Wild World

Wild World.

A chubby, stuffed bear wobbled up to me today and started talking about bread pudding. This wasn’t the first time this week we had talked about dessert: just yesterday he told me he was making peach cobbler. The stuffed bear broke out in a fit of awkward laughter. He had eaten all of the bread pudding already, and not realizing this, had offered me some. Maybe next time. He waddled back into the woods and I continued strolling towards the coast.

I played Animal Crossing: Wild World on and off for the better part of a decade. I got the game for Christmas in December 2005 and put it down after finally catching the elusive coelacanth in the spring of 2013. The coelacanth is a super rare fish that only appears when it’s raining in your town, which is pretty much never. What makes the coelacanth a challenge for even the most experienced anglers is that they have the same shadow as the ubiquitous sea bass. You don’t know if the fish you’re about to catch is the most common fish in the game or a priceless, living fossil.

Sometimes I played Wild World every day for weeks at a time. The Animal Crossing series is incredibly digestible and is best enjoyed in daily thirty minute sessions. I would play Wild World almost immediately after coming home from middle school. Flipping open my white Nintendo DS Lite, I would find new furniture to buy, new visitors to meet, and new fish and bugs to catch.

The game sounds stupid when you try to explain it to people, but it’s probably even more stupid to spend hundreds of hours of your precious childhood catching virtual fish and talking to stuffed bears about dessert items. My town, the creatively named ‘Hyrule’, was like a second home: a refuge from the real world. Old PlayStation ads used to tell me to live in my world and play in theirs. But I just wanted to live in theirs.

The real world blows. When Mark Zuckerberg becomes president and hooks us all up to a 24/7 VR simulation and beams ads into our eyeballs forever, I will call that an improvement. I no longer look down on the meek NEET, the techno-oblate of our time. The NEET is part of a global religious brotherhood, his sordid bedroom a monastery to the devotion of the Machine.

Shall we too submit to the Machine? There’s surely no escaping it: even autistic Amish kids are watching Minecraft Let’s Plays on YouTube. What do we have to gain other than the smug superiority of having an iPhone a few years out of date? I’m special, he says, I don’t need the latest and greatest. He posts this from his 2013 MacBook Pro.

I didn’t make a Facebook account until the end of college. Who knows how many parties I wasn’t invited to, how many friends disappeared into the ether because I couldn’t keep in contact? Who really won: me or Mark? Use social media or you will be punished socially, you will face repercussions. The Silicon Valley mafia will show up at your door in the middle of the night, bearded men wearing thick-framed glasses and flannel shirts will storm into your home, and they will drill an Oculus Rift into the bony margins of your orbital canals.

Do you know why the real world blows? You know because when you wake up from a dream you’re horrified that it wasn’t real. You’re back here and have to be at work in an hour. Nobody ever had such a good day that they were frightened to fall asleep on the off chance it wasn’t real. Even nightmares are more interesting than your life. You at least get to be chased by some demonic entity beyond your comprehension rather than sit stuck in freeway traffic on your way back home from work.

The scary thing is that there may be no escape from it all. You will die and after drifting through a tunnel for what seems like hours you will be presented with a popup message: please log in to continue. Cue Jeff Bezos laughing in the distance…

I had a room full of Japanese themed furniture in Wild World. The west wing of my house was decked out in samurai swords, ninja stars, wall scrolls, and one of those bamboo teeter-totter things that fill with water. There was this cute half-Japanese girl who used to talk to me in middle school until I beat up a sixth grader. I’m kind of glad she stopped talking to me because I was very close to becoming a weeb. However, the Sim Managers had granted me one saving grace.

I was spared from complete social obliteration as a child solely due to the fact that I never got into anime. Video games became more or less socially acceptable in 2007 when Halo 3 and Modern Warfare were released. Anime never became cool and will never become cool. It is the last vestige of anti-modern entertainment. The Japanese do their own thing, even if they say something completely different to your face.

I’ve seen some of the classics, notably Cowboy Bebop and Neon Genesis Evangelion, but I never went much further than that. The night I lost my virginity I immediately left the girl in my room and watched Black Lagoon on Toonami: a final, tongue in cheek nod to the most incel of artistic mediums. I’ve seen anime ruin lives in ways sports or even reality television could never accomplish. I’ve seen good kids turn into wretched, hulking monstrosities of men. You know when someone watches way too much anime. You just know.

***

I turned on my Nintendo DS Lite the other day and my town hadn’t changed. ‘Hyrule’ was infested with weeds and my flower garden was dead, but everything was pretty much the same. My mansion with its red roof, the secluded shoreline full of coral below the shopping mall, and my orchard of exotic fruit were all still there. I walked across the bridge connecting the two halves of my town and journeyed through the woods.

