digression: Happy Birthday, Knox


As many of you who read my site know, I was never told what day I was born.  This doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate my birthday each year.  It’s just that I get to choose what day, and I don’t know what day it is until I wake up — feeling a year older.  Digging through some old stuff the other day, I found a journal entry from my 26th birthday.  I hope you all enjoy it.

bdayI woke up this morning with the realization that I’m 26 and I haven’t done too many things I’m all that proud of.  Perhaps I almost have two completed degrees  and I’ve traveled the world and got naked with many beautiful women, but so have most people I know.  And what do I do now?  I write a marginally successful newspaper column under a pen name that makes me no money and wasn’t really even my idea in the first place.  I’m about to work in the back of an ambulance only to live along the poverty line.  I have no health insurance.  I’m a recovering—well, never you mind what I’m recovering from.  I’m a recently fired bartender—which reminds me, I’m also well on my way to becoming a full-fledged (though high-functioning) alcoholic.

Which begs the question: Why the hell am I not insanely depressed?  Or am I, and I just don’t know it because I keep myself too busy or numbed by drugs and alcohol?  Well, it’s difficult to say.  I don’t feel numb, but how would you know if you were numb if you couldn’t feel at all?

I do know that I don’t write nearly enough, at least not about things I care about.   The only things I do really well these days are accumulate scars, exercise and live on a tight budget.  I can live on a meal-and-a-half a day, costing me $2, and then a couple of 40 ounce Miller High Lifes —and run five miles and bench press over 200 pounds with relative ease.  Yet, somehow I don’t find that the least bit notable.  And who would?  It’s like being able to turn a piece of cardboard into an Eggo Waffle; maybe a cool party trick, but ultimately nobody cares.

I guess this is what malaise is.  You start to think, well, if it hasn’t happened by now, it’s probably not going to happen, so I may as well try something else that’s more practical and stop waiting to be famous. But what the fuck is out there that I’m qualified for that doesn’t make me want to kill myself and others? And even if I can stand it, will half my paycheck go to rent, and will my employer not hate the air I breathe, and what does it all matter anyway, why don’t I just wander off into the hills and live off huckleberries and bear meat and rain water?  Because it goes without saying that I’m no modern American talent—more someone who got the order of things backward, getting consumed by the famous lifestyle before he was even famous, thus making it impossible to get shit crap accomplished.
Now my skin is clear and my body’s filled out but I can’t make rent or get publishers to return any of my inquiries—because I can’t even bring myself to mail a postcard, let alone a manuscript.  I can hardly even respond to emails; there are 30 unread messages from people I know and care about, and I simply cannot bring myself to respond.  It’s not that I don’t care; it’s that I have this odd kind of inertia.  I keep thinking, later.  I’ll write later.  And then enough time goes by to where it seems too ridiculous to send a response at all.

So, again, I wonder, if the above-mentioned details are facts (and I believe they mostly are), shouldn’t I be unhappy?

Ha.  Who the hell cares?  I guess there’s something to be said for just rolling with it.  Don’t fight the current.  Just don’t ever stop swimming, that’s all.  Create things, tell stories, make love, leave something behind other than a mile-long list of pissed off exes and a crippling debt.

Anyway, happy birthday, you son of a bitch.  May this next year be better than the last.

5 Responses to “digression: Happy Birthday, Knox”

  1. 1 Paloma

    Cheer up, Knox. At least you still have your good looks. At least I think so–your editors won’t let me meet you on the grounds that it could possibly be destructive for all parties involved.

  2. 2 Henry G

    as far as Knox’s editors are concerned, the dude is uglier than a donkey

  3. 3 Paloma

    In that case, I’m sorry to say it may be time to give up Knox.

  4. Happy birthday, Knox. You’ve left your honesty behind, in these stories and countless other ways that most of us will never know about, and that’s leaving more than most people ever do. Have a good one. Please, please have a good one.

  5. Happy Birthday, Knox…whenever it is. I enjoy you so much.

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