Girlfriend In A Comma

I, am terrible, at grammar. Terrible is, an understatement. I, am an abomination, when it comes to grammar. Ask me, what a pronoun is, and I will have a difficult time, coming up with an answer. The irony, is that my day job is as a high school English Teacher (now don’t get me wrong- I am good at my job, I just am incapable of grasping grammar). Most, of my students know more about grammar than I do. They, laugh at all my grammatical errors, like when I wrote, were are you going on the board. Sometimes, I have to ask them for answers, to questions that other students raise. I, am bored by grammar. Whenever, I say the word, noun or verb, I immediately begin to fall, asleep. I avoid grammar like a holly man/woman avoids sin. I, am constantly looking for clever ways, to keep hidden my disdain, for the institution of grammar. Sometimes, I will blurt out, “grammar is the death of the soul” or “grammar inhibits creativity,” but, all in all, I have done a good job at keeping the truth about my relationship with grammar, from my students and the administration (granted I am putting my job in jeopardy by writing this-but hey- I am just another fool with radical views) . A student once asked me, “what am I supposed to do with a comma,” and I said, “just think of it as a girlfriend.” I, have no idea what I meant by this.

I, have been listening to The Smiths, a lot lately. When I was in high school, many years ago, I had an English Teacher, who also despised grammar. Like myself, he was able to make studying grammar interesting, for all of his students, because he was just as bored by it as his students were. I, in particular was beyond bored with grammar- I despised it. I, would listen to my Walkman all through out the class, and I, would often get stoned before English, so I did not have to feel the pain. I hated grammar so much, that I refused to talk about it. “Just think of a comma as a girlfriend,” he once said to my reticent English class, who were incapable of grasping the concept, of the comma. I had no idea what he meant by this- but, ever since that day, I have always thought of the comma, as my girlfriend.

Girl Friend In a Coma, is one of my favorite Smiths songs. This particular song, puts me to sleep at night. It just so happened, that when I told my student to think of the comma, as his girlfriend, that I had been thinking about The Smiths, instead of sentence structure, and correct comma placement. He, looked at me, like I was talking nonsense. I was. How does one explain nonsense? “Just trust me,” I told him. After all, it has worked for me. Now, I am an English Teacher, and I still have no idea, what to do, with all these, dam commas.

The Booky.

There are more books that I want to read than I can stand to think about. A mass graveyard of books waiting for me to resurrect them. I am so over whelmed by the amount of books that I want and need to read-that I have difficulty reading through one book from cover to cover. Half way through a book, I suffer such anticipatory anxiety by the thought of what book I will read next- that I loose interest in the book I am reading. Occasionally a work of fiction (which is all I read) will take a hold of me and I will complete the book (below I will cite the twenty books that have done this to me). In these rare and holly circumstances the book becomes an altar, a ritual and a prayer that I carry with me through out the day. I take the book with me wherever I go, like a doctor carrying his medicine bag. When I am finished reading the book a sadness comes over me because I know have to leave a part of me behind. There is a small death, a short grieving process and then like a true Booky I set off to the bookstore in search of another book.

I resent work because it keeps me away from my true work- which is reading. I have always said that the worst job to have in a capitalist society is that of a reader (this is why some of the most unhappy people are those who think that their happiness depends upon time that they get to spend reading). You spend a lot of time working/reading but are not payed for the work you do (this is why most Bookies are well educated and poor). And make no mistake, reading good literature is work- it requires complete attention, dedication and time.

As a Booky I also resent anything that resembles responsibility because it swallows up time that could be spent between the pages of a book (this is why a lot of Bookies avoid having children and friends). A true Booky shares an apartment, where the rent is to high (I say apartment because a true bookie could not afford a house), filled with half read and unread books and a stack of books by a reading chair that they are currently attempting to read (but will most likely never finish). As a Booky I spend a lot of time wishing that checks made out to me, would just show up in my mailbox. This way I could avoid the dreaded thing often referred to as “the job.” I also spend a good amount of time in bookstores but I do not always walk out with a book in hand. The book that I buy must be thought about, contemplated- because it has to be intriguing enough to take me away from the book that I am currently reading. Being a Booky is not without its downsides, life is hard for a Booky- but a true Booky spends the majority of their time lost within the pages of a book so that they do not have to think about the downsides.

I am fortunate to live in the San Fransisco Bay Area because there are a plethora of independent bookstores that I can meander around in. For me, the act of entering a bookstore is what I imagine entering a Church or a Mosque would be like for some. It is like entering a realm of endless possibilities. What I may stumble upon could forever change my perception of life- and this possibility is the high that keeps me in a kind of dedicated, hyper aroused pursuit.

