After I graduated from high school, I attended a two-year business college-type program in Austria, from which I emerged with what I suppose amounts to an A.A. in Business Administration, or something to that effect. (I never got around to having my degree evaluated by WES, hence my uncertainty with respect to my academic credentials in international terms.)
As far as the nature and scope of my studies there, all I remember is that I learned to type real fast and without looking at the keyboard, a skill that often comes in quite handy—although, when it comes to writing tasks that require more than the mindless tapping out of pre-existing verbiage, the leisurely pace at which my brain tends to organize my thoughts and puts them into words pretty much negates the advanced speed at which I can type. So on balance, I need just as much time to finish a sentence as I did when I still used the two-finger eagle method (= circling a few times above the general area where the desired key might be located before swooping down, then repeating the process for the next letter, then the next, and so on—see image top right).
Oh, and there’s one more thing I remember about those two years:
I was the only male enrolled in that particular program. It was eight girls and myself, and we took all the required classes together.
Not only that, but our classes were held in the same building that housed the local academy for secretaries, which was—stereotypically sexist as it may have been—all girls, and whenever subject matters overlapped (e.g., typing, business correspondence, etc.), the nine of us from the advanced business program sat in on the aspiring secretaries’ classes, in which case the Peter-to-tail ratio assumed stratospheric proportions.
As much as I’ve always preferred female over male company in virtually all walks of life, I must admit that my being the only Y-chromosome-carrying student in the entire building felt a bit awkward. I felt I was attracting attention for the wrong reason—not for being the most attractive guy around (which I wouldn’t have minded at all), but for being the most attractive (as well as the least attractive) one by default, simply on account of being the only dude on the premises, a few middle-aged professors excepted. When those girls looked at me, I could never tell if it was because they found me handsome, or because they took pity on me, as I must have come across as a confused adolescent going through some sort of sexual identity crisis wherefore I had selected all-female environs for advancing my education.
Remarkably, not only did I retain my virginity through the two years that I was surrounded by girls, girls, and more girls; but I even managed to hold on to it for another two years after that.
I certainly didn’t abstain from x-rated congress for religious reasons, nor because I intended to save myself for marriage or for Ms Perfect or some such lofty resolution. I just happened to be a bit on the shy side, and the ladies, in general, appeared to go for, well, whatever it may have been that other guys had and I didn’t.
Whatever the reasons, like Elliot Rodger, the Isla Vista shooter, I ended up a 22-year-old virgin.
Not quite “ended” up, though, for it somehow never occurred to me that this vestal milestone might present a valid pretext for exacting my rightful revenge on humanity by going on a sui-homicidal rampage. And so I eventually lived to see my virginity come to its natural conclusion, and I subsequently found ample opportunity to make up for all those years of involuntary celibacy.
Ergo, judging from personal experience, the amount of action one scores prior to one’s early twenties seems a poor indicator of what comes after. Please keep that in mind in case you were planning to pull an Elliot Rodger out of sheer sexual frustration at too early an age.
In any event, I have no doubt that you, too, can come up with at least one ridiculous reason why society at large needs to be punished for whatever horrid injustice it has wrought upon you. In order to kickstart your inspiration, here are, in no particular order, the Top 10 Dumbest Reasons for planning your personal Day of Retribution and leaving a trail of carnage in your wake:
- You’ve attained to the ripe old age of 22 and haven’t gotten laid yet
- Your favorite premium channel is not available in your area
- You’re tone-deaf while all your buddies can carry a tune
- You’re always the one that ends up with all the i’s in Scrabble
- You’re allergic to peanuts and have never been able to enjoy Reese’s cups like all the other kids
- The Wikipedia article that you created about yourself keeps getting deleted for lack of notability
- The Facebook username you wanted is taken
- Nobody ever Likes your status updates or leaves comments on your posts
- Dogs that seem friendly with everyone else usually growl at you
- You never got that pony you were promised
- Letterman is set to retire, i.e., no more top-ten lists
- You’re bad with numbers
Of course, a few additional layers of complexity must be considered in order to fully grasp the pathology on display in Isla Vista last weekend. To facilitate the process, the killer himself kindly furnished a 140-page memoir of sorts, titled My Twisted World, in which he chronicles how “my teenage years were completely denied to me by the cruelness of women” and lays out in detail his reasoning for having resolved that there exists “a major flaw in the very foundation of humanity,” namely that “women are sexually attracted to the wrong type of man” and are therefore “like the plague that must be quarantined”; but since the outlawing of women, alas, seemed infeasible in the short term, as the young man sagaciously concedes, he explains that “my orchestration of the Day of Retribution is my attempt to do everything, in my power, to destroy everything I cannot have.”
