Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2003, 11:44 AM

Crazed and Diffused


The words you are about to read are constructed from the depth of my imagination and have no bearing on any persons, real or implied, and should not be construed as factual by any stretch of the imagination. The following is a story of a fictitious nature that was written when I was in college. Since the content contains strong views of a possible caustic nature I would warn all small children and liberal persons to please exit the line and avoid the ride.

If this is not sufficient to dissuade those weak of soul and spirit then I would point you to entry 67 of my guestbook and also to the response and disclaimer here.

The management and myself are not responsible for any physical or mental conditions or anomalies arising from the consumption of content herein.

Thank you, enjoy the show



Crazed and Diffused

I've been thinking too much lately, and I've decided that the only way to preserve my sanity is to come out and write down some of my thoughts. I'm new to this writing stuff, but I've read somewhere that it is therapeutic and since I know that all psychologists are just in the profession because they are voyeurs who couldn't become priests because they're too claustrophobic to sit in that little confessional box, I've decided that writing is my only bridge back to mental well-being.

I know that I have a problem, and I didn't come to this realization by reading the Home Medical Journal and winding up with some strange rare disease from Madagascar. I first realized that I had a problem upon reading a critique of the play The Misanthrope. I had no idea that the play was a satire, and here I was identifying with the main character upon his views of mankind. I know that this is a problem and that is why I came out into public to try and write. I'm going to dismiss my views that the world is populated solely by irrational and inane people.

This is my first trip out of my apartment in four months. Before you wonder why, I'll tell you, because they say that the human imagination is worse than anything that could happen in reality, but I think they are wrong and I still adhere to the view that truth is stranger than fiction, so I'll tell you before you start questioning my sanity.

I won the lottery and it destroyed my life. No, I think it may have liberated me from everyone else's facade, at least that is what I thought when it first happened. Lately I'm thinking that my thinking may be flawed, and to test this theory I've come out to interact in a public atmosphere and write about it, because writing is a very public thing that I can get a response to judge my theorem against. I suppose you could say that I am using mankind as a control group for their own misgivings. But I digress; or regress. Sometimes I forget which is which and who is what, but I continue living so that means that there must not be a vengeful god of vocabulary, unless he's got a wry sense of humor and decides instead to let me finish my life and send me to vocabulary hell where every participle I've ever dangled will be directly above my head and will undoubtedly have more gravity in hell than any of my statements ever did on earth.

But I've gotten off track again. I was going to college--was being the operative word. I quit when I won the lottery. I had so much money that I didn't see the point in writing papers to be graded and taking tests to test my ability to memorize, store, and recall things from somewhere in the murky depths of my cerebrum, or is it cerebellum. And I didn't see the point in doing these things to get a sheet of paper that says that I have passed enough tests and written enough papers to be coherent and logical enough to pay me minimum wage for a job somewhere doing something that is in no way related to my major course of study at college. And I figured that my odds at finding a job that would have meaning in my life with or without a college educated, or rather education, paper, were just about the same as the odds of me hitting the lottery. So I started playing the lottery. It seems that the odds were more in my favor of getting rich by means other than taking out loans comparable to a month's stay in a hospital in order to stay in school

So I won, and quit college. I paid off my loans, and I've even considered donating money to the campus so that they may build a facility to teach the important things about life, but I'm not sure that society's measures would average out in agreement with what I consider to be important and what they deem as profitable. I took the money and rented an apartment. I moved my things in and had very little to do with a multitude of what society regards as spare time, which is no more than less time on the clock, and less time on the clock is less time contributing to the better good of the populace. The populace sucks. The populace is nothing more than a herd of animals being shepherded around from one money sucking hole to another. I'm not talking about sheep either. Mankind would be a herd of dodo birds because they would be filled with aspirations of flight but have failed to use their wings in such a long time that they have forgotten how to fly. They would just cluck and brood and flap their ineffective wings and resemble every overweight politician I have ever seen on the television. Mankind is just milling about like the dodo, and is certainly headed for extinction. Flap flap, cluck cluck, and they'll wish they could get themselves off the ground and reach those unattainable goals they've set for themselves.

I was talking about time. I had a lot of it. Not that any man ever really knows how much time he has, but I had nothing inhabiting mine. I had no professors, no job, no paycheck god to pray to and for, no girlfriend to inhabit my life and live off my paycheck god's gratitude. Quite simply, I had an apartment, hordes of money, and textbooks. Actually, if you looked about my room you would see a lot more than that. Like a month's worth of empty Chinese take-out containers that stack so neatly into one another. I took the time to rinse each one after use and stack it in a column sprouting from my glass table in the middle of my large room called a living room. I actually did live in my living room, and it had enough empty containers and various assorted oddities to have a life of its own. It grew into...another tangent. I mean that sentence would have grown into another tangent if I had let it, but I didn't. I realize that it takes control to keep tangents at bay, but you must. Tangents are these nasty little critters that invade your piece and take up time, or rather, they invade your time and take up space. I think.

