Serial Installment # 3 of “On Rainy Days The Monk Ryokan Feels Sorry For Himself”, Pages 43-63

Uncleshed

“Lullaby After Coffee”2016. Acrylic on canvas

Or buy the book and save yourself a computer screen headache.

January 13

So Kevin called me the other night, half drunk, and gave me a subject for a book that would make money. He admitted that it would be no literary challenge, and that it might even be embarrassing to write, but any publisher would take it immediately because of the mass market opportunity. Will they ever learn? Just because I know bread, that flour, yeast, a little honey and water make a loaf worth eating, if all goes well in the process, it does not necessarily follow that I would have success at creating the perfect shit white bread that Americans love to squeeze between their filthy fingers. I have about as much chance of writing a book entitled “How to Make Bigger Tips” as Tim Johnson at the Wonder Bread Factory has of baking the perfect French Country loaf. If he works at Wonder Inc., He’s never baked a single loaf of bread in his rotten, degraded, strip mall-minded existence.
Man, I want all of you to be this simple! Right now, mimic the life I imagine and together we shall skip through a deep friendly forest and be friends to ourselves, each other, and all living creatures. Let us organize to destroy what is so unnecessary in our lives. History proves that humanity, when inspired toward a common cause for the greater good, is earth’s most capable destroyer. No more empty words. No more happiness if it has to remain merely a word for the rest of our lives. If everyone, even poor old Helen next door, lit their drapes on fire, and scooted the family and the pets out the door; if every neighbor did this right now… And ripped wires out of their standing machines. If men pulled their shirts off and women flipped off the old homes that kept their lives full of radon and misery; if each neighborhood mass huddled together in one giant ball because the night was cold and the stars were out, and everyone came this close to a terrifying death, then that would be the best way I can think of for making bigger tips.
My unemployed chef came by for coffee yesterday. The first sunny day after a month of snow. He told me that he went over his finances at the kitchen table while thinking of suicide and the fear of tomorrow. He’d be all right with his unemployment insurance, that is, his house, utilities and truck would be covered. It was food and fuel he could not afford. Not without some other income.
We should all have our legs sawed off for being this stupid.

January 15

The most emotional day thus far in our married life. But I won’t go into that!
Fanaticism can be a strong piece of artwork. These words you hold in your hand right now are the necessary product of heart strangulation. A steady, methodical choking inside the most sensitive layman to enter paradise in a long time. A good old-fashioned wrenching of the vitals is my reward for being born. The truth is I hurt more than any of you. It’s the year 2001. Someday a hundred years from now some lazy boob like me will have romantic daydreams about my world—the kind of dreams I have about Walt Whitman or Henry Miller. A drafty corner to set up my writing station. Paintbrushes standing in a cup. Borrowed music playing on the Victrola. A wood table. A wooden cup. A pair of warn corduroys, shoes and a hat. Mr. Miller goes for a bike ride along the Seine. Thunder in the sky. Couples run off the path looking for shelter. A grin from ear to ear. He’ll meet a friend in a cafe, tell him of his latest wonder, and take small sips from a Pernod, a drink I find absolutely awful tasting. He’ll get back to his room at twilight, the smells of the city fresh in his mind, and write with an incredible burst of energy before bedtime. Seventy years later I’ll look over what he wrote and feel my stomach full and content. I do almost the same imagining while reading Hunger or Pan. The fanatical authors write living books! It’s impossible for me to be further away while reading Tropic of Cancer. Here’s what I’m trying to express…
There’s a kind of truck parked at the store. A pick-up truck, with a hood taller than me. A diesel engine cranks in the cold. Everyman wants one, the young and the old.
It’s forty thousand bucks of big tires and music. You can put envelopes in or hang a scented tree from the mirror. I can’t prove how sad Everyman is today. Logs from trees he cut down? Bales of sun-dried hay?
The sound it makes in idle. You must know the truth about man’s demise. These trucks are twenty times bigger than men with cigars. Thirty times larger than most of their wives.
You can buy one blue, green, or black. Only three colors now because nobody cares. I can play you a song about a slow-mo death. Played for the young, dumb and the dumb, young acting old… Just walk past a
diesel idling out in the cold.

