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Remembering Red Lake

The following is a fictional foray into the mind of a killer. Inspired by last week’s massacre at Red Lake High School—the worst school shooting since Columbine in 1999—it contains strong language and some explicit content. Any resemblance to your own thoughts is purely coincidental.

I fking hate life. The whole fking charade. Sometimes I just want to slit my wrists or blow my brains out and get it all over with. But I don’t have the balls to do it. I’m a coward. It’s not death I’m scared of; we all gotta go some day. It’s the prospect of happiness just around the corner that frightens the hell out of me.

I can’t get out of this stupid body of mine, with my ugly face and skin and fat all encasing the twistedness in my head. I don’t know why I think the way I do, I just do. I can’t stop thinking about how unfair the world is. And how the rest of the world traipses onward, probably in contempt of my petty suffering. Or more likely, completely oblivious to it. Feeling empathy in this world is a real bch. It doesn’t make sense. Not a fking bit of sense. Life will always find a way to screw you.

I can’t even communicate what I’m feeling to my friends. It’s like I’m trapped inside my mind, begging to be released from my own consciousness. Sometimes I sit there, a plastered smile dripping across my awkward facial contortions, trying to hide all the pain inside. I try my best to listen attentively, but if I’m with a really good friend I can listen and stare expressionless at the ceiling, nodding and “mmhmm”-ing and sprinkling lightly humorous commentary throughout.

Sometimes I genuinely laugh—those deep hearty guttural laughs where you don’t care who hears—and I’m reminded of why I choose to live. These are the reasons for living, I guess, those fleeting moments of happiness that punctuate the sad contradictions of our daily existence. But what a depressing realization.

The real problem comes when they want to hear from me. I don’t want to rehash my miserable day, the litany of things I did and didn’t enjoy. How I went to the same classes I always go to and how I fell asleep in all but one of them, PE, but felt bad because I’m not as flexible or quick or strong as the others.

I feel bad because I focus on the negatives, in spite of the fact that I’ve been told since I left the womb to look on the bright side. I should be glad someone is interested in my day, I should be glad I had the opportunity for PE, I should be glad I can stretch and run and lift. But I’m not. What’s wrong with me? Did I miss something in the manual of life?

I know there’s another side to the coin I just can’t--or don’t want to--see. Still, I’m constantly left wondering if I have a problem, you know, a psychotic dementia of sorts that prevents me from interacting like other humans. Everyone else has somehow been clued into this magical secret, except me. I think I threw away that manual of life, when I stopped caring about my own.

In those rare instances when I actually say what’s on my mind it inevitably leaves me empty, as if I’ve not only ruined someone else’s day but heightened my own depression by attempting to articulate it. Yes, I’m often depressed. And I get depressed easily. Shit, I get depressed whenever I pour a Coke. I once saw this website exposing how Coke hires toddlers to work in its Nicaraguan factories, then pays them in glue. The kids get addicted to sniffing, then won’t stop working for Coke because it’s the only place they can get the glue so cheap!

But I still drink Coke. It’s the law of Americanism: consuming in the face of everything, your own demise be damned. Besides, there’s nothing better than an icy Coca-Cola to go with a thick juicy cheeseburger. If I don’t die from insanity, at least my arteries will clog and be slowly plagued by the sugary acid I gulp down like air.

It’s not like my life has been that rough, but Jesus! How can that not affect me? Little kids working to sniff glue? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With all the platitudes I hear in school about not resorting to drugs or gangs, the kind of wars we’re fighting abroad don’t inspire much confidence or patriotism in my heart.

Words can always be dismissed or written off as errant—because that’s just it, at the end of the day they’re simply words. But violence, violence is what inspires us to think and to re-think. It changes our behavior. It helps us understand the hatred and sorrow of others. It moves us to see the good in the world.

Happiness means living, and often reveling, in this contradiction. To be constantly prepared for hatred and murder, but to espouse the belief that hatred and murder are despicable to our collective conscience. If happiness looks like this, then I refuse happiness. Especially the kind of easy, complacent happiness I see around me.

Apparently I’m not as good at hiding my depression as I think. People who care about you have this curious way of understanding that there’s a problem, even if they don’t understand. The parents have tried their best to fix me. Ritalin, Adderall, Zoloft, the whole nine yards. The blue pill, the purple pill, the dope-me-to-oblivion pill. Give me re-socialization classes, a full frontal lobotomy, for Christ’s sake something that works. Something that will cure me of me.

The really hilarious thing I wonder sometimes, is if I were older and had some degrees behind my name I could probably make loads of money talking about all this. Grad students and sadomasochists from across the globe would flock to hear my lectures. But I’m going through that stage of development now, too early, a prepubescent peon without fame or fortune. I didn’t do life right. I had to do it my way, the only way that would work for me.

Awww, f**k it. I don’t know why I’m telling you this. Maybe I’ll go shoot up the school.

Philip Kurian is a Trinity senior. His column appears Mondays.

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