What I Think Is Funny About Fun
I have been on a fun fast. No more fun for me. Not for a while at least. I am as fed up with fun as I am with my dog who does not seem to understand that my bedroom is not a bathroom and that the toilet paper in the bathroom garbage can is not food. After more than two decades spent in wild pursuit of fun I have decided that I want nothing more to do with it. Epicurus, the first great theoretician of pleasure, defined fun as the absence of suffering. He said that a person was having fun to the degree that they were avoiding suffering and since in the long run fun often brings more unhappiness than happiness, Epicurus advised people to cultivate prudence and modesty rather than always trying to have fun. So I have heeded the Epicurean call, put my dancing shoes in the closet and tossed out the three beers and bottle of white wine in my refrigerator. I have told my wife that I will not be having any fun for awhile, but she does not seem to understand.
I was fourteen when I first became obsessed with fun. Up until that point in my life I had not had much fun. Between all the bullying at school, the problems at home and the insecurity and fear that I carried around with me like a heavy backpack, I was too depressed and forlorn for fun. But when I was fourteen and in the back seat of my fathers Mercedes I got my first glimpse of what fun could be. My father was driving and my mother was in the passenger seat. My sister sat by my side in the back and we were on our way to spend a nice Sunday afternoon at the San Francisco modern art museum. We were driving down Broadway, a street lined with strip clubs, liquor stores, a few books stores and some prostitutes. Immediately I lifted my forlorn head, my eyes opened wide as I for the first time saw a world that was completely different from the suburban country club in which I had been imprisoned for many years. I saw the neon nipples that flashed outside of strip clubs, the bare legs of the women who sold their bodies on street corners under the XXX’s that would come to be the object of my attention for many years. I still remember what it felt like to be sitting in the backseat of my father’s car, longing for the day that I would be old enough to transgress my depression away by having fun in this perverted, subterranean world.
Once I was eighteen years of age I spent my every free moment wandering up and down Broadway. I would get intoxicated in back street bars while trying to read a Jack Kerouac novel (to this day I am yet to finish one from beginning to end). Reading was not as much fun as drinking, watching other people and dreaming about the sexual possibilities that lingered somewhere “out there.” When I had the money I would wander into darkened strip clubs where women would rub there semi-naked bodies against my shivering flesh and ask me to buy them an expensive drink for the time they would spend with me. I was in love with this pornographic cabaret world in which the conservative reality of my parents seemed to disappear. The objects of my desire were all around. I was young and in love with all of them and all I had to do to get them to sit on my lap without clothes on was come up with a certain amount of money. For the first time in my life I was having so much fun that I was rarely able to sleep. Drunk and stoned, wandering from one seedy bar and strip club to another, while writing bad poetry in a tattered journal, this was so much fun. But the funny thing about this kind of fun was that one afternoon, slightly hung over, I walked out onto the street for a cigarette and realized that I was suddenly thirty-four years old.
Most of the friends I had grown up with were married with children. They were already indoctrinated into the world of careers and mortgages while I was still pursuing fun in the form of a naked women, dark bars and bad poetry. I had beatnik aspirations that I felt legitimized my hedonistic lifestyle, but when I was standing on the side of the street that afternoon realizing that I was suddenly thirty-four years old, I also realized that I needed to find a better way to spend my time. I may have thought of myself as a kind of perverted beatnik but it was now the twenty-first century and beatniks had either become bums or artifacts in a museum someplace. My realization struck me like a hot flash of electricity as I looked at the Beat Museum that sat across the street from the strip club where I spent most of my time. I put my cigarette out, swore that I would never smoke again, threw my tattered notebook in the trash and walked away.
Five years have passed since that frightening afternoon and the XXX symbol is no longer the object of my attention. During the past five years I have had to find other ways to have fun. I started doing Yoga until I hurt my neck after getting stuck in a head stand. I learned how to power walk, which was fun for a while but then became a boring way to pass the time. I took up the art of wine drinking and cultured my palate by eating at fine eating establishments. But like Epicurus said the more I pursued pleasure the more miserable I became. When I would have fun I kept wanting to have more fun. It was just like my days spent cocooned away in a strip club- I could never get enough and always was left wanting more. The cycle of my fun addiction was vicious because as much as I tried to have fun and not think about the future, I knew that the fun I was having was short-term gain for long-term economic and psychological pain.
So no more fun. I have been fun free for seven days now. I now do other things with my time. I can find pleasure in smelling a flower, going for a slow walk on a rainy day or spending hours alone in my room writing these ridiculous blog posts. I can sit in meditation for hours on end. I can have prudence by being content with what I have and restrain the constantly nagging desire to go out and get more. I would be lying if I did not admit that there is still this constantly lingering desire within me to go seek out a den of iniquity where women are waiting to intoxicate me with their seductive curves. I often find myself longing for the bare legs of a woman to be wrapped around my chest or the bleached hair of a young lady, who is much to young to be sitting in my lap, blanketing my face. But unlike when I was younger, I now have the inner muscle to stop myself before I let myself go in hot pursuit. I can take deep breaths, recite my cooling mantra and allow my urges and impulses to pass away into the never ending void of time and space. I am proud to admit that I am now old enough to realize that the funny thing about fun is that the only way I can get enough of it is not to have any at all.
