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by paul montero


uinous habits. We’ve all got them. And for the most part we continue to operate day to day without the foundations of society crumbling beneath us. But when these routine behaviors obstruct our ability to come through when others are depending on us to do our job, that’s


a problem—particularly when we’ve flouted multiple opportunities to kick those habits in the ass once and for all. That’s when we ourselves need a swift kick in the taint to remind us that we’re in charge now, and if we don’t take the reins and direct our own course in life, no one else will ever care enough to do so… and we will crash. I guess it’s the way I’ve operated my whole life. Childhood, while mainly un-


POSITIVITY OF PESSIMISM


THE


are stupidly put off because some arrogantly irresponsible part of me is still convinced that time will stretch to my stubbornly slow pace. ‘Maybe they’ll remember


“Urgent matters like a critical deadline or an overdue payment to the court system


that we’re all doomed anyway and they’ll excuse my unpunctuality.’”


troubled, was an eternity of feeling insignificant… more of a hampering nuisance than a person—dead weight that was better off keeping quiet in the corner while everyone else made a notable and valued difference. Plus, the strangely premature realization that “we’re all going to die, there’s nothing we can do about it and we’ll never again exist for the remainder of eternity” didn’t help at all. I didn’t find much solace in anyone else’s beliefs about death either. Church was an obligatory chore at that time and exceptionally lame in this 5-year-old’s opinion, so I quickly said, “screw that!” and moved on to more secular sources of wisdom. The consensus at school was, “Just don’t think about it.” This type of response made me want to throw toxic crayons into the school’s water supply. For the longest time this was just my reality, and so I shaped myself to fit my


assigned mold—thus relinquishing control of my surroundings to the nearest person of authority. Most people start grabbing around for jurisdiction over their lives again around their teen years. I suppose that in some ways, I never did. There was never a point. Even as a young adult, if I didn’t see a dangling carrot immediately in front of me,


my knee-jerk reaction was to wait for one to appear. I figured that if I couldn’t see an end result in what I was doing, the effort required to move forward was hardly worth it—which explains why I’m such a horrible student who barely turned in enough tedious homework assignments to earn his degree. I’ve worked very hard to go against this impulse, to climb out from this self-made moat of defeatism. I’ve even made some social and professional headway in the past few months by forcing myself into uncomfortable situations that demand immediate action from me—but my default response hasn’t changed much. I still have to put forth amounts of effort that feel unnatural to me in order to make others proud. Urgent matters like a critical deadline or an overdue payment to the court system are stupidly put off because some arrogantly irresponsible part of me is still convinced that time will stretch to my stubbornly slow pace. “Maybe they’ll remember that we’re all doomed anyway and they’ll excuse my unpunctuality.” Chances are… no. Believe it or not, this slow-motion modus operandi has actually proven beneficial


in one aspect of my life. I’ve discovered that it’s the primary reason I didn’t drive off a cliff when I found out I was poz. I’ve always been bitterly aware of my impending—if eventual—death. All HIV did was bring it a few decades closer, rather than beat me senseless and rape my psyche as it tends to do to normal people who “Just don’t think about it.” So what now? How am I going to continue riding this mortal coil without dis- appointing too many others on my way to the coroner’s office? Easy. I’ll just keep rewarding myself when I manage not to fail in life. In all my years of pondering what purpose or meaning there could possibly be to a life that is given to us as newborn invalids and taken from us as the exact same thing, the only constant conclusion I’ve ever reached is that we’re here to experience as much pleasure as we can. That’s what seems to drive me to do what society demands. And so I’ll continue to deign to its will, all while getting my cheap, fleeting thrills on the side. After all, what kind of hedonistic pessimist would I be without some truly ruinous habits?


26 RAGE monthly | APRIL 2012


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