I suck and I’m not alone. You probably suck too. Most of us do.
The guy on the left died for us because we’re all sinners, i.e. we all suck.
So, I’m not saying anything Jesus or modern art hasn’t already said. I’m certainly no wiser than either.
A lot of time has passed since the day I realized I was a believer in the Church of Human Suckiness.
At this intersection, many years ago, I ran into Daryl. Daryl was a regular at the coffee shop I was then working at. (If my sister ever reads this she’ll cringe when she arrives at that sentence ending preposition. More proof that I suck.) I knew him well enough to know he was struggling, but not well enough to feel that I should intervene. I don’t want to make a short story out of it. Daryl was feeling suicidal and he was looking for someone to throw him a rope. I’m pretty sure he had no idea what that rope looked like or whether it even existed. It was him hoping that a rope existed when he started a conversation with me, then moments later confided in me he was feeling like killing himself.
I told him without hesitation that it’s his life. If he can’t find a reason to live it, then he might as well go ahead and kill himself. Whenever I tell or write this story it sounds so much harsher than it felt at the time. Right there, on that fall afternoon, easy, cool, me sitting on a bench, Daryl standing just a couple of feet from me, it felt like an act of extreme generosity. So much of his searching must have been met with all kinds of ropes that weren’t ropes at all. They were only good for the throwing, like some jokes are only good for the telling. I just wanted him to know in that moment that I heard him, and that I knew his suffering was real. And I did hear him. We continued to talk that day, until both of us went our separate ways. And Daryl continued to struggle, sometimes up and sometimes down when I would see him.
It would be a pleasant surprise to find out he’s still alive today. It wouldn’t surprise me if he isn’t.
Maybe some folks think that by building me up, they’re building themselves up. Or maybe they really think I don’t suck. Maybe they’re afraid if they agree that I suck they have to confront the possibility in themselves. Whatever the reason, when I take this tack I am inevitably met with someone, somewhere who feels compelled to remind me that I’m good at a lot of things, or that I shouldn’t talk about myself that way.
“There’s battle lines being drawn/And nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong”
Whether it’s by being funny, tough, cool or just all around amazing, most of the time I’m busy trying to distract myself and others from the fact that I suck. That’s right. Despite everything I’ve said, I spend more time denying my suckiness than admitting to it. Maybe that’s another reason I feel compelled here, in the early stages of this blog, to reiterate that I suck.
Honestly I’m at my best when I know I suck. I don’t walk around like a party pooper or a sad sack just because I suck. I’m never more confident than when I admit I suck. Something about taking ownership of the worst in me…
Maybe that’s why I like the sound of “sick, dumb + ugly.”