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March 07, 2002 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-07

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2B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend "toiie - Thursday, March 7, 2002

The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magazin

A NOTE FROM THOSE WHO CARE
AN INTRODUCTION TO A MAGAZINE NOT ABOUT,
BUT IN FACT CONTAINING SOME PIECES OF LITERATURE

SEMI-GOOD: MY ESCAPE

4 +

By Curt Prudden

Somewhat of an annual occurrence in the wake of the
Universitys poorly named spring break, the Literary
Magazines content accosts the usual material that
appears in the Weekend Magazine, a section which is
normally represented in the following 16 pages.
Instead of our usual content we, those in charge, are
selecting some of the works that were presented to us,
unfortunately we may not be printing the best work,
or our favorite pieces, but we are relegated to simply
printing what fits in the boxes.
We cannot fund this endeavor ourselves.
All pieces have been printed in the exact form we
received them in. We have taken no liberties to correct
errors, grammatical or nonsensical alike and instead

left any questionable phrasing up to the author, and the
sensibility of the piece rests on the authors pen, so to
speak. Or type.
The only thing we, in fact, have done to the pieces is
select photo illustrations that we felt in some way shape
or form accommodated or amplify the article. For
instance, were we to receive a piece (fancy word for
story ) about a three-legged dog, it may be appropri-
ate to select an illustration of a three-legged dog, or
other four-legged creature to accompany said piece.
We did not attempt to steal any of the literary prowess
from the pieces contained within by selecting images
that would dominate, instead they are intended to
accompany. We hope we have succeeded.

The boat swayed, tilting the deck,
and me, again and again. Flat on
my back I watched the night sky
above. I imagined the lilting to be simi-
lar to the feeling a baby has in a cradle,
only with the hand of God in control of
the sway. All of the constellations that I
failed to remember shone above. I told
myself that I d learn them this summer
and never forget again, but for now they
didn t need names. A new moon had just
started, so the stars were exceptional.
The summer lake was more than perfect
at that moment and I thanked the
Universe for allowing me to have the
moment. Id enjoyed this routine before
and wanted to do it on my terms forev-
er.
I anchored the boat at the end of the
lake towards the mouth of the out flow-
ing river. This sequence had played out
in my mind plenty of times; it was
exactly how I had pictured it. Nobody
was out in the surrounding houses that
circled the lake, just a few lights in
some windows. I d been out there
enough to know most peoples routines;
who was nosy, who was up late. The
entire end of the lake was mine. The
cheap rum that I d brought went down a
little rough, but I sipped from the bottle
anyway. A bit more of a buzz than I had
wanted crept up on me. I let myself
relax with the water and warm breeze.
Nothing- better. The rum was bad. I
sipped some more, then dumped the rest
over the side. Tossed the bottle on the
floor of the boat. The water was warm, a
perfect summer lake. I slipped out of my
shirt and pants, feeling heavy and tipsy.
Goose bumps hit my arms, but I wanted
to go ahead. I dangled my foot over and
was relieved at how warm the water
was. Swirled my foot around for a
minute. I took a breath and slipped over
the side. As I went down, my foot
slipped on the wet edge. My head
crashed into metal. I heard nothing but
the sound of a wind tunnel and saw only
black and red. The water swallowed me,
but I couldn t feel it.
Six months earlier
I started with notes to plan my
escaping. Whenever I was bored I would
play out some little detail in my head,
replay something I had said or done that
would undo all my work. I was meticu-
lous about not writing too much down, if
I did I would soon memorize it and burn
the notes. Too make sure I didn t look
like a do it yourself case I ended my
credit accounts and began to pay them
off, didn t make any huge insurance pur-
chases or anything else financially silly.
All of this was months before the time I
had set, time to think and plan. I was as
dull and normal as anyone, and yet grew
happier day by day. Soon only compla-
cence.
Who is a product of their world?
Everyone I guess, but an absolute facto-
ry-molded, to the T product? That s how
I started to feel; the reason my whole
plan began to take shape. Everywhere I
looked I saw tiny signs in everyone that
somewhere we had lost our creative
edge, our capacity to love things that we
weren t told to love. I was an average
consumer. The everyday target of today s
cycle of drudgery. I hated my situation,

