Snarky musings from a dyed-in-the-gingham Midwesterner with penchants for cheese and the color mustard.
Gatsby’s desire is revealed to be that of a 16-year-old boy: not only does he want to win Daisy, he wants to control her affections. It reminds me of my high school relationships, where I tortured girlfriends for getting fingered by other boys when they were freshmen. Just move on, dude. We are obsessed by his obsession but aren’t significantly moved by his accomplishment of the goal.
Everything you experience from here forward is useful. Every failure, every shitty night spent in a weird airport, every person you meet, every sleazy table-running job you work, every book you read … all of it is useful. All of it is fuel. Even when you’re experiencing something miserable, you’re probably experiencing something that someone else will be able to relate to. That’s useful. You see the world through the eyes of more and more people as you go. You know where Steve Jobs’s first job was? At a stupid hippie apple orchard. Then he named his company Apple and BOOM! Billions. It’s all useful later on. Every stupid thing you’ve ever done brings you that much closer to becoming a fully formed person, one with his own distinctive outlook, his own voice, his own stories to tell … a person that can be of service to the universe.
But still, you are probably going to be a nobody for a while. You are going to make that journey from strength to weakness, and while it won’t be an easy trip, it is a heroic one. For in learning how to be a nobody, you will learn how not to be a jerk. And for the rest of your life, if you are able to remember your hero’s journey from college grad to underling, you will be less of a jerk. You will tip well. You will empathize. You will be a mentor, and a generous one.
It’s time we empathize rather than vilify the golden girl. One minute you’re a 22-year-old overgrown woman/child raised to sit on couches and yawn, married to a philandering slab of roast beef, miserable even if you’re described as not happy but not unhappy either, and next thing you know literary critics are calling you a “bitch goddess” for decades on end.