Writing Practice, May 11 2015
A man holds me a brochure. I palm it and don’t look down. I don’t really know what’s in my hand and won’t until I sit down and get bored. And I wont get bored for a few more minutes, until I’ve fully digested a slap of a fact: I am unnoticeably average. It stings for the reason it should, and the reason you’d guess. Before I entered this room with a disorientingly high ceiling and hundreds of disappointingly low chairs, I did not think I was average. I thought if I put in some considerable effort–and if this effort was focused on fitness and fashion–I’d stand out, be remembered, and perhaps even progress in life the way exceptional people do, in all the serendipitous ways in which they do it.
Other exceptional people have entered times like I just had. They had brochures handed to them. Or was it cigarettes? I wanted cigarettes. In that moment, more than feeling like I’d been sold a lie, I wanted a great goddamned smoke. Smoking would make me stand out.
What I saw was over a hundred other men who’d also thrown dice at this fashion and fitness lie. Stone had done slightly better than others, and better than me. Some relied more on the fashion than the fitness. These mingling men, in person and on their phones, fell for it just like I had. What was the point of working out and buying expensive sart if not to look uniquely better? It made not only all the time and money feel like a waste, but it also cast doubt on my taste. There were at least three other men in my eyeline with the same exact shirt, and those guys looked liked assholes. They probably thought I was an asshole too. They had the right. What fight could I even put up?