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Letter from America May 27, 2004
Embrace The Pain
By Mark Ames Browse author Email
Page 2 of 3
"Jesus, that's awful."

"You have no fuckin idea, Ames. I know you're poor, but... you're you."

"So what'd you do?"

"I embraced the pain. I realized there's no way around it. I sought pain wherever it hid. I challenged pain, thinking I'd become more powerful. I went back to my corporate finance job, and I worked as hard as I could, and got myself in over my head in work. It's meaningless, horrible shit, 22 hours a day, seven days a week. I spent as much time as I could in the office, I got mixed up in every crisis or every confrontation, every shitty office dispute I put myself in the middle of it. I bought an expensive house and an expensive car and maxed out all my credit cards. Bring it on, Jack. You can't escape from pain. You can't find some kind of pain-free life where no one fuckin bothers you and you have no more fuckin worries and you 'enjoy what you do' or get some 'fulfillment' from your job or your family. Those are fuckin myths, man. People say, 'I don't really like my job, it's not fulfilling, I didn't expect to wind up like this.' Cry me a fuckin river, man. Life is all about disappointment and lowered expectations. Just admit it, man. I admit it. I'm a failure! My life is meaningless! And it's great! Embrace it, accept it. Make friends with the pain, man."

"Embrace the pain."

"It's not possible to escape pain. There are just degrees of pain and brands of pain, but the real problem people have is thinking that there's some way to avoid pain. That there's some magic bullet. People think they have the right to be happy. Can you believe that shit? That's the source of the problem, man. That's where everyone's fucking themselves up. Happy! Ha! Yeah, you'll find Happy. It's about two doors down from the Fountain of Youth. You can't miss it, dumb-ass. Just keep looking, it's got your name on it!"

"They should have their driving licenses revoked."

"They should get fuckin pithed, ese! You know what I mean? Stick like a flat, long metal instrument, like a dip stick, up through the upper eye socket until it reaches the frontal lobe and just wiggle it around, scramble the brain a little."

"What'll that do?"

"I don't know, man. That's what I want to find out."

"What if they get more aggressively stupid and start twitching around, yelling and stuff?"

"Then you take a fuckin power drill, a little hand thing, and just, you know, Vvvzhweer! In and out through the back of the skull before anyone knows what happened. They'll think they heard something or felt something, but they won't know what."

"And that'll..."

"Look, we can't just sit here on our asses, Ames. We've got to act."

"Embrace the pain," I said.

"No, man, transfer pain from you to someone else. Deal pain unto others. That's what I'm talkin about. What kind of sick fuck are you?"

"But you were telling me to 'Embrace The Pain,' Ramirez. I was starting to buy into it."

"Ames, you poor fool. I've known you for twenty fucking years and you still believe my bullshit?"

"I believe in your bank account, Ramirez. And when I get into trouble, you better bail me out."

"Oh sure, Ames! For ten fucking years now I've had to hear about your life in Moscow. Chicks, whores, drugs, fame, while I suffered in the corporate world. It's all over now, Ames. The ship is returning to port. All good things must come to an end. Welcome home. It's all pain from here on out."

"But I'm leaving at the end of June."

"Sure you are. It's okay, Ames. We're here for you." He reached out to hug me. "You have a family. The sooner you accept it, the sooner we can all go home. We're here to welcome you back."

"No fucking way, dude," I said, backing away.

"Join us, Ames. Join us. Jooooooin uuuuusss."

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