My 89 New Year’s Resolutions
1) eat more walnuts and pistachios
2) impregnate wife (with her consent, of course)
3) work on overcoming anxiety
4) buy new underwear
5) recycle and compost most of my waste
6) recite a daily mantra
7) build something
8. spend more time with birds
9) spend less time on-line
10) drink less booze
11) be a better lover
12) leave less facebook status updates
13) have sex more
14) cultivate a daily meditation practice
15) make a new friend
16) get rid of a few old friends
17) contemplate the real meaning of freedom
18) be free
19) work as a Teacher
20) read more poetry
21) learn to enjoy doing the dishes
22) listen to my heart more than to my head
23) row a boat at least once a month
24) read everything Richard Brautigan has written
25) read everything John Fante has written
26) get a dog
27) become financially independent
28) remain healthy
29) continue to pursue dreams and do not be discouraged by those who have given up on their dreams
30) pay off credit card
31) grow vegetables
32) consider finding a mistress (with wife’s consent, of course)
33) spend less time alone
34) write more poetry
35) self publish a novel or book of short stories
36) practice compassion and gratitude
37) eat more (organic) hot dogs
38) bring my own shopping bags to the market
39) use less plastic
40) grow hair long (n0 haircuts)
41) ride a horse
42) participate in a protest march
43) save $2,000
44) be honest even when you feel like lying
45) publish a few poems
46) figure out where all my lost socks go
47) start feeding cat more regularly
48) sleep less
49) visit a farm
50) dance more
51) smile more
52) laugh more
53) stop listening to voices in my head
54) stop talking with the voices in my head when in public
55) surrender all need for control
56) listen deeply
57) socialize more with people even though I do not enjoy socializing
58) play board games with wife
59) volunteer someplace
60) buy more socks
61) find true self
62) hug and climb trees
63) accept my life fully without needing anything to be different
65) help others when I can, but do not sacrifice myself for others who want to get out of me whatever they can (for their own gain)
66) plant a tree
67) stop eating so much cheese
68) learn how to fix bicycles
69) cultivate a relationship with someone over the age of 75
70) buy myself a gift once a month
71) drink more herbal tea
72) plant a garden that grows dollar bills
73) embrace growing older without fear
74) go on a meditation retreat
75) iron clothes more often
76) eat less white flour
78) let go of the future and the past, simplify
79) work towards being able to bend over from waist and touch fingers to feet
80) visit a dentist
81) get a foot massage
82) be comfortable with being weird
83) build up arm muscles (preferably, the result of having more sex)
84) work on improving my marriage
85) buy a kitchen table
86) drink more water
87) spend time with a river
88) keep fresh flowers in my home at all times
89) do not get upset with myself if I do not accomplish all these resolutions, instead remember that I did the best I can
The Bank Teller
Let me tell you somethings. Did you know that every time we inhale, we absorb oxygen expelled into the atmosphere as a waste product by the earths plant life? Every time we exhale, we expel carbon dioxide as a waste product into the atmosphere where it can eventually be absorbed by the same plant life? Did you know this? Let me also tell you that no matter where you live upon our beautiful earth you are breathing in trace amounts of depleted uranium from the bombs that the U.S are using in Iraq. Did you know that over twenty thousand children die a day from starvation? How about the fact that a plane never went into the Pentagon? Did you know that 9-11 and the war in Iraq (which has terminated the lives of over one million Iraqis) are a result of what is called War Games? Let me also tell you that Lao Tzu, the Chinese mystic believed that if we can somehow expand our narrow image of ourselves and live from our wholeness, then many of our problems will simply disappear on their own.
This is why I took the job as a Bank Teller. It allows me the opportunity to tell strangers things that they would otherwise never know. Costumers come into the bank where I work and think that they are only coming in to deposit or withdraw money. They are usually impatient and in a hurry- stuck in what Lao Tzu would call “Narrowness.” Rather than just taking their money or giving them their money I like to tell them things- expand their consciousness. It is one way that I can make an active contribution to my community and to the human race as a whole. Did you know that writing poetry and reading poetry helps you maintain dignity, it will help you to be better suited to defend yourself in the world? I said this to a middle aged women the other day who seemed aggravated and in a hurry. I could tell that her life had become a collection of material pursuits and failed dreams and I could see the frustration in her eyes. “I have always wanted to read poetry but I never have the time,” she said to me with a glimmer of hope between her eyes. “Well, you might want to make time.” Today she returned to the bank with a book of T.S Elliot poems in her hands and she seemed refreshed. “I am making the time,” she said to me with a smile as I withdrew cash for her.
Often times people come into my bank to find out about bank balances, interests rates, mortgage payments, and fees. I give them the information they want but I usually prefice it with information that I want to tell. I have a sense of urgency within me that drives me to say something. Did you know that Spirulina, dried prunes, beef liver and beer are excellent sources of copper? I said to one man who looked to me to be suffering from a copper deficiency. Because of global warming and soil erosion, human beings are no longer getting a proper amount of this valuable mineral in their diets. The lack of copper in our diets may be responsible for the majority of contemporary diseases. The next day this man came back to the bank to show me the bottle of copper supplements he bought. It is by demanding dignity and respect that you gain it, I told another costumer who was being passive aggressive with me and refused to tell me how she was really feeling. Something was triggered in her when I said this and she straightened up her posture and left my bank looking more confident.
The managers at my bank are on my back. They have accused me of spending to much time with my costumers and not moving the line at a quick enough speed. Did you know that capitalism is used to exploit workers by making them maximize profits in the quickest amount of time? “I did not,” one of the managers said to me with a look of stupefaction upon his white collard face. Yes, capitalism exhausts the worker for the betterment of the organization that they work for. This is what drives capitalism. Use the worker to maximize profits for the company. When the worker gets worn out or dies- just fill the vacancy with another worker. There will always be workers because in capitalistic societies only the very few get to enjoy the wealth of other peoples labor, I explained. “Look, you are one of our best Bank Tellers but you need to stop spending so much time chatting with your costumers so that we can maintain our banks reputation for giving expedient service.” Then he walked away without waiting for my reply.
