bar to Irish bar, I now sit down and write this piece of crap, which follows none of the precepts of storytelling. “Where is the drama?” I ask you. Or you should be asking me. You’re the dumb one reading this.
The drama is here, of course, but it is internal. It is locked away in a safety deposit box, behind a steel gate, in the main branch of the Chase Manhattan of my mind. You’ll notice how I just wrote, “Chase Manhattan.” That bank is now gone. It is now repackaged as “Chase,” and it is a conglomerate of several banks that went under during the past year. Is there anyone who hasn’t had their bank change hands at least three times in the last ten years?
Even though the marketers have renamed the bank Chase, I still call it Chase Manhattan, because I am used to it, and I am stubborn. It is comforting to grab onto something from the past and keep it from leaving your consciousness, even if it is a struggle at times, like the tugging of the rope to prevents a colorful hot air balloon from taking off from you backyard, while travelers are inside the basket, hoping to make a journey over the Napa Valley, cursing at you and throwing apples and baguettes from their picnic baskets at your head for delaying their trip, thinking you the most selfish individual in the universe.
You want, you need, to keep the status quo, your history, from flying away. You yearn for it so badly that you ignore the pain, the feeling of the muscles in your biceps ripping apart as you reach for an unobtainable victory in this one-sided tug-of-war with the elements. The future is pushing forward, the balloon is taking off, the heat and fire are burning you scalp, but you want one more taste of the past, a cookie that your mother baked, some comfort food.
Chase Manhattan may be long gone, but fuck it; you’re still going to use the old name, just to be spiteful. Screw you, name changing bitches and harlots of the world. And you know what, suckers? — even after Pic-N-Save became Big Lots, I still called it Pic-N-Save. Until this day, I still say Pic-N-Save, whenever I go into the store to buy cheap energy saving light bulbs to brighten my office with off-color light, stubbornly holding onto a disappearing world like the elderly Brooklyn Dodger fan still blabbing about Ebbets Field. I hate the name Big Lots. It sounds repulsive. Like huge pieces of shit. “I just made a couple of big lots!” What kind of name is that for a store? Pic-N-Save was pure elegance!
I know I am sounding like a grouch, but I don’t care. At some point, every man has to stomp his sneaker onto the ground and say, that’s enough. Some things are not going to change, and if they are for everyone else, I will just follow my own army into battle, even if it is a useless, bloody war.
But don’t worry about me. All of my emotions are locked up in the safe in Chase Manhattan. I’m mellow as yellow, well-read and well-fed. These dangerous feelings, unsteady emotions with no place to go, will not come out like a stumbling, hungry Yeti to bother you. They are in a box, behind a metal gate.