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December 31, 2008
The Borg, whose place in popular culture is assured (despite the obsessive need to ‘assimilate’ people) thanks to the phrase “Resistance is futile,” got it only half-correct. As famously – and brilliantly – pointed out, Man-At-Arms (he of He-Man fame) had to try to fight off the sodomites even though he was surrounded and outnumbered in jail, because “to give in passively to a prison-rape would be to die a little inside”.

My best friend’s little brother was in a serious car accident last night or early this morning. Now this is a kid I haven’t seen in years, so suffice it to say that he’s not such a kid anymore; still, it seems I shall always see him as such, regardless. I recall being intrigued by her family, and liking them very much – especially her mom and her two little brothers, despite their natural tendency to cause her trouble, as little brothers are often wont to.

So imagine my abject horror when, about two years ago, Valerie told me that her littlest brother – let’s call him Daniel, say – may have either cancer or Crone’s disease. Cancer to me was the biggest villain of the 20th Century (Mr. Hitler can go fuck his crazy-ass self), the deus ex machina of the real world (i.e. the borderline incurable disease with nary a root cause that life kills you with when you’ve dodged every other bullet known to man). The other was rare enough that neither my mother – a lifelong health professional – nor my many seasons of watching House M.D. could inform me about. Talk about a choice between a kick in the nuts and a punch in the throat.

I researched Crone’s, as I am wont to do, but to what end, really? Was I hoping to find an online concoction that would be the mysterious cure that doctors had all but overlooked, because they were glued to their soap operas instead of researching Wikipedia? No, I can’t save myself, let alone save someone else, and that’s an infuriating fact of life.

It turns out that Daniel didn’t have Crone’s, or cancer, which was a big relief, no doubt especially for Valerie, who was hundreds of miles away in Scotland; I don’t dare imagine how overwhelming the sense of powerlessness must have been. But since that happy resolution, I have heard snippets of things that are rather upsetting and disturbing – things I shall go into no further detail about for privacy’s sake (yes I can talk about my attempted suicide and my darkest fears and shortcomings because they’re mine). Suffice it to say that it proves that every cloud has a silver lining, and that silver lining is just indicative of a Katrina-style thunderstorm ready to shit-storm on your world.

Which makes me wonder as to the point of it all. Life is hollow without love, and love of course makes one incredibly vulnerable. How do you protect those nearest and dearest to you? How do you ensure they are happy? And how can you truly ever be happy if you can’t be 300% sure that they are truly happy, and vice versa? You can’t control everything they do and that happens to them to make sure that their lives – in this world and the next – meet their fullest potential. And even if you could, what makes you so right? I thought of Chris Reeve last night and I almost cried. Few will argue that he wasn’t a good, strong man, blessed and a blessing, but is that enough? Will his suffering in this life negate any in the next?

Heaven Can Wait is one of those resilient fantasy comedies, probably because it’s supposed to speak to us about how wonderful life truly is. It depicts a life so blissfully perfect that, when it is prematurely and unjustly ended (like any premature and most ‘mature’ deaths are just) he demands it be restored precisely as it was before. But really, what this proves to me is how arbitrary it all is, that one man’s life can be neatly slotted into another’s (or 2, or 3 or 4 or 5, if you count the countless remakes, which seems a contradiction in terms).

I may seem like the wrong person to espouse the pointlessness of existence, given that I – reputedly, there’s no proof – tried to off myself one time. But all I’m saying is how do you live when the propensity for grief and tragedy is so unbearably high – not to yourself but to those around you? (Which is why suicide, while allegedly painless, is irrefutably selfish, ‘cos you neglect the hurt you’d cause). Does anyone have a concrete, no-bullshit answer to that?

My best friend’s little brother has been in a serious car accident. I have no more info except for this. And I cannot comfort or assure her, despite her status on Facebook, despite the early-morning text message today, New Year’s Eve. Despite the fact that I love her more than life, more than myself. Because all I have are words – hollow, echoey, showboating even. I cannot save her (though I’ve tried) – I cannot even save myself. Words are only of significance when directed to the One Person who can help, who can do anything, and that I have done with as much limited ability as is vested in me these days.

But even when praying to God, words alone are simply not enough. And for someone who has had absolutely nothing but words for the longest time, that is a frightening notion.