Things that Shape Us, Part 1

I’m still trying to get into the groove of blogging, and I don’t think I have it in me for daily posts, yet. I agonized last night, started on five, got to about a hundred words, and just saved them as Drafts.

So, it continues to be a work in progress.

But an idea has been running around in my head, and I’ll put it out there in the typically vague and semi-vacuous way that bloggers often did, back in the day, and see if this hook catches any fish.

Back in my late teens, I knew three other people, and we were thick as thieves. (I know, old saying, but it really is the only phraseology that does justice – at least in that thing I call “my mind”,)

Because we hung out together ALL the time, and three of us were co-workers at the time, we called ourselves the “Four Horsemen”.

Not for any desire to be harbingers of doom, but because we had traits that just matched. And we consumed media that, in our addled minds, leant towards comparisons.

Back at that time, the Internet was still dial-up, and kinda slow, so there was no real impetuous to be “Online” all the time, especially when others needed to use the phone line, so you went out and had in-person social interactions. This is important to the following points.

On to the “where are you going with this, N8?”

One of the friends was constantly underfed, but if you watched him eat you’d never understand why. We did the social interaction thing in person, so we went to Perkins and stayed way too late, and he’d clean every plate and ask if we were going to finish that, the side, the one that we hadn’t even touched, unless we were saving it, but really, if we didn’t want it, could he have it?

But he had this metaphorical ability to devour ideas, concepts, ideologies – they were all the same. He poured this “sustenance” into himself, and just kept consuming. He didn’t refuse anything, if it could be consumed, he would consume it. And he remembered it, and could give you an accounting of it. And if another “helping” appeared, he’d politely ask if you wanted it, and if you didn’t, it got inhaled.

So, he was Famine. The indiscriminate consumer.

Another friend had an infectiousness about him, be it with his interests or his goals or his attitudes or anything else – if HE did it, you were interested. You couldn’t help it. He was like a worm inside your head. And he had this ability to voice questions you asked yourself.

He had this almost Pigpen (the character from Peanuts/Snoopy) ability to look absolutely filthy, act absolutely filthy, and yet not be dirty in the slightest. Any examination of him would prove no lack of hygiene, but back away three steps and he LOOKED like he just rolled around in unmentionable refuse and vaguely biological liquids.

He was a dirty old man well before his time.

So, he was Pestilence, the spreader of things. Finder of fads, perpetrator of marketing before viral marketing was a thing.

The third friend was quiet, but had an eternal brooding nature. The phrase/label “Resting Bitch Face” was invented for her, just to try to encapsulate her manner and demeanor. But, no matter how much she protested, her Resting Bitch Face hid a brutal, tactical Bitch that could and would defeat you in the most brutal manner. It was a hint, akin to a rattlesnake’s rattle, that just seemed too obvious to be real.

And if you got her mad, her attention towards your destruction, coupled with her habit towards planning for both battles and wars, and her ability to continue to evolve plans carefully WHILE still ordering an ice cream was impressive.

She didn’t resort to physical violence unless absolutely necessary, she understood strength and escalation and all that. She would engage in campaigns to discredit, dishonor, disincentivize, and disgrace those who had earned her wrath, and if needs must, she could just “sit” on you and make you stop, too.

She was War, the aggressor that you didn’t want, that you couldn’t shake, and that you dearly regretted ever having made an enemy of.

So, we can see where that left me.

I was “gothic” in my style. I wore black all the time, favored trenchcoats, and just enjoyed utilizing a vocabulary designed to obfuscate and obliterate direct understanding.

I initially fought this – I wore black because I came from an art school, and black hid paint and art-stuff stains! Trenchcoats give you AMAZING pockets to keep all kinds of supplies in! Figuratively bedazzled language gives you a better chance to get grants or extensions or the ability to just work on art in peace and get people off your freaking case….

But, eventually, I just accepted that I earned “Death”.

At the time, I was addicted to the Sandman comics from Neil Gaiman and I was just getting into the Discworld series from the amazing Terry Pratchett, so I could see that “Death” would have a different side than just a malevolent collector of souls and enactor of doom.

I appreciated the side of Death that was the psychopomp. The side that came to the soul as it left the body, said “Hey, yeah, that’s you. Here’s a facial tissue. Take your time. When you’re ready, let’s just take a walk.”

I figured that since we all got escorted into this life by a midwife or a doctor in a delivery room, it only made sense that there should be someone on the other side of the equation.

At the time, it was a concept that we RAN with. Like children hopped up on sugar and soda, holding scissors incorrectly, with untied shoelaces, we ran.

And the run went for a few years.

Our biggest joke with it was “Yeah, well, yeah. We’re supposed to herald the Apocalypse…. Eventually…. If we have to. But not yet! No, not yet. Because a new episode of Buffy is on tonight! Oh, and that new anime is supposed to be available next week, so no Apocalypse right away. Not just yet. Oh, and we have dinner plans next week.”

I can’t speak to the other’s acceptance and intent, but I considered that if I was to play the part of Death within this group of four, I always had to consider the end. I always had to consider the process for enaction of ideas, the actualization of things, the effect of scene on actors, et cetera.

I probably overthought things, but for years it affected me, guided me, shaped me.

Now, in the American South, I don’t wear the trenchcoat (it’s just too freaking warm!), and black isn’t a choice (see previous comment about heat), but even today I still consider the end before I plan anything.

And I cannot be surprised that events end.

So, consider this post a dalliance in remembering things, and an ancillary post to something in the future.

Let’s all just consider the future, and how we contribute to it, and how we can improve it, and see if we can’t make it better than ever.

Thanks for reading.



Hi! I'm Nate. I run this site. I'm just rebuilding things slowly, so thanks for your patience.

By Nate

Hi! I'm Nate. I run this site. I'm just rebuilding things slowly, so thanks for your patience.