Did you know that I am going to get fired from my position as a Bank Teller? I am expecting it any day now. At the staff meeting yesterday the bank handed out a list of strategies for normalizing behavior in bank employees. One of these strategies was to replace words with a smile to speed up the line. “Smile more and speak less.” I am not a very good employee because I do not like bosses. I don’t like being subjected to their expectations. Did you know that a real culture functions to limit greed. Our culture functions to increase it , because we are repeatedly told, it’s profitable to do so, though the majority of profits go only to a few people, I said to every one present at the meeting. People who go to work for corporations essentially abandon their integrity as individuals in order to serve the corporation, I added to the consternation of the managers. “Okay that is enough just keep smiling and maximizing profits and that is all,” the head manager said and then ended our staff meeting. If you have lost the capacity to be outraged by what is outrageous, you’re dead. Somebody ought to come and haul you off, I said on our way out from the meeting. Like I said, I have a sense of urgency- I have to say something.
Did you know that we pity Muslim women for wearing veils, yet almost every face in this country is veiled by suspicion and fear? You can’t walk down a city street an get anybody to look at you. People’s countenances are undercover operations in America. Oh, and let me also tell you the most important thing I tell costumers at my bank. That love is not abstract and cannot lead to abstract action. Love is the catalyst for concrete action, which is taking responsibility for what we do here and now. Love is not just a feeling. It’s an instruction: love one another. That’s hard to do. It does not mean to sit at home and have fond feelings. You’ve got to treat people as if you love them , whether you do or not. I know that I am holding up the line, and that I am going to loose my job as a Bank Teller- but I have to tell these things……….
I made clams for dinner. When I was at the market I decided to buy seven innocent looking little-rock clams. I would take them home and cook them up into a nutritious meal. I new that clams were high in copper and lately I have been feeling like I need to eat more copper. It would be healthy, simple and hassle free.
I had never cooked clams before. I recalled what my father once told me years ago about cooking clams. “Wash, scrub, brine and boil until the little suckers snap right open!” When I began preparations cooking the clams I noticed that one of the clams suddenly opened and then shut. I was startled because I had forgotten that clams are living creatures until they are killed by the boiling water. Suddenly eating clams for dinner seemed a little less appetizing to me.
There is almost no boundary between my sensitivity to the mystery of life and my phobic terror of it. In my greatest moments of pleasure I always feel that at any second something can go terribly wrong. I was excited about the idea of eating clams for dinner until I realized that they were alive. I live in a culture where I am very removed from the process of having to kill the food I eat. Suddenly, I was the one who had to do the killing- and this felt strange. As I washed the clams under cold running water I could swear that I felt them moving inside their tightly clamped shells. My initial reaction to this sensation was to drop the clam into the sink like one does when they are suddenly repulsed by something (in Hebrew the same word is used to connote both “awe” and “fear”). I became so discouraged about the idea of cooking/killing the clams that I wanted to take them and set them free in the river beside my house. But I had spent eleven dollars on them- and that felt like to much money to just throw away.
I added a small amount of white wine and lemon juice to a pot. I put the pot on the stove and turned on the burner. I could feel my heart beating in my neck as I imagined myself suffering a terrible sickness or worse, dying from eating the clams. I recalled the horror stories that I had heard about various people who had become stricken with terrible sicknesses after eating clams. I added some butter to the broth which was beginning to boil.
With one hand shaking and my head filled with uncontrollable thoughts of impending doom- I added the clams one by one to the boiling broth. In the back round I could hear a Beatles song playing on my radio. “Hey!! you got to hide your love away,” the lyrics said. I covered the pot with a lid and went to the sink and obsessively washed my hands which I was concerned were covered in a deadly bacteria that I had once read about people contracting from touching clams. As I washed my hands I could swear that I heard the dying screams of clams. Sounded like a high pitched cry. I opened the lid to the boiling pot and noticed that all the little suckers had snapped open their shells except one. This one hung on to life, unwilling to surrender. I meditated upon the clam for a moment as I waited for it to snap open its shell. It did not. It remained shut unwilling to let go and be at peace. This clam reminded me a lot of myself.
I put the clams in a bowl along with the broth and squeezed fresh lemon on top. I set my dinner table for one and put salt and pepper beside my spoon and fork. The smell of clams reminded me of my youth. I sat down at the dinner table with my bowl of steaming clams and with my fork I grabbed one of the clams out from its shell. I held it up to my nose to make sure it did not have a rancid smell. It smelled like the sea in winter time so I put the clam into my mouth and chewed. And chewed. And chewed. And chewed. And then swallowed. It was delicious but I was nervous. Negative thoughts ran laps around the inside of my mind. What if the clam that I had just swallowed was bad? What if I get sick? I started to have visions of myself dying alone on my living room hardwood floor. My body began to shake like one who has crossed the point of no return. I took a sedative pill and drank a beer straight down. In times of anxiety- beer is the only substance that can calm me down.
I was frustrated because I could not eat the clams in peace. I wanted to enjoy my meal which smelled so good. Instead, I was in panic and already beginning to feel nauseous. My nervous system was turned upside down and would not allow me to sit still. Was I feeling guilty because I killed clams? Was I uncomfortable about cooking clams because I knew nothing about how to do it? Why was I clamming up? I searched for clues to my anxiety but I was able to come up with only one answer. Ditch the clams. I stood up from my dinner table and took the bowl of clams outside with me. I looked up at the moon which was full and then walked over to my neighbors house. I poured the bowl of eleven dollar clams into my neighbors cat food dish. She has seven cats and I figured that at least the cats could enjoy them. I ended up eating raw carrots and nuts for dinner and then going to bed early.