The stuffed bear was gone. We never got to have bread pudding.

Spaceman

Yung Bae.

I matched another Asian girl on Tinder today. She didn’t have a bio and her pictures were out of focus. I sent her the line with the bee emoji. She didn’t respond.

There’s nothing I can do. Since the latter part of elementary school I have been surrounded by them. Befriended them. Learned their ways. Fought with them. Slept with them. Had I become one of them?

My best friend in school was Asian. The first girl I kissed was Asian. The first girl I slept with was Asian. All my roommates in college were Asian. All my friends in college were Asian. Had I become one of them?

I didn’t seek them out. They found me. We understood each other. We were outsiders, we didn’t fit in. There was a language or at least a cultural barrier for them. I didn’t have that excuse. Or maybe I did. You can be born in America but develop traits completely at odds with America. I am a mutation, an aberration, an anomaly. Had I not become one of them?

I am a spaceman sent to my own planet. I am the Last Man. Nobody recognizes me. Nobody understands the language I speak. They stare back at me with black, hollow bug eyes. Was it something I said? They ramble on. Something about their dog. The grotesque, menopausal hag cries out with laughter at her own joke as terrified blood flees your penis. Unmarried women of that age always have stalkers. They’ll tell you. They waited too long to settle down or they were a massive bitch to their ex-husband: alone regardless.

The mind on social alienation does strange things. You imagine social interactions. You’ll be walking to your car and suddenly you’re married with kids to the cashier girl from Whole Foods. You’ll received a text from a girl from college one night and suddenly you’re back together and you’re on an island in the Caribbean being served margaritas by some mulatto kid with sickle cell.

Elaborate, violent battles with your enemies will play out in your head. Preparing dinner turns into a visceral knife fight with that one guy from high school you still hate for some reason. You drive your paring knife into his carotid artery when he’s not paying attention, when he’s singing along to the latest Top 40 hit because he’s an utter waste of oxygen. The only good thing I’ll say about EDM is at least the people who listen to it can’t sing along.

I have had sex with every woman who has ever spoken to me. Even the ones I didn’t like. I have killed every man I’ve ever met. Even the ones I liked. American daydreams stop at sex and violence. We don’t get fancy. We have dreams for that, and for everything else there’s MasterCard. I’ve always found it bizarre that dreams often occur in third person. We never see ourselves in third person except in the mirror and the mirror tells lies. But go to sleep and take enough melatonin and all of a sudden you’re watching yourself jump around like Mario on the Nintendo 64.

I blame video games. I blame video games for everything. Fox News was right. Video games fuck kids up. Video games make kids autistic. I don’t even know what games are out now, but there was a time not too long ago when my finger was on the pulse of the video game industry. That was my one hobby. Everything else paled in comparison. My parents tried to get me into sports as a kid, but I was downright terrible. Even my grandparents gave up on me. Maybe sports aren’t for you. Maybe school will be your thing. Thanks a lot.

I got good grades through the eighth grade then the malaise started to creep up on me. I was madly in love with a girl at the time. I never spoke to her. I wasn’t even sure if she knew my name. Her friends eventually caught on and brought it up one day. Some fat, loudmouthed girl approached me. You like her, don’t you? No, I don’t. I worked up my courage for six months and asked her to sign my yearbook. I still have her signature, an epitaph on the mausoleum of my hope and desire.

I took refuge among Asians in college. They didn’t have any expectations of me, just as I didn’t have any expectations of them. Anything I did that was odd or out of the ordinary was because I was white. Not because I lacked the fundamental social skills everyone had seemed to acquire when I wasn’t paying attention. We were natural allies. For a time, I liked them more than my own people. They were smart, quiet, polite: what wasn’t there to like?

Naturally, these assumptions would be challenged and my generalizations would be laid to rest. Something changed around 2012 or 2013. Maybe the world had ended like the Mayans predicted. Asians didn’t need me anymore. They had their own groups now complete with milk tea and all you can eat barbeques. While I would often join them in their world, it was clear that it was just me who had remained an outsider in my own. My college years ended and I found myself crawling back to white people begging to be let back in the club.

We’re utterly divorced from our cultural roots. How many ethnic Germans in America speak German? How many ethnic Italians in America speak Italian? There was a time when I was jealous of the FOB: his culture, his language, his sense of community. Not just that, but his luxury—unknown to him—of being a socially acceptable outsider in the United States.

***

I went drinking with a Korean businessman around this time last month. He had grown up in Canada, didn’t speak English at the time, and hadn’t made a single friend during school. I bought him some drinks and we talked the entire night. He told me all about Korea and I told him all about the United States. He told me I was his first American friend.

