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First Person Personal

My personal views on a variety of matters ranging from popular culture to quantum physics to religion to politics to history to bushido to ... well, whatever I feel like, really. Warning: we all have agendas. Trust no one totally, myself most specifically included. Email me at wbrerwolf at gmail.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

For All the Girls I've Loved Before - Remedial Humanity

I was on a group camping trip during my remedial humanity period when I met E. About midnight the skies opened up and my tent flooded. I was outside with an entrenching tool in my soaking wet underwear digging a trench around my tent when J came up and introduced his kid sister E to me.

As best I can figure, J thought that it was a good joke on both of us.

The funny thing is that E and I really hit it off.

E was very possibly the smartest person that I have ever met. I have remarked before that I am extremely intelligent. I would have to describe E as being unbelievably intelligent. In addition, she was interested in a lot of the same things that interested me at the time: computers, science, science fiction, fantasy fiction, comic books, animated films, regular films, role playing games, etc, etc. Finally, E was the younger sister of J while I was the older brother to my own sister: we instinctively fit into the same cultural dynamic.

Mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually, we were a perfect match.


Physically, we had some problems. Firstly, I was about eight years older than E. Really, this was all to the good because I needed eight extra years of experience to keep up with her fantastic mind. More importantly, E was, like C, five foot nothing with her shoes on and weighed in at perhaps one hundred and ten pounds. This alone would have caused some serious problems in my head.

However, C looked like a woman, admittedly a small woman, but still an adult.

E looked like she was about thirteen.

Pedophilia is not one of my perversions.

If E hadn’t liked me a lot and been very persistent, our relationship would have gone nowhere.
As things stood, by the time E graduated from college we were somewhere between being engaged and going steady. I would have to call it being pre-engaged. After being with her for five minutes, I preferred her company to that of any other woman. However, if we were separated for any great length of time, I would be sometimes be attracted to women of more mature physical characteristics and would occasionally make passes at them.

This last bothered me a lot. I did not want to marry someone and then cheat on her. Most particularly, I did not wish to hurt E in any way, shape or form.

So I had a considerable amount of ambiguity about our relationship when E left to join the Navy. E came from a military family and it seemed only reasonable to all of them that she pay for college by agreeing to serve in the Navy upon graduation.

If I had had the brains God gave a guppy, I would have followed her and married her. I thought that we had time to make sure that we were right for each other. After all, a failed relationship is better than a failed marriage.

So we agreed to postpone the subject until she was out of the Navy and back in the South.

One of the high points of my life during that period was picking up the phone and calling her, spending hours talking about everything and nothing. I considered it to be quite possible that she would meet someone else and dump me, but in the meantime I was content, even happy.

E was posted in Monterey, California for the bulk of her service. About a year into her hitch we decided to get together a crew and go to the World Science Fiction Convention, which would be held in Anaheim, California in a year or so. This would be the first time we had seen each other in about two years, although we talked very regularly. E put off some surgery until after the Con, loaned me three hundred bucks and I got a membership to the World Con and made my travel arrangements. About ten of us, E and her mother and myself included, crammed into the most expensive hotel room I had ever been in. To say that we were well chaperoned does not even come close to it. We spent the bulk of the Convention together, but I was very uncertain about my feelings. I even went so far as to make a pass at another woman at the Con.

E herself was very cranky, and was a bit under the weather. I desperately wanted her to go to a civilian doctor, but she felt that the free medical care she got through the military was sufficient for this problem. I argued that military doctors were great for people who had gotten shot, blown up, stabbed, etc, but had some noticeable defects as regards more ordinary care. She disagreed and we parted on that note.

On the trip home, I decided to move to Atlanta to be with E when she got out of the Navy, always assuming that she would have me.

We had a few more phone calls before the surgery. E’s mother M promised to call me the moment E came out of surgery and she did.

The news was a devastating surprise: someone had screwed up in the recovery room and E’s heart had been stopped for over six minutes. E was now in an irreversible coma, a state she remained in until her death about two years later.

While I had accepted the possibility that E might dump me, I had never considered the possibility that I would outlive her. She was, after all, female, of a long-lived family and nearly eight years younger: all of the odds said that she would bury me, and it just seemed so unfair that I was going to bury her instead. She was one of perhaps a half-dozen people that I considered more worthy of continued life than myself. If I could have swapped myself for her, I would have done it.

But she was gone and I was here and there was not a damned thing I could do about it.

It was as if some sort of circuit breaker popped in my head. For the next few years, I simply stopped giving a damn about anything. I wasn’t suicidal, exactly. I just didn’t care whether I lived or died. The only thing I could think of was to amuse myself with matters of no significance whatsoever until the Reaper came for me as well.

I was dead in my heart and soul while she was dead in her brain and, eventually, her body.

Overall, I would have to consider this to be the greatest loss of my life to date; but even in this, there were lessons that would serve me well in later life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

For All The Girls I've Loved Before - Graduate School

I met C while I was flunking out of graduate school.

It was quite the opposite of my normal reaction to attractive women. I really, really liked her as a person and considered her to be a wonderful friend.


But she was five feet tall, weighed perhaps a hundred pounds soaking wet and looked just like an adult version of the girl on the Wendy’s logo. I was six foot three, weighed about two hundred and eighty pounds and looked like an extra on America’s Most Wanted. Further, she remains the only truly sane human being I have ever met in my life while “a bit too tightly wound” would have been a generous description of my post-M mental state.

