Thursday, May 27, 2010


This man is being way too hard on himself. Nobody is perfect. Everybody makes mistakes. I don't know what he did, but yesterday a man got caught shoplifting in a pharmacy. Was it worth it? Read more and find out.

A man with a large backpack, the store clerk saw him slip a bag of coffee in the pack. He dragged the shop lifter into the back room and had him empty the pack. It was filled with coffee beans. When the manager phoned the police, the shoplifter bolted for the door. The clerk grabbed the man around the waist and wrestled him to the floor. Eventually the cops came, slapped on the handcuffs and took him away. I bet that man was real sorry.

Ok, this heat wave disrupted my sleep. For the third night in a row, I have insomnia. I read more from an old volume of psychoanalytic techniques, a chapter about sphincters. Maybe that's where the idea tight ass came from. The psychiatrist stroked his beard, smoked a pipe and talked about the varieties of anal and urethral experience, for both men and women. I got lost in the dialogue and forgot what was the point. However, the point is perhaps no longer relevant. Psychoanalysis went out of style about twenty years ago, not that style is an indicator of truth. Looking back, some of those old psychologists come across like clowns of the surreal, midnight underground. Pass through the hedge and enter by the back entrance. He wants to see how you unlock the door.

In 1978 I read a novel by Sade, I forget which one and told buddies at work, about a libertine who would sit in a bathtub and pay prostitutes to void and vomit all over him. He found it quite pleasurable. The next day, Bob, not his real name, came up with a ditty: "Old Lady Boodlekins sitting on the front steps trying to hold the shit in." Bob was a funny guy.

The last time I saw Bob was at lunchtime. He drove a huge 1972 olive green Chevrolet Impala. I was driving a pickup truck down a three lane street. Bob sped up next to me, honked, turned his head and grinned and then lost control of his car. It plowed head on into a tree on the boulevard. In those days, very few people wore seat belts. He took a head dive into the windshield. A round, spider web pattern formed in the glass. His body flopped back like a mannequin, his head flopped around, the funny grin across his jaw as blood dripped down his forehead. His eyes rolled back in his head and he lost consciousness. 

I happened to be working for a paint crew, a summer job to help pay for education. My boss, who sat next to me in the pickup truck, instructed me in an angry voice to keep going. Don't stop. I regret not having stopped. However, it was lunch time, heavy traffic. Other people stopped. 

So there you have it, a case study thrown together at 2:45 AM. What's the point? The point is forgiveness. We all make mistakes. A lapse of attention, a bit too much excitement. Bob used to drink at lunch. Maybe he was on the way back to work from a few beers over lunch. In those days, the penalties for drinking and driving weren't so severe.

The main thing I learned that summer was how to roll a ceiling without "flashing". Flashing is what happens when the roller intersects a previous path, thus creating a section with an extra coat of paint. When one gazes at the surface from a certain angle, the experienced eye could see where the roller passed twice over certain areas. There, the paint was a little thicker. It flashed, ruining the smooth, uniform surface. The supervisor used to get angry when people flashed with the roller. 

In a moment of rage, he told me I was a lousy painter. Jack was not a happy man. He was from a long line of house painters. When Jack turned fifteen, his father gave him a set of brushes, a roller, tray, cage and pole and told Jack he would have to leave home and fend for himself. At fifteen, Jack became an adult. By the time I met him, he was a late stage alcoholic, recently divorced, a toddler in his arms, little Jack. He stopped showing up for work, which was fine. The job went smoother without a frustrated boss breathing down one's neck. 

One had to be in shape to do work for that crew, painting exteriors during the raging heat of summer. The company specialized in apartment buildings and industrial sites. We had to carry forty foot extension ladders and climb five stories, hauling a drop sheet, bucket, roller, pole, brush and can. 

Ok, I'm going to lie down and give it another try. If sleep doesn't happen, I'll read some Finnegans Wake. At 5 AM, the cafe down the street opens. Don't hold grudges. Forgive and forget. Forgive us our trespasses as we have forgave those who trespassed against us.


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