412. Unfriended Progenously

 

You have likely been unfriended before in the FB world, right?  It happens. You get busy with your own self absorption and fail to pour into one of your face book friends’ self absorption.  Maybe you don’t even realize that your 608 FB friend count is now 607. However, when it’s your own flesh and blood daughter, well, it’s pretty noticeable, and devastating. Yes, bloglings, my daughter unfriended me, and if you hang around I will tell you how in excruciating and humiliating detail.

By post 412 you must know that I am a joker, gadfly, comic, teaser, bear poker, a smoker, and a midnight toker. Okay, I’m getting carried away with Steve Miller’s song cycling in my hamster wheel of memorized songs. Wherever that hamster wheel stops, there’s a song to be sung. OOh, oooh, Sunshine Daydream by the Dead comes up on my shuffle. I’ll be right back. You don’t buy coffee; you merely rent it.

Anyway about a year ago, yes almost exactly at this time of pre-holidays, my lovely lawyer daughter sent out a FB post about employers being liable for their party goer guests if they served alcohol and their guests got in some smash up later. Liability is a big scary word to legalists. Now it was very well written and professional as a gold plated fountain pen. However, I failed to distinguish her professional FB account from her personal account when I  responded foolishly, thinking “She’ll get a laugh out of this response.”

I replied to her warning. It was a Friday as I recall… the last Friday for my already blemished dignity.

“Dear Ms. MCHammer,

I read your article with much interest. Now, I am self employed and work on the second floor of my building, up a flight of 15 steps. My legal question for you is this:  If I have a holiday party and get myself drunk, and then if I should fall down my stairs and injure myself, can I then sue myself? Can I be both plaintiff and respondent? How would that work? ”

My real name was attached.

Never hit send, bloggidos, unless you have thoroughly checked out your global liability. Of course, I hit send and chuckled about the anticipated funny response. My daughter is a funny girl, by the way. Oh, but it was not a funny reply I got.

Monday morning she was called in to her boss’s office. The company CEO was on the phone. They asked what the FB message was all about…. “And who, pray tell, is this guy?”

Horrified, she read the message for the first time under their glare, imagining the end of her brief career in law. “Uh, he’s my dad.” Gulp. Shamefully she looked down at her cute suede mauve shoes. They were comfortable and would be kind to her feet as security escorted her off the campus, she thought. Later on, these shoes would give her steps bouncy energy as she walked from interview to interview, hopelessly trying to escape this professional disaster.

Stunned, the two bosses waited for the other one to say something. Finally the big boss said, “It must have been hard for you in high school.”

She laughed out all the nervous energy that had been building up in her organs like steam.

“You have nooooo idea!”

It is a little known scientific fact that many people laugh spontaneously prior to their own executions. Apparently it helps them relax and die peacefully. It’s an autonomic reaction just before one voids his or her bowels.

“Jack, what do you want to do with the message?”

“I don’t know, Jim.” Pause. Smirk. ” Just leave it up. Hell, it is pretty funny. It’ll show we have a sense of humor here at Litigation Nation.”

My daughter sighed a deep sigh of relief. “Oh, thank you. I’m sorry. It will not happen again. I promise….”

“We know because you are going to unfriend him. Block him from any attachment to this company. Disenfranchise this clown. Cut him off….”

“Yes, sir. I will. I was adopted, by the way. We are nothing alike. I’ll bring in my birth certificate and take a DNA swab if you like.”

“That won’t be necessary.”

Later that day I got the upset word from my daughter. Man oh man!!  Have you ever felt like your body is melting away? My feet melted, then my legs, as my stomach dropped to a pig farm in China where, coincidentally, pig stomachs were being harvested on that very day.  Shame, like ice cold formaldehyde pumped through my vascular system, embalming me in that moment, naked in my sin, on display for all to mock in the Norwegian wedge of Antarctica. I felt like I’d killed her dog, which is the best dog ever. It hurt in a hollowed out way, not sharp local pain but all consuming galactic pain that burst out into deep space. I hate to hurt others, but hurting my daughter felt like instant lung cancer. Breathing suddenly hurt, as if shards of glass were in every breath.

Image result for arabian desert pictures

I was exiled. Sent into the desert of social media to wander aimlessly till the end of my useless, shame filled life. Only ghosts and specters, slivers of shattered humanity inhabit that wasteland. Unplugged and unfriended, they hide by day and watch distant fires by night, knowing they may never approach. Modern day millennial lepers. I’m the guy on the left in the picture below.

