As I said on Monday, I am going to start sharing some of the things that I was cutting from the book. For the most part I think some of them make pretty good blog posts, or would make a pretty interesting read but don’t exactly fit into the scheme of the book with the direction I want to take it. I don’t plan on sharing anything that I believe just truly sucks, and in fact, I will probably print that off on paper and burn it in effigy just to free myself from the horror of having created it. No arguing, there are something that must be unmade!
Today’s excerpt actually used to be Part 1 of the book, and I thought I’d start with the top and work my way down. As I see it, of the roughly 50,000 words in my manuscript about 20,000 or so are usable for the book, but most of it is still something worth sharing.
I hope you are okay with that.
Who am I?
I am not particularly good at describing myself objectively. Physically I am a large man, slightly taller than average with broad shoulders and a heavy set build. I generally carry my extra fat in a way that causes surprise in people when they find out how much I weigh. I have been told several times that I am physically intimidating to new people the first time they meet me. I attribute this to my stature combined with me leonine features and apparent scowl. In reality my bulk is mostly fluff, my mane comes from apathy about shaving and I have developed a tendency to squint due to poor eyesight.
My personality runs a roulette of five basic moods, which are more aptly described as filters placed of a generally crude, philosophical mind often lost inside itself. I don’t consider myself to be a particularly deep person. My emotions run pretty close to the surface and are triggered by the simplest of joys or annoyances. I enjoy subdued colors and dramatic cartoons, and I am aggravated by bad drivers and blanket stupidity.
I spend a lot of time thinking about my own failures and trying to learn how to overcome my short comings. I envision a version of myself that is clever, calm, controlled and successful, but I am realistic in my knowledge that I am not that person. I am aware of what I am lacking.
I love learning new skills, or at least reading about how to learn new skills.
I doodle and write. I play on the Internet.
I get bored easily and amuse myself with distractions.
I am very good at Zuma Blitz.
When I sit down to think about who I am as a person, I get lost in a thousand tangents. I compare myself often to others, generally because I believe that we all fulfill each other by contributing to our greater whole. I am a small core of a person, wrapped an influenced by the people around me. I am a sum of the great parts from my father and mother, splashed with geekiness from my older brother, snarky wit from my sister, and a learned ability to be mellow from my younger brother. I have been challenged to think differently by my friends, taught to use words as powerfully as knives, and trained in what it means to have honor.
I believe that the best way to answer the question of who I am, is to examine who has helped forge me into it, realize what I have gained from them and what I haven’t. For me, knowing who I am is much harder than knowing who I am not. Knowing what you aren’t is just a part of the greater picture.
Part of writing this book is the hope that I can figure out the answer to that question.
The Product of My Environment
It is fairly obvious to me that I am some sort of fluke, a possible reject from an advanced government breeding program created in an attempt to produce the perfect super soldier. Obviously the genetic conditioning and brain surgeries I underwent as an infant were over ridden by the nurturing environment of the family I was chosen to be raised by.
Like all of the children that have been subjected to the program over the last few decades, I was a failure. It is apparent to me that the governments hardcore stance on nature over nurture his flawed. Clearly, you will have to raise future generations of project True Stripes in scientifically controlled environments designed to program them with exactly the kind of malleable will you are looking for. It has not passed by rather keen mind that it is possible that they were using us early generations as an experiment to determine exactly the right environment to create their toddler ubermensch, but I like to think that our government is inherently stupid.
It makes accepting their decisions much easier. Without the belief that everyone involved in the process has some sort of mental handicap, then the clearly bad ideas that get implemented carry with them an air of malignance that I’d rather not attribute to the people in power.
It is also possible that I just happen to be a dude that was raised by pretty good people. A guy that had parents that encouraged him, supported him, and did their best to cope with the plethora of problems his brain chemistry would create. A kid who’s siblings were all gifted kids themselves in different ways, and who was lucky enough to recognize at an early age that different people had different gifts.
Still, none of that explains why I know roughly thirty people within a year or two of my own age that all have a small scar on their heads in approximately the same place. Almost all of them also have parents with either military or government backgrounds of some sort.
Obviously that can’t be just a coincidence.
The Real Story
My parents are amazing, loving people who are both somewhat similar to one another, and yet extremely different. I love and appreciate my parents. They have supported and guided me my entire life, from the days when they did so literally as I learned to walk all the way through advising me how to overcome the hardships that arose after my marriage collapsed. Even now, as I write this book, I am being given encouragement from both of my parents, in their own special ways.
Once I had become old enough to realize how great my family was, I would often remark about how lucky I am to have them in my life. When my social circle began to change from a large group of loose acquaintances into a small, closely-knit family of friends, I began to learn about the parents and families of those around me. I learned that the loving, nurturing environment I had been raised in was actually something quite rare and very special.
I am adamant when I say that I won the “Parents Lottery.” I will never be convinced otherwise. I dare say I stand strongly enough behind my convictions on the matter that I would be willing to testify under oath that my parents are better than yours.
So stick it.
I hope that you have enjoyed this. If not, well, I promise I will have more interesting things to say again at some point.