Epilog: “Lost”

“Don’t know how to ask you this question without sounding condescending,” she said. “Don’t worry about it,” I said, “it’s perfectly okay to come at me like I’m an addict. And you’re concerned.” She drove for a while, along Sunset Boulevard, in her lime green VW Bug, heading back to where I was staying, at The Standard Hotel, in West Hollywood. Finally, she said, “What are you doing?”

When I was shoved down an escalator by two gigantic security guards in Minneapolis for confronting Andrew Breitbart, I didn’t know what I was doing, besides following an impulse to confront the guy who’d destroyed the career of a liberal politician for the crime of playing with his penis on Twitter, which is what you do on Twitter, kill a little time by jerking-off. When I jumped into running a restaurant with my younger brother in Chicago, I didn’t know what I was doing, besides following an impulse to re-connect with my family and leave New York City before I lied to myself completely by taking-on cynicism as a sophisticated world-view. When I took Robert McKee’s “Story Seminar,” for the second time in 7-years, I didn’t know what I was doing, besides following an impulse to crawl inside my writing process, like a plumber, to see if my sewage pipes were leaking bullshit.

I tend to be full of shit.

A friend I knew once described me as X+2. Meaning I exaggerate to make my ordinary life seem extraordinary. He wasn’t wrong. That is to say, he wasn’t wrong back when our friendship was day-to-day. But I’ve changed: X=X. I’m not looking to fool anyone, not anymore, least of all myself. But it’s hard. The work is hard. It’s hard work.

I don’t mind a condescending question. I was raised in a household where condescending questions were launched at the dinner table like emotional grenades. You couldn’t duck. You couldn’t run. You could only brace yourself, “Incoming!”

When you grow-up in an Italian-Jewish Household, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is called your 20’s and 30’s. It’s the time in your life when you have enough distance from growing-up to try and figure out the difference between who you were raised to be and what you were meant to be. But you have to ask a critical question. Here’s the question:

Why do I believe what I believe? Not what do I believe? But why do I believe what I believe? Which leads to a follow-up question: do I believe it, or was I taught to believe it? Which leads to a follow-up of the follow-up question: if I was taught to believe it, does it still make sense, knowing what I know now?

So as we were driving along Sunset Boulevard, in a lime green VW Bug, being asked a condescending question, which I couldn’t possibly answer, without sounding defensive or hostile or completely nuts, felt like home.

She had the right to ask me a condescending question because she was the last girl I dated in New York City, before I left, suddenly, with nothing but a guitar and regret and tears on the West Side Highway, which is the only way your allowed to leave New York City.

Speaking of regret, do you think Jesus Christ regrets the Sermon on the Mount? If he meant it when he said it, do you think he would still mean it now? Especially with the knowledge his resurrection didn’t save humanity but instead created an eternity of justification for going to war. I ask because I’m writing this on Easter of 2012. If you’re listening, Jesus, allow me to ask, please allow me to ask, when you said, “Be Perfect, As Your Heavenly Father Is Perfect,” were you talking about cheesy noodles mixed with edameme? Because it’s divine, something otherworldly, created by my brother, at our restaurant, in Chicago.

Anyway, in all seriousness, Jesus, from one completely lost wanderer to another, from one silly savior wannabee to another, from one Jew to another…

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, L’Chaim!

Be Sociable, Share!
This entry was posted in Greg's Billion Dollar Blog and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Epilog: “Lost”

  1. Vince says:

    Nice to see the billion dollar blog moving again.

    What did you answer?

    Making shit happen, seems like a good answer. Exploring the future, another. Scratching my balls, yet another.

    As we did two nights of Passover, I’m taking my kids to the beach today. Should be empty.

    The first night of Passover was easy, we actually used Cliff-Haggadah Notes. A summary read right to left that took 30 minutes, as the title of the short cut booklet bragged on its cover. My cousin Andrew had us at his house and it was nice. The second night was the real deal, hours of reading and starving. Just what the Rabbis wanted.