The difficult thing about being a Storyteller is finding the time to write. In our post industrial technocratic society man, woman and child are subjected to a fate similar to the wrath of God against Adam and Eve. We must work by the sweat of our brow, labor away all of our vital energy so that we can afford to maintain a semblance of dignity and pride. It is an unusual condition to be wedged between because most have become so habituated to this way of being (working) that they see no alternative. They have learned to love the hand that enslaves them and decry a life without hard work ( a classic case of conditioning). After all we know that the majority of hard workers are working hard only so that they do not have to be left with the time to take a deep look into themselves. They find their identity within their work because what is deep within them is devoid of substance. This is a catch 22 situation. You work hard and you loose your self but without hard work you loose your house. This is the great modern modern dilema- how to find the time to live your life.
Since, I have been working full time as a Teacher I have found little time to write. I long for the days when I posted upon my blog every day and read with great anticipation the comments that followed in return. I was telling my stories and people around the world were responding to what was told. As a Storyteller who has been burdened with the naging desire to write, tell stories and be heard (psychologists tell me this is because my parents did not listen or pay attention to me)- the outlet of a blog has been heaven sent. But now because of the curse of “working by the sweat of our brow”, I have had to labor away all of the hours of my day and night educating young minds about how to avoid getting stuck in this consuming rat race. We talk about ways to make a fortune before the age of twenty so that they can buy an island and live far away from this synthetic life-denying culture that us humanoids have created. We find critical solutions for problems of “work-addiction” and plan strategies for ways that I can escape from this society and join a race of people who live more in harmony with life rather than the preoccupation of working.
You may wonder how this has anything to do with being a Storyteller, and I would respond that it has everything to do with being a Storyteller. In societies that are consumed with progress and work the first species to become exiled our expendable are the Storytellers. The workers or citizens of these corporate republics do not want to be reminded of their servitude, their complete dependency upon forces outside of themselves. This is why Plato exiled poets from his Republic. “The poets will allow the people to see the many ways that the established government must manipulate the citizens into the cave and away from the light of humanity,” he said. This is what the Storyteller does- he/she makes people more human.
But I no longer have the time to write or spin stories in my head. I have been drinking more and sleeping less. All of my usual creative outlets have been plugged up by work. Time seems to have shortened. By the time I am ready to read and write my eyes refuse to remain open and willing to follow the words which exhaustion has caused me to read and write backwards. This is the world that I have found myself within, and yes it is the very dynamic that seeks to exile the Storyteller from the very body it resides within. Sometimes late at night when I am lying in bed, I can feel my body shaking and becoming tense. I grow restless and have difficulty staying still. It takes me hours to fall asleep and I know that these systemic sensations are the result of my inner Storyteller trying to escape from my body so that it can go some place else where it will have the peace, light and time to tell its many tales.
I am a man who is being squeezed from the inside out or maybe the outside in. I do not know which comes first- the outside pressure or the inside pressure, but if Karl Marx was right when he said that society determines the behavior and health of man/woman kind- then it is the the world that is squeezing me. Between the pressure that the earth is placing upon human beings to change or be eliminated and the pressure that government is placing up the individual to pay up or go broke- the outside is squeezing me like a balloon which might just burst. Between rising gas prices, food shortages, recessions, depressions, wars, deficits, unequal distribution of wealth, rising costs and poor environmental conditions, my chest feels as if there is a large leather belt buckled tight around it. My fingers and and toes pulsate and I have noticed that my face has grown pale. My vision is clouded and I can constantly feel my heart beating. The stress of the world seems to have nested upon my skinny left shoulder.
I have noticed that I am not alone. I have noticed many suffering from similar ailments and running around desperately searching for relief (yoga, meditation, eating, drinking, consuming). People do not seem to be getting along, wherever I look another relationship has ended, another person is struggling to survive and another person is experiencing some kind of transformational event that is threatening the sanity they seem to be slowly loosing. All around me people seem squeezed. I can see it in their eyes. I can hear it in their voices and I can certainly feel it in my gut. Human beings are fighting for their lives.
I have heard it said that 2012 marks a monumental time in the history of our planet. Thousands of years ago Mayans have predicted that this will be a time of great transformation that will result in change that our human minds can not currently fathom. Physics believes that the closer time gets to an end the faster it gets- time speeds up. Along with the sppeed up of time comes a kind of constriction and anxiety within all those who are subject to this elevated blood pressure of time. Animals (humans) become more frantic and stressed, things start to break down and people feel squeezed. Like there is not enough minutes in the day. Chaos can ensue.
It is my belief that the earth is experiencing symptoms of this larger breakdown. The sky is literaly falling and some see it and others have managed to distract themselves enough so as not to have to deal with it (but they still feel it). Others feel the squeeze. There is a pressure upon us that seems to be forcing us into submission, to the transformation that needs to occur within ourselves and upon this planet. Maybe being squeezed is not so bad. Maybe I can look upon my pulsating toes and finger tips as a gift from the universe in which I have accidentally found myself living. Maybe I am being forced to awaken to what is going on around me, outside of me- and change what is taking place within me. After all, physics tells me that I am just a microcosmic reflection of a larger macrocosm…if I can un-squeeze myself- than maybe I can un-squeeze the world.
The Man With A Moving Nipple
I know this may seem strange but I am suffering from a moving nipple. It is my left nipple and it gesticulates and twitches like a firecracker. At the moment, the uncomfortable movements of my nipple have become chronic with little intermission in-between. This discomfort has become a part of my life, another bewildering ailment that I must learn to live with.
My nipple began to move after I was in a very upsetting argument with my father. He was in a hospital bed recovering from a surgery and we managed to fight with one another about what, I cannot remember. Consumed with guilt for upsetting my father during his darkest of hours- I left the hospital in a terrible state of mind. The stress was causing my chest to constrict and I remember having difficulty breathing. It was when I turned on my car engine that I noticed my left nipple beginning to twitch. I placed my right palm upon it, as if I was trying to comfort my broken heart. I drove off into the night trying not to think about my moving nipple. Little did I know then that this was the beginning of what would become a full-blown dis- ease.
