I’ve always considered myself a sociopath. That statement probably will upset my mother, but mothers always think the best of their little (well, not so little any longer) darlings. I’ve always been somewhat disappointed that I never got a chance to see action when I was in the military. For many years, when I was a youth, I seriously contemplated the life of a contract killer (most likely why I wrote a series of books on the topic). Sadly (and, yes, I really have felt that way from time to time), circumstances never gave me any opportunities.
After much thought and consideration, I decided, given the company I kept, that I would be better served by adopting the facade of a normal law abiding citizen. However, as I like to say, my veneer of civilization is quite thin, and just a little scratching or rubbing the wrong way will reveal uncivilized creature underneath.
A very close friend of mine dreads the thought of any sort of apocalypse. She’s as much as said she’d take the easy way out and take her own life if our society would devolve to that point. I, on the other hand, view those prospects with delight. I’d finally be able to let the ‘real’ me out to ‘play.’ Most likely I’d lose my wife, though a true apocalypse might be such that she’d greet those prospects with some relief, as society would operate under very different rules, ones I believe I’ve internalized on an instinctual level.
So, you ask, assuming there are any of you reading this and have got this far, what the heck does this have to do with anything? Well, a couple of weeks ago, one of my sisters-in-law’s (I have 4 (and two brothers-in-law)) husband died. Quite unexpectedly, in his sleep. While vastly better than a long, expensive lingering death, it’s still shocking. Particularly to those who discovered what happened.
Again, you ask, wtf are you babbling about? Sorry, that’s just something I do. I’ll try to get to the point… A week afterwards, we all attended a service for my brother-in-law (once removed?). First they had a viewing. I find those rather creepy, so instead latched onto the need to have someone babysit a newborn of a niece, daughter of the deceased. Her sister, another niece (not sure I could count them all), was breaking out in sobs on a regular basis. I found myself quite unexpectedly choked up and on the verge of tears myself each time she did this. Where was that cold-hearted sociopathic contract killer wannabe? The service itself (very well done, I felt) also had me choked up a number of times. What’s up with me? Am I getting soft in my dotage? Was I always like this, but lied to myself all these years? Weird.
I’ve also noticed myself getting choked up in certain movies, TV shows and even novels. I get upset when this happens. I don’t like the feelings and they’re certainly unfamiliar to me.
After some consideration, I decided to ask the above mentioned close friend (we’ve known each other since we were teenagers) what she thought. Below is her response…
I’ve always suspected that there was a huge vat of tapioca pudding simmering beneath all those layers of yours!
I remember, like a thousand years ago, we had a conversation about your sociopathy…it was not long after you had seen Awakenings….with De Niro as one of many suffering with “locked in” syndrome as it were, and Robin Williams played the experimental doc who tried Eldopa….and “unlocked” everyone, only to be forced to “lock” everyone up again because the side effects were so terrible….you told me how you hated that movie, primarily because it took such a toll on you to keep from crying…of course sociopaths don’t cry….not really….or maybe they do but not for the same reasons as other people cry….bottom line….I have always known that beneath the gruff, “asshole” facade beat a heart, if not entirely of gold, then certainly one of gold plated sterling silver…it’s one of your many endearing charms….and one of the many reasons I love ya….
That being said. I still verily believe that at the first hint of an apocalypse….you will indeed go on a murderous rampage. (Another of your many charms, I think) But that doesn’t mean you don’t still have a soul.
Clearly I have selective memory, as I totally blotted that out until her comments revived them. I’ve always been a misanthropist (my favorite curse word is ‘human’) and my fantasies tend toward misogyny, though I doubt I’d enjoy any of it in reality. Yet, it seems, I do have deep feelings that are incongruous with what I’ve learned about sociopathy. I’m sure there are degrees, as in nearly everything, so maybe I can still carry that card, just with a note that says it’s only true under certain circumstances. Sort of like how my driver’s license now says I am required to wear glasses. I’m sure you can see how similar those two examples are 😉