Paul's Internet Landfill/ demons/ Just call me failure

Just Call Me failure

For several years now, I have presented myself to the world as Paul "Roadkill" Nijjar. In fact, "Roadkill" does not happen to be my real name, but it wasn't exactly a nickname, either. The occasional person tries to get my attention by saying "Hey, Roadkill," and I generally respond because it really wasn't worth setting the record straight. I have my own reasons for choosing that name. This particular bit of drivel is not going to explore the reasons for my choice other than to mention the publically-mentionable running gag: It's a career aspiration.

During the past four months, however, I have changed the way I sign off from e-mail. Some people have wondered why I now sign my personal corrospondence with a simple:


rather than the more familiar

            Truly Yours,
            Paul "Roadkill" Nijjar

Since I know only three people ever bother to read this garbage homepage, it probably won't be revealing too much to whine about this for a bit.

I refer to myself as "failure" because that is what I am. It isn't that I wasn't a failure before; it's just that my deficiencies weren't so obvious before this school semester began. And that, more or less, is the story.

Yeah. It has quite a bit to do with school. I should probably come up with some incredibly witty list of reasons as to why I am such a failure, but I don't have anything witty to say right now, so why don't you surf off to someplace interesting while I ramble to myself for another few paragraphs? Don't worry. You won't be missing anything. Just go away and have fun. Come back when I have something important to say.

Once upon a time I was an "Enchanted Child" who could do no wrong in this world. No matter how much I slacked off in my schoolwork, no matter what stupid mistakes I made, I always managed to pull through. My considerable success in school up until last semester was not a result of any competence on my part. To be sure, I was always one of those jerks who had "potential," but I was -- and still am -- lazy and arrogant, which more than makes up for any potential I possessed. No. I wasn't earning good marks because I was a good student. I was earning good marks through sheer dumb luck. And I knew that, even then. And there was a considerable part of me that frequently wondered when my sheer dumb luck would give out, allowing people to see what an idiot I really am.

I used to complain about my marks because they were too high, because they had been inflated, because I knew that the effort I was putting into my work did not match the incredible numbers that were appearing on my report cards. But no matter how I fretted and worried, everything always ended up turning out okay in the end. People thought that I was a selfish, unrealistic lout for worrying about my marks so much, and I could never convince them otherwise, because the marks kept turning out okay. People started to think that I was a pretty intelligent person. And I started believing them.

Perhaps you are saying to yourself that I am still being a selfish, unrealistic lout for fretting over my marks this much. It's only school, right? Maybe. But I never was good at anything else. I have always been a disappointment to my family. I was never good at sports or games or hobbies. I enjoyed daydreaming and pleasurable reading as much -- or perhaps more -- than I do now, but those aren't the kinds of pastimes that are looked favourably upon in our society. They were just more ways for me to "waste time." I'm no leader. I'm no visionary. I am a very impractical person, and I have no sense of judgement. Add to those disadvantages my stubborness and ill-humour and arrogance and egotism, and you end up with a portrait of one rotten pumpkin. The only thing I was ever good at was school. Furthermore, I enjoyed school because I liked doing well at school and the attention I received as a result of doing well.

Other people have other motivations to live their lives. Some people have made a resolution to earn lots of money in their lives. As I think our economic system is misguided and very dangerous, money is not much of a lure to me. Some people find meaning through interaction with their families. I was never one of those people. Often, I enjoy being alone -- it makes life so much simpler to live. I don't interact with my own family very much, and that suits me fine. Furthermore, I am almost certain that I don't want a family of my own. Why? For one thing, I end up ruining the happiness of all those who come in contact with me. For another, I am too self-centred and mentally unstable to be able to take care of a family. I can't even take care of myself. So the idea of having a family as a motivation to carry on in this world is not terribly tempting, either.

Some people have religion to help them through their days. I have a lot of respect for those who are religious. In some ways, I think that some aspects of religion are pretty messed up -- especially when we deal with organized religions that seem to be using threats of punishment from God to further their own human concerns. But in other ways, I think that those of us who are religious are very strong, if only because they have Faith, a valuable commodity I have trouble scrounging up. Sometimes I really wish I could force myself to believe in God or salvation, or even the strength to believe that I don't believe in God, but I don't. For all the assumptions I accept as part of my daily life, I cannot accept that yet. A religious life is probably not in the books for me -- at least not yet.

