Someday I Want to Be a Burdensome Old Man

My recent string of sicknesses has renewed my commitment to living a long life. But the goal is not merely to lengthen my existence for the sake of it like a deluded hermit. See, there’s this image in my head that I just love: me sitting at a table surrounded by dozens and dozens of my children and grandchildren, all bearing a resemblance to me in varying degrees, all waiting to get my blessing for something, all waiting to say their polite pieces to the “godfather”–the head of the clan.

But it’s not even the power or the prestige I’m after. I’m really just aiming to be the biggest, wrinkliest, most annoying burden the whole family has to bear with in every single gathering.

I just want to shoot sharp disapproving looks at everyone. And I mean everyone. I wouldn’t care if you managed to snatch the top spot in the bar exams or got a supermodel to be your wife, you’ll get the same grouchy disapproving look from my face–the same exact look your suicidal, junkie cousin gets.

Oh I would have the time of my life, just wearing a patented steel frown like Robert De Niro and muttering horrific curses under my breath without stopping. Sometimes my poor children and grandchildren would be able to catch some words when they take my hand to kiss it or press it to their foreheads; memorable words like “moron” and “idiot” and “clown” or “wench.”

I’d be carrying a trusty wooden cane, so I could snappily hit the little ones on the butt if their horsing around gets within two meters of me. They’ll shriek and bawl for mommy and daddy, and mommy and daddy won’t get anything from me but my go-to advice to “Discipline your stupid child!”

Cane would also be handy when poking someone rather painfully in the kidneys if they block my view of the TV.

On the buffet table, I’d take scandalous amounts of everything and then make it a point to eat only about 7% of my plate, all the while complaining loudly about the taste and my false teeth, which would keep on falling into the soup bowl with a plop.

That would be nice. Spoiling everyone’s appetite before they’ve had their fill and just making the table generally awkward for the hapless, brave souls who happen to sit there. And then I’d be munching the food in my mouth in that irritating way old people process their food, and spitting some of it unceremoniously onto the plate or napkin for everyone to see.

Nobody would get any real positive encouragement or sound advice from me. I’d always be comparing them to some long-dead celebrity or famous person I knew or remember from the good old days when the world wasn’t overrun by “wimpy dumbasses (my favorite catch-all term).”

Of course my life would be the golden standard for everyone, and I would happily replace the majority of it with amazing tales of impossible feats you couldn’t possibly match. “I used to sell little goldfish in the streets until I had enough money to buy a luxury car” or “Once, I got lost in the woods for 5 months and I only ate earthworms to survive. When they found me, I was wrestling a wild boar to the ground, which I proceeded to gut alive with my teeth.”

I’d remember each and everyone’s name but I would see to it to switch it with another one just to get the message across that their existence doesn’t mean squat to me. “Oh you’re not Rachel? Who are you?” “Megan. Rachel died 7 years ago, pops.” “Oh really? Tsk. Everyone dies soon enough.”

And then of course I’d do ridiculous things when I’m in the middle of the crowd, like letting my trousers fall, or kicking the cute dog everybody loves, peeing on the bonsai, “accidentally” crashing against some kid’s artsy school project he’s been working on for weeks, sitting on the cat, tasting the cake’s icing and eating all the flowers before a picture has been taken, dropping an expensive vase (Oops!), and constantly spitting the stickiest balls of phlegm to the floor.

My family would hate me so much they would jokingly wish among themselves that I die a horrible death, but I would disappoint them every freakin’ year because I just won’t. I’d be there, wasting away, little by little until only skin and bones remain but nevertheless, I’d still be there. Still whispering insults about the adults and scaring the snot out of the little ones.

Personally, I think it’s a beautiful goal to set for myself. I better work on it now.

I Write This With Absolutely No Agenda.

Let me start by clarifying that I write this with absolutely no agenda, no hidden motives, no ulterior plan to advance myself or my interests. You know how other people would say one thing and actually mean another? Say, they’ll praise what you’re wearing while actually highlighting what displeases them about it, so your friends can see it clearly and snigger in their heads—that’s what this piece is not.

See, I stick to the truth like a hardened nose gum on a bed post. When I talk about things, I describe them objectively with a dogged tenacity to uphold positivism. There are no gray areas with me or any room for suggestions, allusions, and metaphorical expressions of the like. When I use figures of speech, such as in the opening sentence of this paragraph, I use them to aid elucidation and not hint on another latent meaning, which the reader should unlock in order to unravel the true purpose of the writing. I consider such a task terribly tedious and a tragic turn in literary culture. Though, I must say, I do not care at all about literature because literature is basically a socially exalted exercise in lying. In fact, I literally mean everything that I say and mean them in a very limited way with a clearly defined scope.

There’s no beating around the bush, ignoring the elephant in the room, or walking on eggshells with me. I don’t avoid the real subject at hand or try to deceive the audience by discussing misleadingly. Satire is not in my vocabulary—only science.

This is who I am, writing or speaking—even in nonverbal actions. When I engage in an activity, I do it just for the sake of doing it without trying to follow leaps of logic that would necessarily give me new angles and opportunities to criticize it in the larger scheme of things or from a fresh perspective. For example, when I drink coffee in Starbucks, I drink it for the sole purpose of digesting caffeine and enjoying the multiple ways sugar is used in the concoction. I never think of anything else regarding my purchase or the company that sold it to me.

