You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This Blog Is About You

January 26, 2007 at 1:13 AM | Posted in Personal | 2 Comments

"Let me not seem to have lived in vain."

Tycho Brahe.  Danish Nobleman and Scientist.  What a piece of work.  These were his dying words.

I can relate, brother.  I can relate.

  My beloved, my darling, my Detroit–she and I had a conversation.  There was a commercial for hearing aids, and I mentioned that I told my sister that our dad needs one.  She told me that he has several and won’t wear them.
  Detroit says, "Your dad is very vain."  And then she looked at *me*.  It took only a second for me to make the connection, because I am brilliant.
  "It’s a good thing I’m not–" was about all that I could get out.
  But for her to tell me this was kind of a revelation for me.  I had never considered myself vain, not really.  I mean, I’m a fat middle-aged white guy, working a couple of dead end jobs with delusions of grandure, but–
  Oh, yeah, maybe that’s it.  Detroit adds this to the mix, that I have a fear of growing old.
  She may be right about the vanity, but wrong about the growing old.  I’ll get to that in a second.  But the vanity we will deal with right now.
  I want to be rich and/or famous.  I want to be famous, actually, for my creative brilliance.  I guess I am touched in the head with the vanity.  I have always thought I was intellectually superior to. . .well, everyone.  It doesn’t help that I am actually pretty smart, and therefore intellectually superior to over 90% of the people on the planet.
  This causes an inferiority psychosis:  If I’m so goddamn smart, why the hell ain’t I richer?  Huh?  Huh?  Got an answer for that, genius-boy?  Well, actually, I do.
  One of those feel-good empowerment maxims that was taped to the back wall of a cake decorating supply store indicated that success was all about hard work, it didn’t matter how smart you are, unsung genius is a sad but standard story in our times, it didn’t matter how smart you are as long as you work hard.
  What a blow to my freakin ego.  Dual blow, actually.  Not only–not only was the massive intelligence that I possess virtually useless, but the one thing that I don’t have–the ability to work hard, persevere–is deemed the most important to success.  Christ!
  It reminds me of a "Dilbert" cartoon.  Dilbert was going to join Mensa, the club for brainiacs.  (I myself have considered joining.  Maybe I will, I need the ego boost.)  Not only did his garbage man belong, but when he asked another member who worked with him why they were stuck working there for their low salaries he said (and I quote):
  "Intelligence has much less practical application than you might think." 
  So I am fairly smart, and somewhat creative–and this gives me cause for vanity?  I’m not thin.  I’m not good-looking, by any stretch of the imagination.  I’m far from financially successful.  What the hell do I have to be vain about?
  I guess it’s all subjective.  But then again, I could be wrong.  I mean, how am I an expert?  Insecurity rides shotgun with vanity, I think.  Vanity may be a defense mechanism–it covers up the insecurity, gives it a coat of primer.  I. . .
  I was picked on and teased in school.  Maybe everyone was–?  No, not everyone.  There are always the kids who are always popular, always perfect, always good looking.  I’m sure they have other problems, but getting psychologically abused from your entire student body is not one of them.  Good Lord, I was beaten down.  I was beaten down so much that when it stopped. . .
  I didn’t know it had stopped.  I was still cowering in the corner, in my own little world.  Ask me if I want to be a teenager again.  Go ahead, ask me.  ASK ME!
  When I finally did bloom out of my shell like the delicate little desert flower that I am, I’m sure that all these past experiences, as an aggregate, took their part in shaping who I am now.  So I rise out of those ashes and what?  Have a superiority complex?
  I have always, for some reason, wanted to make a name for myself somehow?  Do I feel an inner compass pointing to my destiny?  No.  I think it’s a fear of death.  Not growing older.  Dying.  I don’t like the idea of growing older ONLY because, so far, all evidence suggests that it leads to death.  I want to make a name for myself because therein lies immortality.  How many millions, how billions of people have lived and died, and no one beyond their small circle of family and friends ever heard of them?  And what drives me to desire this?
  I guess I would rather die of old age than anything else.  What I really fear is dying in a car wreck.  It’s the singular notoriety of which I do not wish to participate.
  . . .I have become a very cautious driver. . .

  Google Tycho Brahe, or look him up on wikipedia, and ask yourself–"Is a gold nose the same as a golden calf, and is notoriety the same thing as fame?



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  1. what?
    I can\’t hear you…   🙂

  2. Well, the "fat" bald men that I have known (including my ex-son in law) were all vain. With no reason to be so vain.
    But, I do think "fat" bald men are sexy.
    I think balding men with ponytails are sexy.
    I think you are sexy and I can understand why Detroit left her heart in your care.
    Death is only the start of a new life. 🙂

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