The gratitude of my temporary inmates seems only to ring truer with each passing circumstance. I suppose I may have acquired a skill or two over the years where it pertains to the custodial caretaking that so many in this throwaway culture would prefer to ignore.
It’s not Stockholm Syndrome that these folks have come down with, since I’m not the one responsible for my subjects’ captivity, but it is definitely a similar phenomenon (a guy sure could get used to all the attention, anyhow). My wards do actually receive that kind of no-strings care that the medical insurance industry forgot about as soon as private concerns got their hooks into it (even though their advertising tries to sell a different story).
Perhaps because of this comfort, every single one of our emerging beer-krausening technologies has been behind schedule under my watch. Maybe it was a mistake to combine a halfway house with a chemistry lab. Our three chemists-in-captivity are functioning alcoholics who just use this particular project to get tanked on the job all day–with my tacit blessing, I suppose. Last Thursday, Ernie–the least-tactful of the three–decided to not look both ways before crossing the street on his lunch break (I do give them at least a little time in each week to get out and smell the flowers). Long story short, Ernie got hit by a shipment of cabbages (with a truck attached), survived, and is now suing the city for not putting a stop sign in a 40 MPH zone. As soon as he got back from the hospital, you’d better believe I gave him quite the lecture on roadside awareness!
Precisely between pages 182 and 183
of a battered, overused
elementary school Spanish textbook
on the neighborhood Indianapolis Goodwill’s
hardcover books shelf, you’ll find
a perfectly-preserved eyelash
wedged in the crotch of the binding,
once attached to the heavy eyelid
of Jacob Stern, a third grader
with no real foreign language aptitude,
any sense of which would have been lost
while sitting in the back row of Spanish class
during Sr. Cerasoli’s Wednesday morning lecture
extolling the virtues of ser and estar,
a class period that felt
like it could last forever, though
certainly not in infamy (until old Jake
dropped his eyelash and roped us
into this entire absurd narrative).
Don’t allow the accomplishments of the more senior members of the artistic community frighten you into stagnation, young man (i.e. the type of artist who thinks that he’s probably getting a bit older these days [as one would naturally experience while living some kind of existence as we currently know it] but wouldn’t care to complain about it to anybody in his age group, because [after all] we’re all experiencing our own contemporary struggles that leave very little room for any kind of self-actualizing, let alone exploration of forms that connect our consciousnesses to one another in the form of communal expression).
Just continue to do what you’re going to do (wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more), and the self-prescribed purpose of your toiling will eventually unveil itself. The purpose may have actually [indubitably] been there from the start, and you (the recipient of a lifetime’s worries and schematics) are only just awakening to the possibility of its interconnectedness and unbounded potential when merged with the human psyche.
Then [and only then] will you uncover the true nature of our fictitious narrative centered around the cultivation of blue cheese cultures (and please don’t ask a tedious question as to why it’s cheese over every other possible culture, we’ve heard them all, trust us).
Picking up where we left off
shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance
to us this evening. Sometimes
an elegant tail-end reception fiasco
is just what you need
that end-of-days proceedings
are kicked off in style.
Do we have a believable universe here? Do we have a character with whom we would like to share our collective journeys? If we have no character identification, then why is this even being proposed at all?
Are we so obsessed with plot that we fail to build our world model around anything else? I would say no, but I’ve been programmed to provide that answer. For you see, I come from simple means. My mother was a mushroom forager and my father took his canoe from out of the barn one day and paddled out of our lives forever. I had a herniated vertebra in my back from the ages of four to thirteen, after which time a medical miracle cure fixed it permanently. Now I only have to deal with the crippling daily hallucinations involving my needless slaughter at the hands of a cult of murderous clowns.
But enough about me, I’m sure you all have dealt with various traumas in your lives and you’d rather not hear the boring details of mine. You see, I’m generally a very simple person with very few wants or needs at the end of the day. I put on my pants one leg at a time, just like everyone else. Well, aside from the fact that I need to have my pants made custom to accommodate the extra leg I sprouted a little while back (maybe a complication from that miracle back cure, who knows?). Well, calling it a full-blown leg is a bit generous, but you get the gist.
