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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also authored several short stories such as "The Devil's Comedian", "The Devil v. George W. Bush", and most recently "Wait Until Tomorrow". He resides in New Jersey. Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: michaelreyes72@hotmail.com

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Growing Up

Pajiba had an interesting mini diversion the other day, as they are wont to do.

The question was a two parter:
Part A: What did you want to be when you grew up? And Part B: What are you now?

My response:
"As a kid, I wanted a doctor/virologist. (I was going through an Outbreak phase, and r
reading Robin Cook and Michael Crichton throughout elementary school.)

In High School, I wanted to be a writer or an actor. In College, not getting anywhere into writing or acting, I settled on Lawyer. Never got into law school though.

The one constant though was show business. I always wanted to be a writer/actor/director throughout my life, and I idolized Steven Spielberg. (I even wrote to him to ask about a Tiny Toons movie back when I was a third grader and got a signed photo. George Lucas on the other hand only send an 8X10 of him and some Ewoks, NOT EVEN FUCKING SIGNED. He was too busy raping people's childhoods, which was exactly what I was inquiring about.) So here I am, working for a Government contractor as a desk jockey, running a blog, desperately wishing I could get something published and escape this Hell so when my future kids have show and tell, they can say "My daddy's fucking awesome, and all your daddys can just suck it!"
Thanks for getting me to pour my heart out, fuckers, that's the least snarky thing I've ever posted here."

This got me to thinking, how do you marry your dreams together with reality? How the hell do you keep your dreams, without becoming irresponsible and going into a state of arrested development? Our society is very double sided: "Follow your dreams...but grow the fuck up." We've been taught to follow our bliss, while at the same time giving our dreams up for "responsibility". Well?! Which is it, society? Which option should I be fucking choosing, because I'm not getting any younger and I want to do something with my fucking life before I go out, get married, have kids, and kick off!

That having been said, this whole enterprise of mine came from those types of dreams. I pour as much as I can into this blog, because one day I'd like to fulfill that dream of publication and notoriety. I want to have book chats at Barnes and Noble, go on The Tonight Show to shill my latest book and crack wise with Conan, and have a guest spot on House because goddamn if I couldn't improv with Hugh Laurie. I know, a lot of people have those dreams, and allow themselves to be deluted by them. Just look at the contestants on American Idol, any beauty pagent you can watch, and even local news anchors. They all have their "foot in the door", and they all think that behind that door is stardom.

It used to be you could just sit at a soda fountain and if the right person came along, you could be a star. You could work in the mail room of a Hollywood studio, and own the place the next year if you played your cards right. Sadly, that ingenuity went away, partially because those mail clerks and soda slurpers became so high profile and set the bar so high that no one else could ever cross it. If you work the mail room at Universal now...you're going to be working the mail room at Universal forever. If you want to rise, you need to fulfill much higher criterias and much bigger educational requirements. Why? Because everything is business now. The heart and soul of the Entertainment Industry...gone. It's opening weekend grosses and Oscar nominations all the way, fuck you if you want to "have heart". Even independent films are starting to go that way. (You know it, don't deny it.)

Any industry for that matter is about the bottom line, and that bottom line is money, power, and influence. There is no place for hard working, ingenious employees; because there's a ladder climbing weasel to take 'em at every step of the way. Somewhere between free love, drugs out the ass, and new wave music, America "grew up". It gave up its youthful ways, its naive ideals, and it sold them for a cool pile of cash. The whole discourse of our culture changed in only forty short years. "Greed is Good" replaced "All you need is love", "Imagine there's no Heaven" became "Let's Roll" and "Bring it on", "Give Peace a Chance" turned into "Shock and Awe", and "We don't need to take our clothes off" became "Hit me baby, one more time".

I don't need to tell you this though, it's quite obvious. Great people before me, great people that exist now, and great people that'll come after me will keep saying this, until something is done. Growing up doesn't always mean sell out, buy a nice car, and make a killing on the market. Growing up doesn't always have to be you becoming a bitter husk of yourself because you didn't become an astronaut. Growing up can be a good thing, especially if you grow up right. Everyone has an inner child, and if we abuse that child we turn into such dark and twisted things. Don't ignore of bury your inner child, embrace it. Know when to grow up and know when to grow down, because the world needs more people to grow the fuck down and handle things a little less harshly.

No, I'm not a hippie. Yes, I believe money is an evil, but a nessicary one. I want to entertain people, and bask in the glow of genuine fandom while making enough to live comfortably, raising wonderful children, and paying my taxes. I want politicians who make hard choices smartly, and smart choices easily, while at the same time laughing with the public and showing them they can truly trust them. I want business to be fair, I want the little guy to win a shitload of victories, and I want good to kick the shit out of evil. I am not a dreamer, I'm not ignorant of the world's ways, and I'm not greedy. I just demand a whole lot more from the world we've been given, and I think it's high time to turn off the television, and take the people who "work for us" to task. You want to be elected to office, you want to make millions off of your movie, you want us to buy your book and CD...well then say hello to your lords/ladies and masters/mistresses. Demand nothing short of total satisfaction. Demand it hard enough and loud enough and you'll get it. BUT, at the same time, try to help others get their satisfaction. Don't forget, there's numerous others out there who deserve as much as you do. At the same time though, don't just give them a hand out. Karma does not exist, it is merely a supernatural explaination for the goodness of people inspiring goodness in others.

Wake the fuck up, everyone. It's time for you to get what you deserve, and you're gonna have to work for it. Trust me though, it'll be worth it.

In short, if I could do this for the rest of my life, I'd be happy.

Until next time, stand tall, fuck the greedy, and be no one's monkey.

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