Day 7780 | Day 7815 | Day 7821

I drink a lot these days. Sometimes as a social activity, sometimes alone to numb myself to the world for a few hours, but mostly because I have nothing else to do. The school I go to has a very small campus and I have few friends and fewer social activities I'm comfortable with. My recent uptake of homebrewing as a hobby has also provided me with hundreds of bottles of alcohol on the cheap, giving me the motive, means, and opportunity to binge drink pretty much whenever I want (which is often). It's unhealthy.

Two weeks ago I discovered my housemates were using what I could only guess was cocaine. The drug culture had been alive and well in my house throughout the entire year but hit a new level with the start of the semester in January. What used to be a habit of smoking pot a few times a week turned into the habit of smoking it a few times a day. This came along with all the stoner friends of my housemates and the constant excuse that they are unable to pay for anything because they're out of money. When small bags of white powder started showing up, I knew it was time to get out.

So I moved to the only place I could for no charge: back into a dorm. Incidentally I moved into the same room in which I spent most of sophomore year deciding whether or not to kill myself. The door squeaks exactly the way it did two years ago, the leaf in the vent still flutters when the heat goes on, and there's still some asshole bouncing a basketball in the hallway for hours each night. Oh yes, the nostalgia is hitting hard in these last few weeks of college.

It is, in a word, lonely. "Our social circle kinda imploded sophomore year," Nick says. Well, if you ask me it more atrophied like the cast of a sitcom running far too many seasons after its prime but the sentiment is the same. And that trend is reaching its logical conclusion—five weeks before graduation and though people won't admit it, we're all unconsciously deciding which friends we're going to work to stay in contact with and which ones we'll let drift away. Because it will be work. Say what you want about Skype, texting, Facebook, and email but it's simply easier to maintain friendships with those whom you interact with on a daily basis than people you're lucky to talk to once a week. I'm realistic (or perhaps cautiously pessimistic)—I've picked three people who I'm going to try to keep in my life but even then I don't really have faith that we'll be able to maintain our friendships. Like those high school girls that swear they're going to be best friends forever, I half expect to fall out of contact with these people on the order of months after graduation.

And while they're planning the next step in their lives around graduate school and job offers, I find myself directionless and paralyzed by anxiety. It's not that I expect those things to just be given to me: all of my friends worked hard, incredibly hard, to get the opportunities they're now reaping the rewards of. They have drive, I do not. I don't crave material wealth or the intangible bragging rights that come with 'being a success'. I neither expect nor want to work a job which gives me existential 'fulfillment'. I don't want a family or any of those generative impulses that propel so many others through hardships. I don't want much of anything. My friends are on a path of some sort; they may not know exactly what they're doing but they have goals, plans, and the motivation to achieve them and my lack of these things makes me feel, at the least, childish by comparison.

For the last few years my dad has regularly nagged me about my plans for the future: "I just want to help you figure out what you want to do with your life."

Nothing, Dad. I want to do nothing with it.

First off, my Ironnoder auditing continues in its interminable crawl:

Tem42 -- on page 18 out of 35 (only two pages more than my last report)
The Custodian -- on page 21 out of 39 (zero pages done since my last report).

Here's a crazy thought. I'm only a bit more than halfway through Custo's nodes, and already I'm already into stuff he wrote several months pre-9/11. Meaning that Custo has about a thousand nodes in that brief stretch of time between E2's coming to exist, and mid 2001.

But if you are an E2'er with a reasonable number of nodes (let's say, under 250), and you want a node audit (and I've not already audited you), let me know and I'll put you on my list!! I'm not guaranteeing a slew of upvotes, but I generally upvote if a node has anything I find to be of interest, which is a pretty broad category of stuff....


And in other news....

Ah, no good deed goes unpunished. So, not long ago, a fellow noder, he asks me, might I drop a few verses at a little thing he's got in mind called The Ballad of Mark the Kramer -- I've only sparsely been asked in the past to node at any especial title, so immediately I inquired into it, and so was informed by this noder that "Mark The Kramer is...whatever you want him to be!" -- seemed a fair challenge, so I looked over the nodes which preceded my plunge into this pool. And m'thinks to m'self, "what is the craziest story that could be told of this character?"