As the days passed my nipple picked up speed. The twitches would come in unpredictable spurts and I was often forced to have to sit down and try and relax when the episodes would begin. The twitches turned into strange gesticulations that would wake me up at night and force me to place an ice pack on my chest. The moments that my nipple would not be moving became like tropical vacations for my weary mind, which was being over worked by the torment of my moving nipple. The sensations were like aggravating tickles combined with what felt like pinpricks that seemed to leave me feeling like I was a man being slowly crucified from the inside out.
As the weeks passed my moving nipple became more chronic. It rested little and began to control my every waking hour. I had read some where in Greek mythology of a character that had suffered from a very similar ailment as I was. His moving nipple became so violent that it slowly began to make its way onto his forehead and announce all of his private thoughts to whomever was around. Not only did this character suffer the humiliation of having a talking nipple on the center of his forehead but also he was unable to think without the nipple revealing his every thought! Of course it is not difficult to understand why this character took his life by forcing his lover to cut off his head. Once he was decapitated the nipple did not stop talking for over an hour- it told his lover of all his previous affairs!! Ever since I have read this tale I have been terribly worried that my chronic gesticulating nipple is going to break free from its root and make its way onto my forehead!! If the world were able to hear my every thought I would certainly loose everything that I love!!!
Last week I visited a Doctor who knew not what to make of my condition. He told me that he had never seen anything like this before. He recalled reading in a medical journal many month back about someone who had suffered from a similar ailment for most of his life- but he could not remember which medical journal it was in. The Doctor wanted to put me on some medication to see if he could relax the tissue but the side effects for the medication seemed to great to take the risk. My Doctors conclusion was that I was suffering from a stress-induced ailment that was causing calcium build up around the nerves of my nipple tissue-, which is putting pressure upon my nipple. The ensuing twitching and gesticulation is the result of this pressure. If it did not go away in a month he recommends surgery.
In the mean time I still have to live in this world. I have to make a living so that I can continue to have a roof over my head. As much as I want to hide away in my closet and write poetic lamentations all day- I cannot. I have a mouth to feed.
It is not difficult for you to see my ailment, or what I have come to call my crucifixion. There is what appears to be a constant vibration and rotation under my left shirt pocket. When people notice this they immediately ask me if I am okay. I tell them that I am fine, that what they are witnessing is an annoying muscle spasm. My high school students make fun of me and refer to me as a freak. They all want to touch my nipple and when I let them there are loud uproars of “EEEEEEWWWW,” or “That’s so disgusting!!!!” Whenever I go out into public people stare at my nipple as if they had never seen anything like this before. I feel like an aberration, like all eyes are condemning me to constant judgment. Now I know what it must feel like to be a big-breasted woman.
The only thing that I can do is learn to live with my ailment. Every night before bed I put a chamomile cream upon my nipple, which seems to relax it a bit. I also wrap my chest in a towel before bed, which seems to reduce the annoying vibrations of my moving nipple, allowing me to get some sleep. There is nothing that I can really do (besides having my nipple surgically removed) other than accept my current situation. I see this condition as an opportunity for me to deal with the various causes in my life rather than the effects. If I can learn to change the stressors that have caused my moving nipple than maybe over time my nipple will stop moving. I believe it was Pascal, Socrates or Emerson or maybe Nietzsche- who said that an unexamined life is a life not worth living, so I am examining my self- trying to understand the various ways that I have caused my own dis-ease. Maybe, through this process of self-examination, I will eventually become the only man who can set myself free.
“Do you like to sing in the shower?” one of my students asked me in the middle of class. It was an innocent question and little did I know that my reply might cost me my job. The class was being observed by three education bureaucrats, who sat in the corner of the classroom with laptops on their legs, into which they took notes about my class and my teaching abilities. The school I work at is trying to receive more funding from the state so the bureaucrats came to evaluate the school and see if it was worthy of extra funding.
“Of course I do,” I said. “What song?” she asked. “Beat It,” I innocently replied with out thinking first how my response would be interpreted. It was an honest reply after all- I have been singing “Beat It” in the shower for most of my adult life. I did not realize that I may have made a fatal mistake until I noticed the hanging jaws and the looks of dismay on all three of the state bureaucrat’s faces. They looked like three people who had just seen a ghost.
“The song by Micheal Jackson, you know beat it, beat it…no one wants to be defeated,” I sang as the class laughed and made all kinds of comments like “I’ll bet you beat it it in the shower” and “do you have a thriller after you beat it?” Trying to silence the class while digging myself out of the hole that I had unintentionally dug for myself I continued to explain that it gave me great pleasure to sing Micheal Jackson songs in the shower. ”They are just songs!!!” I said trying to imply that the thought of masturbation in the shower never occurred to me. One of my students, of course had to shout out- “I’ll bet it brings you great pleasure…… Teacher.”
For the rest of the class period I was terribly uncomfortable. The three bureaucrats in the corner did not look at me once and seemed to be no longer writing things in their laptop computers. I tried every which I knew how to prove that I was an exemplary Teacher- rather than some perverted pedophile- but I am afraid that the hole was to deep to dig my way out of. Students continued to heckle me about beating it in the shower while I lectured about the bad luck that seemed to bring about Romeo and Juliet’s death. Little did I know that I was also talking about the bad luck which might just cost me my job.
