I was born on August 25, 1988 at 9:00 in the morning. My mother had yet to graduate high school and my older brother had just turned two. Roughly one minute later my twin brother was born and it was the year of the dragon. My twin brother’s name is Derrek. During an ultrasound one of us kicked the other one; and maybe we couldn’t get along, and that’s why we got out of there 3 months early. What we didn’t realize is that leaving the womb three months early meant our mother would have to sign a waiver allowing a mystery pill to be tested to analyze it’s effects on lung development in pre-mes. I personally didn’t realize that I would be a bubble boy for a time and have asthma and a hernia and be born into a struggling lower-class business family in southeast Ohio. On August 25, 1988 at 9:00 in the morning I was born.
We started out in Athens. When we were not very old we moved to Jacksonville, Florida. I swear I remember playing with a ‘Pinnochio’(copyright bullshit) whale in a Georgia hotel. Mom and dad fought, dad moved back to Ohio, someone stole our laundry and then we moved back also. Not much older we moved to Coolville, Ohio. Derrek and I wiped diaper poo on the walls like a painting and we smiled until mom cried. Charlie, Derrek, and I met our best friend, Nick, who lived across the yard from us. It was Coolville and we were to grow up here.
I got sick all of the time. I remember spoonfuls and spoonfuls of yucky icky turn your face cough medicine. I swear I remember my stomach being warm as i stare at a static television. I remember being carried down to the car during an asthma attack while wearing a blue ninja turtles onesy. I played ‘Atari’(copyright bullshit) and watched old ‘Godzilla’(copyright bullshit) movies and hated ‘Cocoa Wheats’(copyright bullshit) at Nick’s when his mom babysat us. I loved coloring and drawing. My mom worked at a bank. My dad sold cars and spent his money on weed a lot. My twin and I had our own language. He taught me to ride a bike. School started- a girl named Madilyn Holland taught me to tie my shoes. Someone called Derrek and I out for holding hands and we never did it again. We made friends with a guy named Brick, I stopped a friend from being bullied. We mad kites for christmas and got nothing in return. My dad would hit us sometimes and always stayed in the basement. I drew a comic titled ‘The Basement Butthead’- and every attempt to visit my underground father I came back upstairs crying. I do not remember most of these things. In ‘96 I told my art teacher I wasn’t tracing the rhinoceros in permanent marker, I hid under my bed to avoid school, Ross Perot’s color for the states with his vote was grey to me, and my little sister was discovered inside of my mom. A blur came and some friends we used to have faded out. I stopped playing ‘Power Rangers’(copyright bullshit) at recess. Mom’s new boyfriend liked cool video games like us. His sons made us question our family dynamic. We were a team. Nick and my brothers and I were going to start a band and we made our barn a clubhouse. We stopped having visitations with Dad. I felt like shit after I didn’t want to wear the halloween costumes mom spent good money on. I saved my two year old sister from drowning in the pool we somehow afforded. I sat in our van and closed my eyes and tried to love what nothingness is like. Our dog, Boots, who mom found along side the road a long time ago died from a pool and she was buried under pine trees. I started hating a lot of things. I broke a lot of windows, and a mirror crashed to the floor, because it felt like water. I was in 8th grade and already disliked humanity for the way they crowded us together. 9-11 happened and Derrek was at the doctor’s office and we were in trouble because we weren’t being serious enough, having not known what the trade centere3s were. I got in small fights a lot and everyone talked about sex.