  2. Babs says:

    We only did 1 night of Passover, which is enouff for me as a cover-my-ass non believer. We had a lovely dinner with friends who could only be described as family and partially kosher. One of the participants is an atheiest who was only there because his wife was out of town.I love the family part but I hate the religious part. It is so separating and if you take the silly hagaddah seriously God was one mean dude who killed every first born son of the Egyptians! Today is Easter Sunday and folks will go to church, some of which in the deep south will preach hatred of Obama (read blacks). Jesus was a Jew who preached tolerance of all, especially the least of us. So who interpreted his words? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could throw away the bible and do away with all the different names of churches and religions and their mean words and truly believe as one people in the love and goodness of all? Silly me!!

  3. Vince says:

    Happy Passeaster Babs. I like what you say, Babs. I once wrote a song, and it it, it sing, “imagine there’s no religion.”

    My kids are learning about religion. I personally don’t believe in any. But who am I to put my non-beliefs on anyone? It must be nice to “believe.”

    The Big Toe in my family frequently says, “God willing…..” before she talks about what she will do next week, or next year, or even tomorrow. In her mind, God has to allow everything.

    By the way, the beach was beyond packed with people. I don’t think I ever saw it so busy. Our day at the beach was an amazing day blessed by God.

  4. Gregor says:

    Happy Passover, Vince. Happy Passover, Babs, Happy Easter, Vince. Happy Easter, Babs. Happy “Just Another Day” Day, Everyone. I never did answer the question. I didn’t know how. I slipped into storytelling Greg. Which is how I knew it was time to leave LA. I stopped in Scottsdale. Surprised my parents. Got to their house at 10am. They weren’t home, to my surprise. So I picked up the phone and called Babs. When she saw her house calling her phone, she didn’t know how to answer. It was wonderful to surprise them. Heading back to Chicago this Wednesday. I’m going to jump back into work, tie-up a few loose ends, and head back to LA.

    I’m awake, God Willing.

    • Flo says:

      Chandra Posted on Love it! Glad I had a chance to run with you the other day! Helped me to get back on track while I was up there! Know that you keep me iinrsped!

  5. Steven says:

    You know one of the ten commandments in the Satanic bible is never give advice unless someone asks for it.

    That’s one thing my parents have never learned.

    Another truism is never ask people for help if you do not want to get unsolicited advice..

    Parent Money.. That should be the movie you write..Already have the Titlte Song..(if you still have your journals)

    Oh no I just broke the Anton Lavey’s Satanic commandment.

    But yes if you could get to X=X that would huge for you..Are you exageratting that you are there? Maybe x+.2…

    Funny your friend asked “What are you doing” We do not even know how we got here and what is the purpose of living in general. I think what she was really saying is Greg at some point you need to accept the life you never wanted or you are going to be in real trouble..like maybe a life that you really really never wanted..

  6. Gregor says:

    As long as we’re swapping definitions, I like the definition by Ambrose Bierce for History – “an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.” As far as advice goes, I’ve tried to remind myself of what Grandpa Bernie had to say, “Free advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.” So there you have it. So there it is. These days, I aim for X=X. I’d be okay with it if I end up at X+.2 or X+.02 or X+.002. At least I’m trying. At least I’m aware of my bullshit. That’s all I’m saying, Steven. It was your formula. I’m calling myself out by remembering how it stung when you pegged me with the truth of my nature. By the way, not sure what you mean by “…accept the life you never wanted or you are going to be in trouble…” Can you explain. Please. And thank you.

  7. BF says:

    Behavior is based on environment, strictly. The reason Black Guys or Italian Guys or Jewish Guys behave the way they do is because of their environment. Once in a while, on rare occasions, like my case, Guys don’t like what they see and they behave differently. In most cases, Guys adopt what they see and that’s why they beat the shit out of their wives. That’s why Black Guys litter the country side with bastard children. They see it. And they act it out. They have no understanding of a “real family experience.” That’s why Italian Guys cheat on their women (and beat the crap out of them, as my father did my mother). And that’s why Jewish Guys are useless when it comes to household repairs. That’s what they see. Until we break the cycle, not only will it not change, it’s going to get worse because “easy” is always the easy way out.

