Elan 2 (TV, Diner)
The boy kept growing onwards and upwards, in order to validate his faith he often would bolster a sense of false superiority. Either his fear had the purpose of ensuring he was in the grace of the lord, or it was all for nothing. Elan would never be able to face the fact that this pain had, if anything, made him a weaker, more vulnerable individual. The only fortification that made sense was that his fear and pain made him better than those around him, who did not spend their spare time in anxieties over eternal damnation. The boy remembers asking out loud in his 2nd grade class: “who the other christians were”. If he was going to try and make friends he would want those friendships to last, god forbid he made friends with some heathens and then had to watch them all burn to a crisp on judgment day. Faith was not a nuanced concept to this kid, he had stumbled upon the winning ticket and was happy to broadcast that to those not fortunate enough to see the “truth”.
Sure he wasn’t able to celebrate halloween, but as far as he understood heaven seemed like it would more than make up for missing out. Elan’s concept of heaven at this point was entirely centered around things. Heaven would be a giant toy store, with ice cream and video games. There would be water slides, cotton candy, and roller coasters, just like the advertisements for disneyland. Sure there was the aspect that “everyone you love will be there” but this was superseded by the fact that his dog Lucy, a soulless animal, would not be able to join in on the fun. Whenever the boy would doubt the substance of his fear he would think back to the end goal: like a corporate jockey looking at some lame motivational poster, this one would have read “Stuff”. The persistence and intangibility of love is something no child can grasp.
His fervor to reach the cloudy mansion isolated the boy in many ways. This isolation became comfortable to him, and he began to create it on his own, through connection to a new gospel. Television.
As the years went on it twisted his expectations of the real world. He grew up with those on the static, and they replaced the superego that the church had enforced for so long.
The news is on, it snuggly tucks around the corners of the street lights, making it difficult to go unnoticed even on the slowest of days. It lives in my couch, and my computer, it has lived inside my friends, and blinkers I know who speak loudly and chew their food with anger. It transcends time despite its flexible honesty, it will outlive me. It will outlive my children. It will shape my grandchildren, so that they may better understand me, and it has changed how I address my elders today. It has made the world easy, it has made the world small. There are killers in my living room, and presidents in my pockets. There’s a man who has swam the english channel on my bedside table, and dead starlets on my floor. It’s the quickest route to the superego. Primetime. Idealized. Horrifying. Lame.
I cannot remove its film from my eyes, despite my tries and devoted abstentions, it is the terrain I travel. When i hear the words that the news woman speak, I become the protagonists, antagonist, victim, and enforcer. I am the story, I am the news. My transition is instantaneous, and joyous. I am a raping bloody retard. I am just out of rehab. I have just died in Iraq. I have just won the 4th grade spelling bee. I love working at the coal plant. I hate working at the coal plant. I am an orphan dieing in the third world. I am the owner of the coal plant. I sell shoes. I murder children with automatic weapons. I am a cashier on black Friday. I am a fluffy cat.
In pushing my attention to these souls, I slip my shoes into their mind and tiptoe close to the gravity of their ideologies. I am entertained and overwhelmed. This must be how people live their lives.
I look at my toaster, crusty with spent jam and cheese. The tilted pictures on my wall that all emphasize my human imperfection. My tables cluttered with useless paper. My carpet stained with memories of parties, and spilt milk. My knick knacks line the walls. All of it imperfect. All of it calling out desperately for a sense of completion.
My television. My television can do no wrong, its corporeal shell is but a trivial bi-factor of its brilliance. The physical sterile cube is simply a natural response to its blinding beauty. This is completion. This is another world, the real world. I want laugh tracks, and corporate sponsorship. I want fulfilling relationships, love, a quirky dog that knows my name and fetches the paper. I want a race car, a spaceship, a magic wand. I want sex, I want jumbo greased tits rubbing over my body. I want to win the 4th grade spelling Bee. I want to sell shoes. I want to love working at the coal plant, and one day I hope to own that coal plant.
But that is not my life. I am at the end of my rope. I am lonely. I so desperately want to die. Despite my tries for peace I have found no resolve. No group of friends has surprised me with tickets to the Bahamas. I have not won the lottery. I have not been granted a full scholarship to Harvard. I still do not have a spaceship. The porn has become stale in my mind. The loneliness has broken my charm. The desperation has forced my hand.
I want them to know me as well as I know them. I want them to say my name.
