SCARED OF EVERYTHING: Week 13: Twilight Zone
Chuck Berry died. He was a terrific musician. Legendary, iconic, even better than his cousin Marvin. That cannot be disputed. It also cannot be disputed that he was arrested for bringing a 14-year-old girl across state lines for “nefarious purposes.”
I am not saying this to be a pill or a contrarian. I am stating a fact. That does not change the fact that he was a legendary musician. But the thing isn’t that we can talk about both, it’s that we have to. We really have to acknowledge that sometimes our heroes are shitty people. And again, I am not saying this to piss on the “RIP an all-time great” party. Absolutely feel sad that an icon died. That is your right. But when people refuse to acknowledge a person’s faults, as enormous and disgusting as they may be, then we as a society are putting on blinders. When we put on blinders, we tell other famous and talented people that as long as they are good enough at whatever they do, they have a free pass to cross some lines, state or otherwise. That’s dangerous.
When I was in high school I quite confidently told my father that I would never play the stock market. I kept my promise to this day. But then I realized that it’s actually impossible to survive in a capitalist society without sacrificing a little bit of yourself every day, and now I have two retirement accounts and have a bookmark folder called “Money.” It’s gross!
I have rarely felt more self-aware than I did inside Sephora on Sunday. In a grey hoodie, mesh Asics sneakers and jeans with a little flour still on them from baking bread earlier in the day, I stuck out. An employee was putting foundation on Megan’s face next to me. People were streaming into the store and out into the mall, seeking something for themselves or satisfied with a purchase. And I was in the way. All 6’3” of me, blocking the Urban Decay shelf, then directly in front of the Dior display. There was nowhere to go.
My list of books I want to read is now up to 159. Which is so so many books! I can crank through that amount in three years or so, but by then I’ll have a brand new list.
Growing up, I watched the Twilight Zone every New Years Eve with my dad. Our favorite episode is the one where Burgess Meredith emerges from the bank vault to a decimated world where only the books miraculously remain perfectly intact.
Now obviously this isn’t the perfect scenario. It’s never good when an atomic bomb kills a whole town. But I wouldn’t mind proposing an amended version of Henry Bemis’ world: I get an extra two hours every day where everything freezes and I can just read and drink a black cherry soda. Get on it, Musk!
In the eighth grade I stole an idea for a paper from The Twilight Zone. It was the episode where the people have a camera that can see the future. In hindsight, besides the obvious issue of plagiarism, this was an especially risky move. My teacher was in her 70s and easily could have remembered this episode. She didn’t and I got away with it, preparing me for a lifetime of not understanding consequences.
I am extremely tired and want to stop writing now. The good thing is: that doesn’t matter! Bye.