January 16

I will slip into my journal another piece of writing that could have been some use to the world, but my sweet woman prefers to lay low, not making any big noises in this life. Lovers must compromise. She put up with enough crap from me over the years.
Thank God a man can still get dandruff. Good old-fashioned dry scalp to remind him that he’s alive and has poor hygiene.

Look here,
We do not want the

Hepatitis B shot
into our baby
Thank you
You see we worried
wondering if any one would tell us about it
Nobody did
so we’re telling you—
We are not in need of decision-making by others for our living child.
Please God give us the strength to endure their reckless abuse of life. We determine the gentle movements of tiny heart, lungs and brain.

And Thank you for helping guide our baby out of Marie.

Ron had an experience with Rachelle. She was born, thank God, alive, but quiet until the myconeum was sucked out of her lungs. The labor was long and mild, and suddenly the doctor said “Let’s break your waters, honey.” She whispered, “No, please,” but he stayed firm and unmoved and not interested in “No, please.” So he stuck in the pin because he wanted to and then
Pitocin and then
Epidural and then a
Spinal and then probably a club against her head
if she didn’t scream the baby out of her
But she did
Thank God
So now I’m religious
Every “No” we are screaming at you with
hot religious zeal
All decisions are religious
We are religiously concerned that we decide
how to birth our child.
We believe in our hearts
that you wouldn’t trust a bus driver
if he broke through a mountain gate
and drove the bus over a cliff—
not unless he delivered your children safely home first.
Please let us react to you without fight or flight
the day our child is born.
It is not by mistake that we have read so many books on the subject of babies coming into the world. We love our child, and want the best. That is why we have chosen your house to give birth. That is a high compliment—
However, books are in my hand, on my lap, laying in the grass beside me on a summer’s day. They give answers. No nurse has stopped by to relax my worry, to comfort my mind and remind me of the beautiful days to come. Instead of building a trusting human bond with mother and father, modern medicine has got up and gone to work performing duties that pay well enough to stay alive without worry. So have I, the cook. I perform my duty in a small restaurant along the banks of a dirty river. When someone comes over to my place for dinner, he can get onion rings on his Steak Au Poivre, although they’re not on the menu, and I know in my heart that eating that garbage will kill him… Eventually. He’s paying for a service that I and my fellow colleagues provide.
We shall not buy something we do not want.
Here is a birthing menu. We are very poor renegade Amish farmers stopping by to give birth to our boy Samuel, or our girl Beth.

Big City Birth

Appetizers

Rupture of membranes
(Served with stubborn impatience
and baby not quite ready)………………………………………$7,069.00

Fetal Heart Monitor
(Dressed in discomfort and as accurate
as listening with old man’s ear)………………………………$8,678.00

Pitocin
(Usually served with rupture of membranes via
impatience, and just as comfortable
as getting a gorilla to wring out your uterus
with his hairy hands.)……………………………………………$43,000.00

Entrees

Epidural
(Might relieve mother’s pain, but Samuel
will grow up attracted to farm animals)……………..$69,000,000.00

Spinal
(In the year 903 A.D., sitting on a stool in
a stone hut with wet thatch on the roof,
and a mild outbreak of bubonic plague
devouring everyone of house and field, Miss Jackie
O’Leary had a safe and happy birth without
a needle put into her spine. The doctor, who
was her brother’s milker, said she saved her
father’s family six hundred hen’s eggs)
…………………………………………….$Involuntary Cranial Shutdown

