“Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘My name is Legion, for we are many’.
- book of Mark, Jesus speaking to a demon
One thing that happens to you when you become nonreligious, is you go back and examine the classic villains in bible stories. The quote above is one of the few times where a devil or demon speaks in the bible. And as weird as it sounds, i relate to that.
Everything I am now is a reverse Russian stacking doll of things I once was. I used to be a baseball player. When i was kid, that was all that mattered besides my family and karate. Later in life, guitar. Later still, Karate and Jesus, later again my marriage, then sleight of hand and balloon animals, then Danish, then harmonica, the songwriting, then Jiu Jitsu, then entrepreneurship, then podcasting, then comedy.
I don’t list these to impress anyone. Most of these pursuits are things I didn’t get what I wanted from. I have at all times been looking for one continuous face to wear in the world. One thing to be at all times. One logo, one business card, one last name.
A couple years ago, I did acid for the first time. I took it very serious. My friend and I woke up early, got coffee and had breakfast, then relaxed in my living room as we started to slowly trip balls.
I was expecting to stand on a pyramid and see shapes, instead we talked non stop, alternating laughing and crying as our brains flooded with serotonin causing us to see connections between things.
One thing I kept saying was that I am a master at things that never add up.
I am an earnest person. My whole life I have been trying to be something. Much of that is a reaction to feeling overlooked as a kid. The classic “I am not special so I will become uber special” dynamic.
But there is more to it. I am, as much as I hate saying it out loud, an artist. It is why normal is hard, and crazy is soothing. My desire for variety is wired into me in a way I can’t understand.
My friend I did acid with is a very successful comic, and I have always in my bones been happy for his success. One thing I have been open with him about though is that I don’t envy his success, but I do envy his epiphany. I am jealous of anyone who has found something they love, feel good doing, and the world conspires to get more of that from them.
I used to think that was music for me. I tried so hard to write the best songs I could, but it never seemed to get off the ground, like two sexy people with no chemistry.
But even inside my music, there was some type of beauty. I was always better with words than I was with music. And music is the wrong business to be in if you want to be a wordsmith. Thats what lead me to comedy and writing. In comedy, all you have is your words. That is simply it.
So in a way, as much as it was a death to move away from music, moving towards comedy felt like I was getting closer to what I truly have, to my own epiphany.
But I also accept the possibility that some people don’t get one. They get several different masks to wear. I don’t mean mask in a trite way. Masks are beautiful, and they are symbolic, and they carry meaning.
I don’t know. We are all creatures that desperately above all things want certainty. But only the wise know that certainty will drive you mad. Prisoners have certainty. Toll booth employees have certainty. The need for novelty is the counter point.
I still don’t know what my thing is, maybe I will never know. But i do know the search for it is part of what drives all my restless up and down progress.