After school I was called into the Principle’s office where he sat me down with an abrupt and angry gesture of his hand. Immediately he looked into my eyes and said, “the state administrators told me about the sexually suggestive remark you made in class today and the ensuing inappropriate remarks that your comments provoked in the students. The administrators are very concerned about the level of Teachers that I hire at this school because of your suggestive comment. Now we may not receive the money that we need from the state unless you are willing to be subjected to investigation by the state to guarantee that you are suitable to be teaching our children.” I tried to explain to him that Micheal Jackson was one of my favorite performers and that I really did sing Micheal Jackson songs in the shower. I tried to tell him that my reply had nothing to do with masturbation- which was the farthest thing from my mind. He replied, “as a Teacher I expect you to be able to draw the boundaries between appropriate things to say and inappropriate things to say. You are a role model for the students and I trust that you have the skill to think before you speak.” I wanted to say that we should be able to be open and honest about everything rather than walking around on egg shells and deciding what is appropriate or inappropriate for others- instead I put my head down and apologized for my lack of tact.
While walking to my car I could hear students singing “beat it, just beat it,” while they made suggestive sexual motions with their bodies. One of my students yelled at me, “hey Teacher don’t beat it in the shower too much- you might grow hair on your palms.” And then there was a loud sound of group laughter. I got into my car and wanted to get away from the school as soon as possible. In my head were the final words of the principle who said, “Myself and the board of directors are going to re-evaluate whether or not you are going to be kept on as a Teacher or given a suspension until the investigation. I know that you are a good man but I question your ability to be a role model.” As I left the school property and turned onto the main road heading in the direction of my house- I started to cry. “Why was I always the one???” I repeated over and over as if I was seeking an answer from the universe. Then to calm my nerves I turned on the radio, which ironically enough was playing a cover version of Micheal Jackson’s “Beat It.” It was being performed by a high school choir from Nebraska.
The Cricket Who Talks To God
What is it that I can do that can help raise the consciousness of humanity? How can I- an underpaid high school teacher who suffers from anxiety and various health ailments participate in the evolution of human kind on earth? I realize that these may be big questions but I also realize that they need to be asked, now. I have often heard it said that humanity is at a vital turning point in our history upon this earth. Many of my high school students justify not coming to class or doing their homework by saying that the world is going to end soon anyways, so why worry about school? Sometimes I find it difficult to argue with a perspective that I find may be true- but I try to keep my mind upon transformation rather than liquidation. If I only had some version of an answer then I could cleanse and heal my mind by writing a book and traveling around the world doing consciousness workshops- but I am afraid that there maybe no answers, only cricket’s who talk to God.
There is a cricket that sits upon my deck day upon day as if it is in a deep state of blissful meditation. I am convinced that this cricket is praying to God. It seems to be that the cricket is channeling some kind of divine energy for the sake of all life uponn earth. I have tried to communicate with this cricket in various ways, but each time I get close to connecting I am met by a strange energy which feels like an electric shock. So I keep my distance and pray along with this cricket at certain times during the day.
The cricket seems to be staring at the sun with its eyes wide open. Be it that I can not stare at the sun I keep my eyes shut and do what certain Harri Krishna’s refer to as sun divining (it is when you stare at the sun with your eyes close and feel the heat against your closed eye lids). I ask the cricket if he/she/it can take a moment and listen to my prayers and then relay them to God. There never seems to be any form of communication that suggests the cricket is unwilling to do so, rather I feel like he/she/it is saying “okay go ahead, lets hear it:”
I feel so blessed to be alive, to be breathing and free from a hospital bed or jail cell. I feel so blessed to have all of my family alive and well at the moment because I know that at any moment this will change. We never know which time the phone will ring and bring news that will forever alter our lives. We never know when our own lives will be altered in the blink of an eye. Everything is always changing and it is this movement that keeps human beings terrified- living in constant fear. How is it that we can be free from this fear, let go of our constriction and tension so that we can live with and in the chaos without terror…with peace and health and wealth? How can I participate in giving something to humanity that will help us evolve out from our fear and into a state of connection to gratitude and love? How can this be done? Fear is destroying us and the natural world- quicker than I could ever imagine….what is the answer. I am asking for an answer that is greater than just recycling, going to protest marches and workshops on weekends and doing Yoga. If you tell me I promise to give free lectures around the world. I will spread this answer like a wild fire. There is no greed here, just my will to save myself, the earth and all those who live upon it. Thank you for listening and considering my prayer, peace…Amen…well maybe there is a little greed.
When I am finished with my long winded prayer the cricket is in the very same position that he was prior to my prayer. I do not know if he received and relayed it to the appropriate authority, but I suppose this is where the power of faith comes in. I offer the cricket some water or wine and when I get no reply I leave it alone in what looks like a state of divine rapture. This is a cricket without fear…and I want some of what he’s got.
This evening I went outside to see if the cricket who talks to God would not be interested in relaying another prayer for me. I opened my front door and noticed the cricket was not in his same spot. I felt a sadness come over me that I had not felt in some time but then I remembered that nothing lasts forever. I looked up at the moon and took a deep breath and then went back inside. I decided that I would make a nice dinner for my wife and I- and as I took out the fish from the refrigerator the phone rang. It was a trauma nurse in Los Angeles telling me that my mother in law is in the intensive care unit and in critical condition. The doctors were awaiting the results of a Ct Scan that would show if there was internal bleeding, hemorrhaging and a broken or fractured spinal column. A speeding car cut her off while driving on the freeway and she lost control of her automobile and ran into a tree. When I got off the phone I put the fish back into the refrigerator and went outside to search for the cricket before giving my wife the news.
I Swallowed My Wedding Ring, Part 2.