Never lose hope, my one-humped blog camels. Forgiveness may show up one day like rain in that arid wasteland you are wandering through. It did for me. As I painted my daughter’s house this past month, she asked me how she could ever thank me. I saw an opening and took a shot. “Refriend me on Facebook. That’s all I want. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

“That’s all? You know I’m resigning from Litigation Nation in two days, right?”

“Yes, I know. Please reinstate me. I will not be improper ever again.”

“Deal, Daddio.”

Suddenly my leper chrysalis fell away and a forgiven butterfly slipped out to float away on a breeze of mercy, never to fart in the wind again.

 

 

398. Sanguine in Sedona

Nothing surprises me anymore. Here I am checking my blog traffic in the lobby of  the hotel in Sedona and “Play that Funky Music Whiteboy” is on the muzak soundtrack. I suppose it all has to do with the cosmic confluence of energies and vortexes that New Age folks in this town blather about. If you want your soul’s aura mapped, hey, no problem. Consider it done. Need your energy balanced?  Boom, level as a bevel. Raki and yoga are also available across a vast spectrum so that you can get your inner chakras aligned with the great Giver Bear’s liver.  Crystals and readings are omnipresent for whatever ails a weary spirit. You can get a quinoa enema with jasmine highlights at bedtime or snort gluten free steel cut oatmeal for breakfast. Okay, I am making some of this up, but it’s like the Grateful Dead’s tour bus blew a tire here and never left. Hipsters, dipsters, whipsters, and post-menopausal slipsters all chug about in their karmic glory.At any moment Vishnu could sit next to you at the organic deli.

“Is anyone sitting here?” says Vish.
“Dude, you should know that one.”
“Sir, I do indeed know all, but I do not vish to be so conceited as you.”
“Okay, sorry. What are you ordering?”
“I love the hot bean curd.”
At the next table…

“So, like, I was in Glastonbury, you know, and it was, like, such energy, you know, and I was buzzing with it in my lower spine. Don’t know what that means, but it was sooo coooool. Better than an iced colonic.  My aura was pulsing. I could feel it moving… you know?”

“Totally. Glastonbury vibes with Stonehenge and other alien sites where crop circles just erupt from the earth mother like pimples on a teenager’s face cuz the earth is going through adolescence. Sedona is so like that, man. All these canyons vibrate with past and future spirits that course through them with the monsoon rains. And it all comes to oneness in the vast random non-uniformity of nature. The Flow is where the power rolls, the current, the frequency, the quirky quarkiness of it all.” Blather, blather said the big guy who needed deodorant a year ago last winter. Arrogantly grandiose, he carried on without taking a breath while his two disciples breathed in every stinky molecule of his wizzdum. I’ve run into folks like this on a few occasions in my life, but they were on their way to psych wards.

The waitress takes their orders. “We’ll share an unsweetened iced colonic with spearmint and lemon in a recyclable paper cup that was not used in experiments on animals.”

“Great choice. We are the world. What’s inside is out, and what’s outside is in.”

Seriously? Even Jerry would hurl at such b.s.

 

I’m thinking we should never have come to this vegan garden of vectors and vicissitudes, but my wife and daughter were salivating over the menu of organic, gluten free, flavor free offerings from the Vedic beyond, imagining all their special dietary needs would be soothingly and enthusiastically  accommodated. So I drove over there in a psychological headlock, feeling like a virgin on prom night in a frat house. Nothing good was going to come of this adventure. My pessimism was not disappointed. (Is that a triple negative? What ever happened to Heidi the goat herding virgin? She got sick in the low valley as I recall.)

I was also thinking that a cheeseburger would be good, but we were immersed in a meat free/ preservative free/ hormone free / neo- Fascist food zone. I feared that the truly unwashed crowd might turn on me if I dared to suggest anything carnivorous. I ordered the Sedona Burrito. It seemed the least offensive thing on the limited menu. Beans, sprouts, quinoa, kale, and various other death defying ingredients. I washed it down  with a vodka/Pepto Bismal shake. Very proactive but to no avail. Nasty is what nasty does. It was nasty, lemme tell ya.

