Three Stories About Hate


G wrote me last night:

“Dear James,

I find your posts disturbing and troubling, especially considering your influence and reach. You operate at close to genius level; you are one of life’s winners, a product of Cornell and CMU.

But most,if not all, your fan’s are mediocre, and shouldn’t be deluded into thinking they can be like you. A steady pay check, at a non-demanding job,is the most they are entitled too. Stop putting foolish ideas into their head.”

When I was getting a divorce, totally broke, lying on the floor, losing my kids, and debating suicide, it was hard to feel like a winner of life.

My one belonging was the bachelor’s degree certificate from Cornell.

I hung it up proudly on my bleak hotel room wall so I could show all the maids in the hopes one of them would pity me and then have sex with me.

Actually, kidding about that. I’ m not even sure I got a diploma. I owed library fines in 1989 and Cornell really needed the money so refused to give me the diploma.

And then I was thrown out of graduate school (thank you +Merrick Furst). I was told to come back when I was mature enough. 23 years later it’s clear I’m never going to reach that goal.

So when I was lying there on the floor, a big winner in life, that’s when I put an ad on Craigslist claiming to be psychic and would answer any woman’s questions and…well, i wrote about that before.

I’m a winner.

I appreciate it when a stranger tries to dictate what I write for free. Thank you, G.

One thing I know: the only key to success is persistence.

Not genius. Not luck (since luck is created by quantity and not quality). Not connections or networks (I’m a horrible networker but persistence builds a network).

There is only one skill: the skill to persist.

My answer to G: don’t underestimate your fellow humans. Mediocre people have survived holocausts. And many genius people have ruined their lives after achieving a promotion.

Another answer to G: Perhaps you are nervous your job might be made redundant. That you might be fired. That without holding onto even mediocrity you could be left in the street.

Please don’t worry, G.

Don’t try so hard to protect yourself by putting up walls on your cubicle. By hiding behind a degree. By hiding behind the mythological notion of a “steady paycheck”.

Knights used to wear heavy armor to protect themselves against a sharp lance. but when they fell over the armor was so heavy they couldn’t then get up. After awhile they would starve to death.

We try to protect ourselves with a degree, a home, a so-called steady paycheck, an opinion that is “safe”.

This is all armor. And will cause our death.

Imagine ten things you can do outside of your comfort zone. Just make it up. I want to write a comic book. I want to design all the clothes I wear. I want to invent the smart toilet. I want to save a life today.

Be persistently creative inside your mind, every day, and eventually your world will flourish.

Coals turn to diamonds. Clouds rain and grow gardens. And you explode and turn into a shooting star.

(I said I had three stories. Maybe I’ll tell the other two later. Now I’m going to go off and be a shooting star for awhile).

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image – iStockphoto