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40 and toast
the laments of a burnt out soul
by robert a. melos

I will turn 40 on May 27th. Oh my God! I’m actually going to be 40 years old. Hell I never thought I’d make it to 30, and here I am turning 40. The thing is, it’s not all that big of a deal. At least, for me, it’s not as big of a deal as I think it should be. I’ve watched other people turn 40, and they either have a mid-life crisis or go all out to celebrate the day of their birth with a big bash, cake and candles included.

I’m not like that. Oh I like a party. In fact I used to love a party but life in general, and my job in particular, have slowly drained all the joy from my existence. I’ve bitched and moaned about growing up gay and confused, and being abused by my so-called peers both physically and verbally, and frankly I’m tired of caring about my past. I’m tired of bothering to acknowledge the emotional hell I went through at the hands of people whose only meaning in my life today is that they were part of my past.

In short the past is the past and I can do nothing to change it, even if I wanted to change it. I’m not happy with the way it went down but since it is unchangeable, all I can do is hope the future will be better. I’m okay with where life has led me so far, although a lot of it hasn’t been a bed of roses. Again I’m tired of complaining, because the world is a cold uncaring place, and it’s time I realized no one cares about my problems or the pain I went through in my life. If I haven’t had sex with someone rich and/or famous and published a book about it, no one gives a damn about anything else I could pass along.

Yup that’s how I see the world, a cold uncaring place where we are on our own even when we are with others. The only unity is the unity of one, the communion with your inner self. So I’ve communed with my inner self, and now it’s time to figure out what to do with my life. Sure it was probably time to figure out what to do with my life 20 years ago, but I missed that bus and am ending the long look back to figure out where exactly it was that I strayed from the path of success.

I know one thing for sure, and that is that I am burnt. I am toast. I’ve overextended my emotional account and run out of credit on which to borrow for the times when life gives me a shove. I need a rest, at a time when rest is not to be had.

I’ve come a long way in my life having published two novels neither of which is a best seller, or a seller for that matter. Of everything in my life I am most proud of my creative efforts in writing, developing my web sites, and creating my comic “Impure Thoughts.” Those efforts are true accomplishments for me. Perhaps this is why I’m a malcontent when it comes to my work in the field of real estate? I’m not a happy Realtor™.

The truth is, I just don’t get any satisfaction out of helping people find houses. Hell I don’t get satisfaction out of helping people in general, so it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that I don’t like a job where I am in a position of having to help people. It isn’t that the people don’t need the help because, in spite of their best efforts to find homes and buy or sell without a Realtor™, they desperately need someone to offer good advice. I offer this advice, and what do I get for it?

As the girl in the film Sixteen Candles said to her sister. “You make someone a bridesmaid and they shit all over you.” Yup, that’s about what I get in return for my efforts. So why do I do it, you ask? I do it because everyone must do something, and it seemed like it was easy enough at the time and a way of making a quick buck. Damn. If I knew then what I know now, but I didn’t so this has been another learning experience in my life.

Did I mention I’m tired of learning experiences as well? I’m tired of discovering more of life’s disappointments with each passing day. People lie, it’s a given. People can’t be changed until they are ready to change. People will always take the path of least resistance. A fool and his sanity are always parted. Trust no one.

Okay, so I’ve learned all the negative lessons in life, or taken the negative viewpoint. That’s just who I am. I see the glass as half empty. I wish I could don my rose-colored glasses and see the happy world of peace, love, harmony, contentment, that so many people seem to see, but I lost the ability to bury my head to the evils and cruelties of the world a long time ago when I was in the second grade. Now I’m spending my lifetime dealing with the fallout of decisions and choices, and ideals that have lost their usefulness.

I believed in honesty and am a very open person. I may not trust another person on the face of the planet, but I won’t hide anything about myself or my feelings just to make my life or the lives of anyone else all the easier. All I ask of life is to be accepted as I am and for people to stop trying to change me to suit their image of what a person should be or could be, or might be or will be. I am what I am.

So after going through a long journey to get to where I am today, I find I’ve gotten nowhere. I’ve traveled in circles trying to find a path in my life to lead to the success I sought as a writer, and instead I find myself looking for ways of financially supporting my desire to be a successful writer. I find myself striving to achieve some recognition as anything other than a Realtor™ because I’m ashamed of being a Realtor™.

