To The Jailer Who Occasionally Tosses Bread At Me:

As you stand guard at the gates of society, sweeping it along with your influence, it's hard not to betray my negative opinions of your control whenever you happen to pass fortune into my hands. But is it really a happenstance, or is it intentional? That's the secret to your mystery, isn't it. The discouragement that I feel after you fail me is subsidized by the small victories that you offer—subtle, but real conversations that occur at odd times.

There's a certain beauty to the way that you operate, deftly forming relationships, but also threatening the ability to break them within a second. Through you, I've formed real connections with people, but you've also forced me to drag along outliers, acquaintances, and extended acquaintances to survive appropriately in the world. It's these categories that you've laid out the social laws for, simply because you deem a functional and acceptable existence to be one surrounded by people, regardless of the depth of connections.

But as I've gotten to know your cruel nature better, I've learned how to strategically abide by your laws.

It's easy to evolve the meaning of connection from function into something classier or lighter— just something, anything more than "it just is". After all, it was you who taught me what it was to play office politics. Without you, work would actually be rewarded based on merit. You probably coined the term "kiss ass." People who fall under this category understand your laws, but don't understand how meaningful it is to adapt within them.

I exploited these loopholes within your laws early on when dealing with school politics. You told me to charm the voter, show them why I deserve this position more than the next person. Most people abide commonly, suddenly appearing during Election Week with treats, goodies, and other meaningless tactics employed to buy votes.

I took your "charm law" and extended it throughout my everyday connections with people. Instead of faking the attitude needed to be a liked person, I want to say that this tactic of mine has transcended its nature as a mask, and has actually integrated itself into my daily life. There's no need for a campaign facade when your entire life is your campaign.

There's your beauty. By forcing us to conform to society's need for amicable relationships, you lead us into those meaningful ones.

But you also have your limits. Here are some of your laws I object to.

You're the reason why girls can't call themselves pretty.

You're the reason why fishing for compliments is unacceptable.

You're the reason why speaking more than twice in a row in Socratics is unacceptable, even when it's to break a silence others find themselves unable to.

You're also the reason why the previous sentence was unacceptable.

You're why there's a limit to being authentic, lest one be ostracized from humanity's ranks. It's funny how unique you are, yet how commonplace your existence is. All other laws have to be laid out, but somehow you're universally understood. Only someone with ill intentions and a crafty nature can exist the way you do—with paradoxical and impish qualities, forever bouncing me between the need for social connections, the want for social connections, and the unspoken laws of society.

And so I've decided that you are amongst the dearest of my friends, and the worst of my enemies.

Forever yours,

Alex Perry