Monday, May 28, 2012

The Great Competitor: A Parable

The Great Competitor is born. He's a dim-eyed baby with a lackluster cry and no taste for the breast.

He becomes a boy, a little weakened by store-bought formula. Because he feels weak, he fights hard to look strong. He tells other boys how strong he is. He pushes better boys in hallways and he plays playground kickball as if his life is threatened by second place. (Because it is.)

He becomes a teen, which is when he wraps his weaknesses around him like a protective coat. He tortures his teachers, who are in it only for him. (He will brag about this into adulthood, because he won't have come far enough to be ashamed.) He goes on weekend quests for disorientation and disoriented sex -- girls he can use to add sex muscles to his beer muscles; to his soul's muscles. He fights, too. He hurts to feel better; he forces himself into others with his body, because he can't get into their hearts. He wins. He always wins.

But he always wakes up weak. And he feels it. He's not smart enough to know it. He feels it and he can't explain it, because poetry and philosophy are for faggots. Nevertheless, it's like a sunburn on the inside, sometimes hot; sometimes a maddening itch that leads to layer after layer of peeling away. He covers it up with noise and drinking and constant motion. Constant motion. Constant motion. To stop is to think. To think is to feel weak.

He becomes a man (according to the numbers). Like some soft-skinned dragon wishing for harder scales, he rakes possessions toward himself. He wears a wife who is as sunburned inside as he is. He leads her by the elbow in public and he rolls away from her in bed at night. (She goes elsewhere when his is away.)

He drives a big car with a big name. He gets his nails done. (This is manly when poetry is not.) He fixes his hair, smooth and severe. He wears a watch that blinds the universe when he checks the time.

One day, The Great Competitor has a son whose mother never considers offering the breast because it cost way too much.

The son becomes a boy...

who becomes a teen...

who becomes a man...

who has  a son of his own.

The Great Competitor dies. His son; his grandson -- they do not cry, because crying is for faggots.

The Great Competitor is buried in an expensive coffin.

The boys he bullied and the girls he hurt do not know he's gone.

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