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Farewell, Shai

Shai (in brown), at my 21st Birthday Party, 2007.Shai, you know what? I don’t know if you’re up there in heaven. You might be up in the orbiting VALIS. Chances are you’re stone dead. Even then, I'm not sure. Honest to God, I don’t. When your service concluded on Sunday, I half expected you to creep out from behind a headstone, shout “Ha! Fooled you!” and go into fits of laughter, as only you could. You never half laughed. It was all or nothing with you.

When I told friends and family about you, they didn’t believe you were even real. I mean, what kind Jew is smart enough to convince a neo-Nazi to date him? “I confirmed all her suspicions,” he said once. “We ran out of money and I said, ‘It’s OK, I’ll just give the bank teller my Jew Number and he’ll give me all the cash I want.” I think being so absurd was your specialty. Like Phil Dick said, "the only appropriate response to reality is to go insane." You took that to heart, I think.

You were the only bloke who made me feel like a complete fucking moron sometimes. I wish I told you this more often, but when I start a list of great thinkers; Hitchens, Dawkins, Feynman – I’d whisper “Marom” somewhere towards the top. You had a towering intellect, a boundless imagination. Who else wrote a complete theory on reality in their spare time? No one that I know. No one that anyone knows.

Even then, you never ever talked down to anyone. When I was struggling in maths (which you called “math”) you took time out of your day to help me, going to the State Library with me. I didn’t know this then, but I do know now – you were struggling with Crohn’s disease. My God, if I only knew.

When I’d heard you’d moved to Brisbane – Russell Island, or “Dole Island” – it was another one of your social experiments. Thinking about stuff never quite cut it for you. You had to experience, observe, explore. The more complicated, the better. I thought it my duty to cut across the highway, two or so hours to get there, just to have an hour-long conversation. I would have done it again in a heartbeat.

Now you’re gone. Even though in your own quantum entangled reality, you might not be. You could be both, neither, all at the same time. You’ve outsmarted me, even in death. You son of a bitch. I could not have felt more honoured to be your friend Shai. Rest easy.

In Memoriam - Shai Yassi Marom (October 11, 1986 - December 9, 2017)



Punctured Armour

Over this year, I’ve read three books that have changed my life. All three combined shifted my thinking and feeling on an existential level, on par with No More Mr. Nice Guy and the work I’ve done with the Melbourne Chapter over six odd years. They are:

  • Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
  • What Men Still Don't Know About Women, Relationships, and Love by Dr. Herb Goldberg
  • Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find - and Keep – Love by Dr. Amir Levine & Rachel Heller

Prior to reading any of these books, writing this post would be unthinkable to me. Since, it’s been a trying exercise to open up and understand the nature of how I act and interact with others. Revealing oneself isn’t weakness, it’s Wholeheartedness. Focusing on what women tell me and not what they need is following Content, not Process. Keeping significant others at arm’s length isn’t a deep need for independence, more an attachment style known as Fearful Avoidance. To the outside world, these are meaningless buzzwords. To my friends and family, I imagine it just boils me down to a quiet, unknowable asshole.

Same goes for those featured on puerile reality shows such as Married at First Sight or Seven-Year Switch. I’m sure there are countless others that exploit neuroses as entertainment. Clashing attachment types creak under the weight of their own internal burdens until collapse. Opening up about themselves causes sweating, a clenching of fists, the desire to run away.  I imagine half the population wonders why speaking about such simple inner truths seems like torture to these people. For someone like me, who grew up reading, building with Legos and playing computer games on his own for most of his childhood, it seems perfect and rational.

I often think that changing oneself is a Heisenberg principle – you know where you’re going or you know where you are, never both at the same time. I’m making new friends and new connections, and it scares me to think in the new ways. Maybe they give a shit? Maybe closeness won’t send the sky hurdling toward my head? Maybe everything I learned is a god damned lie? I hope it will all be for the better.

Of course, I use music to put it all in perspective. Two songs in particular sums up my experience living “as me.”