Friday, September 08, 2006

The Real Me

I'm the guy in the background, that's how my form looks when I am most comfortable. Hunched and agonized. Pissed me off enough that I had forgotten for most of the day that a close friend had died in his sleep Saturday, and I was told this in an email early yesterday morning. But I mourn him and my next post will be about his effect on my life. The illustration is by Douglas C. Klauba, who illustrated many of my stories, such as this one, "Corky's Quickies," for GRUE magazine. He got it pinned down right and after reading the story told me that it scared the hell out of him. The real me will do that to people. I tear holes in the back of my shirts by grabbing the dead muscle around my shoulder, the latest casuality is a grey Honolulu lifeguard t-shirt I bought at the Salvation Army three months ago. I claw at my back like a werewolf or a zombie with no real clue. Then, as I wait for the bus today, the guy who gets off reminds me of this fucking reality game even more: he has a muscular disease, stepping off the bus after some impatient asshole on a cell phone boards before he can even move. He has a beat up black briefcase in one hand, and the clumps it makes tells me there is little in it, a resume and newspaper, perhaps. He has to back out of the bus, I hold his back and feel my own. Taut muscle over a skeleton, a body defined by the disease, strength in different areas than those in the members of the Tuesday night Jazzercise class . When he walks off, thanking me for my little effort at trying to be human, he looks like a man in a spliced film. He handles this better than I do, the interstices in my brain leave me insane and suicidal. On my worst days, I'll run into somebody who has things much, much worse than I do. But wheras I admire their courage, I prefer to remain delusional. A 46 year old virgin who turns 47 two days before the five year anniversary of 9/11. In a body that cannot focus its eyes or handle things with two hands independent of each other. Sick of taking medication that blocks a certain amount of the pain after it leaves my brain and spins around in some receptor. There is a country song by Big & Rich called "This Life." One of the phrases is "...I'll live this life 'til this life doesn't need me anymore." When I fall into these deep holes I wonder just why the hell life needs me here in the first place, never mind needing me anymore. Show the ending credits, for God's sake. Wayne Allen Sallee 1959-2006


Blogger Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

For one reason, because that stuff about your shirts is a fantastic piece of writing, a real cri de coeur. Whenever I try to do that it turns maudlin on me.
For another, because you bothered to introduce yourself to me and introduce me to others when I was feeling freakish and useless myself. For thirdly, because the Carnival of Souls needs us and it would really bum me out if the cage next to mine were empty.
For fourthly, because as Saul Bellow puts it, if the sensitive souls surrender, then the bad guys win: "So poets are loved, but loved because they just can't make it here. They exist to light up the enormity of the tangle and justify the cynicism of those who say, "If I were not such a corrupt, unfeeling bastard, creep, thief, and vulture, I couldn't get through this either. Look at those good and tender and soft men, the best of us. They succumbed, poor loonies."
For fifthly, when you're in that hole all you can see is the sides of the hole. I'm mercifully free of it at the moment but I remember it being hard to imagine a different reality or a time that feels different than the way you feel when you're in the hole.
For sixthly, our ass may be in the gutter but we are looking at the stars. Yrs. for mutual support,
Michael aka Clint Barton

Friday, September 08, 2006 5:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It could be worse, you could be married!!

Friday, September 08, 2006 5:18:00 PM  
Blogger Charles Gramlich said...

As a friend of mine, Rick McCollum, puts it: "On our knees and snarling."

Saturday, September 09, 2006 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Stewart Sternberg said...

I will answer the question posed in your post ("why the hell does life need me here anyway?) and so in an indirect manner, by quoting myself:

“Let me tell you something someone once told me when I was in medical school,” said Sharkey. “Once a professor caught me admiring a new machine developed for diagnostic purposes. He came up and put his hand on my shoulder. ‘That’s nothing,’ he said. ‘All our science is nothing. We’re nothing. We’re only a millisecond removed from the sludge. No matter what we achieve, or think we achieve, it becomes insignificant when put in the proper perspective. What, after all, is the last couple thousand years of civilization when measured against the last hundred million years of time? And what is a lifetime? It's a cosmic joke and we're all the butt of that joke. And God, whatever God is, laughs at us from above. Every time we think we matter, God laughs.'

“And I said, 'If you believe that, Professor, then why don't you kill yourself and deprive God of his jester?'
“My professor smiled and said, 'Because, I have a sense of humor, Galen. I don't mind being the butt of a joke, as long as I can laugh a little, too.'“

Saturday, September 09, 2006 1:48:00 PM  
Blogger kuroshii said...

whad'ya mean, we don't need you?! :P
happy birthday ::hugs:: <--virtual hugs don't cause pain-winces!

Saturday, September 09, 2006 2:04:00 PM  

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