It was the worst meal I’ve ever paid for, even surpassing old Leroy’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken that I had on a local adventure years before. It’s hard to ruin barbequed chicken, but Leroy met that challenge before he died. And until this excursion to vegan land I thought I’d come to the end of Gastronomical Nightmare Lane. But I was wrong. This vegan burrito tasted like a dirty sock taken off a death row prison inmate and then dragged cell by cell through prison soup de jour until it dripped no more. Laid out on an unadorned white plate, even the flies would not land on this thing. In perfect hindsight I should have just eaten the plate.

My wife and daughter choked down salad somethings. I wondered if this was really a training camp for sadistic chefs and masochistic diners. No one could serve this sort of slop daily and stay in business, unless, unless every other customer were stoned out of his/her brain. Hmmmm, then even dirt would be palatable and full of cosmic vibes. It was my fault for coming here sober with taste buds that were not hobbled by psychedelics. If only I’d known and smoked up a bunch of Hawaiian herbs, I could have been in the vortex with the others instead of standing outside the party separated by plate glass. A stranger in the great ape house.

The next day we were all suffering buyers’ remorse. Immodium was coveted by all. I’ll skip the sensory details.

“Wow, I feel so freed up, unbound from intestinal fortitude but chained to the porcelain bowl.”

“We are never eating crap like that again. And don’t even say ‘I told  you so'”.

“How about ‘So, I told you’?”

“Don’t make it worse with your verbal incontinence.”

“Okay. But you know what I’d like right now?”

“Surprise me.”

“That milky chalk solution you have to drink before an MRI. It gags you and you think you’ll explode if you have one more sip, on top of Johnnie’s new dog food…”

“Shut up!”

Thank God it’s so beautiful.

 

349. Legalism

I don’t have time for all this, I guess, but I make time for what I enjoy… coffee shop chatter, chess, blogging. I realize it’s low hanging fruit, but I enjoy these apples.  I don’t need an island in the Caribbean, unless you happen to have one you want to get rid of. I mean, I’ll take it off your hands if you’re sick of the steel drums and rum. I’ll take my turn. However, I’d just move my mindlessness to a new scene and start training those East Indians in Western Mindlessness Seminars. I’d open a coffee nation noodling institute and seek funding from the U.N. My theme song would be sung daily by my 2 year old granddaughter, “Let There be Peace on Earth”… and let it begin with me. Her sweet whispery little baby bird voice kills me. I suspect all grandfathers feel this way about their grandkids. Hope so anyway.Amazing.: Grandkids are the ultimate proof of God’s grace. We don’t deserve them and can’t earn them.

I guess what I’m saying is that I am content. Full. Satisfied. Sure, I want to keep on living, but if God unplugs my USB cord today, I have no regrets that won’t be addressed in heaven. I’m sure there is a customer service desk in the lobby area.

“Welcome to heaven. I’m Peter. How may I help you?”

“I want to see a manager.”

“Mr. Burrito, it’s heaven. There are no managers. There are only angels and the Lord in the center of a cosmic Rose Petal Auditorium filled with incense burning, praise and worshipping throngs of billions of saved souls. Would you like to make an appointment with Him?”

“Yes, but I thought the spiritual world was all post time and space continuums, you know, no lines. This sounds like a Grateful Dead concert. How long must I wait?”

“Well, here in heaven a thousand years are like a moment, and a moment can be a thousand years.”

“So, next Tuesday at 11 a.m.? How’s that?”

“When the spirit moves across the still waters of your soul’s ocean, you will have your heart’s desires in little ripples upon the distant shore of peace.”

“Pete, do you offer interpreters?  I am just not getting this spiritual talk. Maybe my fleshy head is still stuck on my spirit body. Does that ever happen?”

“Yes, more often than one might think. Remarkably often, pastors have this issue where they keep worrying about their congregational needs back on earth. It takes a really long time for them to turn off their obligatum.”

“Uh, okay that makes sense except for the obligatum thing. What is that?”

“Oh, sorry, it’s Latin for holy guilt.”

“No kidding. I guess I had mine taken out with my adenoids.”

“Likely, yes, um, if you had one to begin with. Not all humans have an obligatum. Antisocials seem not to. Were you by any chance a Catholic child?”

“Yes, right up till I wasn’t.”

“Precisely. You could have burned up your obligatum through overuse. Very common with our Catholic brothers. Like an overactive thyroid. If you don’t treat it, you lose it. Poof!”

“So you are telling me that many pastors can’t get out of their own guilt even when they are walking or skipping about in Paradise?”

“Or zooming. A lot of pastors had to drive Dodge Darts and Priuses on earth, so they like zooming with the top down in heaven. It’s a big adjustment for them, bless their hearts.”

