"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Beth the Second: Coup De Grace
death-blow Pronunciation: 'deth-"blO
1 : a destructive or killing stroke or event
2 : overwhelming revenge
Anger, for me, has always been something to harbor, to chew on, to stew in, to ruminate over.
Revenge is something that my very nature craves to the point of being incredibly patient, tenacious and meticulous. When I am uncontrolled, you do not want to be on my bad side. I am very, very dangerous. Not dangerous in the brute force way that a wild boar is, but dangerous in the stalking, plodding way that a polar bear is.
By the way, did you know that the polar bear is the single most dangerous predator on the planet? They only look cute and cuddly. In reality they are carefully ferocious beasts that can come through a ten foot high window and kill two of the three men in a room before the third can fire the single shot to kill it.
That happened. And, to my shame, so did this.
As soon as I realized that Beth was now at Furman, which I considered my turf, I marked her in my mind with a huge target. I would ruin her. I would spoil her college career and make her drop out. I would make her a pariah.
I started with my friends that were drama majors, and I knew almost all of the drama majors. I made it a point to welcome them back to campus as they returned from summer break, especially the male drama majors, and then I told them the story you have read here in my previous posts.
Of course, my female drama major friends were outraged at my tale, and determined at the outset that they wouldn't like this wanton woman that had thrust herself into their midst. They also would make sure, I knew, that every single female drama major knew the entire story (with embellishments, I'm sure) before the first day of class.
The male drama majors were a different story. Here I told them about a set of events that ended in a licentious glut of carnal activity, and were they outraged? No. Instead they were thinking 'Hmmmm....should I ask her out? Do you think...?'
And that's how it began to play out.
You get a ball rolling like that one, in a place like Furman, and there's only one way for it to go. I watched over the weeks as things happened, like a spider watching a bug get more and more entangled in her web.
First, there was a string of guys asking Beth out, then getting swiftly rebuffed.
Second, she had become props mistress for a play at the beginning of the term. Once word spread about her, they ended up removing her from the production.
I think at this time she even began to fuel her own fire, without knowing it. I don't think anyone ever told her what I had told them, it would have simply been too out of place to do that. So they just kept it to themselves and treated her badly.
School was becoming a living hell for Beth.
Eventually, she had to get a job off campus to pay for living expenses. She was working in a club as a hostess. I went to the club and stumbled on her there after she had only been there a week.
She signed me up for a membership in the club, in the process mispelling my name worse than anyone had ever mispelled it before. I was very insulted. Was it intentional? I have no idea. But I wasn't thinking straight.
I ended up sitting at the bar with the owner. In our chat, I brought up the fact that I used to date his hostess. And I told him the story.
She was fired a week later after he supposedly made a pass at her.
By the end of that first term, her life at college was a shambles, her grades had suffered, and she had to leave. The deathblow had been delivered.
The last I heard of her, she had joined the Navy.
Now that I think back about my concentrated campaign to sneak around behind the scenes and tear up this girl's life while I treated her nice and cordial to her face, I count it among the most shameful things I have ever done. Truly, at this point in my life, I was more selfish, egotistic and self centered than at any point before.
I wish I could say that I awakened one morning and saw the error of my ways, rededicated my soul, and headed down the golden path. But, in the fall of 1979, that day is still far in my future and there would be terrible things, even more terrible, before it was done.
Oh, and in case it makes any difference to anyone reading this, my revenge was not sweet, didn't produce closure, and didn't even make me feel better. There's nothing there but bad, an awful business, and an eternal stain on me.
Little, vicious minds abound with anger and revenge, and are incapable of feeling the pleasure of forgiving their enemies.
--Earl of Chesterfield