Tuesday, October 17, 2006

clark kent

Speaking of being eaten alive, let me tell you about Clark Kent, so-called for bearing an uncanny resemblance to that bespectacled Man of Steel. Only this is Clark Kent if he married Lois Lane and settled down and had two kids and got a job as a warehouse manager. And Lois got jealous and lazy and fat and stayed home all day watching soaps and yelling at the kids and complaining that their house wasn't nice enough. And Clark became nervous and withdrawn and put on some weight and adopted the permanent stooped posture of the broken-hearted. And then Clark decided he couldn't live like that anymore, and with the kids out of high school he wanted to enjoy whatever was left of his life, so he sold all his stuff and moved into an apartment.

His first night in the apartment he went out to a strip club for the first time in more than ten years and only halfway into his first rum-and-coke he was familiarly accosted by a redheaded stripper named Grace. He was so terrified he couldn't think of anything to say, and after about two minutes of attempted small talk she patted his knee and left, and the sight of her walking away filled him with such feelings of abandonment and loss that when he saw her on stage ten minutes later he walked up and tipped her $50. Because maybe if she would just come back, it would be like everything was OK. And she did come back, and for a while everything was.

He gave her his business card and asked her to call, but she didn't, so the next week he came back and spent even more money. And because it was lonely in his new apartment all by himself, he came back the next night and the next. And she was always glad to see him, and she was always nice to him, and she always took her clothes off any time he asked. And he told her how he thought about her all the time -- every day at work and every night while he was falling asleep. He told her how much he'd love to take her up to upstate New York where he was born, and he told her how she should meet his parents and how much they would love her, and he told her how he thought he and she would have beautiful children together, and how every love song on the radio reminded him of her. And then he asked her to marry him.

And she never says yes to anything, but she never exactly says no, and any time he tries to bring it up, he finds they are suddenly talking about something else. She told him that she has a boyfriend, but he knows it won't last, because that guy doesn't love her like he does and someday he will make her understand how much he really loves her and they will be together forever and everything will be perfect. And now she's changing her schedule without telling him, working different nights, nights when he can't make it in. Sometimes she has other customers and is too busy to spend time with him, and that seems to happen more and more lately, but that's OK. He understands, and he just sits at the bar drinking rum-and-coke and watching her walk around the room. Now she's telling him that she's going to be traveling and might not see him for a while, and he's sad, he will miss her, but not too sad, because he knows that meeting her was no accident -- it was mean to be -- it was fate. And nothing can stop fate.


Anonymous said...

The quintessential Pathetic Loser. Those of us who have been there will understand.

Brad K. said...

Have you recommended he watch Demi Moore in 'Striptease', and watch for the 'Jerry' character? Or Congressman Dilbeck (Burt Reynolds)?

Anonymous said...

It's tough being irresistible, isn't it? Some people are just so spectacularly cool -- smart, hilarious, kind, wise, beautiful -- that they attract all kinds of hangers-on who can't let go because there just aren't that many spectacular people out there. And when a spectacular person gives an ordinary insecure person the time of day, it's like warm sunshine and perfect happiness. Most people haven't been bestowed with such grace and feel like they are experiencing their cosmic purpose. Knowing it probably won't come again is too awful a thought to allow reason to intrude.

Every person only has one life. That's the bitch of it.

But the thing is, we're fundamentally on our own. If we are occasionally bestowed with grace, we should be grateful for it rather than try to shoot it and stuff it and hang it on our wall. If we find someone amazing to spend our lives with, it's just gravy.

I'm currently (sort of) on the wrong side of this equation. My boy in Oz just got back with the girl he wasn't quite over when we were seeing each other. Probably for the best. But here in Napoleonville, it's aching hard to find anyone who compares. The younger ones are too immature and the older ones are too jaded and needy. It's not a healthy atmosphere. I just want another whole and complete person to be whole and complete with.