Dead Ends Aren’t Always What They Appear


So you’re all probably wondering why the other articles on Bioshock: Infinite haven’t arrived yet. The short answer is that I have the rough drafts of two articles already written up and hopefully I’ll have them up by next week. The long answer is a bit more complicated. This is going to look a lot like a “poor pitiful me” post, but I’d ask for your patience because it’s actually a very positive article.

While I was writing the first article another one of my teeth began to bother me (you might recall that I had one of my wisdom teeth removed about six months ago). This tooth wasn’t nearly as bad as that one though, and as long as I avoid using that entire side of my mouth to eat I can live with it. Still I went to the dentist to see how much it would cost to get it taken out. Unlike last time, which was an emergency situation given the crippling pain I was in, the dentist decided to take a full-mouth X-ray to see what was up. And it turns out my sore tooth is the least of my problems.

My remaining lower wisdom tooth is packed so tightly against my molar that it’s impossible to floss and keep clean, so now I’ve got an infection that’s not only eating both teeth from the inside out but also eating away at my jawbone as well. This scared me because I don’t feel any pain in my jaw or those teeth, and learning that I have this horrific bacteria literally eating my face from the inside out was a bit of a shock too. Meanwhile, all of my other teeth have cavities, yes all of them. Right now they’re relatively small and harmless, but if I don’t have some serious dental surgery within the next couple of years to repair them I’ll either be toothless or in agony within five years. So how did my teeth get into this state?

Clinical Depression. As my long time readers will know I suffered from clinical depression for most of my life, I was diagnosed in Elementary school and it didn’t go into remission until I was 19. I didn’t have the energy to even get out of bed most of the time, or even shower on a regular basis, so you can imagine what my oral hygiene was like. So yes, the state of my mouth is the result of over ten years (give or take, I don’t remember when all my adult teeth appeared) of only brushing once or twice a year. In fact I’m surprised dental schools aren’t begging me for the right to poke at my teeth, surely teeth as disintegrated as mine would be a great teaching aid. I brush and floss almost obsessively now, but I can’t undo the damage that’s already there.

Which on the bright side means I'm a shoe-in for a role if they ever remake Deliverance.
On the bright side, I’d be perfect for a role in a Deliverance remake. 

Given where I’m at right now professionally, it’s not likely I’ll be able to afford the surgery necessary to repair my teeth in time and so I’m facing the unpleasant prospect of having my dentures accidentally falling into a woman’s mouth when I kiss her. Still, that’s not the worst of fates, it’s not like I was diagnosed with cancer or ALS or something. I’ve also forgiven myself for having not taken care of myself when I was younger; I was a teenager with hormone issues and a neurochemical imbalance, just surviving that mess is enough for me. What made me withdraw into my room and play video games for the past two weeks though, is what that toothless future represents.

I’ll be 25 years old this week. I’m still living at home. After a year of job-searching I’m still unemployed, and every subsequent year I go without a stable job makes it more difficult to find one in the future. And the income from my freelance writing is so low that I can only afford to rip out my wisdom teeth one at a time. I haven’t made this public knowledge to many (until now I suppose), but I’ve also been looking into going back to college. With a highschool GPA of 1.1 though I get weeded out of university admissions process by the computer without my essays (the one thing in my favor) ever making it to  a human being’s desk. And the 150-200k of student debt that I would be required to buy my way into a private university makes me feel queasy.

What my teeth did was make me look at my situation. What those lousy, rotten teeth did was trick me into believing I’m at a dead end in my life. That is what has made me so depressed these past few weeks that I haven’t wanted to go out and see friends, or go out for a walk or, most importantly, update my blog.

After all, the article explaining this mindfuckery won't write itself.
After all, the article explaining this mindfuckery won’t write itself.

The fact that I have a steady readership here is proof enough that I’m a good writer, a young writer with plenty to learn for sure, but a good writer none-the-less. I lost faith there for a while because physically, I’m in the exact same place I was two years ago. Yet in those two years I’ve made leaps and bounds both emotionally and professionally. The fact that I’m in the same place physically shouldn’t bother me, especially since the average age for a child to move out is now close to thirty years old, so I’m still way ahead of the curve. Which brings me to my economic hardships which really…aren’t that hard. I still live at home and the money I make is enough to pay down my debts, and best of all I’m getting paid to write. How awesome is that? Sure it’s not a lot, but a couple years down the road who knows what might happen.

So really, my hopeless, dead-end situation isn’t as bad as I thought. It just took me a few weeks to realize it. Teeth can be be deceptive creatures.

My apologies to everyone for making you wait, but you can look forward to more articles on Bioshock: Infinite both this week and next, as well as the long awaited Prometheus review as requested by Szabi (sorry for the delay!).