C-section

(Why don’t we just tell the truth about
God? Let’s write the most foul, Satan
infused blasphemy, and get it over with
quick! I am so ready to cross the line of
humanity. All it will take is for that rat
bastard to reform me into a wild dog, and
I’ll take to the streets mauling every living thing
in sight. Why are we here? For obstetrics? No
you cowardly little mice! We’re here to give
birth to our own Jesus Christ! How much
for your knife? You’re getting the little
gigglys aren’t you? Can’t wait to stick the
blade into my sleeping virgin wife?
Oh boy this civilization has become
the shoddiest bunch of  high-falutin’
screw-ups and crackers. If I can prevent
one helpless young man or woman from
entering med school…. If just one young fat
head after reading these words thinks twice
about pleasing his vile, rich mommy and
daddy, then all of my mornings will be justified.
You don’t love me. You don’t appreciate me or
anyone in the world who doesn’t leave your
paneled, sterilized office before bending over
to wet your pallid white ass with his lips.
You don’t believe. You don’t love anything
but money and power. You are an empty, dead God-player.
So much for your Hippocratic oath.
Faker! Liar! Thief!………………………………………. $Slavery!

Please no pipe or cigar smoking in the delivery room
And then this to my senator…

My child will be born in one month, hopefully happy and
> > healthy. It
> > is my right as a man and my wife’s right as a woman to deny anyone
> > the
> >chance to touch our child without permission. What kind of
> > frightened coward dare invoke bogus law to challenge our God-given
> > right
> > to make and raise children? Who are you to write these laws? The “terrified to think for yourself” medical profession is
> > not
> > my mommy. I cook for a living. I think most Americans could eat
> > cardboard and enjoy a better diet. But what right do I have to
> > choose
> > what a man eats? Filet Mignon with Sauce Choron? No, I’m sorry.
>That
> > gas
> > alone could choke your neighbor. You’re going to eat bulgur wheat
> > and
> > rice cakes from now on. The day New York State walks into my home,
> > rapes
> > my wife, kills me, and assists in the birth of her bastard child,
> > then
> > that is a day to stick any needle you want into our baby. My
> > religion,
> > my philosophy will dictate to my conscience. Not doctors. Not
> > lawyers.
> > Not judges. I swear to God, if legislators were told by any moron
> in
> > a
> > coat and badge that heroin was now a good thing for babies fresh
> out
> > of
> > the womb, they’d be getting the little jiggers in their hand just
> > dying
> > to sign new mandatory heroin injection laws. No one will touch my
> > baby
> > without permission. Thank you.
> > Ron Throop

Rachelle sleeps downstairs on the couch. Marie sleeps with our baby inside her. The sun must be over the ocean now casting its light on the waves. Seagulls are warning the world of its coming. Sunrise in Newfoundland. Good day to the world. Being alive in Oswego in winter is like living inside a cold rock at the bottom of a deep cavern. I’m not pretending the world is better anywhere but here. It most certainly is! I want my Walden! Give me my seagull eyes and the strength I lack to hunt for the lives of my children.
Does that sound silly?
Welcome to a manless world.

Letter to a Mother

You do not always give. You are potentially half the world, but you do not always give. You can be a traitor to your child. You do not necessarily understand love outside of you. You might think you are giving love when really just some days you’re a damn good organizer. Much too much is written about you on your behalf. You feel sorry for yourself. You should. You might not even want your child’s happiness. You might take her last dollars she saved for a dolly and spend it and hope that she never asks for it back. You could think that money is important. You might love money. You would take money happily. You want to be smart enough to make money. Maybe most of the world’s evil began as a woman pretending to love a child, but really loving money.
Tonight she is cold but happy as long as she does not suffer your schizophrenia. Do you have a clock? Do you have somewhere to go? Are you always going? When she grows up and has children I hope she is her father. She will lay warm with her lover. She will always know happiness and want it. The furnace in the basement will believe in the work it does and proudly pump heat into a happy home. When I am angry I think I am telling the truth, when really I am just being an insensitive ass. And, I am a poor communicator.

