The man on the drug ad looked as though he were made up by a mortuary cosmetologist; walked like a zombie, wore the blue suit of a sales executive, had the smile of the dental industry. “You, too, can be like him, if you do what you are supposed to,” says the matter of fact voice of Apollo. At least that is what it says with the sound of the television turned off. “Quit ridiculing us, you lazy doodle spinner, show some pride in yourself,” says a voice for which I have to assign a label. Jeff will do. No, wait. Carl. Carl Upton Durschbak.
Then comes the scene from My Cousin Vinnie where the judge scolds Vinnie for the way he is dressed. “When you come into this court room looking like you do you not only insult the integrity of this court but the whole United States Justice System,” or something like that. And I am thinking of the Zoom generation and seeing CEO’s in their dens, some unshaven, or news celebrities in sleep wear in an unheated room and wearing a winter coat partially unzipped to show a tie underneath.
I am trying to understand, Apollo, is it that I am weak, or just plain stupid?
Trick question, you knucklehead. What are you trying to pull here?
Nothing. I uh…
Nothing, huh? Always trying to shovel baloney and firecrackers…well, I don’t play that way, son. I ain’t gonna give and take with you like your mother does. I ain’t built that way. I am just going to tell you. You’ve got to make up your mind you are going to do something and do it. Get a plan together first, then don’t think it about it so much. Just do it! Now, where did your mother hide my weed?
She didn’t. She just doesn’t remember where she puts things.
Funny how often…
Dad, don’t. Please. Constantly picking scabs…
I know. I know. Never was your thing, was it?
Yeah. I get that. What I don’t get is that you yourself are so willing to pick scabs with everyone else but can’t stand to hear others do it to around you.
Alright. Alright. So you going to accept that girl’s marriage proposal, or what?
I don’t know.
Going to work for her mother? Heh heh heh!
No no no. Don’t get me wrong, son. I’m proud of you. Proud of ya! Uh. Here’s your mother. Stand up straight.
What are you two up to?
Up to? What the hell…
Yeah, sure. Don’t you go telling him we are ok with him going to work for that woman.
(Father and son in unison.) No.
Is he telling you that? He’s not telling you it’s okay to go work for that woman.
I won’t stand…
That woman is to be the boy’s mother in law.
Yeah, man. It was like, the hardest anyone has ever hit me in my life, including Delvin Dykstra. Remember that big motherfu…Huh? (into phone) No, Mrs. Pissweedle, I can’t help you. I haven’t talked to my mother ever since. No. I don’t care how much money she donates to your political organization. What’s that? No. I am not concerned. Why? Because I’m a lazy son of a bitch, Mrs. Pissweedle. I wish all political marketing would go to hell.
(the voice of that effeminate fifth grade teacher who dissed on you for a full year to the other kids because you were Catholic and left school a half hour early on Wednesdays to go to Catechism. )An outsider. A bum.
Everyone gives and takes, Mr. Pussbottom. It’s the way of the lord. We serve him by doing our part.
I think more…idk, Christ, Buddha, Whitman. Individuals. Not movements.
You know, perhaps.
Ridicule is only a joke taken too seriously.
Always learning. Always learning.
I like you, I think. Who are you?
And as I wake up as I realize I am looking at myself and the energy of the dream is drained by the realization that I am sleeping and imagining. And the more I become aware of where I am at the more the dream fades. I could continue to advance the dream, as I do at times, sort of playing with the ability to fly usually, with wings on my feet like Hermes, or riding a saucer like the small ones I used to when I was a kid riding down hills in the snow. There have been rides on carpets through the sky in these dreams, which elicited numerous unheeded notes to self to read the Arabian Knights. But this time I have still chosen not to wake up. Again, this time I enter the eyes and ears and nose, spread out over the skin. Each sense a mechanism that contributes but doesn’t depend on the others but has no meaning without them. Each being regulated viscerally, while in the background the data is monitored by me.
Whatever do you mean by “me”, asks this one guy I know who likes to read Daniel Dennet.
The guy behind the curtain.
Where does he live?
I’m just trying…
No, no. Please. I get it. The ghost in the machine must be at all costs proven wrong and any residue he leaves behind must be sterilized. Well, I don’t give a shit about all that. In fact, it sounds fucking stupid to me. It doesn’t make any difference to me whether it is a holy ghost, ghost in a machine, awareness in motion, an empty, meaningless void, the jimson weed god or Herbie Hoobie whatever the fuck
Hah! That’s funny. Not so much what you said but the way you said it…
Huh? Er, yeah. Eh hem. As I was saying…
Little too much weed?
Er, yeah. Su’um like that.
Ghost in the machine.
Oh yeah. Ghost in the fucking machine. If it weren’t for this ghost I have created with all its affinity for the finer things of this existence there would be no need for me except for that of my bodily utility.
What my body could do for the world. How could it function in a way that profits the world in which it exists. Sit it at a bench grinder in a tool shop somewhere, I guess, idk…
Boy, you just spit this stuff out, doncha?
Hey, now that ain’t fair. I know I am a loser, creating fiction of everything I ever do, just like everybody else. It’s just that I know and admit that I am taking the symbols and signs, the language and people of everyday which I experience and conjure characters, places, scenes, events. It’s just that everyone who knows me and then reads me then seems to think that I am just a chronicler journalizing the people I come into contact with. And that is just not true. I have studied a great deal of psychology, even earned a minor an an undergrad.
Ok. Ok I get the picture. When people start talking their university accomplishments I am off.
Why? It doesn’t….
Please. It’s like Gene Kelly in An American in Paris, and he is hocking his paintings one afternoon and a woman stops to look at them and starts to talk about technique and Gene Kelly’s character is rough with her, tells her to beat it. He hasn’t got any time for her. When she is offended he tells her something like, “you college students are all alike. You aren’t interested in buying anything, you just want to talk about art. Well, I don’t have time for it. Now beat it.” You should just tell people to beat it if you aren’t interested in discussing craft with them. You should just tell me to beat it.
Well, I don’t want to do that.
I am your antithesis. Of course you don’t. Of course you don’t.
(This is a simple binary technique where all value is assigned one of the two containers of thesis/antithesis. Just as there are often no segues between dreams these vignettes are presented as similar to a dream journal, or one act plays in the theater of the absurd where logical sequences of voice are not determined by the linear design of plot, or the give and take of casual conversation. Instead, they are like topographical arrangements indicative of the spatial quality of memory and awareness.)