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66 thoughts on “Dead Ends Aren’t Always What They Appear”

  1. Holy sh**, that sounds like a hell of a ride Oo
    Glad to have you back! So, whats happening then with your teeth within the next months? Whats the plan so far?^^
    Besides, im (almost) 24 years old and i dont give a fuck about not having moved out yet 😀 As long as youre good with your parents, theres no point in “escaping” unless its for a job thats fun for you and pays out well.
    Indeed,, Im aiming on never leaving home. I like to stay with my mom, maybe ill buy myself and my girlfriend some real estate should we ever want to have children, but otherwise it would also be an economical stupidity to move out, unless you cant stand each other ^^
    So, just keep care of yourself and forget these stupid role models we are bombarded with by society 😉 Making a good living and being of help to your beloved ones is the only thing one should consider anb “Obligatory” goal 😀

    Best wishes from germany 😉

    1. Hi Andreas,

      Yeah it has been one hell of a ride. Well I’m getting the infected wisdom tooth and molar removed tomorrow, so that’s my birthday present this year. After that I’m getting an estimate of how much the repair and restore work for the other teeth will cost and try saving up the money. I’m also going to be doing in sections so at least I’ll save some teeth, in case I don’t raise enough money in time.

      See, I have no idea how people land girlfriends when they’re living at home. I tell a date that and I never hear from them again. Sometimes they even move out of state :P. Guess I just haven’t met teh right girl yet.

      Thanks again for writing in Andreas, thanks for being such a loyal reader!

      1. I met my girlfriend during dancing lessons ^^
        Ive been dancing (ballroom dance) for 8 years now, 4 years ago i met her when they told us they needed some men for a few girls who had no partner for the dancing lessons.

        As for the girls who presumably “dumped” you because they discovered you still live at home: Try not to take it to heart. It may sound odd, but unless you arent dreaming the same (american) dream of having job, family and house, they werent the “right girls”, as you already pointed out.

        Well, we all have to compromise ourselves sometimes, but we shouldnt make compromises that last for a lifetime, at least not to any extent!
        Finding a partner for life is also about finding a person who has a similar concept for his/her life as you have.
        Well, but this also includes that you HAVE some kind of concept for yourself 😉

        That said, i think youre on the best way of finding a partner that fits you. Think of who you are and who you want to be, then go for it, and the persons who are good for you will come along, trust me 😉

  2. Holy Comstock dude, thats a pretty positive way of turning around a back situation. I can tell how the prometheus review is going to go already! Ten bucks you agree it sucks like I do! It asks a question at the beginning of the movie (where do we come from), and it is never looked apon until the end, so many other questions were asked but never answered in my view. I cant wait to see what you think of it.

    1. Thanks Grayson! Good to hear from you, yeah that’s basically the short version of my review. It asked a lot of interesting questions and then just went no where with them.

  3. Alright, I’m going to come off as an ass here but I think you may need that. The opinion of this old fart (42) is the majority of problems faced by younger people today are used as excuses to avoid straining themselves.

    Far too many kids have sat on their asses and been content to ride the parental gravy train. Parents have been told to support their children’s creativity and individuality ad naseum. The problem is nobody has reinforced that children’s artwork stops going on the refrigerator at some point. The worst thing a parent can do is handicap their child with complacency.

    Yes, depression is real as are a dozen other syndromes. Two things though

    1. Many of these issues look more and more to be helped by FORCING yourself to get up and do crap, to interact.

    2. None of these are any worse by being forced to get off your ass.

    Anyone can sit on their ass and we have had generations of parents who have shied away from anything that inhibited their children or forced them to engage in anything unpleasant. They have told their children they need to not settle for careers which are below them and not engaging. The result was the parade of dead beat losers engaged in OWS who had no problem using the macs their parents bought them but were incapable of applying for any jobs beneath them.

    20 years ago I got my aerospace enineering degree in the middle of a recession and the end of the Cold War. The industry I dreamed of working in died. I started my engineering career delivering pizza. I needed to secure my own health and dental benefits so I worked in gardening then electrical in Home Depot. Then I took a technicians job, again “below” my level.

    Nothing is below your level. You do what you must do and living a life of complacency based on your parents’ indulgence does nothing to help you develop.

    My advice is grow up, get off your ass and to apply to Home Depot, Walmart or anyplace that provides benefits and make your own damn destiny rather than bemoaning your situation and muddling along. Forgiving your past errors is very Dr. Phil and all but unless you make real changes and force yourself into gear it is nothing but psychobabble feel good crap.

    R.A. Heinlein: “Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy.”

    1. Hi thanks for writing in, and for the advice. Don’t worry, you didn’t come across as an ass.

      First of all my depression has been in remission for five years now, so I don’t blame that anymore for my issues. Like I said, it was mostly the teeth making me confront my current situation. I should also say that forcing someone to get off their ass isn’t something you can do if they’re suffering from clinical depression, its entirely physiological at that point and tough love simply doesn’t cut it there. Fortunately for me that’s no longer the place I’m at right now, so I can appreciate your advice.

