Dear you, reading this,
It has taken me almost two months to return to this blog and it has largely to do with some recent discoveries. Suffice to say, I’ve been humbled. Much of my persona involves taking the world at face value and seeing a layer of hidden magic. I try and remain as faithful to others’ interpretations as possible. It’s a lot of fun meeting deities and saying that you don’t exist. I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s all an act, but I also don’t think it warrants more trips to the psych ward. The simple truth is I’ve experienced things I can’t explain. Yes, some of them were due to drugs and I’ve made clear I understand that may reduce my credibility. If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to talk about two of my grandparents. First, Let me add a little back story to this back story.
Part of the “I don’t exist” mythos I’ve created hinges upon quantum immortality. That’s the belief that in an ever expanding multiverse, you won’t perceive your own death. Instead, your consciousness or soul or what have you just shifts along to a world where you’re still alive. Whether or not this leads to getting trapped eternally or changing into another consciousness is anyone’s guess. For whatever reason, starting in 2015, I got the feeling that this was not my home. I had all the memories of the body I inhibit, but it felt as if I had quantum leaped into a random 23 year old dude. Friends and family got used to it soon enough and I got pretty good at playing the role. Four years later, I still find myself studying life as a perceived outsider that suddenly found themselves on the inside. Lately I’ve been asking myself “What’s with this ego I’ve been saddled with?” So in the spirit of that question, I’m going to write the rest of this as if I’ve been in this body the whole time.
Some of my earliest memories were being told that I was smart and would change the world somehow. At the time I took this as gospel fact and saw it as a sign that I didn’t need to try hard. I realize now that those were the hopes of my parents and teachers. Perhaps with different forms of encouragement I wouldn’t be so full of myself. Even if they were right, after living with my Grammy and visiting my Opa in a senior living facility, I doubt I will lead a life that measures up to either of them.
My Grammy is one of the most important figures in my life. As my Fathers mother, she moved out to Colorado to take care of me while my parents were at work. She’s always been there for me and it wasn’t until recently that her history came into full focus. As a member of the tail end of the silent generation, she got married at 17, started having kids at 19, and had lost one of her three children by the time she was my age. When she was 30, her uterus and ovaries were removed and there is speculation that the procedure was unnecessary. That same year her husband left her for another woman after 13 years of marriage. Despite these setbacks, she raised her children as a single mom while forgiving multiple missed child support payments. She worked several jobs in everything from food service to real estate to entertainment before going back to school and earning a degree in psychotherapy. During her career as a stand up comedian, she played for crowds of thousands. Her kids came of age in Los Angeles in the 80’s and thanks to ya boi Ronny Regs, got addicted to cocaine and crack. (Thanks Iran-Contra) Instead of letting her children take advantage of her or letting her life break down, she got sober. She focused on being the kind of mom her kids could look up to and come back to. She now has a loving relationship with both her kids. Her friendships are treasured and she has explored a good chunk of the world with those close to her. For 49 years of her life, she made a point of never missing the renaissance fair closest to her.
My mothers father on the other hand, lived a life that most would consider the American Dream. That’s not to say it wasn’t without it’s own share of hardship. Born in 1926, my Opa was present for the Nazi invasion of his homeland The Netherlands (Holland). As the Nazi’s were conscripting men into their ranks, he hid in the fields and lived off of what little rations his family could spare. After the war, He became a sailor in the merchant marines and quickly moved up in the chain of command. By the time he met my Oma, He was the head steward on his vessel. I’m not entirely sure if he had immigrated at this point; nevertheless, they met in America in the docks of Los Angeles. My Oma was another Dutch immigrant and it wasn’t long before the two started a family together. Both my mom’s parents worked hard in multiple jobs and ended up saving a chunk of money for retirement. They raised two wildly successful children who both have admiration and gratitude for their parents. My mom is chock full of stories about her dad investing in her, her family, and her community. My Opa used to roam the streets of LA on his bike with buckets of paint to erase graffiti. It wasn’t his job. He did it out of kindness. He stayed active, walking and swimming everyday, until he literally couldn’t. When I visited him prior to writing this, He was still smiling.
Both these people were doing more impactful things than I’m doing now and they both started younger than I am. Where are they now? My Grammy lives by herself and my Opa is in a senior living facility. Time has taken its bat to both their bodies and minds. My Grammy has cancer and still works to keep her standard of living. Last October the Doctors told her she had a year to live. while I lived with her, the TV was rarely off even throughout the night. My Opa was put into the home he resides in because dementia was starting to set in. I spoke to him between bouts of writing this and he thinks someone is stealing his pants. Everything before the last sentence was written days ago. That sentence was written yesterday. Today my Opa fell while getting out of bed and broke his clavicle. We visited him in the hospital and he said he didn’t know who I was. This is what is waiting for you and I if we’re lucky. In the meantime, there is life to be lived.
I’ve spent a lot of the last month comparing myself to my Grammy and my Opa. Due to my youth, I could most likely best them in a competition of strength or wit. Due to their accomplishments and my underemployment, we would probably agree that they are or were better for society. One might say they are just better people. Dwelling on this has availed me nothing. Comparisons aside, they have filled me with fear for my future. I don’t know if I could weather a medical emergency. I’m still getting charged for my health insurance even though it’s technically for people who work more hours than I do. There’s a very real possibility the insurance company could refuse to assist in my bills if I became injured. I vape, smoke weed, and drink. Sometimes my lungs hurt. This is all very real and it depresses the hell out of me. Because of this, I pray quantum immortality isn’t real.