This column grew larger and taller, and taller until it reached the ceiling. Do you know how many little Chinese containers it takes to reach the ceiling of my apartment? I'll tell you; as many as it takes to fill the vertical space between my living room table and the ceiling. It amazes me to think about the fact that my ceiling is somebody else's floor, but I can't walk on my ceiling. I suppose all is relative, even though you can't choose yours. So I decided, when my upstairs neighbors were walking on my portable Chinese restaurants, that my fetish for Chinese food should come to an abrupt halt, despite the fact that I had been receiving many thank you notes from the establishment for my gracious patronage. Besides, I hadn't had a solid bowel movement in a while.

I took to ordering pizza while playing cards. The conventional card games bored me quickly, so I took to building elaborate card houses. Indeed they were mansions. Houses of hearts with columns of clubs, a spattering of spades to help dig up all the diamonds. It takes money to finance a mansion, you know. So I built and I built, but try as I might, I just couldn't satisfy myself. I had been reading Steven Hawkin's A Brief History of Time, and was fascinated by his theories of infinite smallness and largeness wherein everything is the same. That the basic structure of an atom mimics the structure of the solar system with a central core and orbiting elements. So I started building houses out of pizza boxes to simulate my apartment inside of which I built apartments of cards to mimic the pizza boxes simulating my apartment. I even held a mirror in front of me while standing in front of a mirror so that I could see myself inside the mirror I was holding reflected in the mirror on the wall in which I could see the mirror I was holding.... I couldn't see the end, but my eyesight is rather poor, and besides that, there is insufficient light in my apartment.

So I had a column of Chinese take-outs, an apartment of pizza boxes with a resident of cards within, and a glass table. I also tried to build a maze out of my textbooks, but I couldn't make the walls high enough so that I couldn't see over them without reducing the maze to little more than a hallway with a bend. It was fairly easy to find my way through a maze of textbooks with only one bend, even if I bent it in the other direction or entered it from the exit and exited from the entrance, so I decided to do something with the books that I had never done when I was still in school. I read them. Lined them all up in a row and read them cover to cover--the front cover of the first one to the back cover of the last one. You see, I had never read them when I was in school because I was always too busy, but now that I was out of school I had plenty of that spare time stuff. So I sat around and read all of the books I had, because I was running out of other things to do. I guess I haven't told you yet that I didn't have a television or a radio or a computer or any type of video game system, and I had tired of playing and building with cards, so I read.

I read so much I lost track of time. Actually I hadn't been keeping track of the time anyway. I just started counting the days as the time between when I woke up and when I went to sleep. Nothing in my new life went by any type of a schedule. I ate when I got hungry and slept when I became tired. I didn't even have a clock. I had a watch, but it stopped a while ago, and I never wound it. I still wore it on my wrist out of habit. It was nice to have a stopped watch, because I never felt a rush to do something because it was always the same time, not that I ever went out or had anywhere to be or anyone to visit anyway. The burdens of our lives nowadays, I tell you.

I guess you're wondering how I know that I spent four months in my apartment. Well, I wrote down the day I decided I wasn't going to interact with anyone and I bought a paper in the stand outside of the restaurant I'm in now. I just looked at the date on the paper and wahlah, presto, and all that jazz. That reminds me, I played the saxophone while I was in the apartment too. I just had everything I owned at school and at home sent to my apartment and I still had my saxophone that I hadn't played from high school, so I started playing again. Anyway, I bought a paper and I read it, so I know what the date is.

I like to do some light reading from time to time--Nietzsche, Nabokov, Dostoevsky, Shel Silverstein, Dr. Suess. Reading is a funny thing, and I'm not talking about satire or comedy or anything like that, I mean that reading is interesting. No, that's not it either. Reading is cool. Yes. Reading is cool because you can escape from your life and live in different worlds, or different countries, or the same country, or live somebody else's life. You can take someone else's ideas and explore them and become intimate with them until they feel like your own. And that is what I did. I become intimate with people I didn't know and I hated people I'd never meet and I thought things that I had never thought before, and I believe things that I never knew existed. I did this so long and much that I forgot and forget who I am, so I'm here writing trying to discover myself.

I think that trying to find myself is going to be harder than losing myself. Losing myself was easy, I didn't even know I had done it. Most people don't try to lose themselves, I think. Some people do, or say they want to, and they do it with alcohol or drugs or with the witness protection plan, or something. I did it with books and ideas. Actually, ideas in books. And now I don't know where to look for myself. I looked in all the obvious places--my pockets, between the cushions of my couch, the freezer, and the dryer, but all I found was a phone number, twenty-seven cents, permafrost and three mismatched socks in that order. For a brief instant I thought I found God between the cushions of my couch, but I didn't even find inspiration.

