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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Flunk, Fail, Flail, Flucked

I can convince myself of anything as long as it's bad.




If I work hard enough, I can convince myself that I don't know something that I know I really know. I can convince myself I don't know how to tie my shoes. I can sit on the edge of my bed in the morning, pick up my right shoe, stare at it, sigh in that familiar, disappointed way I've perfected after so many years of self-hatred and disappointment and say to myself, "That-- you can't do that. Look at that knot, it's doubled. It's doubled and you're singled and you can't undo what's been done." And an eyebrow will rise slightly, and my head will cock to the side a bit, and I'll pull the tongue of the shoe from the heel and I'll jam my flat, misshapen foot inside of it, stretching out the leather and decreasing the life expectancy of the shoe I paid for with my hard-earned money I received from the auspices of the employer of the job that I oftentimes convince myself I don't know how to do.

I don't know how to do my job.

My job is someone else's job. At least, it should be.

I didn't go to school for my job.

I went to school for another job, a job that I also don't know how to do.

What I do know how to do is fake things. I'm a brilliant faker-- I remarkable faker. I perform in operettas, but I don't know how to sing. Not really. I imitate professional performers who do know how to sing, who spent decades under the stern tutelage of foreign voice coaches and sipped countless mugs of honey-imbued lemon tea to coat their throats and I mimic them and fool audiences, some of them even discerning ones, that I know how to sing.

But, I don't know how to sing. I've convinced myself of that. Some day, someone will find out, and I will be outed, possibly in the midst of a performance. They'll be sitting in Row L and they'll stand up, hitch up their trousers unceremoniously and scream, "FAKER!" and he won't even bother pointing at me, because everybody will instantly know whom he's speaking about.

And I'll be crestfallen, but, in the back of my mind, I'll admire him for having the balls to do what no one has done before: expose me.

That I've lived 31 years and graduated high school even though I cannot perform the most rudimentary mathematical equations without the aid of a calculator and life support, the fact that I've held multiple jobs, some of them dealing with actual life and death, the fact that I've been compensated for ineptitude and indifference and incompetence is startling, shocking and scary.

I guess it's because I'm white and wear glasses and I tuck in my shirts. I can do anything.

A friend of mine hired me to do freelance editing and copywriting work for her a while ago. My name's on her company's website. She sends me jobs, I do them. I have no idea what I'm doing. Does she know? I don't know. These companies that accept my copy-- I can't believe they do it. I don't know what I'm writing about. I don't know the first thing about these corporations or what they do or what they expect from me or what they want. I don't know what they're selling or to whom, I don't know the target audience or the demographics. I stumble through my work blindly and, the second I'm finished, I send the fakery, the lunacy, the ridiculum to my friend without editing it, without looking at it because it makes me sick. I pray it's good enough. I pray no one catches on that I'm a fraud, or, as Holden would say, "a goddamn phony".

Some day, someone will get it. Some day.

I don't know how to be a father. I hold and kiss and change and burp and swaddle and shush and dress but I don't know what I'm doing. I'm faking it. And I suppose being a father, the most important thing I've ever been in my life, is the only thing in this world that's acceptable to fake, because every man who's ever reproduced as faked his way through it.

It's all the other stuff I've ever done that you're supposed to be good at before you do it.

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