And so, yeah, I wrote that up. Okay, I confess to having been somewhat inspired by the plot of Zuma: Tales of a Sexual Gladiator (though my node, I sadly confess, is bereft of sex combat where the battle is one won by making the other combatant climax first). And instead of putting in eight lines, I couldn't help but put in forty-eight; and instead of going by the standard rhyming couplets, I put it in the key of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

And what have I to show for my volunteering? A slew of the most.... intriguing.... downvotes. There seem to be a core of fourteen or fifteen dedicated E2 downvoters, sworn to fight for the cause of, I don't know, perhaps humorlessness in E2, by methodically knocking every single node set forth under this node name, The Ballad of Mark the Kramer. Which brought to my mind a recent conversation about a similarly (if less intentionally) piled upon node, It will only make our insides burn until we are nothing but ash. A noder exclaimed in the catbox how his druthers would be to banish all such nodes from E2, and I expressed the counterpoint that this sentiment was sort of like walking into a movie theatre and decrying the fact that the proprietors were yet again projecting moving images onto a screen while playing complementary sounds. Think it through -- you've a website here especially designed to allow multiple people to post their contributions under any especial title -- and a category of posting for orignal poetry -- and you lament when this functionality is exercised by multiple people on this website posting original poetry under an especial title.... but I suppose downvoting is a function of the website as well.

And, unsurprisingly, for my greater labours in this direction I've drawn out even a handful more (including, I would surmise, my usual stalkers), and mine own contribution now seems doomed to E2 nuke-pile oblivion (I reproduce it below for history to judge whether it is of its own accord meritorious. And to prevent those damned Hollywood bigwigs from stealing yet another of my ideas). And, as an aside I wonder, can one not make light of another's mockery? Can one not mock the mocking, even with the blessing of the mocker? But I digress. And, yes, I confess, I do sometimes delight in making something controversial enough to draw downvotes (perhaps much like something you are reading right this moment -- hmmmm), simply on the theory that those who waste their downvoting on a more forgiving Pandeism Fish will inflict less net harm (and so suffer less karmic backlash for it, which is really better for everybody).

So in closing my response to this comedy, I tell you this, fellow noders of The Ballad of Mark the Kramer:

They may vote us down.... but they will never take.... OUR FREEDOM!!

Oh, and I tell you what else-- my next ten C!s go into that node title.
'Cause (a solitary tear rolls down my cheek and is lost in my beard) I love you guys.
(And my next half dozen after that goes to the make-our-insides-burn one.)


My once-noded, possibly soon to be deleted, possibly excessive contribution to this effort, which follows from other nodes offering the description of Mark the Kramer as a hard-fighting battler of the English:

Then some space-folk arrived, / And they snatched him through time, / They took him far into the future.
Mark the Kramer did not fret, / Though he broke a wee sweat, / And soon all the aliens needed sutures.
They made him compete, / And it was quite a treat, / In the intergalactic arena.
Though the cheering was loud, / Turned his back to the crowd, / And, oh, then if only you'd seen it!!
With his axe in his hands, / He charged out from the stands, / To fight creatures from all different planets
And though fierce they may be, / None could stand against he, / Who had come from from a land hewn in granite.
So the contests raged on, / And he won every one, / Leaving foes lying bloody and gory.
He left most of them dead, / With a blow to the head, / 'cept the dragon from Rigel Centauri
For the dragon he thought / Like a horse could be taught / So he wrestled and grappled and pinned it.
And when he let it up / It was tame as a pup / And he'd done what was needed to win it.
When he'd won all the fights, / They gave him a return flight, / But discovered he'd only got meaner.
In the fighting he'd learned, / Just how keenly he yearned / For the land where the forests are greener.
They returned him apace / To his own time and place, / To the fields where the Brits he'd been slayin'
But the English all fled / When they lifted their heads / To see Mark the Kramer paradin'!!
For he rode on the back / Of a beast of attack, / A dragon from Rigel Centauri.
And this alien beast, / On their skulls it did feast, / So what more can I tell of this story?

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