Friday, February 19, 1988

Correspondence: February 19, 1988

Atlanta, GA

... I’ve been working on some New Age rules which, when they are completed, will ensure instant success in the New Age resulting perhaps in fame, fortune, or emotional stability. Here is what I’ve got so far:

1. Hang a cigarette from the corner of your mouth, hold your wine glass in one hand (never putting it down whether you drink from it or not) and talk about purity and essence and the God-consciousness.

2. Try to make everything you say sound like poor free-verse poetry. Equate every intangible concept to its opposite: light and darkness, death and rebirth, etc. The more ambiguous and paradoxical you make it sound, the more profound it will seem.

3. Speak of many Truths. If people disagree with anything you say, tell them that your Truth is a different one from theirs.

4. Try out everything you say before you take credit for it. If people like what you have to say you may proudly admit that you are the source. If there is any question about its popularity, you channeled it.

5. Most important: always sound like you know what you’re talking about. If others feel that you know they will assume that their inability to grasp the subject at hand is due to their own inadequacies and that none of the blame for that failure will rest on you. These people are easily recognized, as they are the ones who seem to be following you most closely, watching you intently with knitted brow and nodding understanding after every sentence.

An interesting series of events happened in Little Five Points while I was there yesterday. I was walking around cruising the job market in the area while some person passed out behind my car in the parking lot. I was ready to go, but I couldn’t leave with all those police and ambulance attendants and unconscious people behind my car. I thought it might be considered bad form by the onlookers to back over the dude’s head before he came to, so I just laid low until the excitement was over.

Abbadabba’s had a help wanted sign in the window, but I decided not to apply there. I got in the car and headed down Moreland toward Ponce, and across from Eat Your Veggies was a horrible wreck slowing traffic somewhat. Some lady was still in one of the cars grimacing in pain as if a bone were broken or something was preventing her egress from the vehicle. The police from the previous event drove the block to the accident and took charge of the situation.

I decided it wasn’t time for me to leave Little 5P yet, so I turned around and parked the car again — in the same spot, I noticed by its relation to the bloodstain from the other guy. I went into the Pub to think about filling out an application at Abbadabba’s. After consuming a little liquid courage, I went over to do it. I went in and courage flew out the window. “How are you?” asked the girl behind the counter. “Fine,” I said and ran out the door.

Have you been following this Swaggart stuff? It seems this guy has his own version of the Gospel that pretty much lets him do whatever he wants. Every other minister has his own interpretation, too. You don’t even know who to listen to because they all say different things. When I read the Bible I only read the red words because I want to know what this Christ dude really said.

And people like these Bible-bangers (a term which takes on a whole new meaning after Swaggart) try to defend the Bible and their faith by saying, “it’s the word of God.” That’s it. Not a very structured argument. A defense like that would never hold up in court unless justice was deaf as well as blind.

Okay, maybe it was on the best-seller list two thousand years ago. If it’s really so great why hasn’t God written a sequel? He could have the Old Testament, the New Testament, and then the Brand New Testament. It could even be a trilogy. It might even catch on and become a successful series. Think of this: “Testament IV — Jesus is back, and this time it’s personal.” Or: “Testament Part VI — The Spawning.” This Jesus guy could be the next Jason. He could keep coming back only to be killed at the end of every book. I think we have something here.

I saw a commercial on TV last night that was telling me about a dish soap that was ever so much better than its competitors because it was made with real lemons. Big deal! If you eat it, it’s still going to taste like soap.

And I was reading my anthropology book the other day about music in various cultures. One class of instruments is known as “membranophone” after membrane. Yuk! I imagine there was a Neolithic dude like me once who finally had enough and said, “C’mon, guys! Do we have to call it a ‘membranophone’? It’s making me sick! Why don’t we just call it a ‘drum’?”

I just don’t deal well with dismemberment. I was at my grandmother’s the other day fixing some shrimp. If I close my eyes and grit my teeth, I can rip their little legs off. I was about to eat when my grandmother asked if I’d cleaned them. Cleaned them? Apparently you’re supposed to make a slit down the shrimp’s back and pull a little vein out. I started to feel kind of dizzy as she demonstrated this technique. She pulled a little vein out and said, “You see how light the vein is? That means he hadn’t had much to eat.” Oh, great! The poor thing died hungry. I didn’t really enjoy the meal.

I was reading in Discover magazine a fascinating article discussing whether dolphins made their peculiar noises through their nasal or vocal apparatus. Some dude took a dead dolphin head and blew through its larynx to see what happened. God! We are supposed to be civilized! We don’t have to blow into a dolphin larynx to make noise. That’s why we invented the tuba.

I told Autumn about this macabre experiment and said, “I’ll bet you’ve had to dissect things before, huh?” She said, sure, she’d dissected a dolphin’s head before. That’s why I went into linguistics — dead languages don’t bleed.

Well, I guess I’d better send this letter off. I may have to write a lot more in light of the last phone bill.

Oh, yeah, I’m 22 now. People say I’m over the hump. Not really, but at least the memory is fading. That’s a reference to the state of my sex life which has been non-existent for ever so long. Planned Parenthood sent me a Christmas card and on the inside it just said, “Thanks.”