Monday, February 06, 2006

Bring Out Your Dead

I suppose it was not a good idea to go see that movie* by myself. You know what I'm talking about.

I was alone in the theater. The last showing of the evening. It's just a movie. It's gotten hype. So what. It didn't make me cry. It didn't make me angry. In fact by the end of it, I was a zombie. Everything had been sucked out.

You know what makes zombies perpetually walk on the way they do even though they are dead? There is a ringing in their ears that keep their bodies active in drudging rhythm. It's a mechanical buzzing pulse that shoots signals through dead nerves, slowly jolting arms, legs, fingers, causing strokes and flinches and squirms.

I did squirm. I did watch. It was the kiss that did me in. Secrets and lies and marriage and love all in a flurry. I wish I had a fishing buddy. The fish hooks in my gullet are starting to show signs of infection. Snap out of it, it's just a movie.

I'm gay. So what? I was unfaithful. So what? I've broken through. So what? This is old news. She knows all this. I've never been gay bashed, harmed or flushed out because of what I did. Then why does the gaze through the screen mark me in that way. It's just a movie. Just a goddamn movie.

It is that I am an Ennis and a Jack. A grunting grope and insatiable lust all conveniently mashed up, screwing each other in a violent, incessant tumble. They are competitors in a quiz show, flipping those buttons that glow green and red, off and on, off and on, reject, accept, deny, comply, conform, reform, deform, buzz, buzz, buzzzz.

Those are the pulses that move my appendages. And I wish that they could bring satisfaction but the touch of your own rotting hand gets weary.

But it's just a movie. Just fleeting pieces of flickering light. I mumble a bit, stare at the reliquary and throw myself in a cauldron waiting to be reborn.

The ringing will go away. It's frigid in the empty parking lot. The pulse makes me stop moving for a while.

I become paralyzed because I am ashamed of the past.


I work a lot. But I gather you know that.

I can't begin to describe to you the wall that stands in my way. It would be a lie to say that my current state doesn't give me thoughts that make me want to quit.

I didn't want it to affect me. But I can't stop thinking about it. I won't ever stop thinking about it. It's become so great that it interferes with my work. It's difficult when what you do, the thing you devote the majority of your life to, the bulk of your energy, serves no discernible end function other than feeding a frenzied mass of distraction.

I become paralyzed because I am afraid of the future.

But my cycle goes on. The deadline will come and go with or without me and I will still be here waiting for the next one to roll around. I'll press the buttons that make things pulse, present them with the similar lights and noise and hope the pattern is pleasing.

I'll get through it and remember that I have a cool job, I have people that are concerned for my well being, and I will go back to being one of the strong ones. One of the dependable ones. One of the safe ones.

Dead ends used to be easy decisions. You either stop or turn around. Even a non-choice is a choice, an inaction of "I choose not to choose" is in itself still an action. Give me an excuse and I'm done for the day. I go to bed, start again. Or I put it in reverse and go back to the familiar.

It will be okay because it has to be. But now I look for the other hidden option to that scenario, one that occurs to me after staring at it long enough. If I don't act I'll still be thinking whether that crack in the barricade was large enough to cause collapse with a well placed punch and what exactly is on the other side.

I aim to find out.


*PS: Ironically, Dan Renzi today points to an article about the movie's aspects of adultery. I could have a lot to say about it but it's hard for me to be objective about it at the moment. You might want to comment there for any discussion on this to be effective.


David said...

If the only person not forgiving you is you, you need to look at that.

Make your choice and embrace it. The future is scary, but if you trust in the universe, it will take care of you. There are a million invisible hands holding you up and waiting for you to tell them where to take you.

Good luck with that crack. Just keep punching.

Alan said...

Interesting article about Brokeback. But it seems pretty silly for her to write an entire column about a movie she didn't see. I wish I had a job like that.

I don't much want to glorify cannibalism either, but I liked Silence of the Lambs.

