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Sixteenth Sitting

...Which is where it all middled... "I used to pray for a Slurpee machine," she said, and gave me one of those smiles that sent my eyes and ears all running into each other and my nose with no direction to go but down.

"I don't remember if I've had one before. We lived by a 7-11 when I was young, so probably..." I looked at my shoes to make sure they were still there. They were. "...but I don't remember."

"So I'm, like, helping you to reconnect to the childhood you never had, then?"

"I suppose. Ah! Yet another thing you add to my life."

"Uh huh." She stepped off the curb as the light turned green. I recall noticing the small pale scars on the backs of her calves, the result of a number of different minor surgeries intended to stay the progress of her genetic curse, vericose veins. Twin scars, each about an inch and a half long, came together for a moment to suggest a continuous band as a faded black steamroller roared in from the left at 200mph and squished it all flat.

***

That hurt, I must say. [insert "what?"] Because I have no attention span, or for whatever reason that due to unresolved childhood conflicts I have yet to figure out, pretty much every story I attempt to tell in any form ends with some variation of "...And they all died. The end." So, no, I did not enjoy witnessing the literary slaughter of my beloved (I mean besides the mischaracterization), but it was a formalistic necessity in this gradual move towards narration. Beauty image with the scars, not? I don't know what it means...

Strange therapy here. (No, that was not a full sentence. Sorry.) As I was reaching the inevitable conclusion of that most illustrative and mostly true scene, two different pens ran out of ink on me. This is true. I had a hell of a time finding the third one. I had also originally intended for the instrument of destruction to be a passing bus, but couldn't bring myself to set the words to page, opting for a cartoon motif instead. I feel pretty unsettled now as it is, but I feel something should feel right about it, so it kind of does. [what?] It's a common Buddhist image that on the path to Enlightenment, should you come across the Buddha, you should slay the Buddha (the same one, you dig, unless another one is handy, in which case you should slay all, I think, having one and eating it too or something). The objects of religious focus are just tools to getting where you need to go. Now I talked before about love as religion, or at least our old friend Bataille did (p. 21):

Through the beloved appears... full and limitless being unconfined within the trammels of separate personalities, continuity of being, glimpsed as deliverance through the person of the beloved. There is something absurd and horribly commixed about this conception, yet beyond the absurdity, the confusion, and the suffering there lies a miraculous truth. There is nothing illusory in the truth of love; the beloved is indeed equated for the lover... with the truth of existence. Chance may will it that through that being, the world's complexities laid aside, the lover may perceive the true deeps of existence and their simplicity.

The question is, does this use of one's relationship as a religious object constitute nasty co-dependence? Is it really very nice to put that kind of pressure on someone where Her later decision that you are a jerk, Her prior commitments, or Her decision to leave the continental US will lead you to a long dark night of the soul and a loss of communion with the universe? Or, on the contrary, wouldn't it be cool to exploit love for this purpose and keep what is gained, divorcing it to some extent from its original point of connection? Is this possible? Would it defeat and dispossess the love which would obviously be nice even without the mystical goo on it?

Some of this reduces to the age-odd question, "Is need good?" If you don't need someone, then He's just a luxury, and that's pretty frivolous now, ain't it, what with all the suffering you could be alleviating right now doncha think? But if you do need Him, isn't that a pissy way to found a relationship, leading to clinging throughout and suicidal depression when it all blows up? This complicates the issue of the Damaged: given a choice `twixt a sickly gent who needs you and a healthier (for the moment) one who simply wants you, if you are a nice person, you choose Mr. Damaged, and Mr. Damaged, being needy, has not the strength or responsibility to suck himself out of the picture.

I hope I'm not sound unsympathetic here. It's just that unless one has played the Damaged role a few times and seen the havoc it wreaks on the living, one doesn't figure out a graceful way to play the part. The classic thing, i.e. the thing in the classics, to do is of course off oneself, this being the favorite and usually overly-hasty solution of Shakespearean lover-types. I frankly think this was just because Shakespeare didn't know how to end a piece of prose either (or verse, for that matter), but forgetting about the author, this solution is just plain out of fashion. For one thing, we live hyar in an Age of Reason where all the questions that once troubled ancient Man are instead considered by committees, delegated to other committees, filtered through a mighty bureaucracy, lost in a file drawer and forgotten. What I'm trying to say is that Romeo and Juliet were basically stupid. The deaths there were not brought about by tragic and highly unlikely coincidence acting on these forces of nature called lovers. No, death came from tragic impulsiveness and basic stupidity. So ha.

No, no, no. It seems like if you're going to write yourself off completely, if the one thing you ever placed value in goes away, if you've gotten to the point where the pull of your remaining social ties, of worldly pleasures, and of the future is something you can honestly spit at and choose death, well, then heck, you've acquired yourself a bonus existence right then and there. You'd be better off just feigning your death, then going to Acapulco to be a juggler or something. Charm snakes. Join the Peace Corps. Audition for a life of crime. Why, you could make yourself a laboratory for drugs. Remember, you can always off yourself later if it doesn't work out, or better yet, start again on bonus life number two.

The only problem with this is the pain factor, whether it be those painful memories and the intense feeling that everything is totally meaningless or the "constructive" pains, the ones that pull you back to what you inadvertently still value, say, by making you feel that you're a pathetic waste of space (this implies that there is something important that you're just not doing, no?). Of course, the presence of these latter pains only means that you weren't really in a position to spit on all those things you thought you could spit on; the spit doesn't stay spat. So had you actually killed yourself, you would have regretted it.

My personal method is to sleep. Just go to sleep, for days if necessary, and eventually the rejuvenating juices'll make you sick to death of lying around and you might just be strong enough not to mess anyone up. If not, go back to sleep.

But this is, of course, not my official line of advice, which goes as follows (please quote me):

Just remember: always kill yourself. Even if you don't feel depressed now, believe me, you will later, and it's better you go now and not wait until you're desperate and muck it up. Time's a'wasting. So... when in doubt, kill yourself. And when not in doubt. Look, just die, okay?

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© 1993 Mark A. Linsenmayer [ Contents ]