Dear Internet Diary,
There is a pervasive belief out there that "smart people," or rather, people who like to talk about ideas, more than talking about other people,
- have little common sense
- like to complain but don't offer solutions
- think they are better than everyone else
- don't live enjoyable lives
As far as the charge that I think I'm better than everyone else (I think I'm sort of different, and I really want and try to be better), not only is this belief the reason people like to hate the French, it's a complete mirror reflection of the person making this charge. The fact is, people who hurl such charges against weirdos like me often point out their own elitism. They point at their pious humility, their status as a man or woman of "the people," the way that they are "just like you."
How condescending that is!
Since I am such a big man, and am too insecure to back down from such a challenge, I'd like to refute the accusation that because I am seen as an intellectual, I don't know "how to live life."
I happen to have lived more than enough, in fact, I probably should be dead, for all the stupid stuff I've done. But for all of that, I've lived, man. I've really lived.
I climbed mountains, rode rivers, fished and explored. I spent half my life as a performer, a singer, a concert violinist in musicals, symphonies, weddings, ceremonies and restaurants. I acted and directed plays, wrote musicals, juggled and performed acrobatics in a comedy troupe, wrote and conducted string quartets, and taught it all to children.
I hobknobbed with deadhead hippies, drag queens, transexuals, punk rockers, beatnicks, religious cultists, the clinically insane, the suicidal and post suicidal. I've mingled with rockstars like Kurt Cobain, Joan Jett, the Beastie Boys, Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, even stepping in to sing at a show. My best friend in school was the intellectual heir to Gloria Steinem.
I was a christian fundy, a liberal christian, a skeptic, an objectivist, an atheist, a democrat, a libertarian, an anarchist, and was there to help start third-wave feminism. Yes, I used the 3 r'd "grrrl."
I experimented with drugs, and had several torrid affairs with wonderful and awful boys, and amazing girls. I dealt with drug addicts, dealers, prostitutes, battered children and girlfriends, hardcore s&m fanatics, and even a cross-dressing, ex-con murderous rapist. I successfully fought off a crazed intruder in my home when I was only 20 years old.
I put down roots, had a non-traditional family, grew a garden, dug ponds, kept chickens, then left it all, my stuff, and my country, to live over 3000 miles away in a place where I can't speak the language, all for the love of a man I had seen in person once, for 2 wonderful weeks.
I've lived, and what I haven't done, Francois has.
The best part is, I'm not yet 40 years old. I've come into my age to discover that the point of it all is not the roller coaster ride, the excitement, the danger or confrontation. Some of it is the risk, the facing of fears, indeed. But the most important thing to understand in knowing "how to live" is how to appreciate, how to enjoy the still moments, the beauty around oneself. I know that if I died now--I's hate to--I wouldn't have missed out. But even better is that I still have half a lifetime to go. Who knows what I'm going to see and do?
So, in your face, superior, common sense, men and women of the people. I like to talk about ideas, and what comes with that is something called curiosity. That's what gets you some living. Lots of trouble, but lots of living. I'm not interested in a "whose better competition." That's a waste of time, when there is coffee to drink, ducks to feed, and cross-dressing rapists to confront.