So I thought that if I lost myself in other people's words, maybe I was still there. I read all of my books again, and I wasn't there and that is when I started thinking about the fact that people write what they think and they talk about what they write so if I go to a public place maybe I'll find myself in what other people say. Makes sense, right?

So I took my clothes out of the dryer, left a message on my answering machine that said I wasn't home, didn't know where I was, but knew that I wasn't lost in my books, and left food for the cat that I keep wanting but won't buy because cats aren't allowed in my apartment. I guess I should have said that I wasn't in my dryer either, cause I looked when I took my clothes out. My dryer has three settings--more dry, less dry, and more or less dry. I use the last setting when I'm feeling mediocre, and since I don't know where I am or what I'd do I used that setting because I'm not exactly sure how I like my clothes, other than pink in the middle.

And I came here and I tried listening to other people's thoughts and I found myself annoyed, confused, and lost. I couldn't make sense of what the people were saying. I listened to an obese girl and a thin girl talking and none of it made sense, even when their mouths weren't full. The thin girl said things like, "Three including you?" and the fat girl said, "Yes, but sometimes it's four." So you see that I saw that I wasn't going to find myself swimming in her stream of thought, and I wasn't about to dredge it for any meaning--not that what I thought she was saying was very deep, I just couldn't fathom finding anything worthwhile. That's when I decided that the best thing for me to do was to write about my problem and then look for myself in my writing, but I had some trouble tuning other people's conversations out. It was as if I had turned on a faucet that just continued dripping no matter how hard I turned, and their thoughts continued leaking in and deluding and diluting mine.

And so now I'm writing about things and you're all caught up with me. Actually, if you look at it a different way, I suppose I just caught myself up to the point that I am at now--I caught myself up with the reader, if anyone will read this, besides me of course. I suppose that this piece, or any piece, of writing is pretty useless without a reader. A story without a reader would be a lot like me when I was younger, because a story without a reader would have to play with words by itself. I always played with myself, and by myself, when I was little. That's because...


There is this lady in a fluorescent green shirt, pushing fifty with a dye job and no wedding ring talking to another lady who is a prime candidate for that first social security check any day now. And the green shirt is saying, "So I was pounding, and I broke the door down." The other lady nods and green shirt says, "Brant called me yesterday, and you know how I just hate to talk to people when I'm alone." And the other lady nods some more and drinks her tea and green shirt continues, "I didn't sleep with him the last time he came over. I made him sleep in the bathtub...These women too, they want cash."

Oh, what was I saying? oh yeah, I usually played by myself because I didn't like the fact that there is a winner and a loser in every game. In some games there is one winner and lots of losers. I suppose that children's games are designed and imposed on children to prepare them for the world where there are few winners and all the losers do is learn to follow directions so that they can work for the winners. I didn't play so I never won and I can't even follow the directions on a cup-of-soup packet anyway. I never understood the idea of following directions unless they get you somewhere, and the only place that the directions in a recipe ever got me was my kitchen, or the emergency room if I caught fire, and since neither is too exciting, I stopped cooking and started ordering out. I probably should have tried my hand at gardening because interesting things always managed to grow on my leftovers. Some of them even had roots. I have roots. Everybody has roots, despite the fact that there is at least one sap in every family tree, maybe if I explore my shrubbery of a family I will find myself somewhere. I could start with my sister, if I had one. I have a brother...


And the fat girl is saying, "We don't talk anymore (munch munch) 'cause she got pregnant. (gulp) I couldn't take it after the first one. I just think she was jealous. She didn't want me to talk to any other friends, but then again, she wasn't there when I needed her." And the thin girl asks her, "You want the one in the middle?" And the fat girl says, "No, I'll be sick," and the thin girl replies, "Oh, you said little."

Damn. Sorry, I got side tracked again. Anyway, I have a brother. He's nothing like me. For beginners, he's older than I am. As I said he's nothing like me. You know, sometimes I doubt that he is my real brother. He's taller. He's always been taller than me. All my childhood life, and adolescence for that matter, I've been growing up in the shadow of a doubt. And I doubt that writing about this is going to help me any in my search. I could take a road trip and try finding myself that way. Maybe I'm hitchhiking in Nevada. It would be legal I bet--everything's legal in Nevada. I remember the last time I drove across the country. I stopped in South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore and I wondered what would ever compel someone to carve faces that size into a mountain? Because the mountain was that big? No, too simple. A more appropriate response would be that the mountain was there, so why not? I guess the ultimate answer is boredom, unless it was somebody looking for themselves in the mountain, and I don't think that any of those presidents carved it. I have only been that bored once...


