I'm not proud that I have moldy V-8 cans lodged under the seat of my car. I'm not proud that I borrowed $4000 from my dad to pay off my credit cards and then maxed them out again without paying him back. I'm not proud that I tried to fix my mother-in-law's antique piano with a pair of wirecutters. I am not proud that I left my desk at work to sit on the toilet reading printouts from The Onion until the motion sensor turned the bathroom lights out. I am not proud that I had my first orgasm during a math final. I am not proud that I once hit a close friend in the head with an axe while trying to chop twigs. I am not proud that I jumped off the front porch wearing roller skates when I was seven and I fractured my skull on the cement step, nor am I proud that the following year I did it again because I knew I was older and would not do it again. I am not proud to have been traumatized by an overflowing toilet when I was in the first grade, nor am I proud to have fouled my pants while on a class camping trip three years later because of my lingering anxieties. I am not proud that I had no explanation to give to the classmate I was in love with who asked why she couldn't look in my tent as my older brother searched for a pair of pants I could change into. I am not proud of having run down a hill and leapt onto a spinning playground carousel and landed on the bar with my crotch. While I do blame the camp counsellor at Outdoor Ed for removing my sleeping bag from the cabin without turning the mattress over to conceal the stain after I wet the bed in the sixth grade, I am not proud of having decided at the last minute not to use the protective plastic sheet I'd brought along to prevent exactly that situation. I am not proud that I recently cut my ear while shaving. I'm not proud that I used a pocketknife to cut open the upholstery in the neighbor lady's car while my mother sat next to her in the front seat. I am not proud that I spent fifteen years exclusively pursuing women who lived with their boyfriends, sometimes in other countries. I am not proud that I sidestepped success in favor of passion only to sidestep passion in favor of neurotic responses to loneliness. I am not proud that my childhood friends could not visit because our house was a health hazard. I'm not proud that I have never worked for anybody as smart as I am. I'm not proud that I graduated college twelve years ago and have never used my degree. I invent reasons to look down on people who are more successful than I am and resent people who are happier than I am. I am not proud of that.
I am not as proud as I used to be. This will not be a proud column. But, you know, I'll try to be honest.
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