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Entry date: 7-1-2022 - The Frog Prince - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Happy Friday. Welcome to July. This post has nothing to do with frogs or princes or Prince, the artist, for that matter. I just liked the picture (see below).

The other day I was driving through Rangeley after dropping Liam off at the cousins so he could do some work for them. I was kind of daydreaming a bit, marveling at the beauty of the day and listening to the Butthole Surfers. I don’t do that as much as I used to and when they came on randomly on Spotify after the record I had been listening to was over (Jesus Lizard’s Goat), I kind of got lost in Paul Leary’s guitar for a bit.

This Wednesday morning, to be exact, and as I began to pick up speed because I was through the “town” part of Rangeley, I didn’t quite notice a mother duck on the side of the road leading about ten babies across Route 4. I had to swerve a bit to avoid hitting her and it made me think of something quite dark. What if I had swerved the other way and ran over a bunch of them?

I know I can’t be the only one that plays out these what if scenarios in our brains. I would never want to kill a duck or baby ducks, but it did occur to me that it was a possibility. Some people out there would have swerved into the ducks. I know they would. I don’t understand how their brain would say, “This is a good plan. Have fun!” to them, but there are those people out there who do these things.

Where does that come from? I know enough about trauma and hurting and how life can make you want to lash out. I’ve done enough of that in the past to write a damn book about it, but I guess I have to feel fortunate I am to a point in my life where I wonder about these things and only want to help. How can I help someone who would swerve into the ducks instead of away from them? Can I help them?

This was on my mind for a good long while after swerving to avoid the ducks. We all have dark thoughts but most of us never act on them. Is it conscience? Probably, for a lot of us. I have that little dude in the back of mind that goes, “Hey, Tom…that’s a bad idea.” I’m lucky in that capacity.

Is it that objective moral order of truth thing? There is something to that, too. I know randomly killing ducks is wrong. There is no justification, at least in my mind, for killing ducks that have no bearing on my life. If I was hungry enough, sure, I could kill and eat a duck. I have no doubt about that. I probably wouldn’t feel particularly guilty about it … for long. There would be some remorse, sure, but if it meant starving or killing a duck, I’m killing the duck.

I’m sitting here now, much later, wondering how the ducks are doing. Life is weird.


On that same day, I sent a text message to my dudes (Mark, Mike, and Brian) and I wrote this:

“Whether or not they embrace their true selves is the key to finding their fringe.”

To give this some context, we were talking about the state of the world, and someone mentioned they were happy about being on the fringe of society. I agreed with this, seeing Rangeley, Maine as a part of the fringe of society, albeit a different fringe than my brother from another mother was talking about. Right now, it feels good to be out of a big city and, as I have mentioned several times, unless it is to visit someone or see a show or museum, my time in big cities will hopefully be less and less in the coming years.

Embracing one’s true self is one of those goals that seems so easy and so hard and so scary and so peaceful, all at the same time. Easy, scary, hard, peaceful … Those words make a strange combination of feelings. We like them all, at times, and hate them, too. Maybe hate is strong … maybe.

I think, though, to find that fringe that I think we all desire in one form or another we must embrace who we really are. Some fringes are very attractive, sometimes, and we like to dabble with them (okay, I like or liked to dabble with them), but they aren’t really you. They are just something you can tolerate and even enjoy for a period.

I should probably be clear in saying that I feel like a “fringe” of society is any small or even large niche that feels like it isn’t part of the mainstream. I am trying to avoid the word “normal” here because I think a lot of “normal” things can be part of a fringe of society. Oh crap… I’m dancing with words. But it is a part of life that belongs to you and feels almost private, even if you share it with others.

What is your fringe? Where do you feel comfortable being the most that seems like it belongs only to you? These are good questions to ask. What makes you feel the best and how can you get there as much as possible? I think these are worth asking, too.

I am jealous of people who are confident in knowing what their “fringe” is and how they can maintain it. As I type this, I realize I am still searching a bit. Maybe our “fringe” is incremental in life and it changes. I think it does and has, in a way, but most of what I like now and where I feel comfortable is pretty darn similar to when I was going through different stages of life.

I’m babbling, but these are the things I think about, especially when on vacation. These are the things I do to avoid digging into the fiction I am currently working on. This is how my scary brain works.

See you tomorrow.

Rhondi kissed this guy and I appeared.

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