July 10, 2000

Well, hmm... It sure has been a long time since my last entry, hasn't it? You probably thought I quit, didn't you? Well, I didn't; I'm just taking rreeaallyy long breaks between entries. Yeah, that's it.

Actually, it's only about 80% of it. The other 20% is just pure laziness. I've started several entries in the time since the last one, but I always run out of gas about 30 minutes in. Whereas before I would push away from the computer and walk briskly around the room 327 times and then sit back down to finish the entry, now I push away and walk briskly down to the den and sit down to watch hours and hours of bad TV. As to which is a more satisfying tactic, I will make no judgements.

Well, I've been feeling the urge to write another entry lately, but I keep ending up downstairs when I start one, so I decided to clean up and post the only half-finished one I saved over the past few months. So now, with only about 27 more paragraphs of preamble and ado, I present for your reading and browsing pleasure an entry that nearly never was and barely is as is.

And as you enjoy this nugget from history, whet your appetites with the thought that I might now, even at this very second, be writing another half an entry! Will I post it? Join the notify list and see! Will the notify list, which has been broken lo these many months, finally be fixed? Eh... Dunno. But what the hell, why not give it a shot?

-- Chuck


May 28, 2000



Dale Carnegie, I Ain't


I'm in another one of my moods tonight, one of the ones where your safest bet when interacting with me is to keep your distance and relay messages in via wire or paper airplane and supply food and water either thru strategically placed caches or by airdrop. It's a computer issue tonight (shut up, Tim), so that's reason enough for a foul mood.

It's actually a belated Mother's Day present I'm working on here. I built my mom a quaint little antique 486 computer about 2 years ago and with it she's been chugging her snail-like way across the internet and through her choices of personal software ever since. I visit her from time to time and always have to cringe deep inside when I see her use this white elephant as she bestows upon me radiant looks of love for being her son The Computer Genius who built this awesome machine with his very own hands.

I cringe with guilt that she's using something so primitive while I'm running a 4-computer network here at the house with nothing slower than a 300 on it, including the 2 laptops currently parked in the wired guest room. I also cringe with dread, because sometimes she wants me to "show her how to use it," which means I have to sit there next to her, twiddling my fingers as it struggles through pre-Pentium molasses to execute the simplest of simple commands. She thinks it's great; I think it's a POS. So I'm hooking her up with a new one. And, of course, it's being a pain in the ass. ("Because you're working on it!" we hear from Tim in the peanut gallery. Bite me, Brit-boy.) Hence my mood.

So as I sit here, waiting for the 6 GB hard drive to format so I can reload Windows because it keeps crashing at start-up, I figured I'd entertain you folks by writing an actual entry. What can I say? I'm a giver.

So due to my mood, what I'm thinking of is ... my mood. Or rather, how I seem to have gained a rep of always being in a bad one. As far back as I can remember, I've been catching grief about my temper and my attitude. I used to have a ferociously bad temper, but it's eased off and I've gained control of it as I've gotten older. (This is, no doubt, scary news to those who know me now -- that it used to be worse and that I claim to have it under control these days.) Beth still gives me grief about it sometimes ("You're always angry!"), but I think that's not so much about my temper as it is about how I choose to express myself. To put it bluntly, I'm a dick, I have been for awhile, and there are indications that it's getting worse. And that's what I'm really writing about tonight.

My name is Chuck, and I'm a dick. (Hi, Chuck!) I've been a dick since way back when. When I did the play Snow White in summer school at age ten, I was cast as Grumpy -- and my mom said it was typecasting. I remember in my teens that my brothers' friends used to steer a wide berth around me because I was as likely to smile at you as deck you. In later years, their friends steered an equally wide berth because, while I might have graduated from duking it out with my fists, I now used a rapier wit and sharp tongue as my weapons and everyone around me was fair game. I can remember as if it were yesterday the night at a party when I overheard one of my brothers' friends asking him "Dude, what's up with your brother?" and my brother explaining "That's just Chuck. He's a dick."

Yes, I'm a dick. Thankyew, thankyewverymuch. It never much bothered me, being a dick. It was just who I was. What bothered me was that it didn't bother me, that I could feel so cavalier about being so unpleasant. That's what used to really bother me; I used to think there was something wrong with me. It used to [gasp!] affect my self esteem.

But I'm getting over it, slowly but surely. I'm embracing the Inner Chuck (as much as he'll let me, that is, the cranky bastard) and telling him that I'm Okay, He's Okay (not that he cares what I think, the nasty bastard). I'm coming to terms with the fact that I've never played well with others, I probably never will, and I'll probably never want to. And I'm okay with that.

I was talking about this with my mom the other night and she explained it perfectly: I was a curmudgeon before my time. That explains why I'm getting so comfortable with it now. I'm approaching the age where it's acceptable for me to be me. I can't wait. In fact, I'm ordering my rocking chair now. It may be a bit early, but I'm going to beat the summer rush.

It's good to be a dick. It's going to get even better.