I want to live in the real world with Ross, and Obama, and Katie Couric. They’ll know all about my toaster. My tilted picture frames. My knick knacks. Then those objects will reach completion, and transcend with me into the real world. I know what my role in reality is. Some will hate me. Others will empathize just as I have empathized with them. I have seen their calls for love, I will do my best to answer.
And all throughout these years the boy continued to grow.
The new fears of puberty and refined existentialism turned him back towards new forms of escape. Planes hit towers and his whole family became loud asthmatics. In a mundane fashion his defense mechanisms transitioned from television to alcohol to drugs. Some of this energy was put towards some awkward sublimations that existed as budding delusions. Most of these delusions were innocuous, but in high-school the boy found a map in his brain that controlled the universe. When he drew it out he became convinced that he was connected to beings across an infinite expanse of space and time.
The map became the new testament, a search for god through the static of a new world.
The way that medications for ADHD generally work is that they push the organism that is taking it to release more dopamine, to get their brain more interested in the topics at hand. In retrospect I now theorize based on the vivid hallucinations, that I was already releasing quite a bit of dopamine. Perhaps this extra surge was the drop that broke the levee in making these maps. Maybe I just wanted some semblance of control. Maybe the maps really did mean something.
My ego has always pushed me to prove that I was either “better than everyone else”, or a shriveling worm feeding on your affection. The creation of this project made me inflate my self identity in the scheme of the universe. I wasn’t just a confused boy trying to throw fives on the next blunt, but I was the bridge between this dimension and the next. That kind of identity put me right up there with the Pope, Hawking, and Michael Jordan in Space Jam.
Map A was the first. After it was created I was sure that I was onto something, and the rest extrapolated onto the first, attempting to explain it in more detail, of course I needed more detail, because I assumed that I had created the complete a map of the universe.
Maybe beings from a place beyond my knowledge were forcing my hand, and that I, the lowly conduit, would be honored by inclusion into this marvelous scheme. These beings were generally reflected in my mind as “others”, from places that I would barely have the mental capacity to picture.
Within this map I decided that I was going to create. The map had opened a conduit from my world to one that had not quite existed yet, however my conscious imagining of it in my mind would bring it to this reality. I imagined being a dictator of the fictional land, an alter ego of myself that exerted machiavellian principles to assert that I did indeed possess power. I wanted it to be real so badly, to give me control, to validate my importance in the scheme of things.
I was obsessed.
I created laws, and permissible behaviors for both the robot and human citizens of this world, which would then be used to plot them against each other, so that they would both be submissive beings. “Love creates the map, but the absence of love controls the map.” This was my world at the time. If I could just remove myself from the consequences of my emotions I would have control. I would have the universe at my disposal.
Most who I explained the map to distanced themselves from me. I would hear some laughs behind my back, or feel an accusing glare. Then there were those who agreed with me, and their obsession fed mine. One of my friends who I was very fond of thought that I had truly tapped into this other world.
We often exchanged theories of how we’d get there.
We would make art together, and laugh at the absurdities of the world as it was presented. As years went by she told me men had come to visit her in her dreams, that she would be going there soon, that they were waiting for her. She ended her life by throwing herself off of a roof. I saw where this path lead. I did not go to her funeral. I still maintained my belief on the beyond, and seeing where it took her terrified me.
I gave all of these maps and drawings to my father for safekeeping, they had become toxic. They all disappeared into the disorganized vacuum of our apartment. To my friends I joked that my father had probably hidden, or burned them to try and alleviate the energy I had put into this obsession. But what I really believed was far more fantastical.
I believed that beings from the other reality (where I was a vicious dictator), had come to my reality to retrieve and destroy the map. For if it was destroyed in this reality, then their reality filled with pain and unneeded suffering would cease to exist. A universal suicide of sorts.
My father later found the pages tucked away in a bin next to decade old tax forms and receipts. But the map had done its damage, and it would have regardless of the fact if it had sanctimoniously been sacrificed to the next dimension. It opened a philosophy in me that invited the other into my landscape. To cope with my brain venturing off to delusional constructs I had to embrace an axiom that: Everything is possible, while some things are less probable. This is something I generally regard as true, and a mantra that would validate the crazy thoughts I would have, without encouraging them to blossom too much. The map also birthed another notion inside of me, which was that my thoughts had a direct influence on the universe. This is something I also believe to be quite true, especially when it comes to beings that are not necessarily from this plane. This ties back to the idea of “epicating” that we discussed earlier, Many of the concepts that I started to believe in came back to influence my environment in a big and frightening way. Like residual tendrils from this obsession, that would only multiply if I pushed them away.
The world started to fizzle away, the reality underneath it was like wet sand under an unforgiving storm.