Do those words sound familiar?
I could have written those very lines myself. But Dostoevsky, or rather, the Underground Man, beat me to it.
He may as well have been talking about me. I am a 21st century Underground Man.
It’s true. I am sick. Maybe not physically, but spiritually. I am spiritually exhausted. I am spent and burnt-out. I can tell you my sins, but you will only be revolted. You will only hate me all the more. And I don’t want you to hate me that intensely yet. I will do that by degrees. I will do that one rant at a time.
It’s true. I am a spiteful man. I am hateful, envious, petty, ignorant, apathetic, and indifferent. That is the explanation for why I have no friends. You may laugh at me, but it is true. It is a fact: I have no friends. You may think it is impossible for anyone not to have friends, but I assure you, I am telling you the truth. Acquaintances, perhaps, but not friends. You may just as well call me a hermit, though I don’t live in middle of the woods. But emotionally, I am a recluse. I haven’t been always like this. When I was young, I used to have a few friends. But something happened, something I don’t want to recall or even remember. The event skewed me, messed me up. It threw me into a pit, and I haven’t been able to extricate myself from it. I haven’t had a friend for so long that I can’t even remember what it felt like to have one. I don’t even understand the meaning of the word anymore — “friend”. What does it mean? What is a friend? What is he or she like? How does he or she behave? How is he or she supposed to behave? And so on.
I am totally indifferent about other people. That excludes my family, of course. But other than my mother, father, and siblings, I don’t care about people. Their interests and worries, hopes and dreams, do not concern me in the least, except when my own interest, welfare, or well-being happen to intertwine with theirs. I guess one way of putting this is this: I am only interested in a person in so far as he or she is interested in me.
It’s true. I am an unpleasant man. You wouldn’t like to spend a full minute with me. You wouldn’t like to be anywhere near me. I wouldn’t spend a time with myself, or be near myself, if I can help it. But I can’t. I can’t run away from myself, so I have no choice but to live with myself. And I’m sick of myself. I’m sick of this guy named Boris. Boris, what a name! Why did my parents gave me such a horrendous, ugly, stupid name? Were they spiteful, too, like me? I will never know. They died in a plane crash after I was born.
Are you laughing at me? Do you think I’m joking? Do you think this is some antic I am pulling? Curse you. Why don’t you come down here to where I live for once? You don’t have to meet me in person, of course. You wouldn’t want that, trust me. I wouldn’t want to make your acquaintance, either. But just take a look at me. Spy on me. Stalk on me. You have to see me in order to believe the things I’ve said.