Hugi Magazine 32: Say It With Flowers

hugi 32 header graphic

Neuroticism (Written By Adok/Hugi)

He was standing in front of his mirror, looking at his terrible face with the mustache that had been growing uncontrolledly for already more than three days. He hated this sight but he knew that he couldn't do anything against it. He was perfectly aware of the fact that there were much more beautiful men in this world and even more beautiful women, angelic creatures that really deserved living, he thought. He was nothing like this but he would create them on his computer at least, with his mouse and some pieces of software. Yes, he was a pixel artist.

"Are you a friend of Carlos'?" some girl asked him the other day. "Why?" The sun was covered with clouds in the outside. Soon it would be going to rain. "Well, erm, I heard Carlos and his friends meet in this pub more or less regularly." He felt the coldness from the outside, the temperature decrease that was going to come soon. "Well, I'm a very good friend of Carlos' indeed. A so-called friend at least." - "Oh really? That's just... too great. Do you know what he's up to?" - "Yeah, I know it exactly. Why are you asking?" - "Well... could you take me to Carlos?" - "No need for that. What do you want, young lady?" Then the girl finally seemed to realize it. "You are Carlos?" - "Yeah, that's kinda true, at least I'm his outward facade. Well, you wouldn't have guessed I look like this, if you know only the women I'm used to drawing, eh?" That dude sucked. That dude had written a review of his latest art disk. Worse: this review had been published in his favourite art mag, which happened to be the favourite mag of many influential art sceners. And now many sceners would see not only a negative opinion but even lies. Lies like that the size of the art disk is 6.7 mbytes packed of which 2 mbytes are occupied only by the code of the interface. Fool! If you just understood a bit about coding, and only a bit, like he, the graphician, you would know that code never is that big, at least not if it's simple stuff like an art disk interface. The big size of the .exe file simply came from the fact that he had linked some of his pictures in RAW format directly into it so that they would be compressed with pmwlite. Damn, why had these people published this damn review that reflected its author's striking incompetence. And he was accused of ripping, too. He, the artist who had never ripped, had never ever stolen other people's art work a single time in his life and has even a notorious "ripper-hunter"...

At least he hadn't really ripped. Not really. Sure, he sometimes created his pictures on the basis of photos, which he had not always taken himself. But what pixel artist didn't do that? His philosophy was that pixelling itself was not merely handicraft, but also a kind of art; a pixelled picture was always an original piece of art no matter what it had been inspired from. All people get inspiration from something! Stones, trees, the green in the streets, flowers in the garden... Everybody gets their inspiration from somewhere, so what? They just want to damage my reputation, he thought, they neglect the huge amount of work I invest in my creations, they are very mean, they only think of themselves. If they were influential enough they would surely build concentration camps and kill all the most talented people there. Yes, they would definitely do that!

"I am... very pleased and of course honoured to meet you." - "Why, don't be so submissive. What am I? A stupid old sucker who spends all his time with a computer mouse and a screen, whose eyes are very short-sighted already, who has no real life, no girlfriend, nothing. I wonder if I'm worth living at all." - "I don't agree. You are a great graphician. Really. And I guess graphics aren't your only talent. Usually there are multitalents..." - "I know, I know, blah blah. My teachers also told me all the time that I was such a good student and should study this or that... They all told me to study their own subject. And my mother! Her dream was always me to become a lawyer. In the end, I couldn't decide. So I started law, but effectively I studied nothing. I know nothing, I can't do anything, except that damn fucking pixelling which keeps me indoors all the time, unable to socialize. I work as a typist to keep alive but this doesn't fulfill my life... and pixelling really sucks, I hate it!" - "But... but with your skills, you could surely get a job with a game development company or a movie studio, for example. You could earn a lot of bucks... You're really outstanding." - "Ha! With my appearance! They'd rather feed the rats with my body than hire me. Besides, money doesn't count. It's a fulfilled social life I need most. And before you ask, why, you must be social, after all you meet up with friends in this pub... hehe, I actually have no friends! Sure, I see some people here from time to time, but only to booze... and forget."

