A little over two and a half years ago, Tucker and I ate at a turkish restaurant on the Lower East Side. He pointed to an American Apparel across the street, a company I had never heard of, and said you know, the owner pays Robert Greene a ton of money every month to answer his phone whenever he needs him. I thought, goddamn, that would be the life.
I spent most of the month of May living in an apartment above that store, working for Dov, answering to what amounts to a less lucrative, more hands on version of that job description. I was in the courtroom when the lawsuit over the billboard got settled and I thought, holy shit, Woody Allen.
Later, Tucker and I walked to the Barnes and Noble where he bought me the 33 Strategies of War. I read it on the plane back to Sacramento. He said, if I was going to work for him, I better know what was in it. And when Dov called me and told me we were flying back for the trial, I had just a few hours notice before my flight. I went to sleep and grabbed the abridged version of the War book on my way out the door.
Day before yesterday, I went to my girlfriend’s undergrad graduation ceremony. The one I would have been walking in, theoretically, had I not dropped out. I was impartial observer. Like I had no connection to these people, had never been one of them. Aaron had been right when he told me I could never go back, I would have been chasing a ghost.
In some ways, that’s about as close to the narrative arc as you can get. The dream it and you can do it. But I’m trying not to shy away from that for a reason. The Epicureans believed in storing up little pleasures and tucking them away until you needed them. Things that no one could ever take away, not even the worst of fate could prevent you from recalling and remembering. Though Viktor Frankl rooted his philosophy in Stoicism, in fact, it was this idea that he turned to over and over again at Auschwitz.
On my twenty second birthday I’m trying to keep in mind that there isn’t one thing that could happen, good or bad or luck or curse, that would change what I felt when I realized I was sitting in the same fucking chair as before. That more or less it was gravy from here. It was already what I’d asked for and thought too much to actually expect. And in that sense its not so much a fallacy as it is a kind of freedom.