Living On The Edge of the Coin

A coin is an interesting object. The “heads” and “tails” sides can be totally different but there is and edge that connects them which is unlike both of them, but an essential portion of each. How many people think about the edge of the coin when they picture one?1

I live on the edge of the coin.

Let me give you a few examples:

I am able to hold opposing views, often diametrically opposed views, at the same time with little cognitive dissonance. For example, while suffering from almost crippling self-doubt and self-esteem which dwells in the sub-level three stories down from the basement, I also think my views are super-important and wonder why people don’t listen to me.

I am way over on the introverted side and my best days are the ones where I not only don’t have to leave the house, but I don’t even deal with anyone on a conversational basis. Yet I am currently
3 missing the ability to go to genre conventions and spend time with people I don’t even know (and those I do) talking about whatever comes to mind.

For a more concrete example, here is what started this whole line of thought.

I am currently in the process of moving from one storage space to another.
5 The new one is closer to the house and less expensive, so it is a win-win. The real downside is that it is taking forever, as the storage unit became a holding space for material I wasn’t sure if I was ready to part with yet.

I have already cleared out most of the big things and I’m down to the stuff I have to make decisions about. Some of these are unmarked
6 cardboard boxes. One such box had “Ghostlight — All Issues, Anthos I, II, III) on the side.7 The material inside was too tall to allow the box to close and it was apparent that what was inside was not issues of Ghostlight magazine. It held roughly two dozen legal pads, I giant ring binder, some other bound papers, and a handful of Bluebooks.8

I had found a slew of material from when I was pursuing my MA.

Thinking that this was prime material for the recycling bin, I brought it home rather than finding space for it in the new unit. Me being me, I couldn’t just dump it all in the bin, I had to look at it first. That’s where I found a 20 page paper with the easy to read title of
What Our Inbox Tells Us About Crime: Deconstruction and Analysis of a Viral E-Mail Message.

Yeah, just a little light reading for funzies.

Now, not to brag, but I did get an A on this paper. Jotted on the title page in my instructor’s handwriting was “Michael, you should
publish this. Talk to me if you are interested. Graduate Symposium?”

And this is where the trouble started.

On the one hand, I was amazingly proud of this paper from over a decade ago. It was nice to see the validation of my intelligence by someone that I respected. Flipping through it, I was surprised to see some well done statistical analysis and comparative thinking. Good job past me!

On the other hand, there is the stark truth that I did not publish the paper. Shortly after this class, and just shy of completing my degree, I did what was essentially a cost-benefit analysis regarding my schooling. It was quite expensive, both in terms of finances and time spent. Due to my absolutely wonderful sense of timing, I had entered the Criminology and Criminal Justice program just as all of the civilian jobs in the area were drying up. Government funds for research programs and local law enforcement civilian jobs were being cut left, right, and center. I had already aged out of the time when pursuing a position in law enforcement was an option. There were NPO positions available, but almost all of them in my location were volunteer positions requiring full time engagement. I could swing back and get a teaching degree as well, but even those positions were few and far between and would likely involve moving across country.

Long story short,
10 I never finished the degree.

So, here I am feeling really proud of the paper while at the same time feeling bad that I never did anything with the education I received. Simultaneously, I still feel very proud of the fact that I went back to school in my forties and consider all knowledge its own reward while feeling ashamed of the fact that I never pursued that particular aspect of my life.

On the gripping hand, had I gone that route, there is the very real possibility that I would not have started
Dragon’s Roost Press, one of the things that I am very proud of.

What’s the conclusion? What’s the Knowledge Is Power, That’s One To Grow On, Knowing is Half the Battle moment? What’s the take away from all of this?

Sorry, there isn’t one. I’m just feeling really fucked up right now and I needed to share. Thanks for listening.

1 Not sure if that came off as thought provoking or pretentious. Probably both.

2 And that footnote is this whole post in a nutshell.

3 This is written in the Time of COVID.


5 No, I’m not living in the storage space. I rent a storage space to hold the material associated with
Dragon’s Roost Press and the Halloween decorations.

6 Or incorrectly marked, as we will soon see.

7 A reference to some of the early publications by the
GLAHW which I used to store for the group, but no longer do. Now some other lucky slob does that.

Not Blue Books from the Air Force’s investigation into the UFO phenomenon. Obviously.9

9 Those are in a different box marked House Stuff.

10 Too late.