I returned home from the hospital a few hours ago. It was a minor procedure. Since my own digestive system was incapable of removing my wedding ring I had to rely on modern medical techniques to do so. I was subjected to a metallic probe (with a camera) that was inserted in my anus and then loitered around my intestines until the wedding ring was found stuck in a pocket of my colon. The probe delicately latched on to the ring, dragging it out from my system in the same manner that a baby would be removed from the womb. The pain was slight since I was heavily sedated (and still am) and I was kept in the hospital for a night following the procedure to make sure my colon did not go into frenetic spasms.
My Doctor has asked me to spend the next few days in bed. He wants me to drink plenty of fluids and remain lying on my back for at least twenty hours a day. His concern is that since my wedding ring was stuck in a very narrow pocket of my colon there was some bruising done. The colon is a very sensitive organ and his fear is that it may become swollen as a result of the trauma. This is why I am only allowed to eat fruit and drink water for the next week. When I was leaving the hospital my Doctor asked me if I had learned anything from this experience. “I have learned to keep my wedding ring out of my mouth,” I said. He looked at me as if he was waiting for a more insightful reply. Did you learn anything else?” he patiently asked. I thought for a moment and replied- “to love and care for my wife for the rest of my life.” This answer came from some place deep in my gut, rather than from my mind. It was as if the Doctor had implanted in me the knowledge that I had been given a second chance to make my marriage work. “Swallowing your wedding ring may have been a blessing for your marriage,” the Doctor said with a smile and then disappeared from my room. As my wife pushed me in my wheelchair out from the hospital I could not stop telling her how much I loved her.
I am still very tired and must return back to bed. I have only gotten up to write this brief entry. I wanted to let you know that this terrible story has had a happy ending. Even though I am still high on various pain medications, my wedding ring is back upon the safe confines of finger. My wife has been caring for me and despite my weak condition- we have made love twice. I have pledged my renewed love to her over and over and thanked the heavens above that this chapter in my life has had a good ending. While lying in bed I have often thought about what would of happened had I never swallowed my wedding ring? I may have not just lost my wife, but also this love which now floods my heart- in holly matrimony ofcourse.
I am trapped in this body that seems to be changing or aging at a rate that I can not control. With a life span of three to five days- there is so much to be done. Since my birth I have been happily confined to this labyrinthine Victorian home that has harbored generations of my family. We spend our days buzzing through ancient hallways made out of pine wood and we tan ourselves up against thin glass windows filled with sunlight and heat. The windows reflect our infernal images back upon our dilated eyes revealing an ugliness that I am just starting to come to terms with- and I am already three days old. My mother always told me that if I did not come to terms with my image in the window by the time I was three days old- I would never find peace.
With two days left to live there is so much to accomplish (I am confident that I will live to the ripe old age of five days…maybe even six). So many rooms to fly around in, so many walls to investigate. The home in which I was raised is filled with various plants and antiquated furniture so enjoyable to fly upon that I gladly forget that more than half of my life has been lived. All of the pressures involved in being a fly (the pressure to reproduce before my old age sets in and the pressure of flying enough in my life so that I can die with a felling of fulfillment) seems to become mitigated by the pleasure of resting upon a silk arm chair or an aloe plant and reciting the verse of Emily Dickinson. If you had told me that being a fly would involve such a great desire to do and see things I would have thought you were nuts. When I was young I had always thought that flies were anxious little creatures with a spasmodic will and a pestersome bzzzzz. Never could I have imaged the wonder filled world of the fly I have found out about in my later years. The beauty of flying naked and weightless through long hallways and landing upon warm afternoon windows. The beauty of crawling along ceilings and landing on the heads of humans. Tears come to my eyes when I think about how much there is to live for.
I keep to myself most of the day perpetuating no rumors about fellow flies. I spend a lot of time sunbathing upon the guest bedroom window. There I can be left alone, freed from the frenetic activity of fellow flies. I can clean my nimble legs and antenna and design ways in which I will fly to the moon on my last day of life. I am able to dream of other worlds where spirit flies still live and roam freely through hallways and furnished homes. I imagine my ancestors watching over me as I make my way through out the various rooms. Being a fly requires a strong constitution- when you are allotted only five days to live, the fear of death can be crippling, but even more so the awe of life can become overwhelming.
I make my way alone most of the time. It is true that my only purpose for living is not simply to spend my days in such a perplexed state of awe. I have my biological obligations to fulfill. The need to perpetuate my species weighs upon my soul to such a degree that I am not able to spend the days in mindless contemplation like I once did when I was young. I feel as if there is something more important that I need to be tending to. Before I come upon my final day- it is pertinent that I find a way to bring forth another me, a next of kin. Through this process of reproduction, us flies find immortality. This is how we make sense of our three to five days of life. We reproduce, and through our children become immortal. Like my father always told me, “A hen is only an egg’s way of making another egg.”
Even though I have been hard at work searching for a female fly to mate with- I have come up empty today. Night is almost upon us and after dark I have a tendency to stay put for the rest of the evening. I find particles of food (usually cat feces which I love) in various places and then rest in a safe spot until the heat of the sun returns to the windows. Tomorrow will be the fourth day of my life- what most flies refer to as the early evening of a flies life. I will spend the day searching for a mate- and into the evening if I must. If the midnight hour falls and I am yet to find the one who will give my child a chance to be born, I am willing to resign myself to a life spent alone, in awe- upon a window. Others may think that I have failed in my purpose (or utility) but I am willing to accept the responsibility of not living up to others expectations. It is a small price to pay for the hours of wonder and solitary pleasure I have experienced being a fly.
