Hello. Nice day, isn’t it? Yes, it is. What time is it? Now? How are you? Well, I’m sick.
I want you to sit down. No–sorry. There is no “I.” There is only mind. What is mind? Mind is mindless.
The person formerly known as I wants you to stop wanting. But let this person who’s temporarily surrounding this ephemeral and mercurial consciousness refer to himself as “I” anyway, just to keep things from becoming unnecessarily complicated, vague, or constipated. Okay?
Okay. I will. What is will? Will is about the future. The future turns into the past pretty damned fast, and the past is nowhere. Now here. (I must give credit to Douglas Coupland, author of Hey, Nostradamus!, for the idea.) Will is the name of a great English poet and playwright, and likewise the name of a little boy who endlessly–and happily–mutilates his hapless and unhappy baby brother, who dies accordingly, if not obligingly.*
I am getting old. I is getting old. I’m referring to the concept, not trying to sound hip by speaking Ebonics. I am not hip; I isn’t hip–we–I and I–have no idea what anything means, who or what is right, where or who we really are, or the way to San Jose. We are lost in the cosmos, and it’s a darned big place. Have you been there before? You look familiar. Does God wear a name tag that says, “Hello, My Name Is God”? I think so too.
Wait a minute! I’m not laughing at you. Please don’t make a fist. I thought you answered my last question with a yes. It’s your fault for mumbling. No–I have no right to blame you. As you can see, I have no right hand. I miss my old job at the alligator farm.
When Paul McCartney wrote the song “Live and Let Die,” did he have any idea he was writing the new American national anthem? I wonder if he’d already become a vegetarian by then. If not, maybe he was hounded into it by the ghosts of chickens, pigs, cows, rabbits, ducks, and fish, chasing him in his pajamas around his mansion as he tried to scare them away with a flashlight–or was it a torch?
(What if the Statue of Liberty held a flashlight instead of a torch? Would the batteries be all-copper? I’ve heard she’s been putting on weight lately. Got to stop eating all those stray pennies left behind by tourists and the bewildered descendants of hopeful immigrants.)
Hitler was a vegetarian too. No–I don’t mean Paul McCartney was just trying to be like Hitler. That’s something from the Charles Manson school of Beatlemanic depression. Maybe Hitler was trying to be more like Paul McCartney. If he’d grown the mustache and his hair out and put on a shiny pink Nehru jacket, he could have gone for the Sergeant Pepper look. Come to think of it, his picture might be among all the faces in the crowd on that album’s cover after all. How ya doin’, Addie? Not so good to see you either.
I’m running out of time. My subscription to Time has nearly expired. Soon I will be timeless. That will be nice.
What do you remember? Do you remember to pick up the tomatoes? Do you make a checklist first? That helps. And don’t forget to change the oil when you’re getting gas. Cut down on all the fast food and soda and you won’t get so much gas. Change the battery too, and change your socks. Everything must change, or else things start to get musty.
Move. I’ve asked you to sit still for awhile, but the time has come to get up and stretch your arms and legs. And for God’s sake, put some pants on. You’re liable to get arrested going out looking like that.
Fidget. Nervously snap your fingers and whistle a noncommittal tune. Feverishly sniff around your apartment like a hunting dog, reciting the mantra, “Where are my keys?”
Find them? Good. Now go outside. You don’t have to work today, but your wallet is as empty of cash as the sky is of clouds. You don’t have a credit card. Your wife will stop your paycheck in its tracks. In other words, you can’t afford to go anywhere where you have to spend money.
See all the beautiful women with amazing eyes and breathtakingly smooth legs and miniskirts tickled by the lascivious wind? Stop drooling. You need a chamber pot for your chin. And stop dreaming. They’ll have even less to do with you than your wife does. You think she might change her mind if you went along with her desire to have a baby, lost some weight, and religiously used skin cream to get rid of the wrinkles encroaching your face? Next time you’re shaving, don’t forget to lop off the wattle.
Desire is endless. So is marriage. The uglier the city you live in, the more beautiful the women who live there too, blissfully ignoring you as they make mental love to their cell phones and earphones. They look like a bunch of doctors walking around with stethoscopes, listening to the sounds of their own heartbeats, gauging their beauty to make sure it’s still formidable.
When you’re an old fart, youth is heartless. But don’t think their situation is necessarily wonderful. They have to breathe the same dwindling air supply that those pretty women do, drink water mingled with the hormones of plastic waste, eat food of doubtful origins, take the same stuffy subway train or bumpy bus to work. Or, if they’re students, they have to take a lot of tests to humor some lunatic who has them jump through a hundred hoops before they get handed a treat like a clever puppy sitting up on her haunches.
By the time they’re your age, what will the world be like? No one can say. Or you can, but can you know? No. So. Off you go. Ho ho ho. Enjoy the show. Make some dough. Vanquish your foe. Say hello to your bro. Out-paint Van Gogh. Buck the status quo. Learn how to row.
* You can meet “Little Willie” in the last blog posting.