I think the huge difference in our bodies bothered both of us.

I know it bothered me: I already had issues about hurting people because of my relationships going sour. I was terrified of accidentally hurting someone I cared about because our relationship was going well. Think about King Kong and Faye Raye consummating their relationship and you’ll get some idea of how I felt about this.

Although I eventually managed to approach her, I think that subconsciously I sabotaged myself because of my fears. In any event, while she was unfailingly kind, caring and courteous, her heart was elsewhere. She eventually married S.

When they married, I went to my living room and meditated on the situation. It came to me that even if S should meet an unfortunate accident, C would only choose someone else.

S was not the problem.

I was.

Whatever C wanted in a man, I did not have it. And I would never have it.

And all I could do is accept that and wish her well, or be an even bigger jerk than I usually am.

As I had earlier recognized, I am a monster: a member of the population who is substantially different from the bulk of the population. And that there was not one thing I could do about it.

But I realized then that I did not have to be an evil monster. And that it would be a very poor thank you for C’s many kind gestures to spoil her happiness by essentially sulking and throwing a temper tantrum.

So I wished S and C well and tried, with varying degrees of success, to keep myself on the path towards being a good monster. This was when I started to heal from the damage I had inflicted upon myself through my obsession with M.

I also had a lot to digest, mentally speaking. The contrast between M and C was striking. While M was by far the better-looking woman, C was the better person. M could give the appearance of caring about people, but I suspect that the only person M really cared about was M. C, however, really cared about people and tried to help the people in her life in so far as she could.

I am reminded of a quote from Tuesdays with Morrie ( the movie )where Morrie says that love is the only rational response. I believe that C and Morrie were sane, something that is quite rare in this world. Like the mythical philosopher’s stone, their touch transformed the lead of other people’s lives into gold.

I suspect that many of the people considered to be saints were actually sane human beings ministering to the inmates of the lunatic asylum here on the third rock from the Sun.

Some years ago I tracked C down to thank her for what she had done for me. She graciously accepted my thanks, mentioned how much she had learned from me and chatted for about thirty minutes before saying goodbye and gently discouraging future contact. In the course of our conversation, she told me that she has two daughters. I am happy to know that she has reproduced and that my line, good monster or not, ends with me.

The world is a better place with her sort of human being in it.

Overall, I’d have to call this a moral victory.

Monday, April 11, 2005

To All The Girls I've Loved Before - College

It was the damnedest thing: in the middle of the college snack bar, surrounded by dozens of witnesses, my body tried to kill D.

I believed at the time that the major part of why this happened was that D was sleeping with M and I was obsessed with M. Mature reflection over a period of decades tells me that this was, at most, a contributing factor, not the main reason. The main reason was that I had, without proper guidance, reached the level of an intermediate student of violence. It was widely known in medieval Japanese martial arts texts that an intermediate student had achieved sufficient skills to be dangerous without the control which a more advanced student or a master possessed. Indeed, much of the training a beginning student receives is intended to erode whatever controls he already possesses in order to allow the student to survive a life and death struggle. And, as a self-taught student of violence, I had managed to erode the controls my parents and society had instilled in me without providing new controls which would allow me to function as a member of society rather than a solitary killer.

So when a man who I disliked anyway (partially for sleeping with M, partly on his own merits) gestured with a knife to make a conversational point, my body reacted as though he had attempted to attack me with that knife. My body tried to drive the bones of his nose through his brain. In the meantime, my mind was screaming: NO!!!! and trying to override my reflexes while simultaneously planning an escape route. I had absolutely no intention of spending a single day in jail for killing D.

The punch landed and I waited for him to drop: he shook his head and stared at me. I had misapplied the blow and pulled it.

He did not die and I did not go to jail.

Indeed, the effects were far worse on me than on D. I believed that this attack was due to my irrational obsession with M. I believed that this obsession alone made me willing to kill. I lost all faith in myself as a decent human being.

It got worse.

I had fantasies about saving M from one or more large brutes, and having her see me in a new light. One day in the snack bar, I walked up to her and various other members of our student group, including M and D and made a stupid joke. D told me to back off, because M was suffering from a migraine.

D had taken over my fantasy, with himself in the hero’s role, relegating me to the role of the large brute. I suddenly realized that that was exactly where I fit: I was a monster, a brute and a thug, not a hero at all. I realized that I would always be the monster, never the hero, always the creature which women needed to be protected from, never the protector which women loved.I do not recall ever hating anyone half as much as I hated D at that instant.

So I made a snide comment and walked off.

I did not realize at the time that this was actually a positive thing: although trembling with rage, as upset as I have ever been, I did not physically harm anyone, did not kill anybody. I just shot my mouth off and acted like a jerk. At the time, I considered this the final nail in my coffin. It was actually a sign that I was beginning to develop the controls that someone like me must have in order to live in human society.

The only good thing about this whole mess was that one morning I woke up and no longer loved M. I did not hate her, did not like her, did not want to have sex with her. I was absolutely indifferent to her. I spent almost an hour just lying there, enjoying not caring anymore.

It was very like a fever breaking.

This was my college dating experience: a mitigated disaster.