So what do I have to live for, to strive for, to keep me going, to measure my worth? I daydream of doing Good Things for the world around me, but then I wake up and look at all the wastage I condone as part of my daily existence. I look at the fact I do not spend my time helping others around me, and I realize that I am part of the problem, not the solution. And I realize that there isn't a whole lot I can say for myself -- so I turned to school, because I was getting good marks and people believed that I was smart. And that, dear friends, is how I realized that I am worth nothing more than the numbers on my report card. If I could keep up my charade, if nobody ever had to find out that Smart Paul was a lazy, procrastinating moron, then maybe I could make it seem as if I was worth something. It wouldn't mean that I would actually be worth anything more than a lazy procrastinating moron, but it would make me feel better.

Well, nobody makes the mistake of thinking I'm smart now. Those days are over, because my luck ran out and (academically speaking) I self-destructed. No matter how many late nights I worked in the computer labs, I couldn't keep up with my work. No matter how hard I tried to study, I wasn't able to learn like I had to. My classes started to seem oppressive and boring. I actively wondered why I bothered going to class when I just dozed off during the lectures anyway. Nothing I tried, nothing I did ever turned out right. It was as if school was conspiring -- through my workload and the timing of everything from marking to finishing my own assignments to the proximity of my final exams -- to crush me. It worked. I am nothing now.

I guess the final dagger was thrust into my back last night. I had not handed in part of a very important assignment for one of my classes (which dropped my mark significantly, I know). I wanted to complete the assignment over my winter break, before my new semester began. That way, I would at least blame my failure to complete my assignment on a lack of time, just as I have been blaming all of my failing/near-failing marks on a lack of time. But last night I realized -- via a particularly stupid assumption I had made early in the planning stages of this project -- that I couldn't blame my failures on time. I had all the time in the world -- at least two weeks of Christmas break -- to complete that assignment, at least two weeks to redeem myself, and because I had been too stupid to notice my error, I wouldn't be able to meet even this modest goal. I hadn't finished -- and I won't finish -- that project because I'm too stupid. I can't cut it anymore.

Believe it or not, I understand that there are more important things to worry about than my marks and my schoolwork. But it hurts so much sometimes. I immersed myself in school. I used it to justify my existence when times were good. Now that the tides have turned, how can I turn around and say that school wasn't all that important? For all the other miseries in the world, everything from homelessness in the land of the rich to the paradox of money to the Orwellian "Lands for Life" fiasco that is now handing over our forested lands to private interests, I see school as being the most immediate thing in my life. I immersed myself in school then, and I continue to do so now. But it isn't fun anymore, because now I have to face the reality that I am not good enough to continue my education, that I am not grad school material, that I'm not smart enough to make a career of learning, that now I have to go out into the real world... I didn't want to think about any of those things. But now I have to, and now I am lost, and now that I have been revealed for what I really am, reaching any of the academic goals I have set for myself isn't going to happen.

Don't get me wrong. As I mentioned earlier, getting good marks didn't make me a success. I was just able to hide my true nature better. Now, however, I have been exposed to the World and World Wide Web, and I am chickening out and announcing my mediocrity. Now do you all believe me? I'm mediocre. I have always been mediocre. I am worthless. I have always been worthless, and I will always be worthless, because I can't live in this world and I have nothing to offer.

A new semester starts for me in two and a half hours. Will it be any better? Who knows. I have very bad feelings about this new opportunity. I should be looking at these fresh courses as a fresh start, as an opportunity to redeem myself for my failures. But I am feeling particularly bad about these new classes right now. Will I just end up adding more evidence of my stupidity? Will I just end up messing everything up again? How much lower will I go this time? My experience last night just went to show that I have not magically become competent over the Christmas holidays. How will I make it through this year? And even if I do make it through, what will I do afterwards? I have no idea.

I told you not to read this, didn't I? I apologise for posting this. It's drivel. Granted, I don't think I am capable of producing anything that isn't drivel -- especially now -- but I didn't write this so that you could read this. I wrote this... I don't know why I wrote this. I was going to say that I wrote this for myself, but I certainly am not getting anything out of baring my soul to the world. I've managed to make even more of a fool through this garbage web entry than I was before. Perhaps some people would see that as an accomplishment, but to me, it is just another indication that I am truly and forever a failure.

And yes. I have heard of both "navel gazing" and "wretched self-pity" before, for whatever it is worth. You just pretend you didn't read this, and I'll pretend I didn't write it, and we'll leave it at that.