I spent my time in the ER today wondering what was going on in my Opa’s head. I imagined behind his sunken in, closed eyes, he was living in a rich tapestry of dreams. A young merchant marine trapped in an old man’s body but no longer tethered to it. Perhaps he was on the high seas or spending time with his kids. He slowly awoke from his slumber and his first words were “I have to go now.” The bathrooms were full and I watched him piss into a bottle from a hospital bed in the middle of the ER. He wasn’t even in a room. Where does that consciousness go when the body can no longer sustain itself in our universe? Are there timelines where he keeps falling down but remains alive well past 100? And what of my grammy? She’s losing mobility as it is. Will her “soul” just keep watching TV until the heat death of whatever universe she finds herself in?
Of course, no one really knows what happens after death. I could say I do and you could dismiss it as drug talk. We could talk about the merits of heaven and hell or reincarnation but those rely on just as much mysticism as quantum immortality. I’ve met people who have literally died, had their heart stop and everything, only to be revived my modern science. They don’t have any meaningful answers either. without mysticism, the questions are almost meaningless. When you die, you rot. that’s it. Any identity one assumes is merely the firing of neurons. Once that stops, that identity stops existing and all were left with are avatars. We’re left with memories and a corpse. We’re presented with the hobbled man who’s wife says is gone, publicly urinating because the bathrooms are full and he’s scared to walk.
If I could change the world the way people once said I would, I would give people a graceful, dignified exit strategy. The problem is I don’t know what that means. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Surely, it doesn’t mean giving out lethal doses of morphine. A lot of old folks I’ve met want to see another day and still have smiles on their faces. Conversely, I don’t think it means extending longevity either. That just pushes the problem further down the road. Greater minds than mine have spent much more of their lives on these types of problems and we’re still dealing with death and pain. Ironically, our quest to eliminate pain is currently killing thousands of us in the form of prescription narcotics. In my quest to eliminate death by way of non existence, I’ve caused myself an incredible amount of pain.
Neil Degrasse Tyson once said he fears a time when so much of the cosmos has expanded past our view that we can no longer learn about it. I fear the same on a human level. I fear living forever in a corner of the multiverse, divorced from all those I could know or love. That’s not the only form of quantum immortality though. Tyson also narrated the interludes on Logic’s album “Everybody” where he proclaims that everyone is the same soul living every life. I am you. you are me. We are both my Opa and my Grammy. That would suggest a universe of some form of predestination. It doesn’t necessitate a god; However, it does necessitate everything that has or will happen. Since we are necessary and can’t truly know the future or what’s going on inside someone’s head, we choose something to give us hope. My hope comes from believing one day I’ll be able to erase myself from existence.
The other thing people used to tell me was that I was so lucky to have the body and mental faculties that I do and that I was squandering it. They’re right and I hate myself for it sometimes. I would gladly step aside so some one more deserving could take the reigns. Someone who could accept and excel in this society. Some one who could actually change the world. Instead, I have this ego. I have the brat who thought he was better than everyone else but spent his free time watching porn or playing freecell when the internet broke instead of playing outside and making friends. I have the butthurt teen who couldn’t understand why he wasn’t having sex even though he was such a “nice guy” and would talk at length about it to his friends while slamming 12 packs of mountain dew, playing super smash brothers. I have the college dropout who went to the cheapest school and didn’t apply for scholarships even after being accepted into fairly prestigious schools. The one who decided that smoking weed was a better use of his time than learning a robust set of skills to be put to use. I have the drug addled 20 something that spent 4 years pining for an ex who had clearly moved on. I have the “artist” who pushed away several friends who tried to help because “They just don’t get it man.” I have the 27 year old who’s based his entire public persona around playing a massive amphitheater while failing to build an audience. I don’t know why.
It’s clear to me I need help. Shouting into the void isn’t doing it. I’m out of ideas and money. My mom and I talked about my internet presence today and she can’t understand what gave me this self importance. I don’t know either. She might ask me why I chose to type this and make our family business public. She would ask me who my audience is. It’s not her. It’s not me. It’s not my friends or even the rando’s on the internet. My audience is the future. It’s the ones who will search every nook and cranny of this crazy thing we call the internet just to figure out what the heck happened. When they do, I want them to see some magic in this crazy world. I want them to know how that bratty incel dropout started learning his lessons and found something to live for. I want them to know that I was grateful for my Grammy, my Oma and Opa, my mom, my uncles, my brother, my extended family, my friends, and sure even my dad. Most importantly, I want the future to know that I would give it all up if it meant that others who don’t have what I do could live their lives in peace and harmony. Until I know how, I’ll just keep writing the future letters, updating the progress. Hopefully they’ll see
that I am he
as you are he
as you are me
and we are all together.
as always, Thank you for reading,
-Kyle Emerson Williams a.k.a K-Wullums
j say of the day: goo goo g’joob
P.s. It turns out that my Opa hadn’t immigrated to the US when he met my Oma. the Director Lee Marx sponsored him to come here. Also, My Grammy’s Uncle was Chester Conklin. That doesn’t really have any bearing on the story but it is neat to be tied to old school Hollywood.