It never occurred to me that people I know may read this. For years I’ve kept these secrets and posted them so willingly here but never once thought people I know should ever give them a second thought. However, upon reflection it makes sense that these people should be the most interested and invested and made me think of a poem I heard once, or at least a particular verse. The poem was spoken aloud on a the popular AMC drama ‘Mad Men’, the name of the episode escapes me but Jon Hamms voice carried over a particularly somber collection of scenes quoting Frank O’hara:
“Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.” – Frank O’Hara
As the credits rolled I sat and thought of the exact weight of those words. There are people who find things beautiful within you and will nurture them and encourage the most destructive parts of you until it’s too much. Perhaps you have a sharp tongue and people applaud your honesty, maybe you’ll never say no to a night out and people will use this to their advantage and maybe you have a short temper and people will see this as a reason to keep you as a kind of friend-body guard. Amongst other personality traits (too numerous to list) that all seem great in the beginning, wear thin eventually. This then leaves you with no choice but to simply… wait.
What does it mean to be a good person? Is it the ability to do good things or notice when something’s wrong and step in? Is it knowing when the classic idea of the ‘right thing’ may not necessarily be the right thing to do for that situation?
Can you be defined as a good person if you don’t know right from wrong? The idea that there is such a thing as good and bad in people is that we have a sense of this. For example a shark isn’t considered evil because we perceive that it doesn’t have a moral compass, it eats and swims without feeling guilt for keeping itself alive. The bee stings out of instinct and doesn’t consider the fact that it’ll die after therefore suggesting it’s not making a conscious choice to do the right thing and not harm living things. I believe Morality stems from knowing what’s right and wrong and choosing thereafter however where is the line?
Can a good person still do bad things and vice versa? Giving to the homeless, charities, being kind and generous, eating healthy and exercising, maybe even going as far as being vegetarian. Listening to others and giving time to people around you, speaking in turn and being honest and doing everything you can to not hurt another person – all things universally considered good. Murder, violence, taking drugs or stealing. Lying, speeding, texting while driving and interrupting people. Stomping your feet and eating boiled eggs on a train, chewing with your mouth open, swearing and ignorance or being rude and loud in public – all things universally considered bad. Yes there is a sliding scale, but can someone do a bad thing in order to be good? Can you steal food to feed a homeless person? Can you lie to do everything you can to not hurt someone? Can you do all of this and be considered simply as good, or bad?
In terms of a self proclaimed bad deed, recognising it’s bad is half the battle. In my experience It no longer becomes about if you can be drunk enough, the question is can you be sober enough? Attempting to cancel out the bad with good to prevent more waiting. In order to stop from having to repeat the philosophy of Frank O’hara and have to wait for your catastrophic personality to be beautiful again can you be sober enough that all your jokes are still funny and your words aren’t slurred? Can you still be sober enough that you can still hold w conversation and be honest with everyone you meet?
Can you still be sober enough to get a days work done and go out with friends and not have anything question what you do?
Can you be honest enough?
Can you be honest with yourself to the point where you know that you’re lying?
Can you realise when you’ve done wrong and that your choices have led you down the wrong path and can you even make the right choices after that fact? Can you be good enough?