Only the abnormal would aspire to be a writer. Would anyone else but the mentally imbalanced lock themselves in a room away from other people, day after day, typing away at manuscripts in the vain hope of earning the adulation of other people? There’s a reason we have so many novels about vampires.
It’s difficult to say with great certainty, however, that someone is abnormal in a state like California, where you find yourself waiting for a port-a-potty at Campbell Octoberfest behind a mohawked woman with arms and tattoos like a Samoan linebacker, and the next moment in the checkout queue at Whole Foods with goat milk ice cream melting in your hot little hands while a student in a Tyrolean hat and suspenders in front of you tries to use Bitcoin to pay for his cruelty-free tofu salad.
That young man obsessed with soy and internet currency rationalizes his behavior in one of two methods: by comparing himself to people who are more extreme than he (e.g. I may eat tofu sashimi twice a day, but at least I’m not Henry Rollins), or by comparing himself to people in the suburbs (e.g. I may be squatting in a $1000/month Tenderloin flat with four roommates and the constant smell of Korean barbeque, but at least I don’t have a lawn and good schools).
A fundamental flaw exists in both types of comparative thinking. First of all, the people you consider more extreme are ninety-five percent of the time only people you’ve seen on television, where “extreme” behavior is carefully scripted and planned with “extreme” focus-group consulting and “extreme” use of “extreme,” so much so that when you flip through the channels and finally find a show that’s NOT about a gay punk guitarist and historical women’s fiction writer who solves future crimes while inking cruelty-free tattoos at her RenFair booth, you sigh in relief but have a strange craving for mead. At home, these television personalities frequently have less personality than a vanilla wafer soaked in milk. It’s been whispered through my door that Johnny Knoxville collects stamps in his spare time, and someone tossed a bathroom tile through my window upon which were scrawled the words “Val Kilmer Likes Pie”.
The other side of the comparative “at least I’m not like them” coin are the suburbs, where ninety-five percent of the people are more interesting than anyone you’ll see on television. A neighbor of mine is an accountant, and comes home to an immaculate three-bedroom California ranch full of wax figures no longer popular enough to be at Madame Toussad’s. (Because children may be reading this, I will refrain from describing the horrific scenes, apart from five words: Timothy Van Patten and ALF.) Next to this gentleman lives a couple ostensibly in the real estate business, but who actually run an escort agency that caters to a mature clientele. Not someone you’d call to take grandpa to the library, if you know what I mean. (Unless that’s what the kids call sex these days, I can’t keep up.)
In summation, kids, stop tossing your lit cigarettes at the boring-looking suburbanites, because they are far more likely to come after you in a minivan-induced rage with ten years of thai kickboxing classes than the bearded hipster on his fixie.
In other news, I am working on my fourth book, which is a follow-up to the third book, which isn’t even out yet.