In emotional face offs, I try to be liked, and I forget being right with those I love. But being right comes somewhat more naturally to me than to the populace in general—sometimes I have no choice but to be right. And in these cases I find myself often hated.
For example, in high school I envisioned a movie plot where the director falls in love with his cinematographer. Ten years later a movie came out with such a plot. My friend Julian observed that my view is off by about 10 years—I have 10 years to make my visions real before someone else does.
In this last election, I railed against my family who voted for Trump, pointing out the discrepancy of my female cousin spouting praises to the woman-abusing president elect, saying it was particularly ironic she was doing this on Facebook—a company I said has never respected its users’ privacy. Since then, the #MeToo “movement” happened. Since then, Trump was slapped with multiple, multiple sex abuse allegations from women. Since then, Trump shepherded in a Supreme Court justice who is in the same position. Since then, Facebook was found to have unwittingly helped the Russians fix our election. Since then, Facebook’s login service has been found to allow hackers to control applications you use Facebook to sign in to—in addition to compromising its own service (your info, your posts).
A few years ago, I predicted/suspected that my uncle was carrying a gun when he came to our house. My grandmother scoffed. “That’s my son you’re talking about. Rusty doesn’t have a gun.” Then my mom asked him and he confirmed that he brings a gun to that house when he goes. But nothing ever changed and I never got an apology from my grandmother. What would that mean to her? That her grandson was right about something she thought was a certain text? That I knew what was going on better than she did, with her son?
The first such event happened when I was four or five years old. I heard my parents arguing. I asked if they were going to get a divorce. My mom said “Maybe” and my dad said “No.” About 15 years later they divorced. My mom told me the truth. My dad tried to comfort me. But he did so with a lie—and I have never forgiven him for that. That was the first time I was right instead of being liked.
In work, in 2008 (10 years ago), I suggested to my boss that we build an alternate reality platform game. He had asked for ideas. The game I imagined would custom build a level on top of the real world around you. That was a far-fetched idea back then. Now the Apple App Store has a full category for AR games. An AR platform game would be perfect. Fifteen years ago I suggested a different company build a retro-graphics RPG. Something with pixelated 3d graphics—focus on gameplay, simplify the graphics. My boss said he couldn’t see people playing such a thing because they were already expecting more and more accurate 3d rendering. Fast forward 10 years: Minecraft. And every other pixelated game. Are never short of users. People don’t mind pixelated graphics—they love them.
So of course I’m sick of working for someone else who is subverting my ideas. And now that I’m on disability, I probably won’t have to. With my books I can claim to be the sole expert on how to produce them. I don’t have to listen to what people say of them. I’m free to grapple with issues or stories or characters or styles that I feel appropriate.
If I was going to do a bit of predicting today, I would say that the United States is about a year away from further modifying its First Amendment in a way that will censor more of what we now call “art.” That’s just my feeling. I hope I am wrong.
But even on lithium for my manic depression, I’m a wild one. The notes I wrote to my family pointing out these weaknesses in their thinking were not polite. They were not nice. And I don’t believe any of my family are seeing the present-day events while thoughtfully considering my advice. They think I’m crazy. They have to. Because if I’m right, it means they have to do their lives differently—and they don’t want to do that. It’s much easier to sit in the flock of that family and do nothing. I chose not to sit silently. I chose to say my piece and move far, far away from them in this jumbled life. And I’m glad I did.