In the movie Sliding Doors we get to see two possible outcomes to Gwyneth Paltrow’s life based on whether she makes or misses the train.  Nice little commentary about how the slightest thing can alter our lives. Since we don’t live in the movies, we only get to see what happens on the one path we choose and the other can only be left to the imagination. However, there are times when we can get a glimpse of what may have been. Perhaps you run into an ex who has gotten incredibly hot, or the car you opted not to buy is recalled for unexplained fires. They’re not always the most significant things, but they usually stop to make you reflect on the choices you made. I recently had such an experience.

When I was younger one of my best friends was a cousin who was a few years older I am. He and I spent a lot of time hanging out doing whatever kids do. Since he was older he knew about all the cool things that the older kids always know about. He was the reason I listened to Dr. Dre and Metallica, and why I like Camaros. My joy of storytelling could probably be traced back to the way we used to play with action figures.

Then I entered the sixth grade and he was starting high school. He was going on to do cool high school stuff and I met some new people as well. This was also the when punk rock entered my life. I had no idea what my cousin was doing, it didn’t involve me and I was ok with that.

So as it goes we completely drifted apart, only seeing each other at Thanksgiving. It didn’t bother either of us as he had moved on with our lives. I eventually moved north and became the mostly functioning adult I am. I assumed he was doing the same thing sans the moving north part.

Over the past few years we started seeing each other more as we both attended more family gatherings. Then we sort of rebounded last year after the passing of someone important to us when we younger, Macho Man Randy Savage. Then recently he invited me to a party at the house he shares with one other dude.

I went, and I didn’t stick around very long.

This was a decent sized house, two bedrooms, finished basement occupied by a couple of guys 32-33 in age and I swear I visited a couple houses exactly like this in my early twenties. Imagine that time in college when you’re desperate for someplace to go and at midnight you end up at your roommate’s friend’s friend’s house, or rather a house you’re pretty sure this stranger is squatting in.

The walls are barren, there’s a tiny lamp in the corner barely illuminating the room which only has a giant ass TV, two couches facing each other, and a Beirut table. Then you move on to the “dining room” with its table and seven non-matching chairs, still nothing on the walls. The bathroom has one towel and a bottle of soap. You finally make it to the basement where you find several guys trying to level out a pool table by breaking of paint stirrers and shoving them under the legs.

I want to reiterate that these are men in their thirties living like dumb college kids.

Maybe I’ve just become to accustomed attending parties thrown by married people, in houses they own and put effort into making into a home. I don’t know. But whatever it was I did not like being in that house.

Now this brings me back to my original point. I started thinking that had I stayed closer with my cousin that this could possibly have been my life. Just continuing to follow in the footsteps of this cool guy I looked up to. I sat in that basement and listened to him spin records, creating techno music, and while it was impressive to watch I was still listening to techno, wishing I was in my car with comforting sounds of Dropkick Murphys, Rancid, and the Mad Caddies.

The idea that there is an alternate reality where I would enjoy techno music is one that scares me.

The part of this that was really weird for me to think about was I really only feel this way because of the life I have set up. To my cousin and his roommate, not only are they ok with that life, they’re actually fairly happy with it. They made the choices to live that way and they enjoy it.

In both the realities Gwyneth Paltrow faces she more or less experiences the same outcome, she’s shit on in both of them. This leaves me to wonder if we, as people, are actually trying to seek happiness and what’s best for us, or are we just adapting to a life we think we’re supposed to have? Is it real happiness or is it an artificial happiness we conjure up based on ideas we hold true.

More importantly does it matter?

We all have different ideas of what happiness is and how to achieve it. So however that has to be manufactured then so be it. And just know that whatever choices you have made in your life, whichever sliding door you’ve caught or missed has been the right one.

I can tell you that one of those sliding doors for myself, and for Dagger was a theater curtain. That ultimately led to this website, and that truly is happiness.

Four wonderful years!

If you’re our fan on Facebook (and why aren’t you, you just click right here?) and you’ve been enjoying our new CJS Wake Up Call segment each morning, you’ve noticed we’re hyping something big this week.

You’ve also likely noticed the general drudgery of February marching to its inevitable and welcome conclusion, giving way to the promise (and baseball!) of March. March is an important month in Cru Jones Society lore because it was in this month four years ago that we officially launched, celebrated our arrival into internet inanity and reminded you that the internet can’t be all porn…

Three years ago we celebrated with this unbelievable interview of our site’s namesake, Mr. Bill Allen, who played the eponymous Cru Jones in RAD.

Two years ago we celebrated by asking you your favorite CJS articles of all time, told our origin story,  asked each other inane writing questions that probably only amused the writers themselves,  and mused randomly.

One year ago we celebrated? by not even mentioning our 3rd anniversary and Dagger wrote a piece about Colorado Rockies commercials at the end of the month.

This year we’re getting you something you actually want… Something we haven’t given you since May of 2010… Something to stave off the workaday boredom… Something you’ll be Happy will waste your entire Friday so much you’ll need to Confess on Monday…

That’s right, CJS is coming back full time, baby.

In honor of our 4th Anniversary, we’re giving you 4+ weeks of daily content just like the old days.

The Confessional is back, and we want all of you to attend. Details coming next week. Stay tuned to Facebook.

Fridays? Happy.

Quarterly Underrated Movies? Yessir. Love Lounge? Hell yeah. Playlists? Boom!

Senor Limon? You know it.

We’re celebrating this year’s anniversary in style, and we’re excited you’ll all be here to share it. So tell your friends, link the shit out of us, Retweet us, Share on your wall, and let’s make this an anniversary to remember.

Happy 4th Anniversary from us to you. You’re the reason we still do this. Thank you for being here

We’ll see you at the kickoff next week. Bring potato salad. And fireworks. And bourbon. It’ll be a party.

Hart & Dagger