Sunday, November 01, 2009

"Say hello to my little friend."

What a crazy world this is! I've been sucking O2 for 58 years beneath these azure skies, listening to the electrical whirling of the wind flowing over the slopes of the Rockies to the West, and onto the plateau upon which I sit, here on the South Plains, and I've seen some really weird stuff in my time.
(Oh god, I'm sounding like a character out of a Dickens novel ["heh, heh, heh," he mumbled, a thin line of drool dripping off his stubbled chin. "I've hauled a lot of coal, pushed a lot of brick and snaked a lot of pipes in my day, boy!" Cough.])
So where was I? Oh yea, time, the planet, this life I've been given and all the weirdness that's manifested itself both inside and outside my head. But, here we are all the same. The planet spins through space at 16,000 mph (give or take), hurtling through the void in a circular (elliptical) path around the star that sustains our lives, and so many of us have so little to say or do or to give. It makes me sad to think that people complain about the most mundane, unimportant (to me), materialistic "things" while the rest of us are treading water fast as we can just to keep our noses above the oblivion line, beyond which we dare not cross.
My back hurts. My head hurts. My hands hurt. My heart hurts. Everything hurts!
Yea, yea, yea. So what? My love, she's a peach, and her pain erupts like Vesuvius – powerful, inexorable, annihilating pain that seems to never cease. Yet, somehow, she presses ahead and tries to see the beauty in life. She focuses on the few important things in her world (her daughter, her mother and father and sisters and in-laws and all those nieces and nephews and cousins and grand-uncles and -aunts). She focuses on the love that people share and the compassion that lifts her spirit enough to cope with the agony of opening her eyes in the morning. Sometimes it's too much and she crumples to the floor, overwhelmed and exhausted from the struggle. But she always finds a way to pull herself across the floor, to grip the edge of a chair and haul her body up and onto the seat.
And there are doctors who've actually said to her "But you shouldn't be feeling THAT MUCH pain!" or "it CAN'T be THAT bad." Idiots!
Some physicians are so small-minded and so invested in the political, bureaucratic bullS($@ that they've lost, or never had, the true calling that I believe physicians ought to know in their bones: which is to say, empathy, tenderness, informed, careful treatment aimed toward creating a postive environment in the patient's mind, which is the key to healing ANYTHING.
Some of these SOBs could care less. For many so-called doctors, it's all about sense of power they presume to hold; the power of life and death.
Or they concern themselves with the ability to pay cash for a two-week trip to Lisbon or Tahiti, or with that red-haired nurse (she's such a cute little "thang") who jumps at his (or her) every beck and call: "yessir," "yesmaam," "nosir," nomaam," and "right away, sir/maam."
Power and fortune are devices used by angels and demons to manipulate the ignorant and greedy, because they are such potent lures in the soul-thrashing business.
But that's neither here nor there, I suppose.
What I mean to say is, this world is an amazing and wondrous place and to ignore the infinite possibilities that linger in the ether, within anyone's reach if they dare, is to die long before you take your last breath.
What I mean to say is, whatever you do, do it well, do it completely, do it for yourself and for one other (at least), and do it until you know you're done.
Then, move on.
I've spent long, silent hours hitchhiking across this vast nation. In my youth, I made the choice that put on the road of uncertainty and danger, rather than the bland, predictable future my father pictured for me. But that's not really true either. My father, likely as not, never pictured a future for me. He was too busy. Too involved with football, baseball and basketball scores, and too tied-into social climbing to divert his attention from that frosty beer can and the tinkling glass of scotch next to the spread of cards on the green baize tabletop to spend precious time on musing about his son's future.

But I can't tell you what it was like to be the son of a drunken, Irish sportscaster who loved women so much, he married six of them (at last count) and managed to somehow wind up alone, dead, in a motel bed somewhere in Colorado.
C'est la vie.
I never understood that he chose a life that took him exactly where he wanted to go, too.
And despite the seeming awfulness of it all, far as appearances go, well, that just didn't much matter to him. He lived a "wild and crazy" life for as long as his liver would take it. And when his string ran out, well. There he was. Dead on a bed, alone, with a field of empty beer cans peppered about the room.
At least that's how I picture it. I wasn't really there. But it seems plausible to me.
Wyoming. There's a state of mind! The sky stretches further than the eye can conceive, so the eye freaks out and lands on any solid matter that breaks up the empty canvas, as it were.
Really, it's true. The sky in Wyoming seems to bend over the horizon, whispering "follow and I'll drop you into me." Hard to express how that sky effected me. But it did.
That and the big empty plains, cracked with washouts, crevices, ditches and prairie dog holes.
The high school kids would drive out into the prairie late at night and fire a few rounds from their 30-30s at an unsuspecting antelope or deer or whatever critter moved into their headlights. That was a big Friday night in Casper!
But I digress. Don't I?
Some people are mysterious without meaning to be. Some people are mysterious because they're trying so hard to be. And some people are mysterious because they've got no reason to exist, and that's REALLY mysterious, to me.
College courses are tearing at my guts, sand-blasting my teeth and clawing my facial muscles so they tic and twitch as my eyes begin to blur and my mouth grows dry from the fear.
It's a terrible thing, this business of learning. It's a terrible and awesome thing, not to be trifled with in the least, I assure you. Walk softly and carry a GIGANTIC STICK if you dare venture into those woods, my friend. For the marbled halls of academia are home to the most powerful juju ever conceived by anyone's mind, human or no.
Hell, I can't even tell you about it 'cause I'm shaking so hard right now. Whew!
Once, an Indian (American native, if you get my drift) with a head that stretched from the mountain range to the West over to the glittering light of Venus up there in the inky night sky, once rattled my cage just for the helluvit.
These are the moments I'm trying to define so you don't have to, my friend. So you don't have to.
And by the way, "Happy Halloween" and "Happy Thanksgiving" and "Merry Christmas," too.
Swish, gargle and spit.