Friday, March 07, 2008

Perception Vs. Reality

I've been going through a pretty self-reflective time over the last year or so; trying to figure out some stuff about my life, where it's headed, who I am and where I fit in the grand, sweeping landscape of humanity, etc. That sort of thing. I'm sure every late-20s male goes through this at a certain point in their life, so I feel no shame in talking about it in public. Oh, and women probably go through whatever the chick version of this would be, as well. I imagine it's close to the same thing, but with boobs. Anyway, during this metaphorical long walk down a lonely road, I've come to some rather eye-opening conclusions about myself. More to the point, about how I see myself, versus how I actually am. And I'm now going to share these findings with you. Do enjoy...

Perception:



I don't literally think that I fight terrorists in office buildings, but I feel that I could if I wanted to. In my mind, I am a man of action; a witty hero with a golden heart who'll always do the right thing and look goddamn manly in the process. But I'm humble, too... I'm aw-shucks personified; I don't dress flash and I'm not boastful about my conquests in the name of good or in the sack. No, no... that wouldn't be proper. And I recognize my flaws... I'm a hard drinker, I'm occasionally cold and reserved, I can be cruel. But these are the flaws that make up an interesting man, a spectacular example of Tom Waits-crafted "guyness" that's equally at home on a bar stool, in a gun fight, or dancing 'til dawn with a beautiful lady in red. And when I close my eyes at night, when I daydream on the subway during my morning commute, this is the version of me that takes center stage. This is me, so I think.

Reality



I am a man for whom the concept of fried, sugared dough was invented, that's the first thing that I've come to know. All other thoughts about my actual self spring outward from that nugget of truth. Look, I know that I'm not a bad guy; I'm pretty funny, and I'm generally pleasant to be around, but there's absolutely no illusion in my rational mind that I'm anything like the version of me described above. When broken down to my basest elements, I'm just this fat guy with a mild drinking problem who seems to not mind that he's killing himself with unhealthy foods and a lethargic lifestyle. And the laziness goes beyond that, creeping into my professional pursuits and even into my romantic life. The phrase "just couldn't be bothered" might as well be printed on all my t-shirts, as it's basically my motto at this point. All of this adds up to a big waste of life, talent, and energy that makes everyone around me gain weight and shrug a lot and feel like maybe their time could be better spent elsewhere.

But here's the thing... to paraphrase one-hit wonders Modern English, I've seen the difference and it's getting better. I've got the love of a good woman behind me (despite all logic), and I've got a direction in which to head that might possibly offer up a glimpse of the light at the end of this proverbial tunnel. That's the benefit of these self-reflective times; if you keep your eyes open, you just might learn something. But more importantly, you can learn how to fix it.

The perception and the reality might never meet; I'm a realist, after all. But I'd say there's a fair chance of the two at least getting within spitting distance by the time I'm 30. So, terrorists... BEWARE!!!

23 Comments:

Blogger GiveEmHellHarry said...

First off, there is nothing in this world that can't be improved with a little deep frying and sugar. And maybe bacon.

Secondly, you're right. All guys go through this. I remember coming to the realization that greatness was not going to be achieved in my lifetime without some radical lifestyle changes that I am just not willing to make. I opted instead to make mediocrity my bitch. We have been very happy together.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous David said...

Maybe you need to hang out in partially finished buildings with lots of bearer bonds in them more often. You could always bring a box of donuts and a six pack to wait for the bad guys to show up. That way you can force your perception and reality together.

11:07 AM  
Blogger stew said...

I guess I was sort of hoping, every day as I read this, that Girlfriend would, in fact, turn out to be a hideously clever terrorist spy and you a Special Forces operative waiting for her to strike and that one night you would be forced to grapple with her to save America. So what had seemed a mundane, meh-existence would actually reveal itself to have been an incredibly complicated battle of ideologies and high-tech weaponry disguised as Things From Chinatown. Then you guys would totally do it.

Am I the only one who thought this????

11:13 AM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Harry... Yeah, that's what I figured. I don't really need to be this idealized version of me; I just want to be a *better* version of me.

David... Maybe. I think I might just start yelling "Yippie-Ki-Yay Motherfucker" a lot, too.

Stew... Who's saying it isn't?

11:24 AM  
Blogger Lioux said...

