Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The panic's on

Steve Post, playin Jimmy McCracklin. The panic's on, Lord, what are we gonna do? Effin reminds me of 19 and 32. The panic's on. Free-form radio, my arse. Nothin free in this camp. This is a memory lane post, as if you didn't know. My old man kept J. P. Donleavy in the sock drawer, along with Henry Miller and Frank Harris. The Ginger Man. Tropic of Cancer. The Life & Loves. Sneaking into the bedroom and finding them was part of the pleasure. All those years he paid into Social Security and what did he get? A check every month so he could mail-order his dirty videos. Sounds like a good deal, doesn't it? You got to pay to play.

I like the sayings of Jesus. Some of them are classic. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." "The poor you shall have with you always." "Your faith has made you whole." My old man liked them too, but only when he was in the wheelchair full time, looking at his life and seeing something black that blinded him to the present. Time and mercy were out of his reach. He grasped and grasped and all he came away with was a little mite of dust. He would close his eyes, moaning his shivery hollow moan, it was uncanny and scared the shite out of me. He hadn't spared himself so how could expect God to? The living organism couldn't let go even when life itself was about the size of a knitting ball. Remember oh man from dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return. Big words.

He'd sit there and rock back and forth, his mouth open. Blessed are the pederasts for they shall inherit a leaky arsehole. Walking through this vale of tears. Blessed are the arms dealers for they shall send us to kingdom come. Ain't no change gonna come except when you depart this here life for a better world. Saturday night rooting around in the liquor cabinet, Sunday morning sitting in the pew, nodding at your neighbor. The true cause of our problems has been hidden from us.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Blessed are the hungry, that means there'll be more for me and my buddies.

My friend B. says, "You can't live that way, sittin on a fence, tryin to balance the two sides of your nature. You gotta make a choice between being the sensual man and the spiritual man. No way the two can coexist in the same frame without doing a body some serious damage." B. tells me about his mother, how when she found the Lord and went the born-again route, his father couldn't take the beratements and sanctimony and so divorced her. They lived under the same roof for a while but it was always fire and brimstone, thrown dishes and holy hell. "When you're a kid you can't tell the difference between love and hate, they look the same. It's taken me years and years of therapy to function again."

Acquaintances called the old man Theodore -- lover of god -- even though that wasn't his real name. He ranted against the world, only sometimes making sense, and I guess some people found him funny. I didn't find him funny. I found him sad. But I was still operating on the principle that every man is my brother. Before I cut him loose.

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