“Then there are the middle classes—the bulwark of the nation, as we blithely say. Sober, steady, reliable, educated, conservative, self-respecting. You can count on them to steer a middle-of-the-road course. Could there be any emptier souls than these? All living like stuffed cadavers in a wax museum. Weighing themselves morning and night. Saying Yes today, No tomorrow. Weather vanes, shuttlecocks, noisy amplifiers. Have kept up a good front all their lives. Behind this front—nothing. Not even sandbags.” —Henry Miller

January 18

Winter should just ride by on a horse and slice off our heads with a sharp sword.
And yet I’m still relatively happy. Probably because yesterday I got my mane cut and body sprayed with soap and water.

You should see me laying in bed with Marie at two in the afternoon. I am a scared little boy. Do you see what they’ve done to us with money? I know I’ve been brainwashed simply because it hurts so much to think of the good without a steady income. One wonders if it’s all hopeless. Then one wonders if one’s own family and loved ones are trying to kill him, or drive him to kill himself because they know he’s not employed, yet they go to Walmart and buy jeans. Or they send twenty dollars a month to Rico in Columbia because they want to be good Christians and feel useful by giving, and yet they don’t see their own child or nephew or best friend tying and untying frayed pieces of rope in his teahouse. Yes of course he is lazy! Yes, he doesn’t dare work for a living. He just wants to experiment with his own life to see if these jackals really love him. “Stand up on your own two feet. I picked beans when I was starving. I picked fights when I was bored and picked my ass whenever I found myself standing with nothing to do. Christ, I was always able to make money. What the hell is wrong with you, Hmm? And if you’re going to write… Geez, c’mon! What the hell is this crap? Just a simple whodunit? would do you some good. A novel about a lawyer or a cop. Have the bad guys burp and fart and use foul language. Make the good guys say “important files,” “witness,” and “testimonial.” Or, if you can’t do that, Jesus Christ, drop the damn fries in the oil and count yourself lucky to be alive. I don’t believe a word of it either. At least not since I was ten years old.”
Then give to your alma mater. Some people send as much as a hundred dollars a year. Some give to God on Sunday, but then God gives their quiet daughter double pneumonia probably because three dollars didn’t cut it. Just buying a cup of coffee is a spit in the writer’s eye. Leave the seventy-five cents. You’ll buy from a begging Girl Scout. See, we’re teaching her to beg. “It’s good to ask for money, honey. As long as we give cookies in return.” When I was twelve I participated in a bike-a-thon. They expected me to go door to door asking strangers to become my sponsor. So much money per mile. A total of twenty-six miles. Mrs. Smith sponsored me a quarter. I rode my one speed bicycle up and down hills on a hot day stopping at designated rest stops for a McDonald’s hamburger and sugar juice. I worked hard. The kids with MS got cable TV. The doctors who research MS got a free spinach salad at a lunch paid for by the hospital and money towards a down payment on, yep, you guessed it, a bright shiny new silver Jaguar.
So come over and visit, but please come with a quarter to sponsor me. I’ll work upstairs in my little room for three hours. A quarter an hour. That’s seventy-five cents. Almost a dozen eggs. If you want to stay and visit I’ll fry you one. I can’t cure MS, but I can cook an egg thirty ways. I can pick up my dog’s poop with a quick swipe of a plastic bag. I can string together sentences with poor grammar faster than you. That’s got to be worth some of your old pennies, yes?
Man, everyone is in business taking extra and giving back less. Then what’s the problem? Supply and demand? Oh, c’mon…What do you really demand? A bird feeder? Molding? A pad of lined paper? A magazine? Gasoline? I’m a good man. Toss me a bone. Or pennies. I’ll take your dirty pennies.
Friends, family, worthy strangers… Come to my door if you are in demand of anything which I can provide. A cup of coffee? Come over to my house. I’ll charge you a quarter more than what it’s worth. A hamburger and french fries. A quarter more than what its worth. Stop giving to the faceless man, the greedy corporation. Do you need a pedicure, a haircut, your oil changed? I’ll do it for a quarter more than what it’s worth. Please don’t force me back into line cooking if I can write French fry books instead.
Years ago my cousin had a sponsor. I thought it was wonderful. So did my family. They fed and housed him week after week in the summertime while he played the New York string of the PGA Mini-tour. His sponsor bought him a used Cadillac and paid for a chunk of his travel expenses. I don’t want a Cadillac. I want to eat. For twenty-five cents a day I promise to win the U.S. Open.
I believe in begging. I will have more to say about it later, after I shame the putrid filth I drove by yesterday.

