I'm Always Bored At Parties
SLIDE THREE: A quote. "And so I leave this world, where the heart must either break or turn to lead." Nicolas-Sebastien Chamfort. Died 1794.
This is a quote from a famous french writer, Nicolas-Sebastien Chamfort. It's from his suicide note. I didn't know who he was, so I looked him up. He shot himself in the face, but the pistol malfunctioned and he shot off his nose and part of his jaw, but didn't die, so he repeatedly stabbed himself in the neck with a paper cutter. He couldn't hit an artery, so he stabbed himself in the chest. His butler found him unconscious in a pool of blood. Nicolas didn't die until over a year later. Anyway, the sentiment is so beautiful and true, even if I want to go a little easier. The first time my heart hurt a little was when I was six.
SLIDE FOUR: A photo of Peter, age six.
Actually, it was my sixth birthday. I was having my first and last birthday party. My mom bought me a Masters of the Universe cake. My dad hung up banners that said "Happy Birthday Pete!" I invited every kid in my class and the invitations said "two o' clock sharp". At two o'clock I put on one of those hats, you know, the pointy ones you wear at little kid's parties? Anyway, I was wearing one of those and I was sitting on the sofa by the living room window staring anxiously at the driveway. I pressed my hands against the glass and my breath fogged up the window. Two and three and four o' clock roll by with no guests and I continued to sit there with my hands on the glass, staring at the driveway. I wrote on the window with my finger, "Peter was here". I could hear my parents whispering about me in the kitchen. My mother was crying and I could tell that the felt bad for me, but also embarrassed that they would have the kind of child that this would happen to. My heart hurt. It was the first time I felt invisible. Of course, invisible people aren't really invisible. Just unnoticed. They live in the margins, the cracks and crannies, like a living ghost.
(He looks at Debbie.)
Like my friend here. Hi.
Are you okay?
I think you're beautiful. Do you know that?
SLIDE FIVE: Neil Armstrong on the moon.
Anyway, I tried to drown out my parents by pretending I was in zero gravity. I closed my eyes and I was there.
(DEBBIE puts on some music and PETER walks on the moon.)
On the moon, you're weightless. Or nearly so, anyway, because there's nothing to weigh you down. You just drift like cigarette smoke over the landscape. It's quiet. All you can hear is the sound of your own breath inside of your space suit. And you know you're at the safest place on earth. The moon. Recently I made the realization that everything in my life is traceable to that one moment. Because on some level, by and large, I'm still that worthless boy with his hands pressed against the window. Staring at the driveway. Waiting for someone come to my birthday party.
So what? Kids are jerks.
Would you please just be on my side?
I am on your side. But kids are jerks. Just awful. You know, when I was in first grade there was this kid, Charlie. I called him Charcoal, but I don't know why. Anyway, I liked him a lot so every day at recess I'd ask him if he would hold my hand, right? And every day he said no. Every day. Now, I had really bad excema when I was a kid, I still do sometimes, and I had it on my hands. Anyway, I remember one day Charcoal actually said yes. So I grabbed his hand and, the look on his face... He looked at me like he'd just smelled a turd. He said, whats the matter with you? And I said, like, what? And he said, what's the matter with your hand? And I said, I have excema, that's all. When he heard that he really flipped. he pushed me down into the dirt. Into the god damned dirt and left me there. Don't ever touch me again! Oh, I cried and cried! Anyway, in high school, years and years later, Charlie told me he'd thought I'd said I had eggs on 'em. Like I had dried up eggs on my hand or something? Point is, kids are jerks. Let it go.
I'm so sorry. That was way over-the-top, with the melodrama and the self-pitying.
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