Justin's Life...

~ February 2000 ~
~ February 23rd - 29th ~

February 23, 2000 - Wednesday

Oftentimes, I'd like to respond to nasty e-mails with a simple, "Fuck Off!" Indeed, it was for that phrase that I first got in trouble in school for swearing. It was seventh or eighth grade and this guy, also named Clay, was "glanding" on me. (I'm not sure if the term is even used any more, but it's where someone shoots a very direct watergun-like shot of spit at you.)

Anyway, that phrase, which I'd just heard, seemed like the perfect sentiment at the time, so I said it. He told on me, I told on him, and we both got the "don't do that" lecture. I've rarely said that since, but there are just certain times when "go away" doesn't pack the punch; for those times, it's "Fuck Off!"

But I digress. Recently, I got e-mail telling me that the reader was tired of hearing me whine about life when it seems that I've got everything they could ever want. At first, I just wanted to say "Fuck Off!" but thinking about it a little further, I realized that I do tend to write about the irksome things happening in my life rather than the good. I guess, in some ways, it's akin to when people write e-mail to me when outraged. We're just moved to do something about it more when it's something we want changed.

And so, today, instead of writing about how I'm unbelievably stressed because business isn't going the way it should, because Larry's attentions are focused on his dying dog, or because of "whatever", I'm going to write about the positive things in my life.

Now let's see...

Dear Omnipotent Being of Fact or Fiction,

I'd just like to take this time to say Thanks for all the great things in my life, in no particular order.

Thanks for Spencer, who's so adorably cute, who makes me feel so great when he seeks me out in the room, who hides his head in my chest when a stranger's around, who pulls himself up my pant leg wanting me to hold him, who cries when I give him a hug in the playpen then walk out of the room, who wants to be with me and who loves me. Thank you for Spencer.

And thanks for Larry. Not a day passes that I don't share myself with him. No matter what detail, no matter how minute, he listens to what I'm saying. I don't perfectly understand the dynamics of his business exactly and he couldn't write HTML to save his soul, but he knows people and he knows business and he keeps the flame under my butt to keep me going. He is the wind beneath my wings. I just finished hand addressing, stamping, stuffing, and mailing 139 envelopes in a direct mail marketing plan for my company. I never knew that could be so much work and my body was literally sore everywhere last night from trying to make sure everything went perfect... but Larry was there, assuring me that what I was doing was worthwhile, that at least some would respond. And this morning he was there continuing to encourage me to send out similar letters via e-mail. Where I see a try and a failure, he sees the need for perseverence. He knows that my company will fly, "and make millions". I'm not sure, but I thank you for having Larry in my life, to share my life. He often says he doesn't know what he'd do if I weren't around, and I hardly say it back, but he's my rock as much as I am his.

And thank you for my ability to write and for my web site. When I think about what will matter when I'm gone, I have some solace knowing that I've changed lives, that my words will continue to go on changing lives, even after I'm gone. Thank you for allowing me to express myself so "heartfeltedly" and for having the ability to write well. The thought that one day my book will be in the local bookstore is amazing and I'm thankful that what I do is worthwhile enough and my sentences coherent and resonant enough that that's a real possibility. Thank you for allowing me to be someone who's told, "we all need superheroes, even if the powers are as mundane as truthtelling". A "superhero"... thank you for letting me be one.

And thank you for letting me come from a home that was "practically perfect in every way." Most speak of how they never talk to their parents, or talk at most once a week. I'm glad I have a mom I can talk to daily. And while she may not be the brighest candle on the cake, she's definitely the sweetest. It is amazing, as Larry says, that I talk to her daily and she says nothing, but we spent 20 minutes doing so. I can't recall what she said on the phone yesterday: I just know that I talked to her and that she loves me and that's what's important.

And thanks for Dad, too. He doesn't "get much press", but I know each day that he loves me. His decision lately to be more involved with his kids shows that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Not that I had anything to complain about before, but the fact that a sixty-four year old man would realize that he should interact and talk to his kids more is astonishing. He always gave me a hug and said that he loved me when I arrived or left from a trip home, but now he talks to me on the phone instead of giving the phone to Mom after a cursory hello.

And thanks for my brother with whom I never thought I'd get along, but who now trusts me for advice when he's got crabs from some girl he "didn't" sleep with. That's a long way from calling each other names and physically fighting with each other as kids... well, ok, we still call each other names, but it's playful now.

And thanks for all the material goods I have as well. Everything from the car to the computer to my office. Thanks for allowing me to go to the grocery and never buy something based on whether it's on sale. Thanks for allowing me to work for myself, at a job that I love, at something I can do well, that consumes me in that your-own-business kinda way. Thanks for allowing me the luck and opportunity to be born in an age where anyone can be a publisher, where intellectual property is more valuable than manual labor, and where I can be me, gay and all.

Thank you for everything I forgot, and forgive me for not realizing my blessings more often. Life is good. Take care.



February 28, 2000 - Monday

Have you ever noticed how desperately we seek some meaning to life? And how sometimes we wish we were dead... except for when we think we're dying?

We always seem to want what we don't have. That's the true nature of being human.

Today I went to the mall and left it without stopping in a single store. I walked past the Abercrombie & Fitch store, thinking how it'd be nice to have some new clothes from there, while simultaneously thinking that my current clothes (and lack of a shave) weren't good enough to enter the store and concurrently realizing that the clothes wouldn't make me happy anyway. I'd just feel like a poser in the store, as out of place as I would be in a fraternity, and afterwards, I'd have the clothes but they wouldn't change anything.

This past week, in the newsletter, I had a contest whereby to enter, one sent the image of the cutest guy on his hard drive. Modesty aside, I figured that someone somewhere would send a picture of me: I was right, but it didn't make my day or even make me smile.

Now, was it because I expected someone to send one that I didn't "get happy", even when I got pictures of myself from multiple people, or was it because in the quest for that "meaning of life," being a cute guy on someone's hard drive doesn't really get you there.

To be honest, I'm sick of "computer mediated communication". I want this diary to jump off the screen and into the real world and I want my life to do the same. Between work and this, I spend FAR too much time staring at this electron emitting screen, interacting on most days only with Larry and the kids. I mean, it's nice and all, and I don't know what I'd do without it, but I'd like a little "real life" to blend in as well.

Yesterday I posted an ad in Yahoo! looking for friends in the area. Justin, Lora, nor Kyla have called from USC. I want some real life humans in my life. There; how's that as a counterbalance to that "Dear Omnipotent..." letter?


February 29, 2000 - Tuesday

On the television show and in the Star Trek films, a device exists called a Holodeck. Through the use of holograms and some yet-to-be-invented technology, it creates worlds otherwise existing only in one's imagination, and I've often thought about how great it would be to have such a device, to create my own world and its players of my choosing.

Yet, today, as Star Trek: Insurrection was playing in the background, on the TV in my office, I realized that it's not so much the holodeck that we want, but rather the life that exists on the Enterprise itself.

It's like a huge dorm and college all in one. It's work and home life all in one. None of the six year olds take guns to school and kill the other students, no one car jacks a vehicle and drags a child for miles, murdering him along the way as his body skids against the pavement, and no one hides $20 bills under the cash register drawer, as though a robber wouldn't know they were there. Sure, they fight the various evils of the universe, but they have each other and they have order to their lives. The "Prime Directive" serves as their much more adhered present day God. Indeed, life on the starship is ideal: That's why so many of us "computer nerds" tune in. It's a place where computer skills and the computer personality successfully mesh with all those things that most of us, computer nerds especially but not exclusively, lack.

Click here for the next set of entries.

© 2000 Justin Clouse
Justin's Life...Justin's