The summer is slowly fading away. Although, in looking at the weather forecast for the next week, it’s pretty safe to say that the warmth is holding on as tightly as it can. When I think of summer, I’m taken back to my childhood when my Mother and Father would pack up the Astro and journey to La Crosse—where we’d spend the week(s) often fishing and tubing. I’m lucky to have those memories.
Memories are a funny thing. They’re like your own personal storyboard etched into the very crevice of your cerebrum. Now, I am no doctor, so I can’t get into the specifics of the human brain. What I can tell you is this: memories make you, you. Both the good and the bad all make up your past. Much like everything in the human body, the brain and its functionality are a pretty much a mystery. Our thoughts, emotions, actions, personality traits and even basic functions of everyday life are controlled by that one organ sitting there in your noggin. There are scientific facts that have been proven, and then there are just the things we don’t understand.
A few weeks ago, I was watching this show about serial killers; specifically John Wayne Gacy. Firstly, I’d like to tell everyone here that I am not sicko. The show was both interesting and sort of weird, so I watched it. Nevertheless, the story of Gacy is an interesting one. He was a popular man, charming even (to a point). He was somewhat involved with the local government proceedings (not saying he was in Congress or anything), he was a semi-successful business man, and he was a part-time clown (CREEPY). Yet, there was a darkness about him that people described. Growing up, little John Wayne had to endure a tough up-bringing by a strict father who had high expectations for his only son. A childhood friend commented that Gacy once told him he didn’t really feel like he was a ‘boy’. Regardless, he grew up and married. Whilst living in Springfield, he had a both illegal and disturbing tryst with a teenage boy. This same tryst landed him in jail for a time. Following his time in the ‘big-house’Gacy moved back to the Chicago area—and got involved with the community. He married again, which lasted a short time—and worked with a construction company. As mentioned before, he also performed as a clown (again, CREEPY). It was during this time, his true intentions and human-nature kicked in. One of the individuals lucky enough to escape the grasps of Gacy’s sickness tells the story of the night he got away. He came home to a drunken Gacy, dressed up in his full clown garb drinking. Without getting into graphic details, Gacy attempted his charms on the young man, who quickly refused. Gacy then became angry, and began growling at the man (like a dog) and yelled ‘I am going to kill you!’ The guy escaped, and lived to tell story of his getaway.
We all know the story. In the end, Gacy was incarcerated and charged with the murder of several young men, whom were found buried underneath his crawlspace. He was sentenced to death by lethal injection. I, of course, don’t remember this—and the murders took place much before my time. Regardless, what I am getting at here (after another weird tangent) is that when he was finally pronounced dead, a doctor was there waiting to remove his brain. What were they looking for? Any abnormality, any scientific sign/proof that Gacy’s brain was in fact, ‘different’ then a ‘normal’ human brain. They were looking for a reason as to why he was, the way he was. What did they find? Nothing. Scientists found no single sign of evidence that the brain of John Wayne Gacy was any less normal than yours or mine.
That, my friends, is the mystery of the human brain. Experts would have us believe that Gacy’s traumatic upbringing contributed to his inhumane behaviors and animalistic tendencies. Perhaps that is true. I mean, who am I to know what it was like for him? I wasn’t there. There are many individuals out there who suffer in both a mental and/or physical way because of something that happened to them in the past. The memories of such, haunt them in a way that affect them so deeply, it causes something to snap. Sometimes we act a certain way on the basis of pure impulse. Other times, decisions are made in a very clear and calculated manner. Yet, the basis on which we make certain decisions is really unknown. For example, why do we choose to eat an egg, cheese and sausage biscuit in the morning rather than yogurt and granola? I mean, you eat the biscuit, and then later you find yourself guiltily asking ‘Why did I do that?’ The act of choosing one thing over another and/or choosing to do one thing rather than the other is really interesting when you think about it. It all comes down to choices. Sometimes there’s a reason for those choices, and sometimes those choices are simply the result of irrational decisions. Impulsions controlled by our heart, which, even worse is controlled by that tricky brain of ours.
Choices and decisions. Are they correlated? Well, duh, of course they are. You’re presented with choices, and then you make a decision. What’s worse? The choice or the decision? Well, more often than not, you’re presented with choices that you don’t have a say in. It’s either this or that, and there’s no other option. However, decisions---decisions are all on you. They’re yours. Whether or not you’d like to admit is, a decision is yours to own. There’s a great deal that often comes with making a decision. You see, it’s no big deal when a decision that you have made affects only you. It’s when that decision affects others that it becomes the problem. There are many examples that I can list; but that isn’t really worth my time. What I can say is this: selfish decisions don’t take much thought. They’re self-seeking, thus in the beginning only those satisfyingly tangible feelings are brought forth. The aftermath, is just as it sounds; the aftermath. An afterthought to be dealt with when the reality of a situation comes to light. Often times, when that afterthought appears—it’s too late to fix the damage you’ve created. Other people will go on living their lives, and they’ll be there for you when you need it. However, after making a consistent amount of negative decisions—friends and family grow tired of your bullshit.
When you think about it, we live to serve our own thoughts, needs and wants. Which, I guess is what we are supposed to do in life. There are those precious few who often care more about what others think and need before their own personal needs. This can be both a good and bad thing. These are the people who are often so busy trying to keep others happy—that they forget their own personal necessities. I, unfortunately, am one of those people. I’m not sure how it started, or where it even started. Growing up, I was afraid to be uncool, disliked and even left behind. I've been like that most of my life. I'm still alike that today. I'm not sure how to change this behavior; moreover I'm not sure how to stop caring what others think. The truth of it all is this: a conscious choice or decision needs to be made to stop caring.
I suppose what I'm getting at here is that we're all faced with crossroads and impasses during our time here on earth. Certain extenuating circumstances drive us to choose one thing over another. Whether the good or the bad--it's worth the time it takes to evaluate what we're about to do. Ask questions, think about the future. Whether you'd like to admit it or not---a decision is a decision.
Some things you can't take back once the deal is done. That, my friends is what you'll have to live with for the rest of your life.