My guess is she's seen war movies. Does she want to glorify war?

Her argument is flawed.

Larry said...

I don't want to see it. It really doesn't interest me in the least. I feel guilty about that, like I'm somehow spitting on my people by feeling that way.

David's first sentence was right on, by the way.

palaver61 said...

Secret - I might be in the minority here but you don't have to forgive yourself. The guilt, the suffering what ever is hounding you can serve as a remider of the worth of what your life can become.

I saw that movie - the way it struck me - not so much the adultery or the secrecy but that their lives were constricted and anything that could have been life for them was constricted, banished, held at bay. They had a chance to be alive, really alive.

You have that - life- it is bought and paid for by all that suffering and guilt. Those characters blew it - they were afraid. That isn't you, not anymore.

Anonymous said...

Hey there.

Rob here (AKA, the now defunct "Three Year Sentence").

It's been a long time since I posted, but I want to chime in as someone whose own sense of self has transformed a bit since last April, when my wife and I split up. I share a particular empathy with you as you turn a corner in life and so I check your blog now and then to see how things are going.

The world and its expectations are changing and you are on the cusp of something rewarding that demands a particular brand of courage and self-examination. Yeah, yeah, the cowboys committed adultry. Shame on them. But the whole point of the film isn't to celebrate adultry so much as it is to shame the society that has virtually compelled it for so long.

Your heart is huge, a collossus towering over that proverbial wall. Maybe you need to stop punching it, and simply look on the other side.

Perfekt Dad said...

I'm not interested in seeing the movie either...though part of me wants to...I'm sure you understand that. The truth is that talking about the movie means talking about so much more for us. I know you don't feel it, but you're a leader for us...even those of us who may never follow. Don't be afraid of your feelings, Simon, you've come a long way.

Patrick said...

I contribute nothing to this discussion, but I do send your inarticulate e-hugs.

Flip said...

I left my comments about Ms. Jardon's article on Dan's blog as you suggested, but I feel so strongly about it that I must duplicate them here. I apologize for the redundancy. Maybe this will get it out of my system, but I seriously doubt it.

For what it's worth, at this point I'm unwilling to see the movie. I've worked really hard to get to a point of emotional stability. I am not willing to jeopardize that right now. Am I a coward? You bet!!

Here's the comment I left on Dan's blog:

Complex issues involving human beings and their relationships are just that. Complex.

Human nature is to try to make sense of complex human relationship issues by forcing the participants into a template of good vs. bad.

In general, people do the best they can with the knowledge, resources and constraints they have at any particular time. Ms. Jardon’s friend as well as Ms. Jardon's’s friend’s ex-husband were likely doing the best they could at the time too. I'm not sure what good casting either of them as a victim or a perpetrator does for them or for anyone else who might learn something from their situation.

In addition, I don't see how Ms. Jardon can gain a better understanding of this issue by refusing to see the movie, but perhaps she's not interested in a deeper understanding. Regardless, I'm sure she's doing the best she can.

T said...

Hello Mr. Secretsimon. I like your review..prepare for me to compete with you and prepare my own review of - *that movie. :) (By the way, I like how you avoided naming the movie - its the default movie of reference today, after all.) :)

Tuna Girl said...

I have nothing intelligent to say on the matter. What could I possibly add to the discussion.

But I did think of you when I saw that movie. And I thought of how much braver and better-off you are.

Sean said...

People like Ms. Jardon really tick me off. No, Flip, she's not interested in gaining a deeper understanding. She makes it sound like gay men enter into straight marriages with the express intent of decieving and hurting the women involved.

I didn't. Did you Simon? I didn't think so. So cut yourself some slack. You aren't wicked. You aren't heartless and mean. You're a good man and you married a good woman. It's obvious to anyone who reads here.

"But the whole point of the film isn't to celebrate adultry so much as it is to shame the society that has virtually compelled it for so long."