Guy de Maupassant’s “A Coward” hits me right where it hurts. It’s all about that deep need to be respected, to feel like you’re worth something.
Imagine being in a situation where you’ve got to put on a brave face, or else it’s all over. One slip and you’re labeled as a loser, kicked to the curb by everyone you know. Some folks can’t handle that. They’d rather check out completely than live with that kind of shame.
…So there’s this guy, putting a gun in his mouth, pulling the trigger, and the next thing you know, his servant’s finding him dead on the floor.
The dude at the center of this mess is Vicomte Gontran-Joseph de Signoles. He’s this Trust Fund NEET who’s gotten himself into a real bind. He’s way in over his head, struggling to keep afloat, but sinking fast.
You know how it is when you feel like you’re losing it? When you’re so desperate to connect that you end up driving yourself crazy? Sometimes, you just need to take a break before you end up jumping off a skyscraper or something.
If you’re not true to yourself, if you don’t know who you really are, life can get ugly fast. If you ever have to stand up and prove yourself, wouldn’t you want to be ready?
I get this story. I mean, really get it. I’m 27, with a comfortable life and a good job as a senior software developer, but I still feel like a failure. It’s like I’ve been cruising along, but I’ve got nothing to show for it.
Maybe I’m too hard on myself. Maybe I’m not giving myself enough credit for what I’ve done. But it’s hard not to feel like a failure when I think about how much more I could have achieved.
My granddad escaped communism and built a better life for us as a construction worker. All I can think about is how I don’t want to end up a washed-up loser, drooling in a corner.
The next few years are gonna be about fixing this mess, about becoming the man I want to be. The last thing I want is to be a 30-year-old nobody, wasting away.
Want to know more about the story that’s got me thinking this way? Check out Guy de Maupassant’s “A Coward” here. Maybe it’ll get you thinking too.