My two favorite bookstores- City Lights in San Fransisco (stomping ground of Beat Writers and Poets which is owned by Lawrence Ferlinghetti) and Moe’s in Berkeley are universes unto themselves (that have swallowed the large majority of my income). Every time I enter these bookstores I am carried away into a different time and space. I am possessed by a holly ghost. My worries and fears leave me. The burdens of my life let me go. I am at one with myself and as excited to find a new book as a beggar is to find God. I sometimes catch myself drooling over my chin as I search the isles of books looking for a title that will change my life. I spend hours in the endless, solitary investigations (this is why no one who knows me will go into a bookstore with me) until my back and neck hurts and it is time to go home.

Most often I walk out of the bookstore empty handed, dismayed by my inability to find a book worth reading. In these situations a small depression comes over me and I usually end up drinking too much booze to wash away the despair. But every once in a small while I will find the book. On these rare life affirming occasions it is a customary ritual for me to leave the bookstore with a new book in hand and go to the nearest liquor store where I purchase a cigar. I then find a comfortable lit spot to sit someplace along the street and smoke my cigar like a man who just been given second shot at life.

Twenty Books That Have Taken Hold Of Me From Cover To Cover (in no special order):

1- The Trial/Franz Kafka

2- The Looser/Thomas Bernhard

3- Ulysses/James Joyce

4- Women/Charles Burkowski

5- The Stranger/ Albert Camus

6- The Dharma Bums/Jack Kerouac

7- The Noodle Maker/ Ma Jian

8- Hard Boiled Wonder Land And The End Of The World/ Haruki Murakami

9- Crime And Punishment/Brothers Karamazov/ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

1o- To The Light House/ Virginia Wolf

11- The Key/ Junichiro Tanizaki

12- The Satanic Versus/ Salman Rushdie

13- The Diving Bell And The Butterfly/ Jean- Dominique Bauby

14- Dance, Dance, Dance/ Haruki Murakami

15- Siddhartha/ Herman Hesse

16- Too Loud A Solitude/ Bohumil Hrabal

17- Journey To The End Of Night/ Louis-Ferdinand Celine

18- The Death Of Ivan Illiych/ Leo Tolstoy

19- The New York Trilogy/ Paul Auster

20- The Woodcutters/ Thomas Bernhard

oh and

21) Three Novels- Malloy/ Malone Dies/ The Unnamable/ Samuel Beckett

Miracle Man.

My wife is in bed crying. I can hear her tears running across the hard wood floors.

We fought so hard this evening that I thought the house was going to come down.

I became so infuriated that I threw paintings off the wall.

I killed the sunflowers we bought together yesterday.

She threw violent words at my spirit.

I am a madman whose worries and fears are breaking her down.

My lack of motivation is making her insane.

I worry about my heart.

I worry about ending up a failed artist like my grandfather.

I worry about everything, even the toxins in the paint on the bedroom wall.

She tells me that I am always so negative about the world, the environment, my health, my job, my future, my cat, my home, my art and my wife.

It breaks her heart to see me so sad. She is afraid that I will stop going outside.

That I will stop trying to live my dreams. That I will die.

Her tears are beginning to flood our small apartment. She is wailing in bed.

What in your life or about yourself is no longer serving you and causing your unhappiness? What do you need to let go of?

I keep asking myself this but I do not know the answers.

I am no miracle man.

No More Awards, Please!!!!

I need your help. I have just learned that I was nominated for yet another demeaning award. Yet again I have been nominated for “Blog Least Commented Upon.” I do not know if this is meant to be an insult or a compliment. I must say it would not be a lie to suggest that readers rarely comment upon my blog- but do they have to rub it in! Who are these people, these award committees? Do they not have better things to do with their time than bug and degrade struggling bloggers? In those rare moments that I do receive a comment I am aroused like a dog at mealtime. I am excited to think that somebody cares. But now…….. now I have been nominated for an award that I wish not to receive. This is where you, my intelligent reader, comes in.

Two months ago my blog was rated as MATURE by the WordPress management. After realizing that my readership was plummeting like a rock in the sea-I fought back telling WordPress that I thought that this was an unjust rating and they made an agreement with me. They said that if I can stop writing about prostitution, strippers, masturbation, erotic massages, pornography, hand jobs, cum/orgasms,, perverted vices, and posting pictures of naked women for three months than they would take away my MATURE rating. This is going to be difficult to do but I need my readers. Now that my blog is rated MATURE I am cut off from various forms of blogging publicity and marketing, including the WordPress Forum- and well this punishment has lead to me having a blog that seems neglected and rarely read. Fine I can live with this….but not another award, please!!!!!!