Charlie’s stifling influence couldn’t possibly affect me today, you can bet all your marbles and even some lesser mechanical components on that. I have half a mind to bust out my old soldering iron and go to town. I’ve been shopping around for motherboards to house in my new homemade personal computational device, for crunching numbers and the like. I’ve heard that there are some more sophisticated uses for them now, like finding a life partner and pissing away all your money on fake virtual coins, but that’s not my prerogative. Now food, that’s something I’m never tired of exploring. What a brave new world of culinary concoctions we’re in these days, I can’t even keep track of all these new fusion joints being put together by trendsetting chefs in the chic corners of the world. It’s just as well, I can’t afford to be jet-setting around just to try some cannoli wonton soup or petri dish gelatin dessert that costs $75 and you can’t even use a fork when eating it. Seriously, you have to just slurp it down like a jello shot. A $75 jello shot. Kids these days, I swear. We in the previous generation appear to be on our own now; the youths don’t seem to have the same kind of rapport with the common man as we do. I mean, I get it. There are more depressed and violent whackadoodles out there than ever before, and if you’re not an expert in sociolinguistics such as myself, you sure could feel like a quivering little leaf falling from the top of one of those monster eucalyptus trees. Everyone just seems to be craving personal time now. Gone are the days where I could just sit in a café and strike up a conversation; everyone is plugged into some whozit or whatzit. I don’t know, I always thought I wouldn’t turn out to be one of those stick-in-the-mud kind of guys, but now I understand the allure of the “ain’t what it used to be” paradigm. I’m just having trouble dealing with the old grouches to happen to share my viewpoint. Miserable old pricks. Well, we all have to get started on living our best lives at some point. Jeez, have I been talking this whole time? Sorry, kid. Can I have a club soda and some of that deconstructed fondue? I mean, I thought fondue was already decon–eh, forget about it. Just go ahead and put in my order. And don’t worry, I’ll tip!
All right class, let me just jot some things down on the chalkboard here…
What am I hoping to achieve through the the synthesis of words in this particular manner? It would appear as though I’m looking for the special key that was crafted for the sole purpose of conveying the cosmic Truth as I see it. The nice thing about this hypothetical key is the almost-negligible cost to gain access to whatever happens to lie behind the lock–that is to say, the lack of necessity for lavish expenditures in order to reach the same island of internal artistic fulfillment as anyone else who’s choosing to express themselves on this particular plane. That’s not to say that this medium of words on a page or board is inherently superior to any other form of creative expression, it’s just obviously much cheaper (which appeals to my frugal sensibilities).
Now! Who’s ready to start learning the alphabet?
Oh come on, nobody’s excited about exploring the 26 letters of our language? When I was your age, I already knew what a silent E was. Trust me, you’re going to want to know these principles as you get bigger and need to concisely present your thoughts to the world around you.
Okay, okay. I can see that I’ve lost you guys. That’s okay; I’ve been teaching kindergarten for 25 years, and this is par for the course. I think you all have definitely earned your snack and nap through how attentive you’re being today, so good for you! Now remind me, who among you are vegetarian/vegan/lactose intolerant? Anybody know? Okay, pretzels and applesauce for everyone! Yippee!!
Drangled intermittent scratch patterns engulf the otherwise narrative-laden crumpet festival, but you know what? Nobody seems to have noticed that detail in the first place, completely unaware of even why that would ever be considered a big deal at all. When I was a more divisive person, I more than likely would have acted immediately in the form of a lecture or rant to whip them into shape. How dare they maintain their ignorance of such an excruciatingly-crucial detail?! As the years have passed–and time’s been kind to me–I’ve learned when to retreat and let folks have their own little moments in the obscurity of their uninformed worldviews (even when it gets to the point of paining me).
Will youse make up your minds already?!
and my tea is getting cold.