“Wait. That’s code in the south for ‘this guy is the village idiot’. You know, ‘Look at Mervin, he’s feeding the dead pigeon his bologna sandwich, bless his heart.”

“I assure you, Mr. Burrito, there is no double standard or code here in heaven. God loves us all the same.”

“Even lawyers?”

“Even, uh, have you seen the botanical gardens yet? They are a sight to behold!”

“No, I want a lawyer. I demand to see my lawyer, Joel. Where is he?”

“He is… uh… indisposed at this moment.”

“He’s in the bathroom? I thought that was all done with once you got the spiritual rigging in place.”

“I don’t wish to be indelicate, Mr. Burrito.”

“Okay, Pete, but you need to butterfly this spiritual shrimp for me. I’m getting suspicious. I mean, all my life I’ve looked forward to heaven and bliss and eternal grooving, and I’ve only been here five minutes or five thousand years and I’m getting nothing but double talk from you. I could get this treatment on earth for free.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. B. If you’d like to fill out a complaint form, I’m obligated to provide you with one within ten business days. Would you like to continue?”

“No.  When folks are not honest with me they start to look like Hillary Clinton, Pete. I want my lawyer and I want him now. I know my rights. I get a free phone call too. And no pants suits.”

“Sir, you have not been charged with any crime. Please, control yourself. You are in heaven for goodness sakes! You don’t need that kind of sassy attitude here.”

Snatching Pete up by his collar, “I want to know what you did with Joel.”

The Angels Gabriel, Michael, and Ludicrous swoop down.

“Burrito, we have you surrounded. Here’s what you’re gonna do. Put Peter down. Eat a Snickers. Then we’ll talk. You seem to be having a hangry attack. Most souls don’t experience hunger or anger in heaven, but you are anomalous.”

“Fellas, I simply asked Pete here where the lawyers are. And he has been reluctant to tell me. Offered me a complaint form instead of prompt service. You people need to get your act together.”

Gabriel, “Burrito, Joel didn’t make it.”

“What?!! I gave his eulogy just last year. I took a whack in the head with an aluminum badminton racket for him, and now you’re saying he’s not here?”

Michael, “Burrito, there are no lawyers in heaven.”

“But, but, I don’t understand. Joel was a nice guy. He dressed well in tweed and the occasional snappy tie. He was well groomed. Liked cats. Was a bowling champion in sixth grade. Played the tuba. What do you people want?!!”

Ludicrous, “The Lord requires obedience not sacrifice. No man is saved by the Law.”

“Well, okay. That’s all I needed to hear. I need a minute to grieve, though.”

Peter, “Mr. B, Joel is not down there, if that is what has you worried.”

“Well if not Here and not there, then where oh where can my attorney be?”

Gabriel, “He’s in Legal Limbo. It’s not quite as nice as heaven. They live in condos and share a pool. It’s a cash bar and no free lunches there.”

All, “God is merciful.”

Amen.

 

 

 

 

283. Deal me out, Bro’

Jerry Garcia sang it clearly…

“Deal”

