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Fit into the Mold January 31st of the second year

I'll tell you right now, this entry has almost nothing to do with the tour. It's long-winded and it has no pictures [90% of the audience just closed their browsers]. Honestly, it kind of bores me. I rather talk about the time Shadowfax and I burst through the landscape like a sheet of shattering glass and sailed off into oblivion. Oh man, I'm telling you, that shit was cool...

I don't expect many people to read this, and for those that do read it, it'll probably sound like my own personal pity party. I'm starting to use the journal as a place to compile important thoughts made on the bicycle; thoughts that brought me to where I am today. Though, it's not totally unrelated to the tour. In fact, a man I met in El Paso haphazardly triggered the entire entry when he recounted a fateful day in August of 1966 at the campus of UT. Thoughts tend to develop and grow as the miles increment and now they've come due. This entry comes almost word-for-word from a voice recording while eating those pineapples I mentioned in the previous entry.


I used to go on long walks while working late into the night at BMS. I'd just get up from my desk and stroll around the building, go into different corridors and get a drink from the water fountain. Inevitably, the walk wasn't far enough, so I'd make my way outside and walk around the different complexes. My consciousness was a curse at the time. It stood in the way of my ability to increase the value of my bank account and thus the duration of free time I'd have to live my dreams after the contract was over. I'd start thinking about what my life had become, about how I was spending my time and I'd soon break down. So often I'd go on one these walks just to release these floods of emotion so I could return and be productive. It became necessary.

I'd go back and not really question what was going on. I couldn't afford to question it (or so I said to myself). One particular day, I just couldn't deal with it anymore. I was more or less alone in that office and when I realized that I forgot my headphones at home, the morphine ran dry. I was unhappy. I was too conscious of my own emotion and the more I thought about it, the worse it got. Shortly thereafter, I was diagnosed with a bipoloar disorder. I started to research prescriptions just to see which would fit best. If you ever find yourself on some pharmaceutical's website for a prescription drug, take notice to how they market the product. If you're already there in the first place, odds are you are seeking help for yourself. They're going to make you believe you are infected or imbalanced whether or not you actually are. I knew this long beforehand. As Amy, my step mother explained, "Ten years ago you never saw commercials for prescription drugs." You know those commercials on TV, the ones that end with "Ask your doctor if ________ is right for you." Well shit, if they're going to tell you all the symptoms and have you fill out an online questionnaire asserting that you're depressed, have a sleep disorder or are genetically at risk, you're not going to "ask your doctor", you're going to "tell your doctor".

Nine out of ten symptoms. Obviously, I need their witchcraft. "Phew! For a minute there I thought it was hopeless. I'm simply imbalanced. It's natural." Well, thankfully I'm not so suggestible and believed I could fix my own problems without the magic pill. I continued on. I really had no idea if something was wrong with me or not. Somehow, it seemed to all add up. It was so incredibly easy to give in and conclude that I was naturally imbalanced. I mean, it seriously made a lot of sense. I began to think back upon my recent years and it all made terribly obviously sense. "I always knew something wasn't right with me." I always felt out of place, like I wasn't acting correctly. I was miserable in college and was looking forward to the day I was going to leave with great joy. It felt good to leave. It felt great, but the immediate future was less a light at the end of the tunnel than it was a dark and stormy cloud. It wasn't college after all. My whole life had changed and yet I was still miserable. Those commercials now speak louder than ever.

I again sidestepped the pills in search of my own solution. I needed time to figure this out. Well, this is where I made a few spontaneous decisions. On Sunday I went skydiving. On Monday I went to work, went out to lunch and never went back. Later that evening I got my eyebrow repierced. On Tuesday I managed to land a girlfriend. On Wednesday, I pulled together my list of dreams and went through them one by one trying to decide which one I would pursue first. Thursday, I sent out a ton of resumes. That didn't [yet] work out, and soon I decided to leave New Jersey, buy a bike, sell my car and ride to Oregon.

I've had months alone to think.