my constant circling to get from here to
there. This definitely is not to say that I
wasn t happy and satisfied in life, quite
the opposite. The people that I loved and
befriended were great and to me some-
how they lost some of the molded traits
of the rest of the population. I m sure if
I could have gotten to know everybody I
would have found this to be true of them
too. But I somehow translated the
processed characteristics of absolute
strangers onto myself. And despite see-
ing things this way I was extremely
happy with my life; the people that I
knew and the freedoms that I enjoyed.
So happy that I wanted more. I could see
that I wanted something more than the
static, pre-written life that I was living.
The mold was making me into what I
was supposed to be.
At night I would dream of getting lost
in the desert, following a dusty moon to
the perfect hideaway that was only for
me. This notion was glorified by my
subconscious I m sure, but it seemed no
less wonderful to me. The dreams
showed me living where nobody else
lived. In them I succeeded because I
tried. These ideas grew in my head and
fostered my alienation from the world of
product. At the same time I marveled at
the luxuries of our times instant com-
munication, near instant travel, money
with no physical medium of trade, a
number blinking on a screen. I could
justify my simultaneous want of these
things and my need for release from
them by myself being a product of the
process that created all the greed in the
first place. This all started going further
than I had ever wanted, but my new phi-
losophy had eclipsed my old ways of
thinking, such that I couldn t see past
my new idea. I felt guilty for judging
people instantly in my mind, but I began
to see that they would have no vision of
my idea. They would shun it instantly as
a beatnik notion if I tried to explain to
them that I couldn t change my course,
that my mind had evolved to make me
feel this way. A sense of detachment
began to grow.
I felt happy whenever I thought of
dropping the ball. That s how I envi-
sioned the big picture of the escape. A
ball held so tightly in a grip, then final-
ly let go and allowed to drop. At the time
of planning, I failed to remember that
the hand holding the ball is saving it
from the force pulling it downward. The
downward force of freedom? Or simply
another force different from that of the
hand, but a force nonetheless? I tried not
to get wrapped up in the details. The big
picture of my dream still appealed over
the trap I felt I was in.
Little thoughts would catch and
intrigue me. I would have a funeral.
People would attend and cry for me.
Would I try to go? They d never know, be
too wrapped up in crying for me in the
front they d never see me in the back. On
the other hand I wouldn t be making
contact with any part of my former life
as long as I kept my personal promise. A
part of me would die, unless I admitted
failure and gave up my fantasy. This was
a dilemma. Id never thought of taking
things so far, or that I d even be capable
of doing it. There I was formulating the

plan. Did Elvis do this too?
I wanted a solid out, some way that
was both timeless and honorable, yet
believable. Nothing absurd like cutting
my brake line and pushing my car over
the edge of some hill. This was to be my
final chapter and I wanted for it to be
like the ending to a semi-good book. No
easy way occurred to me at first. The car
crash was the obvious first idea, but with
no body, that might ve been a bit hard. I
wondered how thorough investigations
into missing hikers were. If I left a little
blood and some pieces of clothing, signs
of a struggle I could picture the dogs
following my path into and right back
out of the woods. No good. After more
failed ideas a timeless classic formed in
my thinking. A plot so beautiful and
immortalizing I knew right away that I
had my gem. As luck would have it I
lived on a lake.
I began to look at this as my living
opportunity to make every second
count, as I would soon no longer have
the life that I had known from birth.
what a gift I had given myself! The
chance to reconcile with innumerable
people that I had ever spoken ill with.
No one but a saint can know how this
felt. when one can live as if one is going
to exit soon, one tends to try to leave
only the most delightful impressions
about themselves with others. I harbored
an element of guilt with this all, howev-
er. I wondered how I could honestly try
to make good with these people with
advanced knowledge of my supposed
departure. These were obstacles in
thought that I had to weave around. I
kept an honest sense of self about me.
Nothing was faked or rendered, what I
said and displayed to people was my true
emotion. I was quite serious about the
whole issue. Virtue came always before
my need to a divine right of immortality.
It was a poetic vision that had started
this whole idea in the first place, howev-
er. A question of what if quickly turned
into a question of how for me. I was a
tinkerer in both mechanics and emotion.
I wanted to see if I could muster pulling
it off mentally and physically. This
proved more difficult than at first
thought, if even by my own misgivings
and double thinking. My philosophy had
been molded by years of physical stag-
nation. The world was turning too swift-
ly for me and I really wanted to take it
back a notch. In the end I could see that
I would be a sad story of an accidental
occurrence, but this would cement my
youth in time. Maybe some day I would
be able to view my former world from a
distance.
I couldn t make myself try to work out
the details of what would come after-
ward. ow would I remain anonymous?
Would I ever be recognized? Getting a
normal job? This all quickly spoiled the
romantic notion. As for practicality: In
terms of finances I had saved for some
time. Not like the golden vaults of the
Incas, but a substantial amount that I
figured could be stowed in various
podunk banks safe deposit boxes, if not
even just under my very own mattress. A
less consumer-like life was what I had
dreamed of and, by God, I was gonna
force it upon myself. There were sure to

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