Since it cost a lot to win
and even more to lose
You and me bound to spend some time
wondring what to choose
Goes to show you don’t ever know
Watch each card you play
and play it slow
Wait until your deal come round
Don’t you let that deal go down
I been gambling here abouts
for ten good solid years
If I told you all that went down
it would burn off both your ears
It goes to show you don’t ever know
Watch each card you play
and play it slow
Wait until your deal come round
Don’t you let that deal go down
Since you poured the wine for me
and tightend up my shoes
I hate to leave you sittin there
composin lonesome blues
It goes to show you don’t ever know
Watch each card you play
and play it slow
Wait until your deal come round
Don’t you let that deal go down
Don’t you let that deal go down, no
Don’t you let your deal go down
Image result for human poker player pictures
Simple formula, dontcha think? Cards are the metaphor for life. We all play each day, week, month, year, hoping to win. But win what?  We all have different goals. Real estate deals, job interviews, car deals, drug deals, dating deals… what’s your deal, man? Are you in all the way or just posting up on the ante? How many hands will you invest in?
I’m only familiar with poker hands, whether five card stud or draw poker or seven card stud. Folding is an option all along the way, if you must fold to protect your assets.  No shame there. If you can figure out odds, then you know when you have a useless hand. On the other hand this dearth of good cards could call forth your acting, i.e., bluffing skills. Though you have a nine high nothing, you may choose to play it tough, stare down your competitors, hypnotize them with bluffery. What a victory that would be in a hand of poker or a real life deal.
I’m imagining a called bluff scenario that must be fairly common in the online dating world. If your profile picture is from ten years ago and fifty pounds lighter than the present day, you know you’ll  have to show your cards at some point, most likely at hello. I know even less about dating than poker, but I believe they are both very risky activities, sometimes ending in mayhem or murder when things go wrong.
After some time spent flirtatiously suggesting chemistry and connection on line, Sally and Harry decide to meet in person for the first time at a local dimly lit Irish pub.
Image result for awkward first date in a bar pictures
Harry enters the bar, smiling stiffly and blathers unedited, “You must be Sally, right? You look fabulous, just like your profile picture. Harry, (reaching out his hand) Mc Featers, like feet, or defeat, you know, like we are walking on de shoes, ha ha.” (Nervous as a nun at a strip club.)
Inwardly both are groaning at the awkward dissimilarity to their online repartee, as if Cyrano De Bergerac had been outed as clumsy, inarticulate and gender conflicted. Meanwhile Sally has positioned herself with her best side showing from the corner of the booth with the television above and behind her left shoulder, knowing all men will tend to zone into the screen and not pay such close attention to her dyed hair and half a second chin. Of course, she is wearing an all black outfit over her spanx for the sake of illusion. Bluffing goes both ways.
Reaching up to shake, “Sally, uh,  Myerson.  Harry, glad to meet you.”
“Yes, really great. Wow. It’s amazing to see you in person. There’s just so much more to a person in person, don’t you think?”
Sally starts to cringe and blush at his ghastly speech. ‘Could he possibly be this stupid?’  “Yes, let’s order a drink, why don’t we?” she hurriedly suggests to get something in his dry, nervous mouth besides pigeon dropping comments.
“You betcha. Waitress a double vodka tonic for me and, Cindy, I mean Sally, what would you like?”
‘I’d like to slip into a coma right now, but I can’t.’ “Uh, do you know how to make Sex on the Beach?”
Harry, “Whoa, no but I can learn, Sandy, I mean, Sally, ha ha!!”
Waitress, “Sure, Honey.” Then with a knowing glance and a half pitiful wink she whispers, “Good luck with him” as she takes the drink menus away.

“So, Harry, how would you like tonight to go, you know, what goals do you have for our evening?” she probes a bit drily.
“Oh Sally I don’t set goals; I score them, if you know what I’m sayin’. What did you have in mind?”
“Well, first I want to know if we should order dinner or not.”
“Whoa, baby girl. Settle your jumpy heart. We have the whole night. We can have dinner, dance a little, cuddle up, and then get naked.”
“Harry, yeah, to tell you the truth I’m about to leave right now. The only naked you’re getting from me tonight is the naked truth. Understand?”
“Um, Um, whoa. Here are our drinks. Just a sec.” Waitress smirks and leaves the online hopefuls to their self-inflicted condemnation.
“Yeah, I think we got some wires crossed. I thought you were, you know, pushing the envelope with your drink choice. I’m sorry if I got too frisky too fast for you.”
Sally chugs the entire drink and belches. “Whew. Excuse me. This damn diet is killing me. I only eat celery sticks on Saturdays.”
“No, no problem, Sal. You want another one?”
“Yeah, what the hell?”
Waitress, “You’re staying?”
Sally, “For one more drink.”
Waitress, “Don’t you want to let that first one settle, Honey?”
“Who’s settling?  I’m fifty three years old, Honey. All the good ones are long gone.”
Waitress, “I’m sorry, none of my business. Just thinking of that old song, ‘don’t let your deal go down’, ya know?”
Sally, “It’s a little late for discretion, Sugar. My desperation clock struck midnite. I’m in overtime, ya know? Just deal me out, Bro.”

240. Time is short

No time for silliness, my silly blogwillies. Get that smirk off your face and stand up straight! It’s time for sober realism. Or somber surrealism. Pick one.  It’s the end of the world as we know it…. We could say this every day, dontcha think? We do say it every day… on the news anyway. “It’s the worst case of the dreaded Ebola virus since the last one. Epidemic Domestic Violence. HIV/ AIDS. Anthrax. Epic Abuse. WMD. Chemical weapons. WWJD? Catastrophic. WWTMW. Expialadocious.” And that’s just the sports section.

