11:16 pm: Happiness
In my mind, I'm sitting on the old leather sofa, whose seams have long begun to give. I'm looking up at two concerned, loving faces, the faces of people who want so very badly to know if everything is all right, if their beloved son needs their help. Their question is one simple word.
And so begins the story.
"You see, a long time ago, I wanted to be happy. And so I pursued the things that made me happy, spent time with the people who made me happy, and tried to make the people who made me happy, happy as well. It goes as far back as trying to hedge all of my unhappiness against a glorious summer vacation, only to come away from it empty-handed; it was never enough. But as I got older, I realized that while the fun never seemed to last, and what happiness I found eventually gave way to the ever-growing, gnawing emptiness in my heart.
"And so it was that your son, who had grown up smiling brighter and crying harder than all the other children, so loved and protected, came to believe that for him, happiness might never be enough. And so he turned to something different. He would make the most out of his misery, and give back to a world which had given him so much. He was grateful, not thankless, and if he could not thrive in this world, he would at least make it a better place.
"His talents were few, and his challenges many. But he had naught to lose, and made his peace with the emptiness which consumed him. It would be his greatest ally, the true constancy that would push him through hardship, and suffer his struggles in his stead. For when you are already unhappy, a drop of sadness in your ocean could never stem the pull of higher purpose. He would rather fail, than settle for less.
"And it was not the sadness that changed. The most unthinkable, unfathomable force rose from some deep slumber, roaring to life within him. And the waves stilled, and the unreachable goal slid further along the horizon.
"...I guess, mom and dad, that I just want to try to be happy."
Their silence is understandable, ponderous, and necessary. He smiles helplessly.
01:25 am: There's this a story, but there's a problem with it; it's just an ending. An ugly, unforgiving, whimper of an ending, at that. Who cares what it started with, it ends in death. Glorious moments right before death, regretful tears right before death--death is death is death. It's the best story you'll ever think of, and the longest one you'll ever live to tell. You have no idea how it's going to turn out, and that might excite you, might keep you awake at night in the worst possible way. You hate the story. You love the story. You want so badly to forget it, and then smile when it sneaks into your subconscious. You tell yourself the story whenever wish you wouldn't, you keep leaving out the parts which you really like when you need them most. Everything you do and don't do is because of the story, but you want to pretend that the story is being written, like some river flowing steadily toward saline demise.
12:50 am: We can all tell ourselves that life goes on; in our insignificance we invest emotional safety, draw consolation around our disappointments like thick white outlines. The passage of time is our safety net, and the tightrope act is that much easier because of it. "There's always tomorrow," we say, "if at first you don't succeed," we chant, expecting to wake up the next morning and everything will be just the way it is, was, and will be. Without effect, there is no cause, there is no consequence, there is no expectation. But when we look so far ahead that we don't see our failures, it's hard to see ourselves at all. The picture can only get so big before we drown ourselves out with the noise of reality--and that's not the point, not at all. Comfort lies not in knowing the world turns with or without you; forgetting the past is not moving forward, but running in place. Steady footing, even keel. And remember,
05:50 pm: Nomenclature
He sits studiously before a the two screens demanding his attention, wrapping his head around them about about as well as he's been doing so with the knowledge laying within. Lifestyle, he tells himself, is not a definition of who you are. You can do more than your day job, be more than a paygrade. He doesn't need actual laughter to mock the thought. Too much was riding on too much to care about, too fast, too soon. Breathe, the mantra goes, breathe. The screens will still be there when you put the world back together.
He sighs. His eyes open sluggishly, trying to ease back into reality instead of blinding himself with the obvious again. Contemporary deconstructionist hypnobabble and a whole slew of deadlines.
He blinks. And then the keyboard resumes clattering away noisily.
05:17 pm: Imagination You could tell just by looking at him, that he was one of those people who harbor a hundred worlds within themselves, and the world he lived and breathed was only one of many. There was no "if," only "when" and "where;" possibility implied transliteration, defined reality. If he could dream it, he could see it come true, could peek into the world in which it transpired exactly thus, happened precisely so.
And if that world wasn't the one he woke up to, it was sure to be the one he drifted off to come sunset; dreamers are like that, after all.
<iPhone>:"The iPhone has a massive user base and it can totally pull of any game you'll find on the DS and PSP!" <iPhone>:"And the new graphics are amazing!" <3DS/PSP>:"Yes, but the 3DS will have, you know, 3D" <iPhone>:"Yeah, but you can turn off the 3D. It was nice but it wasn't a big deal." <3DS/PSP>:"...so what you're saying is, a new handheld that boasts amazing new innovation is going to lose because a phone can do what the last generation did?" <iPhone>:"Yeah! Exactly. And, a bunch of people already own iPhones." <3DS/PSP>:"...because... playing catchup with the last generation of games is more than enough to keep the hardcore gaming crowd...?" <iPhone>:"Well, obviously. Have you seen the new Retina display? It's AMAZING!" <3DS/PSP>:"Actually, I have, and I also noticed that they weren't outputting dedicated 3D graphics, which is standard on the PSP and going to be standard on the 3DS." <iPhone>:"BUT THE RESOLUTION!!!! And there's this game that's almost like an FPS! And it has online!!" <iPhone>:"Clearly a game that looks like Quake2 is the wave of the future."
Sure, the iPhone has cool games, and the iPhone 4 will have even cooler games. But until Nintendo starts offering the ability to call other handhelds, or the iPhone includes physical buttons that don't consume precious screen space, the two will compete about as directly as two ships passing in the night.
In other words, do you know *anyone* that was going to get a 3DS/DS/PSP that, after playing with their iPhone, decided they no longer needed one? Or were these editors just thinking about all the non-gamers which the iPhone will rightfully convince that handhelds may not be necessary, much like that new graphics card they were meaning to get or that new version of Windows. I don't believe any gamers will be dissuaded by the allure of a phone, and I don't expect any phone-users to have wanted a handheld to start with.
11:22 pm: Own
Coming into your own can be a lot less like the books; it can be turning to find the sun shining down after a dark and stormy afternoon, or remind you of that old friend you ran into that you never remembered but could never forget, but it's really better when it's like falling off a ten story building. It starts out innocent enough, an overly strong easterly breeze or a misjudgment of where you are, and then the world moves so fast it takes you a second to realize the world's standing perfectly still and you're the one rushing sideways. For some reason you find yourself, your life, flashing before your eyes, and it sinks in that some part of you is convinced that life as you know it is about to end. Everything's going by too quickly to grasp; your ears blinded by the air, your eyes deafened by imminent demise, and then, just as suddenly, the world is still again. Sirens, screaming, or maybe just nothing.
Because you get up. And you realize that falling isn't scary, because falling means that the world wants to catch you. All you have to do, is let yourself go. Because you can't get up until you've found something to stand on.