The Great Depression

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

That’s the sound of screaming children, rejections, keystrokes, doctors, and everything else in my life all rolled into one. Within ten weeks, my life will change. I know for a fact I’m not ready, and I don’t think I ever will be ready.

It all comes down to the same summary: I am not a family man. I’ve never wanted a family, and even with a child growing in my girlfriend’s body, I still don’t want a family. I feel like I can’t be responsible for another life, especially since I really don’t care about my own.

I watch the world around me and see nothing that gives me any hope for the future. Droves of people line up in front of the welfare office like it’s opening day at Six Flags. They flash SNAP cards at the local Kroger. They fill out hundreds of job applications, only to be rejected.

I look at myself, too. I have no money. No job. No car. I live in the Great Depression.

I have no mental stability left. I dispatch Tylenol from their containers and count them, hoping that there will be enough to succumb to acetominophen poisoning. I fight my compulsion to ingest bleach or find a high surface to jump from. So I reiderate, how do I take care of another life when I don’t even value my own?

Sometimes, when  I look in the mirror, I see my ten-year-old self staring back at me. “I can’t believe I’m turning into you,” he says in his little snot-nosed bastard-like way. All I can do apologize, to which he scoffs and returns to cracking fly balls over the right field fence on his Super Nintendo.

Other times, I see what I could have become. An ace for the Mariners. A quarterback for the 49ers. A guard for the Celtics. A shaggy-haired artist holding a guitar. Or a pen. Or a camera.

But, as with all dreams, they eventually fade into reality. When the images melt away with the condensation on the mirror, all I see is me:

Nearly twenty-four.

An addict.

A failed musician.

With smile lines.

Crow’s feet.

And suicidal.

Wow, those are some great traits for a father to have.

Sometimes, when I wake up, I don’t open my eyes immediately, and hope that when I do, I’ll be back home, fourteen, and getting ready for another day of high school. If I knew then what I know now, I would have done things differently. I would have been more serious about school.Maybe I could have avoided all of this if I could have done one thing differently, like maybe not decided to be a skateboarder, or given myself time between relationships, instead of trying to fill a whole that I now know won’t ever be filled.

No such luck. Unfortunately, I don’t have a friend named Emmet Brown.

At times, I wonder how the people I’ve been with in the past have recovered from the curse of me. Maybe they’re happier in their new lives? A little more centered, perhaps?

Maybe Jenna’s happier in her new life? Wherever that may be.

Goddammit, just one thing differently and I wouldn’t be here, staring at ghosts of things I could have become or dealing with the constant discouragement of my ten-year-old self. Wow, I’ve ruined his life, too.

When the sun rises, I feel sick. When the sun sets, I feel anxious. The life I have now is definitely not where I wanted to be, and I really only have myself to blame for it. I’ve caused myself to lose faith in myself and the world around me. The one enveloped in the Great Depression.


About Robert L. Franklin

Ah, the About Me section - social networking's excuse for you sounding like an elitist prick. Hmm... what to say? What to say?
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