 

“Oh my furry whiskers, I’m late. I’m LATE!!”

So, in order to save time and live expeditiously, we began planning our funerals at coffee summit nation this morning. Steve volunteered way too much information about his post-life needs. He expressed his wishes that the nation would function as his pallbearers, providing there were six of us, sober, and at least four capable of weight bearing loads. Dustin has a bad back but was assigned side, left duty between two taller members in good  standing. He can still call cadence without actually supporting any of Steve’s corpse’s weight, unless Steve consents to post mortem mummification. As in life, so too in death.

Steve asked that I would give the eulogy if I did not precede him in death. I am considering preceding him just to get out of that gig. What would I say, ” Steve liked pain. Amen.” Further, he requested that the pallbearers wear black suits with white shirts and black ties and dark sunglasses like Men in Black or the Blues Brothers, depending on our collective mood– high tech or old school blues. Furthermore, which is more than further, he wants Taylor Dayne’s greatest hits played at his funeral. He said his widow Robin will understand and appreciate this 1980’s touch. Well, in my journalistic effort to document her greatest hits, I found that Taylor’s real name is Leslie Wunderman. Okay? Uh, I was crushed almost as thoroughly as when I learned John Wayne’s real name was Marion Morrison. And John Lennon’s real name was John Lennon. Do you see a drift toward crisp, one syllable Nordic stage names here? But never mind; we have no time to waste. Steve is aging and we must plan his memorial. Fortunately we still have him presently carrying on across the table this dreary morning about needing to go to Vegas and be tazed. “Wouldn’t that be fun?”

“And so, let us remember him in death as we did in life. Steve liked pain, NASCAR wrecks, Taylor Dayne, lots of napkins and mindless violence. Amen. Please lower the carcass now before the shedding of the tear gas. Thank you all for coming. There will be a reception at the coffee shop following Steve’s internment, if his name really was Steve and not Rod Blogoyavich or Petroff Nogoodnovich.”

Meanwhile Gene brought his class picture from 1965 to the table for our inspection and to see if we could accurately pick him out of the black and white line up. Only the newest provisional member, David, was correct. Which means that, counter-intuitively, the longer you have known someone, the less likely you are to be able to pick him out of a childhood photo line up, thus proving once again that eye witness testimony is shady at best.

To test our theory we had Gene commit a simple crime in full view of pedestrians and commuters and then hang around for identification. He kicked the glass out of the Gypsie gift emporium door and then sat back down. Ten minutes later the Turtle Town police showed up. When they asked us if we’d seen who did it, we identified Gene and his younger version in the old class photo. The cops arrested him, thanked us and hauled him away as he tried to con his way out of it with “it was an, an, an, experiment, officer.” I hope he gets out in time for Steve’s funeral. I don’t want to carry all that dead weight alone, mummy or no mummy. I think it’s odd carrying corpses around, unless you are in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

It’s unfortunate, indeed, that life is so short that we must occasionally throw one another under the troika, as they say in Russia. But we can’t be wasting time. No sirree. However, as I consider this profound thought, it brings the entire Coffee Summit Nation’s purpose into question. Our sole expressed and implied mission is to waste time, to avoid work, and to contribute next to nothing to the greater good. I guess that’s three missions tied tightly in our one-sided napkin constitution, thus the previous troika allusion. (The original magna napkina is getting harder to read after five years in my wallet.) If this mission statement is true, then something important needs to happen soon for the Nation to continue in its false sense of urgency. We must invade another table or challenge the banker contingent to a uselessness contest. You see, three snappily dressed, snarky bankers from an abbreviated bank (M&T) stroll down to the coffee shop every day whilst we are harmlessly wasting our time. They laugh and make comments about the Nation, but one day Boy oh Boy, we are gonna go off on them like espresso steam spigots. We may have to wait till Gene gets out of jail and Lance remembers what time we meet so our numbers are in our favor.
Steve may have to postpone his funeral and take one for the team until we re-establish hegemony in the downtown community of nations. Oh, so little time and so many delusions.

226. Phantasmagoria

I like cool words. This one should be the name of a rare and expensive  tropical fish or some exotic dessert at an upscale restaurant.  Perhaps it already is and I just don’t know yet. Apparently it is the name of a gothic androgynous Asian punk rock band whose images of cross-dressed Japanese men scare me. As well, it is the title of a poem by Lewis Carroll about ghosts. Freaky!! Honestly, I just like the beat. I had no notion what all the connotations were. ” A gathering of phantasms (random images) “. Trippy acid psychedelic melted crayon puddles on a drug laden coffee table, a lava lamp swampily percolating day glow colors upward in an unholy glass chimney.  Jimminy Cricket Hendrix cranking loose ear wax deposits of the devotees at the coffee table temple. Yeah, phantasmagoria, man. Bong talk. “Up, whoa, up. Hold it. Whew!!”

