Friday, May 23, 2008

Droll Story



It is the third day after the full moon, and one is still free from nerve storms, odd compulsions, and cries of "Loren" over a lost love. If only I'd done this, or done that!.

No matter. The current "Param" is gone after ripping all the pictures off the wall. Her therapist had told her, oddly, that she should always show her anger. The therapist sounded to me like a nutbar .

She was on the phone today. "Goofus! I'm sorry. I'm in Toronto with my sister. I'll be back tomorrow night.
Pick me up at the GO."

Sister all right. There was this guy from Texas always in the background.
Guess she tore down all his pictures too.

I like Texans. They're a lot like Newfoundlanders. No mincing of words. A straight-ahead philosophy.

A Newfie will observe: "Every man's got to eat a tonna shit."

(I sincerely hope they change their diet out there in the outports).

A Texan will say, "If you can't solve a problem, can't get around it, or under it, you kick the shit out of it!

There were certainly days when I wanted to "kick the shit" out of The Param. But besides the manic-depressiveness, hypoglacemia, and hairdresser talk, she was movie-star beautiful, with long delicate hands and a body like Nicole Kidman's. I could not keep the men away from her when we went pubbing. And on the beach, prancing around in a bikini--forget it.
Something of a philosopher herself, she would tell me to stop swearing when I mentioned Immanuel Kant, she would quickly add, "Get in touch with your feelings."

I held her as beautiful but stupid, till one day, after a night of sex, she had said, quietly, "Finding out about yourself?"

Professor Rath caught in mufti.

"You were doing what?" asked my carpenter friend.

Mufti. It's a disguise.

"Oh.

"I was just going to say, that in a world of yin and yang, so many men want to play yin."

"What is this? Zen and the art of scaffold maintenance?

"Well, you once wrote the book on that. And I read it.


I hang around with failed MIT candidates.

"Don't feel so bad about MIT. I hear there's a whole faculty there trying to put together an erection.
Women's Lib and all that. They're under pressure."

"Damn lab reports." He was still smarting over the failure.

So he became a master cabinet maker, had his own business, and still he wasn't happy.

" I want to be a Ryerson Institute of Technology guy like you."

"No big deal, " I'd said. "All you have to do is sit there till you get to the advanced degree. Get in good with your faculty advisor to get that constant A, and that's all there is to it."

Aeronautical engineering. Glorified model airplane making. And you can get a degree out of it.

But airplanes have to do witth the spirit.

My spirit is droopy tonight.

Sixteen hours till the Param comes back. You look at the minute hand on the clock face. You can actually see it moving.

No matter how "together" you think you are, the Furies do come.

Three-thirty in the morning and your insides are rumbling--maybe all philosophy is an upset stomach-- while the moon moons all over you through the window.
Self-conscious and alone. And the furies keep coming. If only. If only I hadn't left my wife.

The Param was not the kind of woman my former wife would have cared to know socially. Southern Californa, where the sun seems to bake people's brains. "Get in touch with your feelings." "What time does the ocean close?"

No, the wife had been intelligent. Maybe intelligent enough to rid herself of a dog-in-the-manger husband, herself a bit dog-in-the-manger, having piggy-backed onto my dream and when the money came, well, dog-in-the-manger all the more.
Two rich fuck-ups becoming a viable one.

It worked for a long time.

Ah well. A little like two PhD's in the same family.

There is animosity.

And I got that piece of paper and got the book published.

And stupid me had to rub her nose into it.

Hell hath no fury.

"Give her a little time to catch up with you," the carpenter had said.

But I had developed an ego about the size of Newfounland. Me? God's chosen? Being treated like this?

"Dunno pal. With this California bomber you've dropped a bit in taste for women.

"Ah. Yeah. But there are things she does...."

"TMI".

Ah, he sighed ruefully. MIT!

"Never too late, Newt. Try U. of T.


Ah. Newt descending his staircase.

I was descending my own staircase.

Losing an intelligent, attractive wife to--say it on--a bimbo.

But the "bimbo" was relationship-wise. "Depressed, honeybunch? That's what you get when you fuck around with us broads."

Ah Hemingway and his struggle. The upper head and the lower head. Damn thing has no conscience.

Over-stimulated man. Can be led around by he nose.

"Do you want to live, or do you want to die?" asks the therapist the Param had sent me to.