Adieu

99 Luftballons.

She appeared in my life wearing a red raincoat.

It wasn’t raining that day but I appreciate the effort. You don’t get that type of effort from local girls. Fake tan, fake ass, fake tits. I hear they even make fake eyelashes now.

I don’t know what’s real anymore. I can say beyond doubt we’re in some alternate dimension. Some horrible, Lovecraftian nightmare I can’t wake up from because I took too many mushrooms from a strange man named ‘Shaman’ in Golden Gate Park.

I died that day. I’m just a ghost now. Except I can’t make objects fly across the room to scare old housewives. Poltergeists must have a lot of fun. Plus they’re actually dead which is an improvement from just feeling dead. I will haunt this world. I will pick up every funeral urn in every bicentennial house in North America and hurl it furiously against the cheap, yellowing wallpaper. Shatter them into thousands of pieces so Muriel is forced to stop watching infomercials and collecting social security checks, and clean up Eustace’s ashes.

I floated over to her location like a lost soul and pretended to be looking at anything but her. She took notice after I had been hovering in place carefully not staring at her for the better part of a minute. She asked me to take her picture. I had no idea what her company did and I didn’t really care. She had some European accent I assumed was French because I assume every woman who isn’t dressed like shit is French. I asked her if she was French. She said yes. I spoke to her in French. She understood.

I had studied enough French in college to talk to girls and become a complete snob about food. I studied Spanish in high school but it never impressed anyone. The Spanish spoken in California is a hideous patois of indigenous dialects, black slang, Mexican slang, and American slang. The Castellanos would be rolling in their graves had they not created ‘La Raza Cósmica’ in the first place. I would often tell myself I was studying Spanish for Spain, for Spanish culture. But outside of Hemingway’s bull fighters and that one story about windmills, there wasn’t much to go on.

France had always appealed to me because it was the antithesis of Anglo-America: the voracious hydra responsible for every single problem of post-modernity. The French ate lunch for three hours because they felt like it. The French chain-smoked cigarettes all day because they felt like it. The French had sex all morning because they fucking felt like it. Your run of the mill American hated the French for no particular reason, because we ‘saved’ them from speaking German or something. This meant that I pretty much had to like them.

We talked briefly and she told me where she was from: Quebec. Close enough. I went back to work and avoided her until the last day because I have the terrible habit of avoiding women. She was cute in that mousy, innocent way that shatters your heart into a thousand pieces like a funeral urn thrown by a poltergeist when you find out she’s fucking some revolting human specimen with darker skin and six inches of height on you. These are the types of girls that ruin lives. No, ruin souls. You’re bringing the damage she’ll do to you straight to Heaven or Hell or the Facebook login screen or wherever you go when you die. These girls are public health hazards. They should be rounded up and placed in tiny glass bell jars and hidden in some attic.

Of course, I knew nothing about her. I still don’t and I never will. Perhaps that’s what made this experience worth writing about. It takes roughly two weeks to like someone and four weeks to start hating them. The more you know about people the more you hate them. Social media makes you hate your friends because now you know them too well. We need secrets. I don’t want to know about your basic bitch political views, especially given that I am an aristocrat of the soul and am far beyond the reach of politics. All my friends tell me they’re ‘in the middle’ then preach the sanctity of men taking dick up their ass at taxpayer expense. America is the vehicle through which Satan enters the world.

I returned to talk with my beloved on the last day. One of my co-workers was talking with her and the contrast was farcical: a broad shouldered bovine of a woman standing next to a gracile flower of one. I was afraid she might be eaten and interjected with my French. My co-worker seemed more impressed by my language skills but she was fat and my self-esteem hasn’t sunk low enough for that size. The girl seemed to remember me and we spoke at length about education and work.

The topic of travel came up and she stood up and started pointing at a map of the United States on the wall all of the places she’s been. Hearing every state she listed hurt me spiritually: it meant potentially hours or even days of time spent in the Great Satan. Run, rabbit, run. Get out of this place. I pointed on the map where my parents are from and she placed her finger adjacent, touching mine.

We made eye contact and her lips parted and things got really quiet. Naturally, I ignored this indication of Divine Providence and started talking about some arbitrary fact regarding the Ohio Valley. She asked herself what time it is and left to check her phone. At least she was polite with her rejection of my map-induced autism.

I never even asked her for her name. I went back to work and never saw her again. I hope she returned to some snowy village up north, maybe one with a farm, has a few kids, raises them well, and never returns to this godforsaken place. For her own sake, I hope to never see her again.

To you, to God, adieu.