I’m sure there are some Realtors™ out there reading this who would disagree with my assessment of the business. I guess I should specify how much I hate any kind of sales job? I do not like selling things, appealing to the huckster quality in me, because I view sales as a profession of liars. Now I know I’m ticking off all the sales professionals reading this but understand the salespersons to whom I’ve been exposed relish the challenge of making a sale, of converting someone over to their way of thinking, and I’ve always hated challenges.

So instead of rising to meet challenge after challenge in my life, I look for the easiest way of accepting that which I am handed and deal with it internally. Again I’m tired of dealing with things, thus my urge to find creative outlets for my desires. I always come back to my desire to express myself through creativity. I’m struggling to find a way of incorporating creativity in my chosen profession, but real estate is very straightforward. It’s about the money, the deal, control.

Maybe, on some level, creativity is about control? I manipulate words to form sentences to form paragraphs to form books. So I am controlling a situation, and as a comic creator I manipulate images and words to make people think and laugh. In my creative endeavors all my energy is focused on making the reader or viewer laugh. That is my true talent, I think. I can make people laugh.

This is why I’m having such a problem with real estate. I’m trying to find the humor in it, and I find business and real estate to lack humor. I don’t mean it’s completely humorless, but it is sorely lacking in the laughter department. This is where things are falling apart for me. I need humor. I need to laugh, and I’ve been taking things much too seriously as of late.

Another draining effect in my life has been the steady siphoning off of my sense of humor by the world in general. Could that be what happened to me so many years ago, as a child? Could it be I was too happy? Too much enamored with the fanciful and enjoyable that my fellow human beings decided, subconsciously of course, to rob me of my joy by stealing my ability to see the humor in situations?

Somehow I managed to retain my ability to see the humor in the situation, but I have lost an ability to care about the seriousness of situations. I can’t seem to find the balance between serious and funny. All I can see is a half empty glass and a long journey in a circle while struggling to make sense of it all, and I’m tired and burnt out by the desire for answers to questions I’ve either forgotten or about which I no longer care.

So this is where I find myself on the ever-advancing tide of my 40th birthday, still searching for answers to eternal questions and not caring whether I get those answers because they’ve already lost their meaning for me. And struggling to balance my desire for creative release with my need for financial security in an ever volatile marketplace where bulls fly and bears dance in an ever-increasing economy on the brink of tumbling like one too many blocks placed on top of one another in precarious positions.

Amazingly enough, the angst I’ve painted for you here today is nothing compared to the angst of my 25th birthday. Now that was a real rude awakening complete with emotional tidal waves, and years of soul searching. This is just a moment of my mind’s unleashing of a rant upon the world; a lashing out at the utter randomness of the insanity which, when I stop to observe it, amuses me and regenerates my soul with the humor it is sorely lacking.

So I’ll be turning 40 on May 27th. What did y’all get me?


Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.

more about robert a. melos


the great american 4th of july
parades, fireworks, and good friends
by robert a. melos
topic: humor
published: 6.27.03

i’m thinking of auctioning off my mother on e-bay
when the parent/child roles reverse
by robert a. melos
topic: humor
published: 10.24.04


tracey kelley
5.26.03 @ 10:32p

This is my birthday gift to you: unsolicited advice.

Get. Another. Job. Life is too short to spend half of your waking hours doing something you hate. Especially when it involves selling.

You -can- make a living writing. It won't be easy for a long time, but then again, what you're doing now isn't easy either. But to say you don't have a choice is not accurate, nor is it your only option.

robert melos
5.27.03 @ 12:21a

I didn't mean to imply I don't have a choice. I have lots of choices, I'm just sorting through them to find the one that'll suit me best.

dana harris
5.28.03 @ 12:59a

Have you read any David Sedaris? If not, get thee to a bookstore posthaste.

robert melos
5.28.03 @ 10:23p

No I haven't read David Sedaris. I'll get me to a bookstore tomorrow when they open. Okay, when I get up and after breakfast. Sometime around noonish.

matt morin
5.28.03 @ 10:42p

You'll love him, Robert. He's great.

mike julianelle
5.29.03 @ 12:02a

Oh man. The funeral story in Barrel Fever is priceless.

robert melos
5.29.03 @ 12:52a

Thanks for the tips. I'll definitely hit the bookstore tomorrow.

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