The horror is real.
“I didn’t want to harm the man. I thought he was a very nice gentleman. Soft-spoken. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat.”- In Cold Blood, Capote
The horror is real. In my last blog entry, I noted that I am a huge fan of horror films…but only because life can farmore terrifying than the most gruesome horror film. In Cold Blood is one of my very favorite books, I’ve probably read it a thousand times, if I’ve read it once. Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, two selfish, self-absorbed losers going nowhere fast, could have made so many different and better choices, but ultimately, those choose to punish other people for their failings. Other people, innocent people, had to pay their price.
Life is a choice. Life takes hard work, and hard choices. This year especially, Halloween is in October, but the real horror might be yet to come, on Election Day. I’m not comparing Americans to the murderers of the Clutter family, simma down, but simply making the point that Dick and Perry were able to do their dastardly deeds, and live their mean, empty lives because they refused to take responsibility. It was always someone else’s fault.
In our lives, sometimes it has to be our fault: our fault that we lost the job, that the relationship ended, that we didn’t get the promotion, that we’re broke. If it’s not our fault, we can never grow up and live up to our potential. If it’s never our fault, we’re doomed to a life of powerlessness. And, hopelessness.
If you’re trying to make successful changes in your life, responsibility starts with you. Responsibility starts by choosing to be better than your fears. I made a comeback in my own life, both professionally and personally, by refusing to let my fears guide me. I couldn’t tolerate the frightened, tedious person I had become. I had to fight for myself.
At the conclusion of In Cold Blood, as he’s going to the executioner, Perry Smith, that “animal, walking wounded,” as Truman Capote masterfully calls him, hesitantly apologizes for the murders he committed, and talks against the death penalty saying, “Maybe I had something to contribute, something-.” Of course he did. And so did radiant Nancy Clutter, 17 years old, when she and her family were shamelessly slaughtered, in their own home, for 40-50 dollars. Maybe they all had something to contribute.