I, too, am going through the late-20s male thing...Only in my mid-30s.

Perception.

Reality.

Oh. And Stew? Did you get my comment I left you the other day?!

11:32 AM  
Blogger stew said...

lioux, yes, I did. Unfortunately ZIP DOODLE has happened to me in the last few months, except I moved to Texas and got laid. But thanks for the link to the website where I can make extra cash in my spare time selling hoodia! That was awesome!!!

11:43 AM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Lioux... I didn't think your performance at the VMAs was *that* bad.

Stew... Oooh, where in Texas? How is it doing? Does it talk about me ever?

11:49 AM  
Blogger stew said...

I agree, Lioux, I just think Perez is jealous of you.

I'm in Austin. Yes, I had an uncomfortable moment driving through Arlington the other day when Arlington was all kind of quiet and then it kind of goes, "so C Dawg's cool, right?" and I'm like "uh oh here we go" and Arlington is like "no, it's fine, I've moved on" and I'm all like "are you asking me if he's seeing another city?" and Arlington leaned over and turned up the radio. I didn't look over but I think it was crying.

A little later we stopped and had some tacos.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Lioux said...

@ Stew: YOU GOT LAID?!?!?!?!

That's pretty life changing.

11:56 AM  
Blogger stew said...

I KNOW, RIGHT?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was going to send postcards but I didn't have your address.




TWICE!

12:04 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Ooooh, ooooh!!! Austin is my second hometown in Texas!!! Here are my favorite things there that you have run immediately out and experience in an effort to feel the magic of C-dog:

Amy's Ice Cream
Ruby's BBQ
Vulcan Video (tell Rob or David I said Hi)
Dirty's Hamburgers
Ocean's 11 tiki bar (if it's still open, which it probably isn't)
Hole In The Wall
Joe's Generic Bar
Magnolia Cafe (the Neptunian Landscape is mind-blowing)
Texadelphia
Cheapo Records
The Alamo Drafthouse (of course)
Trudy's
Thundercloud Subs
The Grand Saloon on Guadalupe

12:11 PM  
Blogger Braden said...

Welcome to that late 20's Ennui-A-Whirl. There's never a line, and you always ride free!

As for me ...

Perception

Reality

12:11 PM  
Blogger stew said...

I've already done Cheapo's... had an in-story there with a client. I will begin the rest of the list STAT.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Braden... You'll always be the Dragonslayer of my heart.

Stew... Scratch off The Grand Saloon. The place I was thinking of is called Texas Showdown. Same local, but that's the correct name.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Todd said...

Clinton: You know that scene at the end of Saving Private Ryan where the old man version of Matt Damon says "Tell me I have led a good life, Tell me I'm a good man." Well, you're a good man, we'll always be here like the old lady wife of the Matt Damon to tell you so.

Now go get famous Kevin Smith style so I can tell people I know you!

2:38 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Aw, thanks dude. I've always thought of you guys as my old lady wife anyway, so that works out nicely.

Now, off to the store where they sell fame!!!

2:49 PM  
Blogger Todd said...

You're gonna life forever, and you're going to learn how to fly. You'll feel it coming together, and people will see you and cry.

2:58 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

(can't speak; am taking my top off for a sleazy "filmmaker" who's going to make me a big star)

Et vous, Coco, ET VOUS!!!

3:31 PM  
Blogger stew said...

No! Don't take your top off! He's just trying to make porn!

oh, WAIT.

TAKE YOUR TOP OFF. TAKE IT ALL OFF. NOW.

HURRY.

ps we're totes all just being nice to you so we can turn to someone in a bar some night and point to your show on tv and say, "I commented on him."

We're hoping this gets us a free shot of something yummy.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

I love that everyone (and by everyone, I mean two of you) think that I'm at some point going to be famous. It's sweet, seriously.

But you people have no idea how little of a work ethic I've got. It's like a nano-work ethic.

4:30 PM  
Blogger stew said...

Oh, if work ethic were all it took then no-talent balloony ass clowns like Jessica Simpson would be famous!




Um, wait...

6:15 PM  
Blogger Bill From Gainesville said...

Clinton, that was an outstanding post and then the comments also slayed... I have nothing witty to say at all, just damn fine post..

10:18 AM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Aw, thanks dude! All the credit goes to John McClane, though.

10:31 AM  

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