If I have one reader out there in cyberspace (other than my wife) who enjoys reading my writing on a regular basis- well that is good enough reason for me to write. But like I said, I do not want to receive another demeaning and humiliating award……and it is looking like I am going to get it (I have only had three (intelligent) comments in the past week)! So the favor that I am asking of you is that if you have read gotten anything of value from reading this blog…well would you mind leaving a comment? Actually you do not even need to leave a comment- just write “Hi” or “I don’t give a crap” or “No more awards for Absurdistry!!!” Something to let this award committee (and myself) know that I am not a good candidate to receive their stinking award. I am just asking for a small mark, a foot step stating that- you were here. A small sign of appreciation. It is my hope that if I can garner together at least five or six comments this may…. it just may disqualify me. I will have my dignity intact and continue maintain this blog with not only a clean conscience but a feeling of victory over the powers that be (which is rare for me)!

Thank You.

Fighting Against Gravity

Standing up and sitting down is not supposed to be this difficult. When I stand the pressure against my head makes me feel like falling to the ground. My legs are taut and there is a strange vibration in my shoulders. When I sit down there is a similar pressure exerted upon the bulb of my head. It is as if a divine hand is trying to press me deep into the ground beneath my feet. When I do stand up and the dizziness has passed I am able to walk quite normally however I am often weary that I will trip or fall. In public I am often mistaken as being drunk and or demented because I find it difficult to walk in a straight line and I often trip. When I get to dizzy- I push myself into a corner where I lean my shoulders against a wall for stability. Sometimes standing on my head is helpful- but when I do this in public I notice that I scare people.

I have battled against gravity most of my life. Ever since I was a teenager I have been aware of an impossible weight that has burdened not only my soul but also my physical body. When I was seventeen I lost a beloved girlfriend because she decided that I was a freak. I would stay in bed for weeks afraid of this pressure that was always causing me to dissociate from my environments. When I walked around I would often have to use the stolidity of walls to garner the equilibrium that I needed to carry on. I was much younger then and I did not realize that gravity was the cause of my ennui. I thought that it was some kind of brain tumor that was causing my physiological disturbances and I was certain that death was just around the corner.

For years I have practiced counting each step. I am hypervigilant about each step I take- noticing every degree and angle that I place my feet in. Fighting against gravity involves the utilization of certain mental capabilities that most of us take for granted. I can not walk and talk on a cell phone or listen to an ipod. Instead I have to be alert and exert effort against the gravitational forces that seek to destroy me. For the past few months the pressure of gravity hanging itself upon me has caused me multiple sleepless nights in which I spend the majority of the night doing laps around my refrigerator. When I have the mental acumen I will lean my head against the kitchen wall and while standing, I will read a book. I will spend hours reading in this position until the ringing in my ears grows to loud or the pain in my neck becomes intolerable.

There is a Gravitational Equilibrium Center a few hour drive from my home that my wife wants me to visit. You stay at the facility for a week and spend eight hours a day in a Gravitational Flow Device that is supposed to balance out the bodies electromagnetic field and reverse the negative symptoms of gravitational pull. I had a brief email exchange with a middle aged woman who suffered from a similar ailment as I. Nausea, dizziness, palpitations, tremendous pressure and chest constriction were a daily part of her life. She told me that the Gravitational Flow Device changed her life. Now she lives on earth rather than feeling like she is battling to stay above the earth. I have thought about going but I have become so used to fighting against gravity that I am afraid of what I would become if I did not have to fight this battle. I mean, what would I do with myself if I did not have to count every footstep? How would I remember that I was alive if every time I sat up or sat down I did not have to feel tremendous pressure? In a way fighting against gravity is a blessing- without the struggle I might be normal.

Last night my wife found me at three in the morning standing on my head while reading Tolstoy’s short story “The Death Of Ivan lliych.” She looked at me like the freak that I am and said “I don’t understand how you can live like this?” before she went back to sleep. All day today while I was suffering through various fits of dizziness and dissociation I thought about her rhetorical question. Why do I want to continually struggle against gravity? Why not go and spend a week in the gravitational Flow device and become normal? The only answer that I have been able to come up with that I can fully accept as legitimate is- I have become attached to my “dis-ease.” Fighting against gravity gives me meaning, it defines who I am and it gives me a reason to get up in the morning. I have taken on the weight if the world- and this makes me feel like I have a purpose.