Forget. There was one event in his life he would never forget. As a small child, he loved drawing very much. This is normal for children, and of course especially for him, a good graphician. He filled loads of sheets with his dinosaurs. All of them had names, of course, and different life stories. Many tales had he invented involving these dinosaurs. He drew them as comics. One dinosaur usually played the main role: Pet. Pet was his favourite dinosaur. He was rather small and had long hair - imagine, a dinosaur with hair like a human being! -, which made him stand out from the rest. Unlike the others, Pet wasn't very strong but clever and knew one thing nobody else of his species knew: how to swim. In this way Pet had been able to escape many times when great predators were running after him and could then manage to attack the dangerous beasts that were standing by the lake looking very puzzled from the back. One day, he painted a great picture of Pet, very colourful, which showed all his features which the comics only revealed incompletely. He showed it to his mother. Very strangely, his mother didn't have the look on the face that usually showed her approval, although she tried to say "very good" in a convincing manner. Then she asked, "Could you give me the pic? I will cast a spell over it!" - "A spell? Whoa! What will you do with it? Make it even more beautiful? Or make Pet a real, living creature??" - "Well, I will do some magic with it. You know, I'm a magician!" - "Yes... well... here's it..." He handed the piece of paper on which he had drawn his hero to his mother. His mother put her arms across her back, so that the picture disappeared. He would never see it again - at least not completely. When he took a peak at the wastebin next to his mother, he saw his piece of art in it, torn into small pieces.

He never forgave her, as she never explained why she had done this, any time he asked her about it. Had the picture perhaps contained some kind of obscene elements, he asked himself later. Maybe something like this was the reason? But he could not remember anything of this kind. Sure, if some details of the picture broke some taboo indeed, then he had not included it consciously. But why hadn't his mother told him?

And then the way she treated small insects. She often killed moscitos, bees or even little flies, under his heavy protest. He loved animals, all kinds of animals. Right after women, this was the motif he painted most.

This contributed to a certain aggression against his mother, although she treated him in a very just way the rest of the time, yes, she even showed him more maternal love than he wanted.

Then, one day, she had to go to a meeting late in the evening. She asked him if he would accompany her. "Erm, sorry, gotta do a pic... can't you go alone? I mean, you are old enough, ain't you... well, you're the parent and I'm the child, not the other way round..." - "I see. Well, I don't need your help anyway. I'll manage it myself alone. See you!"

He never saw her again. The police didn't retrieve any information about where she was gone, either. They only reported that a body was found some days later in a lake that could not be identified. It had happened when he was 19 years old. "You feel guilty. I see that. But you know, and must keep reminding yourself that it wasn't your fault. You have to enjoy your life, you must not be depressed... be optimistic, there's still a lot of time for you to live on this planet, and you're still young, you could still fulfill your dreams..." - "My world has come to an end. I mean, the world of my soul. I'm dead. I'm a mere body driven by force." Force. It came from his inside but it wasn't really him. Why else would he paint all day, all night long when he wasn't up to anything else, only eating a bit of chips and popcorn on his desktop? He didn't like it, he didn't really want it. It wasn't his will. And yet he finished picture after picture, and soon he had completed another artpack. What was this force that drove him? Where did it have its roots?

Maybe the incident with the picture was the reason? It seems to be a possible explanation. As she had destroyed his favourite drawing, he had been determined to keep on painting until he would create something even better, as a proper compensation. But it hadn't worked out, and with time, painting became a habit he could not control.

All the success he thereupon had with his painting skills, the numerous competitions he won, all of it wasn't satisfactory enough to do away with his feeling desparate, powerless and guilty.

Perhaps the disappearance of his mother had even increased his obsession with computer graphics. After all, pixelling was the activity he was pursuing in the moments when he saw her the last time. Perhaps there is something in him that believes that when he keeps pixelling long enough, then his mother will return - one day.

After a while, the girl said: "Come on, I will show you how beautiful the world is".

It took long until she managed to convince him. But finally, he followed her.

And they went out to beaches, forests and mountains - to nature. They visited foreign countries, foreign cities. They saw the fruits of human culture. And then they left again for the countryside, in order to see how racoons, deer, foxes and other animals were living, what their culture was like. They saw flowers and trees, plants and fish. They experienced a huge variety of different smells, saw a lot of different colours, lots of shades of red, blue and green, cyan, magenta and yellow, black, white and gray. They met a lot of people from various cultures and made friends with them.

What happened next is unknown to me. But what's for sure is that this poor nerd finally managed to get to enjoy life again.

Psychologists may reflect on how he succeeded in that adventure.

Maybe his mother appeared again?