      That said I’m not sitting on my ass, well okay i was for the past two weeks which I’ll cover later, but for the most part I’ve been pretty proactive. I have been looking for work for about a year, and not as a writer, but literally any job I can find. I apply to writing jobs if they open up but right now I don’t have enough experience to land one of those, so I’ve been applying to home depot and warlmart and any other store in the area. The only place I haven’t tried finding a job is in the food service industry, and that’s not because I think it’s below me, but rather because I’m 100% certain I’d be fired anyway. I’m a rather physically clumsy person, and I don’t really need the experience of spilling drinks on someone or accidentally dipping my hand in a deep frier to tell me I’d be terrible at it. 😛

      I recently began looking into jobs at Casinos, like dealers and such, and since that seems to be the only industry that’s growing these days I gotta say I’m feeling hopeful I’ll find something there. So yeah, I haven’t listed anything as beneath me. Personally I’d kill to land a job as a garbage pick-up guy, those guys make a killing.

      Anyway, thanks for writing in. I’d be interested in hearing any other thoughts you might have when I post a more detailed write up of my situation next week.

      1. Hang in there and take anything to be working then step up from there. I have been interviewing young engineers for two positions and immediately shredded the application/resumes of any who came in with a sense of entitlement or who I perceived as sitting on their ass and having no fire. I hired one a year and a half ago who was working on a food delivery truck for markets just to be working over other candidates because I want work ethic, not flash. I shredded a kids from a month ago because his answer to “what have you been doing since graduation last year?” was “well, my parents are pretty generous and understanding.” He was the front runner through HR until that point. I didn’t need any more time with him, it was over.

        As far as girls and living at home… At some point in your 20s you transition from being a guy girls may be interested in dating for fun to dating for a future. Guys living at home in their late 20s radiate a lack of ambition and motivation like a magnesium flare in a blacked out cellar. The guy who cannot get out of the house is not the guy who will be likely to support a family.
        Sexist? Yes.
        True? Yes.

        That is life. We are judged by what we accomplish which is why kids from the feel good, self esteem supporting school of child rearing are failing to leave the nest.

        1. I’m glad you brought that up, because I’ve been asked similar questions “what have you been doing since your last job” and “what are your plans for the future” and honestly I don’t know how to answer those. Do I tell them I’ve been trying to build a freelance writing business while I’ve been searching for other employment? Doesn’t that make it sound like I don’t really want their job, like they’re just something to keep me afloat until I get my own career going? I guess I’m asking how do I get across my ambition without sounding dismissive of the job at hand. I feel like telling an interviewer about my past year of scrounging for clients is like telling them I don’t really want their job, they’re just there for my convenience. Most of the time I flounder on this question because I’ve got nothing else to tell them.

          You’re advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again for writing!

  4. Good question and I see your dilemma. You have something in your favor; you are young. Be honest and state you thought you would be able to get further as a freelance writer and still want to write but you have responsibilities and need to seriously move your life forward. Nobody you interview with will expect you to quit writing but they will respect your acknowledgement of needing to take a new path and move forward. Turn the negative into a positive. You are young and growth is expected. You took a swing at something and while it may have not gone as well as you hoped you aren’t giving up but are making plans to move forward as a responsible adult. Never deny or dodge an obvious fault or weakness but instead find a way to use it to show growth.

    The manager at Home Depot or Walmart doesn’t expect you to stay if you become the next J K Rowlings. They also do not expect that to happen. Ask questions about advancement. How do you become a department head or manager? Ask what they want an employee to do to prove they are capable of moving up.

    Now for some support. You are a good writer. I found your site because of your ME3 ending post. You know the mechanics of writing and can be successful but need one more thing. You need life experiences. You need to be out and doing things, interacting with people and expanding you interpersonal skills. Every job, even the crappy ones, gave me skills I have called on from time to time. You are not wasting time on a job you are not interested in. You are gaining invaluable experience to help you grow as a person and writer. How many successful writers simply fell into it and how many actually had other jobs while they got started? Check out Larry Correia’s page. He has authored Monster Hunters International and Grim Noir. Check out his resume and the jobs he has had before being able to write full time.

    Hang in there. I know people who failed to launch because of coddling and are now in their 40s and in a pretty sad state. You can absolutely blaze a new path, improve your life and continue to write.

    I’ve said it before, Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People is invaluable for developing basic interpersonsal skills.

    1. Hey thanks for all the great advice. Next time I get a job interview I’ll definitely put it to good use, and I’ll keep you updated on how my job hunting goes and give you a big thank you when I finally land one!

  5. I’m in a agreement with a lot of what Ken said, especially, “Never deny or dodge an obvious fault or weakness but instead find a way to use it to show growth.”

    A lot of life is simply defining how you want your life story to be told. If you can show that you’ve learned from your past mistakes / choices, and are growing, you’re ahead of the vast majority of people out there!

    You may be 25, but you’ve probably got another 60+ years to do amazing things with your life. That’s a pretty cool thing!

    Plus, frankly, it would be a loss to the world if you didn’t do something with your writing talent. Your ME3 commentary is some of the best writing I’ve ever read on the web. Following a writing career isn’t easy, but who said it should be. 🙂

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