Being the random thoughts of Greg Tito, age 29.

Announcements for my standup comedy gigs are here at gregtito.com.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

There is a battle

I've spoken before about the wonders of New York City. I stand by my words, that NY is a city of superlatives. So many of its denizens are striving to succeed, like so many weeds spreading their leaves to catch a few rays of sunshine. The city is not easy to live in, but that is what makes its success stories so valuable. You can also argue (and I have told myself this over andover again) that merely existing here for so long (5.5 years) is an accomplishment in and of itself.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about. Not really. I don't even know if the two subjects are necessarily related. Maybe they are a little. Can you tell I'm hving trouble starting this bitch?

I have two people inside me. One is a recluse. He would like nothing more than to go home after work, play World of Warcraft, eat Ramen and tomato soup and never speak to anyone. He smokes and jerks off on a consistently disgusting pace. He drinks coffee and blackberry brandy. He stays up until 4am playing Civ4 and then sleeps until 2. He watches all the LOTR movies in one day, buys the Xbox 360 on Ebay, and satisfies his every nasty whim. He is selfish, never giving time to his wife or his friends. Just coasting on whatever makes him happy at that given moment. I am totally capable of turning into this person, sometimes for long stretches of time.

The other person in me is the acheiver. He is the guy who wanted to be a writer since he was a kid. He does everything he can to make something. He loves stage managing theater, but gave it up because it interfered with his dream. He is the guy who writes plays about writer writing plays. He has a great idea for a fantasy series. He produces movies and plays because he loves to create. He is married (to Mephistopholes, but that's a different story.) He goes to the gym. He plays basketball. He gets up in front of people and tries to make them laugh, because he likes it. He blogs. He puts too much on his plate, because he knows about the other guy.

These two parts of my psyche are always fighting. The acheiver feels guilty when I spend too much time as the Recluse. Perhaps it's my Catholic upbringing, but guilt is a big part of my motivation. And yet, the Recluse is the carrot held up before the Acheiver. "Just makes this movie, and you can spend some time as me." It's a weird, freaky relationship. It's one that I end up talking about often in my writing. I wrote a short film script in which the two characters are the two I'm describing. It sucks, but it clearly outlines this distinction.

Recently, I've realized that everybody fights this battle. I am not unique. My situation may be more pronounced than non-artists, if only becuase my chosen vocation (writing, art) is not the same job that I go to every day. I see Mephistopholes go through this battle when she talks about auditions. But I also see Rain Delay talk about it when he describes his cases at work. It's not easy to fight this battle, especially when you don't understand it.

It is crucial to grasp this concept though, because it is at the core of what makes us human. We are not content to just eat, sleep and live until we die. We must acheive something. Even if it is just to pass on one's genes to the next generation, we all have the need to create, to get that raise, to improve our lot. The choice to NOT create is the same as choosing death.

But you don't have to take my word for it. (Ba-da-bump!)

Andy Dufresne: Get busy living, or get busy dying.
-The Shawshank Redemption(1994)
Rob: I guess it made more sense to commit to nothing, keep my options open. And that's suicide. By tiny, tiny increments.
-High Fidelity (2000)

Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: [narrating] Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life... But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin' else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got heroin?
-Trainspotting(1996)

2 comments:

MostlyModest said...

Wise words, my friend.

Bob Jingle said...

Thanks, Modest. I hope I didn't bring the room down too much.