Daniel Mortimer, 55
Daniel works odd jobs. In both senses of the term. He says he is a card-carrying-member of None of the Above. He is a ‘weekday warrior,’ fighting the Good Fight on behalf of whatever cause comes his way. But sometimes he wonders if he has been fighting the fight for so long that he can’t remember what he is fighting for.
People call me a loner. Sometimes to my face!
I don’t think that is true. I don’t mind being alone. Maybe every loner says that. (laughs) But it is true.
I cope. No, I mean I survive. No…
Let’s say I do enjoy my own company. I entertain myself. I can make myself laugh. Not like a babbling madman. I might think a thought and if it is funny it might makes me laugh. LOL as they say.
And it is not like I’m always alone. I have friends. Old school chums. Is that the right word?
We get together sometimes for a beer or two.
We do the holiday thing sometimes. I’m not a big fan of ‘forced’ celebrations. I would rather be spontaneous. A quick phone call. Make some plans and you’re out the door.
It is hard for some people to be spontaneous. If you have sold out, you know, you have certain… responsibilities. Kids, wife, car payments, whatever chain you have around your neck.
I know, I know. I understand that.
But jeez. Give yourself a break sometimes, you know? You can’t always be a slave to the system.
Maybe I should settle down. I have had offers. I have made offers. But it never seems to work out, you know. There are always… complicating factors.
Sure, I like to pretend it is always my choice, but you know it is not true. It is not always in my hands.
I do wish I could say I always acted like an adult, but sometimes shit gets in the way. I know that. It takes an adult to admit that, too, right? (laughs)
But knowing you are fucking up and doing something about it is not the same thing. I’m not so good at that part. So I’ve been told. (laughs)
But hell. What am I going to think when I look back in 20 years? You know, am I going to be like the CEO who gets to the end of his life and wishes he had not spent so much time at the office?
Well, I couldn’t care less about the CEO and his office. He gets what he deserves, if you ask me. He gets paid big bucks to be exactly what they wanted him to be.
I don’t want to be like that. I have never taken a suit-and-tie job. Well, to be honest, no one has ever offered me such a job! Who would hire me for that! No one. Not if they had any sense.
So maybe that is my story. The rebel without a cause. Right? Rebelling for the sake of rebelling. Standing up to The Man.
But hell. There is no percentage in that when you come right down to it. Being tied to one agenda is no different than being tied to any other agenda. You try to convince yourself that you are on the right side. Fighting the Good Fight.
But war is war. Every moment you spend standing up for anything is a moment of lost peace. Not lost. You have given it away! Of your own choice.
But like I say, it is one thing to admit you are making a mistake. It is quite something else to stop doing it.
So what will I do? I don’t know. Keep on keepin’ on, I guess. I am 50. I am running out of options. Well, I guess I ran out of options as soon as I started the ‘nightly ritual’ -you know, the toke, the bottle of beer, the stupid TV show, falling asleep on the couch- that was the end of it, wasn’t it.
There is no way back from that shit. Not after 20 plus years.
It consumes you. It wears you out.
Because you have sold out in a way, haven’t you. Maybe not the way other people do it. But you have. You are playing at being The Outsider. The trouble-maker. The Sage.
It is all play-acting after a while. Cheap theatre. Bad lighting. Secondary characters who can’t remember their lines. The nightly ritual.
It is fine. I’ll survive. I’ll survive for as long as I’m meant to survive.
And then? No worries, man. A toke, a bottle, a stupid TV show. Clean, rinse, repeat. May god have mercy on my soul.
That should be enough. It will have to be.
© 2016 James Porteous