    Back to you, Greg.

  8. Vince says:

    How can life be what you never ever really really wanted? Life doesn’t happen in a second. Its a long string of moments that never stop. You can see the picture coming at you for a long time before it gets there. If you don’t really really like it, you can make changes, unless you are really, really lazy. Sure, it might not turn out like you exactly wanted.

    • Eloiza says:

      Yes, I’m aware of Manders’ technique. I toghuh hard about doing all those computations on the GPU myself, but there is a big difference between our samples.He only has lines for which to draw shadows, while I have polygons with arbitrary number of edges. For a line, no matter of the light’s position relative to it, the shadow always has the same shape. This is not so for a polygon, and depends both on the shape of the polygon and on the position of the light. One way to do this would be to draw the shadow volumes for each edge of the polygon, in the same way as Manders draws shadows for his lines, but depending on the level of detail of that polygon, this could result in a great number of Draw calls (order of tens), as opposed to a single Draw call for the whole object’s shadow, as it happens now. These add up, and may actually hurt performance more than benefit it.This is one area where DirectX10 geometry shaders would come in handy, as they could be used to generate the shadow’s geometry on the GPU, for any convex shape imaginable. But since XNA is DX9 only, for now I’ll have to stick to doing all this on the CPU.One other idea would be to move these computations on another thread, and use multi-threading, but this is dangerous territory as well.

  9. Gregor says:

    Keep hoping Steven will explain what he means by “really really never wanted.” Parts of my life are better than my younger self imagined. Parts of my life are still tied to goals my younger self made, which I still value. But I had to sit down with myself, in my early 30′s, and re-evaluate what I wanted. I discovered I was still chasing goals I set when I was 19, before I had any experience with what it was like to actually live in the day-to-day of handling the problems associated with “living the dream.” Luckily, I let go of some things, and held on to others. I love being a writer. I have always wanted to be a writer. But when I started, blogging didn’t exist. Also, along the way, I decided I wanted to be more of a storyteller than a writer, this was a new goal, within the original goal of being a writer, which is why I’ve gone to McKee’s “Story Seminar” twice. Truth is, as much as I love reading the book “Story,” and going to the seminars, even more satisfying has been the people I’ve met. Who knew?

  10. Gregor says:

    …even more satisfying has been the people I’ve met. Who knew? Not me. For sure not me. I agree with Steven. If you don’t actively go after what you want, life will happen to you, which is guaranteed anyway. So why not incorporate going after things within the given of things happening. I admire artists and entrepreneurs and lawyers and politicians because they actively put themselves out there. I recently did my small part to help a young guy, Ilya Sheyman, run for congress in the 10th congressional district. He worked his fanny off. He worked so hard, even Howard Dean flew out to endorse Ilya. But he lost. Turns out, you’re only guaranteed a win if your Vladimir Putin. But I admire Ilya. Why? I admire him for trying, something which really takes guts. You don’t always get what you want. And if you try sometimes, you don’t even get what you need. But admire the effort. It reminds me to ask more of myself. I definitely don’t have the life I really, really wanted. But I’m not done. Not even close.

  11. Gregor says:

    …Not even close.

  12. Babs says:

    I remember Dad always saying “vocation, “avocation”. Sometimes it’s a combo of those 2 things that make a life happy. Of course, nothing is guaranteed. Nothing in life is guaranteed. But where there’s life there’s hope!

  13. We’re a bunch of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us with valuable info to work on. You have performed an impressive job and our whole group can be grateful to you.

  14. source says:

    Wanted to drop a remark and let you know your Feed isnt functioning today. I tried adding it to my Bing reader account and got nothing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>