Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Renegade American Dream

That old feeling is coming back. Hard.

I hate that feeling.

That feeling that tells me I can do something.

Something on my own. Something unique. Special.

That’s what we all want, right?

Isn’t that the American dream? The real one, I mean.

To be a maverick…To take things into your own hands…Roll up your sleeves and pull yourself up by your bootstraps…Make something out of nothing…To master your own fate?

We’re told to dream like that. We’re told that we can be and do anything we want.

Those are our heroes…people who’ve done that. That’s WHY they’re our heroes.

But for every one who successfully traveled that road, its sidewalks and ditches are littered with the jingle-jangle of a thousand broken souls who tried and failed. Sold their mortal souls to the devils of whatever dominion they’d hoped to rule.

Riff-raff along the roadside.

There’s gotta be an explanation, we think. They didn’t try hard enough. They weren’t disciplined enough. They weren’t as good as me. Reckless.

So we scoff. From our safe place. Miles away.


And we continue to pursue the corporate American dream. Did you catch that? The CORPORATE American dream. The one they tell us we can have. The one that’s within our grasp. The one that’s reasonable.


So we admire the few who traveled and conquered the renegade American dream. And we cluck our tongues at the poor misguided souls who tried and failed.

But we wish we were as brave as them.

Brave enough to risk.

Brave enough to fail.

But the corporate American dream tells us not to risk.

Dream…but don’t risk.

Admire those who DID risk. Cherish them. Just don’t try this at home.

And definitely don’t wonder what separates those who did from those who tried.

It wasn’t much. They were both wild and reckless.

So why do I hate this feeling? Because it makes me want to try.

I did once. I mean, above and beyond the usual “maybe I’ll get lucky this time” lightweight kind of trying.

I sank resources, time, and money into it. I put passion and effort into it. I rallied people to it. A few got heavily involved in it. Many did marginally. And it all went away; suddenly and violently. Because of something completely beyond my control.

One of the arbiters of that cheap-ass corporate American dream snatched it away. Just ‘cause they could and wanted to. Just like that.

I was determined not to become part of the roadside wreckage, so I dragged myself back to lick my wounds. I vowed to try again.

But I’ve never, ever looked at this safe home place the same way again.

And I’m left with such a nasty taste in my mouth about the whole thing that I also don’t want to try the wild side again.

But this massive thing is stirring within me. Again.

I avoided it for as long as I could.

And I was only allowed back last time because I promised to be a good boy.

I’m just not sure how much longer I can be that.

But, maybe it’s all a good thing. My eyes are wide freakin’ open now and it’s good to have your eyes opened, right?

It’s good to know the truth, right?

The truth will set you free.

But, the truth is…

The system is screwed.


Ever’body just involved in ever’thang just for they own selves.

The big man told me recently that he’s a board of one…and he convenes that board daily to talk about how they can advance.

He’s got a gig that’s supposed to matter.

But, it only does to him.

Knowing the truth up here…north of the rabbit hole, I mean…is all way more truth than I want to know.

I often wish I could just do it over and take the blue pill and go back to being ignorant.

I know the truth about what’s up here.

And I know the truth about the alternative; I know what’s down that rabbit hole.

I know just how many shells of humanity currently make their pitiful existences along that road.

I’ve met ‘em.

Dealt with ‘em.

Fact is, I’ve fed some of ‘em.

And, honestly, I prefer their company.

Those are real folks.

Folks who tried.

Folks who lived.

Lived way more than the squares back in Corporate American Dream Land.

“Man, it's the same bullshit they tried to pull in my day. If it ain't that piece of paper, there's some other choice they're gonna try and make for you. You gotta do what [you] want to do man. Let me tell you this, the older you do get the more rules they're gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin' man, L-I-V-I-N.” - Wooderson (Dazed and Confused)

So I gotta try again.

But I don’t want to.

‘Cause that shit hurts.

And there’s still so much unknown.

Am I good enough?

Is my idea worth it?

Does anyone care?



Will they let me back?

Whether it works or fails, will they let me back again?

Either way, I don’t want to come back.

If it works, I’d gladly look ‘em in the eye and wave bye-bye as the dust from my broke-down ol’ car provides a theatrical curtain drop between me ‘n’ them.

But if it doesn’t…

Where will I go?

What will I do?

Mama’s not interested in another trip down the rabbit hole.

Baby can’t eat anything I’ll find down there.

Most likely ain’t nothin’ down there that’ll help me pay the bills.

But, there is no dual citizenship.

No one’s gonna let me ascend from that hole and work straight during the day, while I plumb the depths after dark.

No one up here is interested in what’s down there.

I’m not interested in what’s up here anymore. But, those that I love are. And that doesn’t make them bad or wrong.

They don’t understand my draw to the rabbit hole.

They don’t need it like I do.

I don’t want to expose them to it, anyway.



  1. What's a lonely pilgrim like you to do? He's supposed to get together with other lonely pilgrims. For coffee. Because he always said that you could talk anything out over a pot of coffee.

  2. See...there I go again (or went)...Runnin' my mouth off with my ideas... ;)

  3. Psh. It's one of my favorite ideas of yours. I've quoted it and implemented it many a time :)