And now the fat girl is saying between bites, "You haven't seen butts that clean. They don't even get that clean wipin' them," and the thin girl says, "They say they soak 'em," and the fat girl adds, "God knows they get slippery," and now the thin girl says, "This is pathetic. This is our only night out till Saturday."

What about butts? Damn. I wasn't talking about butts, I was talking about, ummm, boredom. Yes. I have only been that bored once. It was in my intro to biology my freshman year in college. I would get so bored that I would think about doing some really weird things to alleviate my boredom and I thought about my trip across the country and swore that someday I was going to make a life-size replica of Mt. Rushmore out of mashed potatoes using a sledgehammer and an ice pick.
I remember what my favorite childhood game was--Spirograph. Of course the concept of going in circles became a prevalent theme in my life, not that my life has much of a plot right now. It does have a complication and that is that the main character is missing. I guess that will make writing an autobiography quite awkward. My life wouldn't be nearly as colorful as my drawings...


And now there is a short girl who looks like she is still in high school talking to a guy who looks old enough to be in college and she is saying, "He asked me how old I was and when I told him I was twenty-one he said 'Oh my God,'" and the guy is laughing and she finishes, "He didn't want to go in so I pushed him." And I block them out but I can hear another girl talking to her boyfriend and she says, "You can't say 'epic' 'cause it's too controversial," and he mumbles something too quiet for me to hear and she comes back with, "It's a tremendously influential film."

Ahhh, I don't want to think about what she was doing and whom she was pushing, I just want to continue about, ummm, drawings. My life wouldn't be nearly as colorful as my drawings. I used to do them in colored ink, but my pen ran out so I started doing them in pencil and coloring the insides with crayons that have interesting names like vivid tangerine and spring green and sky blue and thistle and maroon. My crayons had more interesting names than my Play-Doh and when I think about Play-Doh I think about Plato. I suppose Plato would have a deep thought like that himself. I bet he would even think about the fact that Confucius sounds so much like confusion but he always seemed to have the right answers. They say Confucius did his crosswords with a pen, and I know that I'm not that confident. I'm not even that confident about finding myself. The only thing that I am confident about is my ability to pay this bill, because if there is one thing that I know, it is that I have money, because I won the lottery.
I didn't gamble before I went to college. I just never considered gambling a very moral thing to do until the day that someone remarked about taking a chance every time you stepped outside your door, get up to go to the bathroom, or even get out of bed. It was then that I realized that all of life is a gamble and somebody already put me in as ante, so I decided to play my hand. That's when I started playing the lottery. I figured that if I won I could at least consider that one ace up my sleeve. That's why I played cards while I was in my apartment. Come to think of it, it was more the cards that caused me to come out than finding myself. It was the day that my cards houses all fell that I realized I had been building things up around me that weren't real, or at least weren't really mine. It was all a facade, a put-on, a guise, a front; and when it all collapsed, I was nowhere to be found. Losing yourself is a terrible feeling. It's like parking your car, and coming out to find an empty space. Did somebody steal me, did I roll away, was I towed? I just don't know.


And there are these two blonde girls talking and giggling and blonde number one is saying, "This is me not having a life. I even rode in the hatch," and blonde number two laughs, turns to a guy, and says, "It entirely fails to match, but you have enough style to pull it off," and the guy says back to her, "My birthday is in like two years," and blonde number two turns to blonde number one and says, "Did you hear that? I'm not even going to touch that one."

Touching? I'm not getting in touch with any of this, and I may not know anything, but I do know that I can't stay here because it's driving me crazy. I have to leave. I have to find myself. I have to finish my laundry.

Maybe I'll just do whatever comes to mind and wait for myself to find me. Yeah, that sounds good. What would I do? Well, I could empty the sea with an eyedropper. Or I could move the beach closer to here by carrying it with a pair of tweezers one grain of sand at a time. I could count the number of bricks in the Great Wall of China. I could mow the nearest golf course one blade of grass at a time. I could rewrite Dante's Inferno as a love story. Or I could buy a clock, sit at home, and count the number of seconds left in my life.

I've decided. I'm just going to leave this piece of writing and wander about aimlessly, so if you find this and you see someone who looks like me wandering about, maybe you could tell me where I am, or give me a lift, or something. And if I happen to be following some lemmings, you'll be sure to set us straight, or at least give us some suntan lotion or something. Okay? I'm going to go now. I must pack for my trip. I think I'll stop by the mall and see if they have one of those "You Are Here" signs so that I will know where I am. No, better yet, I'll buy a map and everywhere I don't find myself I'll just put and "X" and write "You Are Not Here,": or maybe I'll buy a T-shirt that says "I Am Not Here" and always wear it wherever I go...