One commentator caught some flak for referring to Elliot Rodger’s manifesto as well-written—how can one compliment a mass murderer on anything?
Frankly, in my humble estimation, not only is it well-written but shockingly well-written. Instead of actually going through with his stupid Day of Retribution—thus having made it morally difficult, to put it mildly, to acknowledge his manifest flair for literary composition (“When I saw the sun creeping up before me in the horizon, igniting the clouds with its orange glow…”)—Elliot Rodger should have worked toward getting the accompanying literature published as a psychobiographical novella, kind of along the lines of Catcher in the Rye meets Carrie meets Mein Kampf. Quite a captivating combination.
Just the opposite of “rambling,” as his little manifesto has been described by some in the media, it is surprisingly lucid, organized, articulate, and quite a page-turner to boot. Assuming Rodger penned the whole thing by himself in a relatively short period of time and the version available online has not been edited by someone else, one should have expected a more chaotic screed than this. Yet aside from a mere handful of typos and other minor issues that an editor could iron out without breaking too much of a sweat—prime among them the author’s chronic use of past tense where past perfect would have been in order—the result struck me as, yes, shockingly impeccable in its execution.
In fact, I wish I were able to chronicle my life, including the evolution of my inner demons (I suppose we all have some), with as limpid clarity and seemingly effortless eloquence as Rodger demonstrated even a full-blown psychopath can do.
As per Strunk & White, clarity must rank supreme among the writer’s goals, and clarity on the page stems from clarity of thought. And in all those 140 pages of Rodger’s manifesto, I came across exactly one sentence that had to read twice before I understood exactly what he meant (understanding and agreeing, of course, being two unrelated phenomena). His prose is one of simple elegance peppered with just enough words along the lines of acquiesce, deign, penchant, opulence, and debauchery to guard against ever gliding off into the kind of simplicity that may invite accusations of “[never having] been known to use a word that might send the reader to the dictionary,” as Faulkner once allegedly ripped Hemingway’s writing.
Most perplexingly, how can a person so evidently intelligent and insightful as far as being able to analyze the workings of his own mind and emotions (“Being the obsessed stalker that I was, I looked her up on Facebook…”; “One could say that I was being delusional, but my desperation for happiness was so intense that…”)—even having the discipline to by and large label his subjective perceptions as precisely that (which is difficult enough for most sane people to do with at least intermittent consistency)—arrive at staggeringly obtuse conclusions like “I am the closest thing there is to a living god” whose “purpose [it] is to exact ultimate Retribution on all of the impurities I see in the world” (those “impurities” being women, men that women find attractive, and sexual activity) and whose “final solution” must therefore be to “deliver a blow to my enemies that will be so catastrophic it will redefine the very essence of human nature”?
Apparently, what we have here is a highly gifted intellect that took a wrong turn somewhere along the way and wound up in the dead-end town of Meshugaasville.
In the end, rather than “redefine the very essence of human nature,” all Rodger accomplished was to murder six innocent people and kill himself, thus briefly appearing on the world’s radar as just another nutjob with a gun—more precisely, with three guns, a knife, and a BMW used as a deadly weapon—until his 15 minutes of notoriety are up.
In his manifesto, he talks about having watched lots of movies in his life.
Presumably, The 40-Year-Old Virgin was not among them. That’s too bad. It may have instilled enough hope in him to put the retribution nonsense on hold for another 18 years.