Ah. : "Get in touch with your feelings."

"But that's the whole point. I have betrayed my wife, and I have betrayed myself. Get in touch with that and you want to put a gun to your head."

"Finding out about yourself, lover?"

And I thought the Param was stupid.

Professor Rath and the Blue Angel.

Kick the shit out of the Texan. But there will be others.

I open the fridge and take out a beer.


3:30 blues.

That's all it is.

And the auras of too many lovers.

And the strange, unexpected feeling in the morning.

That one had been born again.

##

9 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

My family has two Ph.D.s, my oldest brother and me, the youngest. He made the money. But hey, I got a few bits of fiction published.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oh yeah, but he never bought any of my books.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

That's right Charles. And I suppose it goes to the Walking Man too.

"Read my stuff and bring the house down."

You have both done that.

And you should be glad.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Heh.

Myself, I think I had succeeded too resoundingly.

Ex-wife said "Don't rub my nose into it."

Egad. Gain a book. Lose a wife.

benjibopper said...

live or die? is that a choice? i thought i was stuck with both.

ego the size of newfoundland, but that's still smaller than texas (and most texans i've met, budumcha).

the yukon's the place for ego my friend. see you there.

ivan@creativewqriting.ca said...

Heh.

Two heads are better than one.

the walking man said...

Let me count them Ivan; in my family including the parental units deceased, 3 PhD's.,6 MA's or MBA's, 7 BA's, and me-given the choice to flee HS early with a diploma, a few certificates in auto repair and an incomplete AA. ha ha ha ha

Unlike my siblings, I am retired, have no crushing debt other than physical pain, and can write at will. Drivel mostly but it is my drivel. Been with the same woman a quarter century and only have had two dogs in that time. Dropped or dropping all of my addictions, only one left to go and, I am working it.

No regrets. Hank the Deuce said "never complain, never explain" pretty sage advice from a car guy.

I think I am the cabinet maker in your story and I find rebirth wherever I find it. You?

Peace

ivan@creartivewriting.ca said...

Well Mark,

With me it's a little like baroque.
Certainly b-roke these days.

Uh "gave up the golden factories to see who you might be."
Well, how did it turn out?
B.A. M.A.- and D.P.:-)
...And now near -A.A. (Not Associate in Arts, but Alcoholics Anonymous).
My father's beautiful gift, trampled and mangled as in the ways of a spoiled child.
We should all have been engineers, but we chose the path of tampering with our lives, the way of the bugger and the outlaw, that is to say, a writer.
But there are outlaws and there are outlaws.
The game is rigged a loaded, the professional atmosphere is poisoned
by untalenedd thugs who work their way into the creative sandlot and push the gifted people around.

Lord, I could be talking of the CBC here. Or TVO, the educational channel.
Bastards get in. Dogs -in -the manger, eat up all the taxpayer money and get rid of the creative types to build up an empire of Byzantium, which is deceit--and that's why the TV programming
is so bad and they are telling you things in great and maddening detail about matters you knew all about already--And last year!

What do I mean?

At Burroghs Adding Machine company they had two chimpanzees in a lab.
One ape was the accomplihed one.
He spoke Fortran and Cobol and knew all the ways of IT. And he knew abou transfinite numbers and all the ways of math.
The other one just sat in the corner, apparently sneering and picking his nose, pausing every so often to masturbate.
Every so often he'd slap the "smart" ape on the side of he head.

The Burroughs guys would observe.
"See? That one monkey is really smart...But the big dumb onein the corner is boss of he other monkey."
Spiro Agnew beating up on the "effete snobs" and "nabobs of nihilism."
So many Spiro Agnews and Nixons in Canada and that's why the literature in Canada has been so bad for the past thirty years.

Canadian rock'n'roll is way ahead, because there are fewer asshats in that field--you have to have the talent, not paper-pushing.

But the choice of writer leads to a kind of hara-kiri in itself, without the push of the assholes all around.
Personal excesses, alcoholism, drugs, marital breakdown.
You are surprised at your own success and start on a path of dissipation.
Yeah. Rake's Progress. "I wonder what it would be like to be a fuck-up."
John Belushi and Chris Farrel
and Robin Williams.
Ah, "who put the sock in Socrates?"

Nothing in excess!

If we could only learn that.

ivan prokopchuk said...

Ah well.
Maybe the carpenter knows.