God Please Give Me a Mop Large Enough to Soak Up the Schlop of Xerox

Just look at the awesome size of it!
It takes some time to pass this pile of
squares beside squares next to
little squares, big squares
on top of so many squares
Call ‘em walls
Steel, granite, gypsum
slabs of death-in-a-box
Hard, bitter waxed floors,
more squares, two or three rectangles,
a triangle and a tiny
octagonal shape from the shy zany architect
who committed suicide right after Xerox—
Two minutes to pass
at forty-five miles per hour
All these squares,
two thousand or more and
wires weaving through wire mazes of
small wires, fat wires, long, very long
thin wires and outlets to outlets to
boxes to more squares
Six hundred thousand outlets
with screws and twelve million nails
Six billion screws
Two trillion black top pebbles
crushed beneath
a constant stream of human headlights
going round and round in circles
around the biggest square of squares
O whippee shit
Big sky my ass!
Big clouds, big snow
O whippy shoot shit
Big sun my ass!
Big moon?
O whoppee whippy shotty shitty woppa wumpa shit my ass!

Xerox in the middle of a forest by a lake
Deer turn a fuzzy muzzle
“what the hump is that?” They ask
Weasels, wrabbits, wraccoons wonder
the tubby house fed squirrels duck under
logs and sticks they stop
they thunder
“What the crap is THAT!”
This is dawn of winter’s day
Look Mrs. Doe, it’s a Xerox!
If you need copies for no reason,
oh my dear deer, you have
bound and leapt to the wrong place.
Probably have to skin your own hide
and wrap the meat up in a butcher’s bag,
drop in the back of a bearded factory
hairy-faced human’s truck—
He’ll bring you inside to his break table
Throw you on it and say something like
“Here Jack. It makes damn good jerky.”

A Xerox
Jesus, bandit the coon,
the nicest old lady in the place
would stab your pups with silver knitting needles
before giving up her
data-entry job with benefits.
All of ‘em, every one
would walk by your head on a post,
over ground
and forest dead and burnt
acid in a stream
clouds raining radium and
constant heavy low moan sounds
rolling across the putrid air.
Any price for squares
cable TV, used boats
fishing poles
shaving cream
bumper stickers that read
“Topless, it’s the law!”and
“Greed is an act of fear”
huge tires
envelopes in the mail
dirty carpets to clean
over and over again,
purple knickknacks
and—
O I can’t write worth an industrial complex today!
Simply put
the absolute truth is this:

Each man and woman to walk through the doors of Xerox would fornicate with a bunny rabbit, if no one knew, and it kept them their jobs.

