For convenient reference, Randy Mesmer gave each of his thoughts a number.
1. Fears about the body, ugliness and aging.
2. Resentments regarding people he had hoped would love him, but did not. Or at least not in the way he’d hoped they’d love him.
3. Delusions of grandeur.
The idea was that, by labelling these thoughts with a number, they would become less potent and engrossing. Other thoughts would be allowed to arise.
Instead he was appalled to discover that there was remarkably little else going on.
He could sit all morning thinking, counting, “2,2,2,2,1,2,2,3,3,3,4,4,2,2,2,1!” This was especially true if he added:
5. The desire to eat potato chips and drink beer.
6. An all-encompassing sense of regret at the vast waste he had made of his life, which (briefly) had seemed so promising.
He often spent all day hopscotching from 1 to 6.
He felt nostalgic for the days when lust was the lead thought. However regrettable, it at least contacted the outside world occasionally and was more enjoyable than resentment.
Delusions of grandeur, like the overdose of caffeine which often accompanied them, were fun, sort-of, in an inflated sugar-high sort of way, but left him feeling dreadfully nervous and more than slightly nauseated and ashamed when he returned to himself and the actual sordid conditions of his body and mind.
Randy Mesmer had aimed at having realizations. And, indeed, he was having them. But he’d hoped that some of the realizations might actually be pleasant.