Monday, April 04, 2005


Think about it: When you were fourteen, fifteen years old, you didn't know shit.

And when you actually were fourteen, fifteen years old, you looked at four and five year olds and thought: They don't know shit. Thinking hopscotch is cool. (Do kids still play that game?) Thinking running around in circles until you crash to the ground from dizziness is a good time. Finding whoopee cushions funny. (Wait. I still do find whoopee cushions funny. Bad example.)

And you were right. They didn't know how silly, uninformed, altogether ignorant they were.

And now I'm pushing (big gulp, and not the 7-11 kind) thirty, and I look at twenty year olds, and I think: They don't know shit.

Fine. We grow as we get older, we mature, our thinking-processes change, yada yada yada, pass the remote. I get all this.

But someone who is forty is looking at me and thinking: He has no idea what he's in store for.

And they're right. I don't. And if you told me, I probably wouldn't believe you, or I'd dismiss you with the wave of a hand, as I tend to, and think: Well, it ain't happening to me, buddy.

And my grandfather, who's eighty-five, must look at people who are fifty and think: They are so clueless.

Where does it end, is what I'm getting at.

We acquire wisdom as we get old; we fu-- up, make mistakes, piss people off and choose roads less traveled, which leaves us sometimes -- not always -- wondering whether that made all the difference.

And yet, paradoxically (a word I love using, by the way, and try to sneak into play whenever I can), we have convictions. We have certainties. We tend to believe that what we believe right now will be our sum and total conception of the universe forever and ever, the power and the glory, amen.

It's inevitable that our thought processes change; in fact, it's almost mandatory that they do so. You shift, evolve, live on the planet and formulate thoughts -- and the thoughts you have at forty will rarely, if ever, resemble those you had at fifteen. (Unless you're super-duper religious, and even in that case, changes, over millenia, are accepted into the doctrine; even the pope, so I've heard, believed in evolution. (I didn't until the early nineties, when I came across Pauly Shore and realized that he was, in fact, the 'missing link'.)

That's what makes me mad at all those people who view their opinions of films and books as firm, almost sacred entitlements. They like something, it's genius. They hate it, it's garbage. If you have a differing opinion, well, you're wrong. Plain and simple.

The reality is, we change, and the movies and books change with us. Read a book you loved at twenty-two, and read it again at twenty-nine, and it will not be the same book, of this I am sure. This does not preclude you from loving it -- but I'm betting that you love it in a different way. A more subtle, reasoned way.

The thing is, it has to stop, this process. That's what I'm suggesting. Maybe I can get some kind of amendment going; I won't petition the Canadian government, no, I'll take it directly to whatever religious deity is on-watch tonight. (Then again, I lean towards agnosticism, so this could get tricky.)

In any event, it's too tiring, this whole decade-by-decade reevaluation that I (begrudingly) admit we all must go through to qualify for our Thinking-And-Evolving-Human-Card that gives us certification as a rational adult and a free Double Whopper with large fries and a Coke. (Sidenote: No western franchises in Cambodia. None. No KFC, no Mickey Dees, no Wendy's. They have their own version called BB World, and they recently had to change the logo because McDonald's somehow found out about this place and noticed that the 'w' in 'World' looked a little too much like the golden arches. Funny how McDonald's can penetrate Phnom Penh fast-food franchises, but Paramount and Universal haven't noticed that their movies are available on bootleg DVDs the same day they come out back home. Not sure how that works.)

I know what I know (or at least I know what I'm not sure of, in any case), and I would like these simple, self-held truths to be durable, lasting, even eternal, like a parent's love for a child, or the Ten Commandments, or Geraldo's moustache. (Think what would happen if he shaved that thing right off. Pandemonium, people.)

But I keep thinking of myself at age 32, and 37, and 46; I keep thinking of the man who will look back on these blogs, and wonder: What was he thinking?

Well, the answer is this, I'm afraid. This blog. At this moment in my identity, it's all I've got. It may be wrong; it may not be enough. But it's mine, and it's here, and it's what I believe. Maybe that's enough.

But, you know, check back with me around ten or eleven tonight.

Things change, after all.

1 comment:

Christopher Klemm said...

Hilarious! Good thoughts and yet I found myself smiling at your writing style! I myself am I Canadian living here in Finland and just was searching through some blogs and came across yours. Good stuff! I admit that I haven't been Cambodia but have been to China, Hong Kong (although part of China...I guess), South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Australia. You are definitely in an interesting country. What made you want to go there? Good to hear from other Canadians! Cheers and good luck over there!