Monday, August 1, 2011
I'm a Henry Rollins fan. Have been for over 25 years actually. If you are not sure who he is you can Google him if you like, it really doesn't matter for what I'm about to write. Anyway, I saw him live a bunch of times and even saw him with Black Flag in 1985. I got his autograph on his first self published book and I've read tons of his writings and listened to hours of his spoken word. Somewhere during my impressionable teen years I either read an interview or heard some spoken word or poem from Henry where he elaborated on weakness. I've scoured the internet for this "essay" but found nothing but I will clumsily try to sum it up here.
He said that a man takes a drink because he is weak. A man buys a gun because he is weak. A man strikes a woman because he is weak. And so on and so forth, you get the idea. Now I'm sure tons of people read those words from Henry like I did back then and just thought they were tough-guy ramblings from a punk rock poet. For me, the theme of those words stuck in my craw up until this day as I'm hurtling towards my fifth decade of life. Those silly words made me (and still make me) re-examine my life constantly and changed me immeasurably.
I love coffee. The stronger the better. I drank it for years starting in my early teens. By my twenties I would polish off a whole pot myself. Later I was drinking two French presses of hi-octane Colombian a day. I needed it to feel normal. The chemical controlled my moods. I was weak. I became angry that I allowed this goddam drink to control the way I felt and interacted with my family and friends. People that I love. I quit drinking coffee and never went back. Trust me, it wasn't easy, but I don't want to bore you with the struggle of kicking coffee. That's not what this is about.
Why do I eat a whole bag of potato chips in one sitting? Because I'm weak. Why do I lay in front of the TV for hours instead of exercising or reading a book? Because I'm weak. Why did I spend the entire afternoon sitting inside playing video games? Because I'm weak. These are all questions that I have asked myself and changed my life for the better after attacking these issues head on.
Will this type of self-analysis work for you? Maybe. Maybe not. For me, I needed to get angry with myself. Stop compromising and making excuses. Being 45 years old I probably have enough excuses saved up to reason away why I shouldn't be able to do certain physical acts and just slip into the quiet life of channel surfing but I always have those words ringing in my ears. Is it because you are older or is it because you are weak? I refuse to be weak.
That's about it. Hope you enjoyed, and thanks for your time.