This is precisely why, I believe, my friends appreciate my company because they can rely on me to convey information without bias. So if one of my friends asks me, “Does this dress make me look fat?” I tell them nonchalantly, “Yes, visually, that dress, brings attention to the roundness of your body and tricks the eye to make you seem even larger than you truly are.” That or “No, it does not.” But it makes no matter if he or she is my friend, an acquaintance or a total stranger. I treat everyone the same.

Unlike others, my Facebook posts are void of vagueness and are crisp in clarity. “Busy day in the office,” I’d post or “The boss spends around 4 hours every day watching YouTube.” True, my propensity to talk only in facts gets me in a bit of trouble quite regularly and encourages people to call me negative things like “an obnoxious socially incompetent know-it-all” or a “sociopath in the making” but it hasn’t stopped me from being who I am. To behave otherwise would be a betrayal of not just myself but the Truth.

For if a man only speaks in undeniable facts, then isn’t it true that he stops being a man? He becomes not just the symbol of Truth, but its very mouthpiece—and thus, Truth itself. Let me use another metaphor here to illustrate the point: isn’t the Word of God not only a means of divine expression but God Himself?

And from where I’m standing, I can see how people have miserably failed in walking the narrow but just path to total neutrality and impartiality. Everyone aside from me is double-tongued, two-faced, self-serving, and a liar through and through. Some have even so thoroughly gotten into the habit of misguiding others that they have effectively fooled themselves. But I do not judge their ultimate worth, only their capacity to be different from me.

Yes, I truly am convinced—no, I assert—that I am the Truth. No bullshit.

A Hard Man to Please

No, I am not impressed. Not in the slightest bit. I’m a hard man to please, you see? You can try your best showing off your fancy vacations in faraway destinations and wild drunken night-outs with awesome-looking people, but I am not impressed at all. You think you can get my seal of approval, oral or virtual in the form of a Facebook Like, just because you’re eating a juicy steak in an elite corner of the city I have never been to? You wish! You assume I like your taste in music, movies, or desserts? You presume too much! None of your humanitarian, environmental, or religious efforts make me feel one way or another; and no perfectly framed literary quote makes me wonder. I am not affected, fascinated or dazzled in any way shape or form by your romantic dinners with your partner or cheerful meet-ups with friends. I don’t feel a sliver of envy when you’re climbing mountains, riding zip lines, or scuba diving with dolphins. No eloquently put political opinion sparks my imagination, and all your witty one-liners land with a dull thud in my ears. Because I am the personification of indifference. The Buddha of lukewarm apathy. I am numb. Cold. Hard. To me, your money is as common as dried leaves on the street and your cars are as interesting as bricks off a torn building. You think I’m excited? I am unconcerned and undisturbed. Your hobbies put me in a stable mood of nonchalance incapable of producing any graspable emotion in my countenance. I casually view your activities like I do the pavement. What’s that? Denying that I’m impressed actually confirms that I’m impressed? Preposterous! Is this the same as when a person says he doesn’t care, he most certainly cares? Does that mean that my only recourse to express my uncaring attitude about your life is to stay silent about it forever? Well, that’s never going to be good enough for me! I demand to clarify my unenthusiastic, uninvolved disposition through a lengthy exposition of my neutral feelings about any matter whatsoever involving you. No, I am not impressed. Not in the slightest bit. I’m a hard man to please, you see?

A Guy Who Tried His Best

Have you heard about that guy who tried his best? He had his game face on and brought his A game when D Day arrived. Failure was not an option but he nevertheless put it all on the line. Left no stone unturned and took no prisoners. Word is he put his very soul into it then bet his life when the stakes and the odds against him piled up high. He said shoot for the stars and land on the moon. Screamed never say never and never say die. They told him it’s useless and thought him a fool but he clung to hope and fought a losing battle just the same. Tooth and nail he went down fighting. Have you heard about that guy? That guy’s name was John. In the end, there was a Facebook post about him.

Bother You

So who did you bother today? Did you wake up and bother your roommate or your mother (because you’re still living with her) when you couldn’t find the coffee? Stepped out of the house to step on your sleeping dog, bothered it out of its magical dog dreams, howling, cursing you with its morning dog breath? You probably have one, too, and it’s been bothering people without you knowing for far too long (I mean the dog breath). But that’s ok because bothering is the real relationship mesh that binds society, keeps it doing what it’s supposed to be doing even while it in no way agrees with the terms. Why the biggest bothersome boatload of bull of all is work but you do it anyway since it’s necessary–a truly bothering bit of banal observation right there. And in your free time when your boss isn’t bothering you with business bollocks that you and him honestly do not care about, you, of course, hit Facebook and decide to bother somebody with a little chat truly lacking of purpose or intelligent direction. “What up?” “How are you?” “Hi!” Again–that’s completely ok ’cause the other party totally expects you or someone else bothering her or him that day; give or take a couple of minutes you bothered that person with predictable precision. So enough with the “So sorry to bother you” formality because believe me you’ll be bothering the bugger out of everyone until you can’t be bothered to breathe your last.