The 616 Diaries: Entry 9 by Kevin Kauffmann
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September 14th, 2019, 8:54 PM

I apparently couldn’t last more than three days. I lasted three days before the dam broke, before I gave into my obsession, this addiction of mine. At first it seemed harmless—it still can be—but my mind has practically been devoured by three little numbers. There doesn’t even seem to be any prospect for moderation; it’s all or nothing. Either I don’t look for it, I don’t see it and I feel like I’m going cold turkey and I literally start shaking, or I give up, I see it out of the corner of my eye, I start looking for it in newspapers…

I mean, seriously, newspapers? I haven’t read the news offline in ten years and I just spent the last hour poring through the classifieds in three separate newspapers just to find 616 buried in phone numbers and addresses. It doesn’t even make sense! I’m bound to find it there just because of the statistical variance! I’m looking through a literary graveyard and getting excited when I find a bone or two.

I won’t even bother telling you how many I found. It doesn’t even matter, since I’m not counting them.

Because now it’s obvious that I’m ignoring the coincidence aspect of the whole thing. I know that—it’s right there in front of me—and it’s time that I just admit it. Spending time looking through the fucking newspapers is when it finally clicked. I already knew I had a problem, but if I go looking for it, I’m going to find them. There isn’t some grand conspiracy when I find two Catalytics job openings and they both have 616 in either the phone number or the address. That shit doesn’t mean anything. Neither does it matter if the first part of an article about Lynn Stafford’s House of Orphans is on page 6 and the second half is on page 16.

I’m just finding it because I want it to be there.

And what kind of thinking is that, huh? The number shouldn’t mean anything. It’s just a bunch of old people superstition that there even is a number associated with the Devil. Even when I’m trying my damndest to just be myself, hang out with the girlfriend, play games with the best friend, go to brunch with my out-of-touch parents… what’s the point of thinking about a number when I’m trying to do any of that? These are the people who matter to me, and I shouldn’t be sweating it out when I haven’t had my fix for a few days.

At least I know it. I’ve been trying to take steps. I’ve been exercising every day; I’ve been throwing myself into my work. Except for this last little lapse in judgment, I’ve been on my best behavior. Renee’s definitely been happier since, though I’m sure this post will be enough to get me on her bad side again. Again, I think about taking this blog down, just writing down my feelings instead of putting them out for the world to see and letting my girlfriend know every time I’ve been “unfaithful.” It would be the smart play; it’s something that I would totally do in the right mindset.

It should be clear at this point that I’ve lost that mindset.

I’m just barely staying myself, the core of me, and that’s why it’s not so much a problem as something to worry about. I haven’t gone down the slippery slope, yet; my feet still have traction, but just what the hell am I thinking? Three days? That’s fucking pathetic. It only took 72 hours—and I’m being nice rounding up to the full day—it only took 72 hours for me to break down and start looking again. It’s my free time and I can do what I want with it, but this is unreasonable. At the very least, I could be doing something else with a couple hours instead of circling numbers. Something productive instead of getting myself into another rut.

Because that’s what it really is. I got all excited and passionate about it, but this is really nothing more than another way for me to run away from the real world. This is just another way that I can look somewhere else instead of at myself for why my life turned out the way it did. You think I wanted to be an accountant? I was just good at it. I can’t care how much money our clients are making, or how much they save or lose on taxes. I like the way the numbers move across the screen, or make jokes that only I get. They’re just mildly pleasurable things that I use to distract myself instead of realizing I’m not happy.

I’m not happy. That’s just what it is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with the people in my life. Without Renee and Andrew, I wouldn’t be able to justify getting up in the morning. They are the people who help me get through the bad times, the rough patches, who recognize it when I’m just wasting away day after day. Even my parents at least worry for me, which goes a long way, considering. To have people care what happens to me, if I live or die, if I’m happy or sad, it’s the kind of support network you need. In that aspect, I’m very satisfied.

But as far as happiness goes, there’s not much to go around. I’m not happy, and it’s not just the job, it’s not just that I’m sitting around and doing nothing with my life. It’s that I don’t mean anything; that it doesn’t matter if I even obsess over a number, because what I do has no real impact on the rest of the world. I can hurt and laugh and cry and spiral into madness and fall apart or scream in ecstasy and it means nothing. I can kill myself and it really only affects four people.

I can not be in this world and the world will go on without me.

And yeah, I know, that’s everybody’s problem, but we all handle it differently, or not at all. Some people don’t have this crisis of self; they go on blissful and ignorant or—if they’re apparently just different from me—they know all this but it doesn’t matter to them. They’re happy in spite of it, as if it doesn’t affect them. Me? I have to think a number is following me, that the Devil is personally interested in my story and is dropping me clues and hints and making my nightmares come back and I can’t spend three fucking days not worrying about it. I can’t spend three days without feeling like I’m missing the clues that will lead me to my life purpose, that I’m dropping the ball.

And no matter what I say, do, think, however I behave, that feeling doesn’t change. It doesn’t matter that I know, that I’m aware that this is all fake, some desperate attempt to find a reason to live and keep going, to keep wearing down the road until the rut is even deeper. I know. This is just another road to travel on; another avenue to nowhere as I run in circles and wait for time to kill me. However rational I can be, pretend to be, it doesn’t do anything to stop how I feel.

And I feel like I’m missing. Not just that some part of me is missing, like it was there and then one day it was gone. I feel like my entire self is missing. I know me, I know every little part of me, every detail, I remember what it was like to fall off the waterslide when I was six, or how I made fun of my friends at graduation right before a couple birds shit all over me. The me that’s been here for thirty-four years is still here.

But I feel like that’s just an empty shell; a man without a soul. My personality is still locked into this aging body; I’m still human, but my center, my ability to be a person, is compromised. I’m dying every day, with every breath, but once this body is done, I don’t think there’s going to be anything left. If I ever had one, it feels like I’ve lost my soul.

At this point, I really doubt that I had one to lose.



616 withdrawal is a real thing, obviously. Let's see where this goes....