Rhythmic words with lots of visual meaning are even more attractive for me somehow. A tossed salad of rare images executed with polysyllabic vinegar dressing. So seductive, don’t you sink so? I remember a particular female teacher coworker who had kids spit their chewed gum out in a mason jar that she kept on her desk. It was oddly attractive in a kaleidoscopic spit-covered sort of way. There was color, form, texture, and patterns that attracted you while at the same time the knowledge of the germs, disease and slime repulsed you. Similar to a beautiful pit viper, a copperhead for instance– gorgeous and deadly wrapped into one meaty tube of snake sushi. I am drug free, Blogajuanitas. For the record. I suspect you were wondering… but used chewing gum croutons on that salad might just work visually.

grateful dead photo: Grateful Dead  rainbow  swirl ztripout.gif Way way back in the day day I went to see the Grateful Dead. I think I was a sophomore in college. It was quite the experience in 1976 or 77.  “Wave that flag, wave it high and wide”. Drugs were in such proliferation, I recall the crowd surfing camera focusing on a guy in the front row snorting a spoonful of powder cocaine and beaming it onto the jumbo screen above the 19,000 fans gathered below. They cheered. I had appeared low risk to the Maryland State Troopers, I suppose, so I was not searched as thoroughly as the unwashed Dead Heads entering the Capital Center.  A bottle of wine inside my jacket made it through the screening. Once seated the bottle became communal property and was passed to the right as a buffet of other things came along throughout the five hour musical orgy. Joints, balloons with dental gas, pipes with resin…. My children, this was all a long time ago when Jimmy Carter was president, or should I say, before Ronald Reagan was. Like our country politically, everything was moving to the right.

 Which leads to Led Zeppelin somehow by way of the English group Yes. Under certain circumstances their looping lyrics would transport the adolescent listener to other realms. Yes, that is. The opening to Roundabout was funky cool and spacey, lighting up visual neural tracers behind my eyelids, shot by a paintball artist.  I sat in my neighbor’s house in front of stacked speakers that were taller than I was and just absorbed the sounds ricocheting all over his family room. On more than one occasion the windows rattled and his nosey neighbor Ruby Rogers would call his dad at work to warn him of nefarious goings on at the Cooper’s house. “They’re having a pot party, Bob. My Forrest seen it and he’s such a good boy he told me rahght away.” It wasn’t exactly like that but close enough.
In any event I sketched black ink replicas of the Yes earth image on my geography binder with the lyrics circling the planet. Trippy cool.  That was the geography I was interested in, not the drivel we were getting from Mr. Dillard. He was a part time state delegate so we had many, many substitutes to cover for the guy when he was in session in Richmond. Why I remember this I can’t say. It’s just a memory that flows out from other memories, the Yes albums, the songs, the lostness of my teens. I remember a strong disconnect from the kids in that class who were mostly younger. I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to be in another dimension.
Zeppelin owned the 70’s, Blogkids. Their tunes dominated the FM radio stations, which probably doesn’t mean a thing to you youngsters since you can I-pod and I-tune and special order on Pandora any music you like. You would not have been able to handle the 70’s. Turntables and vinyl records in milk crates and fruit boxes.  Heavy, oh yeah. Something cosmic in Zeppelin songs would erupt to send teens soaring above their tedious reality. Like few other bands, they painted soundscapes that had big feelings brushed broadly on sky canvases, leaving just a taste of phantasmagoria on your music tongue like cilantro and garlic mixed with lime. Not exactly but close enough. Stairway to Heaven was their megahit that will probably be around for another century. But there were many other memorable songs. Communication Breakdown, Going to California,  Whole Lotta Love, Your Time is Gonna Come. Black Dog, All of My Love, and many more ear popping tunes that fought back against the sappy rising disco tide of the time. If disco was all about the external geography illuminated by the shimmering disco balls, then Zeppelin illuminated the lands inside that disco ball where imagination and adult emotions were bunkered.
In any event it all passed by. There is no holding back the moment. Even if it is gloriously phantasmagoric.