Push Cart Sallie
I find women who are pulling shopping carts filled with empty bottles and cans to be highly attractive. I do not know from where this sexual excitation arises, but it may have something to do with my first experience with a prostitute. Her name was Push Cart Sallie and I met her while walking down a back alley in San Fransisco. She asked me if I had a cigarette or weed and I could not deny her since she also showed me her large breast which was hanging out from a ripped and stained white stretch shirt. She did not seem to be a day over forty and her physique resembled that of a model who had fallen down deep into the suffocating realms of addiction. Utilizing all of my lung capacities to take a deep breath when she asked me a question that I was to young to deny, I handed her a smoke. Yes, I wanted a hand job for five minutes and five bucks. We disappeared between a dumpster that had a tribe of pigeons scavenging for food all around it. The sun radiated down upon my penis as she pulled on it with her hands that suffered tremors which are a direct consequence of forgotten dreams. My first orgasm with a prostitute was one in which I happily came all over a pigeon loitering upon my feet.
Ever since this encounter with Push Cart Sallie I have been unconsciously hoping to replicate my experience every time I see a women pulling a shopping cart filled with empty cans and bottles. I have reached a point that no matter what the appearance of the women may be, I find myself becoming sexually aroused just looking at the way her body pulls the cart behind her or pushes it forward. It is a symbiotic chemical reaction that takes place in my brain whenever I am confronted with a woman and a shopping cart. I do not know if it is a deep longing for my lost youth that I hope to regain through recreating my first experience with a prostitute or a disturbingly unacceptable sexual dysfunction that I am suffering from. Whatever the case may be, twenty years after my experience with Push Cart Sallie, I am still searching for her in back alleys all over the world.
The desire to write has been burned out of me like a cigarette turning to ash. I have lost all whimsical motivation to explore my unconscious motivations, in the blink of an eye. When I think about writing my head becomes heavy and my thoughts stagnant. Blogging has become as interesting to me as horse back riding, and this is not saying much. How did it happen so fast? Not more than a week ago my fingers were on fire exploring the very themes that travel through my psyche day upon day. There has been little room in my head for thought the past few days, considering the sun has been out and the last place I have wanted to be is with my id (The term id (inner desire) is a Latinised derivation from Groddeck‘s das Es, and translates into English as strictly “it”. It stands in direct opposition to the super-ego. It is dominated by the pleasure principle). To turn the heat up even higher I have decried the use of technology by spending the past few days working on a farm and refusing to use my cellular technology(Neolithic Revolution). How is one to blog if they have decided to wage a revolution by denouncing all technology?
Like all revolutions, mine was short lived- I am back on line. I find myself with little to say, burned out by the sound of my repetitive thoughts. Not wanting to face my self and all my demons- I have turned off the computer and refused to write. It is only when I write that truth slips out, causing me to face the things I can normally hide so well in my normal life. I am almost a victim of my own hands which type out truths I am unwilling to confront. I almost give thanks for these days where I feel as if I have nothing to say, no truth to face, no will to write. Instead I work with the soil, plant flowers and reconnect with the earth, entertaining the novel idea that I shall abstain from ever writing again. But then the stories, the novels, the plays and the blog entries that want to be written start knocking against my brain so that they can be let in and eventually brought to life. So my burnout may be temporary, but real and painful none the less. I will eventually open the door and return with more investigations of my id sooner than I would probably care to admit, but for the time present my wife is laughing in the next room and I should seize this opportunity to experience some joy in our rugid relationship.
Shakespeare and I.
At times I catch myself wondering- could I be cleverer than Shakespeare? After all, there may exist valid proof of this. Shakespeare stole the majority of his plots from Greek and Roman playwrights. Rarely did he come up with a plot of his own. He would read plays in Italian, Greek or Latin and then adapt them in his native language- English. The audience was to distracted to ever notice the fraud that was taking place within their manipulated minds. I, on the other hand, have never stolen a story. I create my own plots based upon the tribulations and struggles I experience on a day to day basis. Not once have I adopted any of my stories (well maybe once) from translations, films, plays or any other media source. The stories are natural emanations from mine own mind, created at the source. Sometime I wonder?
Shakespeare owned only 10% of the Globe Theater (the theater where most of his plays were performed). The Burbage brothers built the theater without any hard labor taking place on the part of Mr Shakespeare (more commonly known as The Bard Of Avon). I, on the other hand, created this blog with the hard labor of mine own mind and hands. For hours my back ached and eyes strained as I set out to create a blog that would reshape the way minds think about the world and souls in which they live. I am also 100% owner of this blog, sharing the concept or content with none other than me self! During a performance of Henry the 8th, the Globe Theater accidentally burnt down (fools). The theater was completely demolished. This blog, my blog- is still standing after many months in operation- continually open for the readers theatrical entertainment. Some times I wonder?
However, I can not be so pretentious as to deny the similarities between Shakespeare and I. Shakespeare studied Latin and Greek in grade school as did I. Shakespeare, as a youth, disdained all authority, as did I. After Shakespeare left school, history looses track of him for many years. Historians and Biographers refer to these years as Shakespeare’s Lost Years. I to vanished when I finished college. I disappeared into a debaucherous haze of marijuana smoke and booze. I cut off communication with all whom I knew and was not to be seen again until my early thirties when I reappeared- overweight and working in a shoe store. Some times I wonder?
Eventually Puritans shut down all the theatres in England and thus began the Reformation. Shakespeare was silenced for a time and forced to seek out other venues for his expressions. Strangely enough, I live in a time where Religious Fanatics threaten not only the human right of freedom of expression- but the world in which we all live. I created this blog as an attempt to seek out other venues for my expressions and to re-direct the tide away from the global catastrophe that the Religious Fanatics seem to want to create. In Shakespeare’s middle years he wrote with a fanatical obsession producing a play a month. In my middle years I to have contracted this obsession and write a blog entry almost every day! As similar in many ways that Shakespeare and I are, sometimes I wonder- could I be cleverer than Shakespeare?