January 19

Marie and I attended Rachelle’s Passport Club in the basement of a little church on Main Street in Cato. Happy children sitting in folding chairs with hands folded. Thank you so much Mr. Happenstance, for letting me see the light! Humility. Honorable humility. The smiles. The worry. The happiness I have given. The open doors… How insignificant and wasteful is grown-up land. I want to go to Beauty and the Beast on Ice to see my beautiful child gaze at the wonder of nonsense with a thousand other contented, simple souls. The light shines through the church window. The grownup light is dull, usually blocked by a mail truck or moving van. The skaters are beautiful. Everyone wears woven mittens. Rachelle and her friends Constance and Laurie hold hands. There is light. They are breathing. I know that any father who loved his child, and gave to her, and thanked her, and then lost her, has gone crazy and died.
Her caring hands.
On Sunday Marie was crying. Rachelle came into our room and gave Marie a back rub with her small hands. Sad music. We are all so fragile. Tell me how daddies find their way. I sent my poems to a publisher. It appeared his company was friendly, so I also included three books that cost me almost forty dollars because at certain weak moments in the day I am a vain idiot. I never received a reply. No “thank you.” Nothing. I went to his website (he’s a poet, but more famous as a publisher of poems), to see if their was a “Thank you” posted to me. No, nothing like that. Plenty of past newspaper articles about the importance of poetry and news. The words “Zen” and “San Francisco.” Blue phrases that are underlined. Hit them with the cursor and travel to another childless world. Oh man. There is no poetry. How important it looks. You can have some believing, but god dammit there is nothing there! A career of word arrangement. Bad words too. They all want to be rich, and rich can very well mean having a lot of people know who you are. I want nobody to know who I am! Your stupid words! Your bullshit inspiration! How clever! What a foggy special world of your own and your circle of soft-fingered men! You are no better off than a lawyer and friends sitting around a fire talking trash about their one slim chance to be alive on planet earth. It is all the same fake language you speak in the same circles. Leave the poems alone! Why aren’t the children celebrated? I know. Because they are not powerfully clever enough. They weren’t there at the right time—at the rally, in the cafe, on the court, on the march… And they don’t toss in the word “fuck” in their poems about snakes and winding rivers and sunshine glimmering on the mountain lake. Oh the lasting, true beauty of children… How insignificant the basement of the small white church where the homeschooled kids gather to learn about Spain. How dirty and bleak the farming village of Cato, N.Y. in January’s gray dull light. This is a statement to all men, and women who pretend to be men… The following curse I launch is aimed at your kind of spite and self importance that blows its foul stench of words into the prevailing winds, hoping to choke my child and her happy friends before they realize that choking you might be a better time on roller skates.

Ron’s Curse on Mankind

May all your money turn to ducklings
Your possessions burn to stone
May your well full of water
dry up like dinosaur bone
May your dog and cat forsake you
All your food spoil and stink
May your wife run off with neighbor Joe
his rat pee in your sink
May all the hopes you had in life
fall like a Hippo on an egg
May you live a hundred lifetimes
but first you’ll have to beg

You really have to leave them alone. Stop for a few seconds and breathe in through your mouth and out of your fingers. That feeling running from the heart, through the chest, arms and hands, and finally leaping off the ends of your fingernails…That small, wonderful feeling is all that you need to cope with the wrongness you have practiced thus far. First get the feeling and then work off that. Repetition is what we’re after. The sameness of that wonderful feeling. The children feel it in other ways. You have to feel it this way because it’s the only way you have left. Take in a deep breath and let it out past your fingers. If successful, there is a sunny, tropical paradise waiting for you. Lavish Mughal empires to ride through slowly on horseback, dressed in finery and in charge. There is a whole spinning earth to walk around on dizzy with glee, at least as cheerful as the eager children listening to a lecture on Spain, some tired spot on a map called Europe where old people grow up to die.

