by Brian John Mitchell
It’s been just over a month
since my car wreck (my girlfriend says that there’s no such thing as a
car accident because the term accident implies it’s unpreventable) &
my head is still screwed up. The song “Blank Generation” was playing
on the college radio station & I was trying to figure out if it was
the Germs & if maybe they were having some kind of resurgence because
they’re making that Darby Crash movie. It was one of those fall mornings
where there are thunderstorms & tornadoes & the car in front of
me slammed on his brakes to a dead stop while going down a big hill where
everyone in this city has gotten a ticket in a speed trap. I guess
part of why it is really messing with my head is because for about six
months I’ve had a little prayer that goes, “Lord, please let me die in
some horrible accident that teaches other people to be careful. Amen.”
So maybe this was just to shake me out of my being tired of living, but
it hasn’t worked. Instead, I feel even more calm & ready to pass
away than ever. Instead I keep fantasizing about being in more accidents.
I keep hoping/thinking maybe my death has already happened a la An Incident
at Owl Creek Bridge or Jacob’s Ladder or Donnie Darko. Maybe it just
happened last month or maybe twenty years ago. No matter what, it
is certain in that my death is an unavoidable conclusion to my birth.
So I’m trying to remember the last thing that I feel certain was real &
I can’t keep my mind straight on anything else. I have trouble concentrating
enough to make food to eat to keep my body running. When I eat I
feel nauseous & I feel hungry & tired all the time. I want
to just curl up in my blanket that isn’t warm enough to protect me from
the cold & die in it. I want people to think I’m shaking because
of the cold instead of because I’m scared. What I should want to
do is make the world a better place for me having existed, but I just don’t
have the strength (my ex-girlfriend says I’m numb from a deep depression).
It’s pathetic to feel old & worn out at thirty-one, but here I am.
Maybe part of it is that I am artificial. The persona called “Brian
John Mitchell” (though it is my given name) was invented one night when
I was eighteen. It has for all intents & purposes destroyed “Brian”
who existed before then. A caricature of a child’s dream of being
an artist & being a man. “Brian John Mitchell” is unquestionably
stronger than “Brian” in everyway perceivable, but there seems to be something
wrong & thirteen years after his birth & faced with both his own
mortality & that of his grandmother he helps take care of, he’s breaking.
So “Brian” is coming out & he’s still a child. He thinks he’s
still in middle school & is trying to remember his locker combination.
He thinks everyone he knows will be famous & important when they grow
up. He thinks the friends he has will last forever. He thinks
he knows everything because he read a book by Che Guevara & another
book by Mao Tse Tung & watches a lot of television & these vicarious
lives have taught him all he needs to know about life. Maybe he’s
right. Maybe they have taught him all he needs to know. Taught
him so much that his existence is just a variance of a repetition.
But he is an automaton. He has no purpose, but he is perpetual.
I need to figure out which one is going to kill the other in the end &
join his side so that whatever “me” is can survive. This is my nervous