Five years ago, I witnessed an overweight girl being harassed. A group of “popular girls” had pulled down her pants while we were leaving school. The girl grabbed her pants and ran away crying. Our school’s star quarterback chased after her to comfort her.
“I was told that he would’ve made it out alive, except he ran back to try save his two-year-old half-sister. They found him holding her, she died in his arms while he was trying to protect her from the flames.”—
Sometimes I think you shouldn’t expect much from people, even the ones you love most. There’s no such thing as a perfectly loyal and true friendship. People are too selfish for that. It’s happened to me, I’ve given a lot for a friend, stood up for them over and over again. And what did I get in exchange? Not even their solidarity, not even their support. And then you wonder why the suicide rate is so high and why evil triumphs over good so much? Because you make it happen, each and every one of you. Stop the hypocrisy, it’s not right.
She’s seen all the classics,
She knows every line:
Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink,
Even Saint Elmo’s Fire.
She rocked out to Wham!
Not a big Limp Bizkit fan.
Thought she’d get a hand
On a member of Duran Duran.
Where’s the mini-skirt made of snake skin?
And who’s the other guy that’s singing in Van Halen?
When did reality become T.V.?
Whatever happened to sitcoms, game shows (on the radio)?
“I was thinking how amazing it was that the world contained so many lives. Out in these streets people were embroiled in a thousand different matters, money problems, love problems, school problems. People were falling in love, getting married, going to drug rehab, learning how to ice-skate, getting bifocals, studying for exams, trying on clothes, getting their hair-cut and getting born. And in some houses people were getting old and sick and were dying, leaving others to grieve. It was happening all the time, unnoticed, and it was the thing that really mattered.”—
“Do not be critics, you people, I beg you. I was a critic and I wish I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me, and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy. Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is a fuckload of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Christ, that is what matters. What matters is saying yes.”—
The Greek word for “return” is nostos. Algos means “suffering.” So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return. To express that fundamental notion most Europeans can utilize a word derived from the Greek (nostalgia, nostalgie) as well as other words with roots in their national languages: añoranza, say the Spaniards; saudade, say the Portuguese. In each language these words have a different semantic nuance. Often they mean only the sadness caused by the impossibility of returning to one’s country: a longing for country, for home. What in English is called “homesickness.” Or in German: Heimweh. In Dutch: heimwee. But this reduces that great notion to just its spatial element. One of the oldest European languages, Icelandic (like English) makes a distinction between two terms: söknuour: nostalgia in its general sense; and heimprá: longing for the homeland. Czechs have the Greek-derived nostalgie as well as their own noun, stesk, and their own verb; the most moving, Czech expression of love: styska se mi po tobe (“I yearn for you,” “I’m nostalgic for you”; “I cannot bear the pain of your absence”). In Spanish añoranza comes from the verb añorar (to feel nostalgia), which comes from the Catalan enyorar, itself derived from the Latin word ignorare (to be unaware of, not know, not experience; to lack or miss), In that etymological light nostalgia seems something like the pain of ignorance, of not knowing. You are far away, and I don’t know what has become of you. My country is far away, and I don’t know what is happening there. Certain languages have problems with nostalgia: the French can only express it by the noun from the Greek root, and have no verb for it; they can say Je m’ennuie de toi (I miss you), but the word s’ennuyer is weak, cold - anyhow too light for so grave a feeling. The Germans rarely use the Greek-derived term Nostalgie, and tend to say Sehnsucht in speaking of the desire for an absent thing. But Sehnsucht can refer both to something that has existed and to something that has never existed (a new adventure), and therefore it does not necessarily imply the nostos idea; to include in Sehnsucht the obsession with returning would require adding a complementary phrase: Sehnsucht nach der Vergangenheit, nach der verlorenen Kindheit, nach der ersten Liebe (longing for the past, for lost childhood, for a first love)…