Nothing was wrong with me. What I was feeling at work was very typical. What I felt at school was normal. I was trying to fit in just right. I wanted to live the "college life" as it was shown on TV. Shit had to be crazy otherwise I'd feel like I failed. It was definitely crazy, but it wasn't me. I suspect this is where the booze complemented life accordingly. Study hard, graduate with high honors, live ridiculous stories, get a high-paying job and voila, you've done it! This is good! You're going down a good path! That was how it made sense, anyway. By many standards, it seemed like I was right where I should have been. The problem was that I was trying to mold myself into what society, what my friends and family saw as "right". It's the righteous, revered path. You make sure everybody knows about it, too, because in that way you'll climb the order-ladder.

It wasn't me. If it was me, then why was I going on these long walks at work? Simply falling into the pattern of work-eat-sleep was enormously painful. "Is this what it all adds up to?? Is this why I've worked so hard??" Even if I had an easy job, even if I "enjoyed" my job, knowing that the majority of my waking heartbeats were spent doing something I didn't have a passion for meant I would find myself looking elsewhere for answers. Some people are made to be artists. Some people are made to become fishermen, some are best suited as scientists and some belong in work that has yet to be envisioned. Just hope that the square pegs aren't forced in the circular holes. They'll fit if you have a big enough mallet, but their work will be half-hearted. He'll have to break himself in order to fit that mold. He's going to destroy the very heart of himself in order to fit. I've been taught to value industry and it was seemingly my own decision. It seems as if I wanted to be cast into that mold. I'm 18. Do you really think I know who I'm going to be when I'm 25? I don't even understand my own motivations. I don't understand my influences or why it is I'm having these thoughts. And here you are, society, and those under its influence, committing me to this end. I'm supposed to know what I want, though. I'm supposed to know where life is headed. I mean, that's what is revered, isn't it?

Fit into the mold. Fit into the mold. Fit into the mold. You'll fit. You'll do fine. Behave this way, value these things, live in this manner. Pay attention to these matters, they're most important. Do all these things, do them well and you'll rise to new levels. You don't want to become him, that's not any good. No, nothing is ever directly stated. It's indirect at best. The want to conform is subconscious when you're inside the box.

You have to be yourself and you have to find a way to make it work. Take control of your time, discover your passions and live them. A healthy mind can overcome previously insurmountable obstacles. You won't need to bend or break. You won't need to "cope" with life and you certainly won't need to "Ask your doctor if _______ is right for you."

Criticism welcome!


Comments to date: 2


February 9th, 2010 @ 1:45pm

Man, that sounds just like me thinking! I feel the same way you do, except I’ve been part…well… victim of the machine a lot longer. There isn’t a day that goes by without having these kinds of thoughts. Sometimes I feel as if I’m losing my mind… but then again, I think maybe it’s just the morphine wearing off… you know, the programming. It’s funny, but sometimes I fear that because I’ve “woke up”, I might get the black car with tinted windows visit. Lol…

You are absolutely right about all the meds these days. An older friend once told me that if someone over 35 goes to the doctor, chances are, if they weren’t sick when they went in, they would be when they left. I once went in for mild depression after my sister died, and from filling out the questionnaire, you’d think I was bipolar and a few other things. From those questions, everybody is suffering from this. I eventually stopped taking the meds, and didn’t really notice a difference at all. I think it’s just the ole placebo effect anyway.

Sometimes in the morning, on the way to work, I look at all the people in their cars and think… “None of these people look happy”. They just have this dead, zombie look about them. I always remember that Police song (Synchronicity) “Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes. Contestants in a suicidal race.” and think, Wow, is this what I’ve become? Is this it? Looking back, I’m not even sure if the job I have is the one I would’ve chosen if someone had ask me what I wanted to do for a living. At that time, I think I just wanted to…as you said “fit into the mold”.

As every day passes, I think about this more and more. Rock on!


August 11th, 2008 @ 2:35pm

Interesting thoughts Charles...I think you're viewpoint and analysis has merit. I look forward to reading the rest of your posting on your website and hope our paths cross sooner rather than later.


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My name is Charles Tronolone and I'm attempting something a bit unconventional; I'm trying to make a living by writing while on a perpetual bicycle tour. How I got to this point is a story in itself, but suffice to say that I refuse to be just another cog in the machine. There's too much important work to be done and too many eyes to open for us to be content with personal goals or riches. In late 2006, I managed to escape the machine, and now I'm setting off to help bring it down.

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