When I was young, my “favorites” were assigned with obligatory fervor. They were crucial, unwavering facts that I held onto with unyielding loyalty. Favorite colors, animals, and songs were announced proudly whenever given the chance, and were clearly distinguished from “least favorites” which , along with titles of “bests” and “worsts” were passed out decisively. My best friend was Jenny. My worst enemy was Lisa. I don’t really even remember any specific reason to dislike Lisa. It was just a necessary polarity to bookend a spectrum that was too complicated to understand otherwise… and she probably never gave back one of my My Little Pony’s or something.
The “Best day of my life” was my 7th birthday. To anyone else it was probably trivial – since before that I had a new “best day of my life” every 2 or 3 weeks. But for me, it was a glorious, momentous event. That night, curled up on the couch watching t.v. with my family I reveled in my secret joy and the certainty of it.
The evening news came on and reported a story about how a neighbor had doused his dog in gasoline, lit him on fire, and watched carelessly as his pets body burned and convulsed in panic and pain before finally spraying him down with a hose. It was the most unspeakably horrible thing I had ever seen and I ran to my room, certain it was the most evil act ever committed. That night I cried for hours unsure what to do with the fact that the “best day of my life” and the “worst day of my life” were the same. It seemed to break every rule I knew.
Sometimes I think about this when someone asks me about “inspiration”. Telling them that story would probably make me seem . .depressing.
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