A 35 year old woman died and mom wanted us all to start going to church. I listened to ‘Creed’(copyright bullshit) and hung out with stoners and gamers. It was at this point mom got a new boyfriend, whom she married and my little sister called dad. I recall reprimanding her for eating dirt with her friend, Katie. High School. I witnessed the first act of what I thought to be irrational bullying in front of a teacher who did nothing about it. I made friends with the school christians and went to ‘Young Life’(copyright bullshit) camp where I learned about C.S. Lewis. I hated every sexual feeling, because it was sinful. We started playing on the soccer team because our friends did and it was a rush like fighting. At this point I knew I couldn’t ever shoot an animal. We made medieval weapons in woodshop class and bloody’d our knuckles breaking them in fights. Mr.Green, the wrestling teacher, taught us how to be business professionals. Derrek started dating Taibtha Gibson after he woo’d her by gaining enough muscle. We lost every soccer game ever played, but did it in style because we all played mostly the whole game. I made two very important friendships through church. Junior year an ominous voice told me I was a glutton when I picked up a doughnut. When I prayed I did it visually. i stopped eating much at all. I listened to ‘Chevelle’(copyright bullshit), watched ‘Family Guy’(copyright bullshit) dvds religiously, obsessed over ‘Lord of the Rings’(copyright bullshit), loved biology II class. My friend, Jesse’s, dad became obsessed with christianity and taught us lessons after chopping wood. That winter a friend and I tried to build a cave and ate white rice. That year I couldn’t run track because when I ran I felt like a stone golem. That year, 2005, I found a contradiction in the bible, called a dietician, and became an atheist. Derrek and I did our senior year online. We started taking kung fu because life is short. I became a health nut. We analyzed ‘Simulacra and Simulation’ by Jean Baudrillard. We learned about meditation. We couldn’t get into the college we wanted to. We read up on class warfare, quantum physics, philosophy, corporate agriculture, solidarity economics, and the anarchist’s cookbook. Nick and Derrek decided to join the navy, so despite all logic I joined also. High school ended.
Right before that, Derrek, a friend, and I, went on a hiking trip in Pennsylvania where we searched for a cooler the friend, Doug, saw many years before possibly containing money. We didn’t find it but had a blast. I came up with a saying that goes: ‘I’m looking for a place that doesn’t exist. I search and search yet always persist. Where is this place I’m expecting to find? It’s nowhere at all except in my mind.’
I go into the military. I talk to a Marine whose muscly and bald and reads tons of Nietzsche. We sleep in a van for several hours to pass the time. We started processing. Our personal belongings are taken, we stand in lines, piss in cups, I found time to meditate once, we receive new personal items. We are born again into the military compound. We make new friends. We make brand new traumas. We write and receive letters. We suffer through bootcamp. It all made me think of how it’s a kind of society. I get a bravo zulu award for being a really squared away sailor. I start seeing water dripping from the ceiling at random. Bootcamp ends.
I lost 16 lbs. I start engineer training in North Chicago. The equivalent of a college campus, I try to emphasize good values on others. I do well in training, help run a toys for kids in Uganda drive, advocate recycling for my building, I buy organic food and refuse to eat at the chow hall. Night school- I fall behind. I get stressed stop eating. I put anti-corporation rally fliers all over the on-base ‘McDonalds’(copyright bullshit). I’m forced to see a counselor, refute her advice viewing her as apathetic, give them my journals to review, containing a lot of suicidal notions. I’m told to take out the trash and recycling and must throw it all into the dumpster. I burn my hands out of self-mutilation, call my mom crying, and am taken to the local VA psych ward. At that point I sat in a hospital bed smiling. I meditated knowing that by doing the most just that I could I had stayed true to myself. Shortly after, Lou, the psych ward lieutenant, said I had to eat or I’d have a tube shoved down my throat. I saw myself at the end of options, not a failure but a missionary, held hostage, and decided to kill myself. I laid on my bed face down so as to apply my weight onto the pillow. I become the pillow. I breathe no more. I become nothing. I see a glowing bluish white ball net thing and I go into it. Everything is nothing. I become afraid of ‘Hell’(copyright bullshit) and say no and am awakened by my body having pulled my chin to my chest. I breathe, roll on my back, and burst into laughter. I meet sane and insane veterans, sane and insane folks like me, I am still friends with one person I met named Faith, who lives in Arizona.
I, like god, am an idea, a #, I only exist on paper, can question what I am doing, where I am going, why I’m here, insane and dichotomous, I can end myself and become someone, or something else, or nothing at all.