A Lifetime of Humiliations
by Alan Carl Nicoll
Copyright 2017 by Alan Carl Nicoll, All Rights Reserved
“Let heaven and men and devils, let them all, / All, all, cry shame against me, yet I’ll speak.” Shakespeare’s Othello, V:ii
Two Warnings and a Dedication
Child abuse, child molestation, and child pornography are some of the worst things that can happen to children, our most vulnerable and precious treasures. If these subjects are upsetting to you, especially if you have been a victim or your child has, do not read this book. You will hate it, you will loathe it, because I pull no punches here in describing myself, my penis, my thoughts, and my crimes, notably the possession of child pornography. In addition, I am at times flippant or worse. That’s impossible to justify, but it’s how I choose to write.
Also, if you see yourself described in this book, do not take my words too much to heart. Negative thoughts will not improve your life; replace them with constructive thoughts—how can I improve? how can I make reparations?—and the like. And therapy is probably advisable.
To the parents I have loved, and to the children I have loved.
Preface, or “I am an Asshole”
“I wondered why humiliation seemed, after all, at bottom, to be my natural condition.” James Baldwin
For most of my life I’ve been a snail-sucking greasehead, a completely worthless asshole. I may still be one.
I exaggerate to make a point. Most of my sins were committed before age 26, and most of them, like shoplifting, are as common as dirt. And in person I am generally polite and self-effacing, hardly an asshole. But I was awful as a teenager (though even then polite and self-effacing), and really crazy (though passing for shy-normal). I was doing many awful, destructive, dangerous things—silly, mindless destruction, it seemed even then. As an adult, I was mostly neglectful of the kind of niceties that keep one from being “lowlife.” Socially, not necessarily economically. But my truest colors were revealed to the world only when I was arrested for possession of child pornography.
The complexity of the above paragraph and its sentences is a good indication of how complicated I seem to myself. It took ten years of prison, and the freedom it gave me to think, for me to see and regret what I had been and was. It amazes me that I didn’t break my parents (mother and stepfather) apart. That could easily have happened, but I never worried about the consequences of my actions. I was an asshole, and I really didn’t know it. I never thought about it, never saw the big picture. I always thought I was one of the good guys. This is why Kick Me demands to be written, to make other “good guys” finally see themselves and shape up.
So my main hope for this book is that by exposing my worst failings I might help others to see themselves in an unflattering light, motivating them to improve, if only in their personal and most important relationships. In other words, I hope to change lives and the world for the better, which is why I ever wanted to be a writer in the first place. This thought might sound noble, and I am anything but that, though this book might be called a “noble effort” to counterbalance the evil that I have done.
“Our guides, we pretend, must be sinless; as if those were not often the best teachers who only yesterday got corrected for their mistakes.” George Eliot
I am sorry. I am sorry that I have acted like a complete asshole (and I apologize for using that word, but none suits me better). I am sorry that I hurt people through my insensitive, self-centered, often hateful action and words, sins of commission and sins of omission. I am sorry that I have committed crimes. I am sorry that I have abused others, disappointed and betrayed them. And I am sorry that I have, in virtually every case, done nothing beyond a casual apology to make amends; in most cases I haven’t even apologized. Above all I am sorry for how I have treated those who have loved me, especially my mother, Erika Wilma [maiden name] Nicoll Gaboney, who suffered the worst, yet never stopped loving me, and died without hearing my apology. My son and my late ex-wife deserve similar acknowledgement, and probably more; they deserved far better than they got from me.
Regardless of any other impression my words in this book might give, I am indeed ashamed of myself. I wish I had been a better person; in this book I look back, but in life I’m looking forward, or trying to.
Boring Disclosure and Disclaimer
All names, other than my own and of my immediate families, and public figures, are fictitious, with one exception, my best friend, the lamented Ed Townsend. I use the term “parents” indifferently to refer to both my father and my stepfather. Also, despite an intense desire to “reveal all, truthfully,” I am withholding or distorting any information which could possibly bring down on me criminal or civil prosecutions or penalties. Those few facts need to be acknowledged eventually, but I don’t want to be stupid about it.
Dates and ages, and all memories, can only be “to the best of my recollection,” but are presented as precise facts, in the desire to avoid tedious and unnecessary qualifying statements. Also, although I use some terms from psychology, I claim no expertise in this or any subject. I can only work with the understandings that I have right now, and throw in the occasional quote from authority to support and clarify my opinions.
to be continued…