January 20

Baby Throop any day now. I am so excited, tense, scared, emotional… Jourdan or baby Jane…Which grace awaits?
Today after writing my main concern will be consommé. The doctor says Marie can’t have any solid food because I think the doctor wants more than anything to cut Marie open and have a look at her inside out. Doctor’s orders. I believe we should rethink our attitude towards the medical profession. How can it be trusted? Why do we reward it with our trust? Marie is pregnant. She needs energy. The doctor and the doctor’s friends would rather her not have enough energy to push the baby out. Twenty-four hours without food. They hope birth will end up in surgery. They love to hear their team called for over the hospital intercom. I think we trust the doctor because we think his life is not as boring as our own. We trust his encyclopedic knowledge although most of us shy away from encyclopedias most of our lives. Doctor has her eat nine months straight for the baby’s sake. Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Eat good. The doctor doesn’t know what the last order means, so it’s left up to the father to translate. Fine if the father is an artist, but the other ninety-nine million derelicts have their wives settle for Happy Meals and Stoeffer Macaroni and Cheese Dinners. All of this “good” advice from your doctor, yet the mom and baby are expected to fast on baby’s last day in paradise. Then if mommy cannot push because she just hasn’t the energy, the wise doctor will provide plenty of options for her to consider Quick!  He will want to release a very painful synthetic hormone into her veins. It is called Pitocin and it pretends to be a contracting uterus. Then come the offers of drugs because mommy’s pain must be relieved. The doctor pushes the drugs even though they are linked to childhood mental retardation (the kid grows up wanting to be a doctor). Then an episiotomy (to satisfy the doctor’s disturbing urge to slice open perineums), and forceps or vacuum extraction for the stubborn, sedated child. All that before Junior can squeeze outside for a breath of fresh air. Oh my God! What if he can’t get out? Maybe his mom is too stoned to feel. Don’t worry. Doctor will put mommy to sleep with more drugs (definitely not nicotine or alcohol—those are relatively safe compared to the crack house he works out of). While mommy sleeps, the bloody baby fairy magically appears to cut open her stomach, whisks her only child off to be inspected through a gauntlet of unloving hands, like the convicted entering his prison. Mom can look at the thing, but do not touch! Doctor’s orders! The good baby fairy left a smiley face scare, prolonged intense pain, and a devastating bill of sale. For thousands of dollars, they got you that thing alive and just slightly deranged and unprepared for the dangerous life ahead. For an extra fifty, if mommy happens to push out a boy, the good doctor will cut up his little penis with razor precision. There… Now that’s a work of art! Doesn’t that look nice? He’s screaming and could possibly go into shock and die from the agony alone, but heck, I’d fuck it, wouldn’t you? Here’s some ointment for the eyes because we assume that you have gonorrhea. Well, maybe you don’t have it, but those dirty street people sure do. Can’t take any chances. Sleep now. Rest mother. You worked very hard for this joy. Sleep, sleep. Rest now. For in just a few weeks my colleague, the pediatrician, whom I trust with your child’s life, although I don’t know his face or name, will have his army of toxic inoculations ready to invade your baby’s healthy immune system. Two weeks, then twomonths, fourmonths, sixmonths, 1st year, 2nd year, school age, DPT, Polio, Vertigo, MMR, Chicken Pox, fever, diaper rash, meningitis, pink eye, hepatitis, tonsillitis, boils, hemorrhoids, ear infection, stress, depression, the maddies, vomiting, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, societal pressure, asthma, allergies, toxemia, scabies, lice, ringworm, strongyles, tapeworm, rabies, poverty, poison oak, poison ivy, pigeon toes, nervousness, neurosis, convulsions, temper, fear of grown-ups, fear of doctors, the wanton abuse and torture of animals, inability to make friends, selfishness, greed, anger, hate, jealousy, despair, Tourette’s Syndrome, bad manners, poor dresser, easy target.

Yes, it’s just plain smart to simmer consommé today. Healthy humans do not need to go to the doctor. If I can convince two people today to avoid the doctor tomorrow, and these people can do the same, right down the human line ad infinitum, then we can oust these dangerous quacks from our previously unmedicated planet earth.
It won’t happen I know because most people are oblivious. I’ve had a sinking gut feeling ever since I met our doctor. Of course she can’t be trusted! Why should we trust her? Because she loves us? Do we trust anyone before love? Yes? Why? Because generally we are stupid. Is trust a noble trait? No. Why? Because people are good and bad to each other and my life is not a roulette wheel to be gambled with. You must earn my trust. I will not take chances with my own life, let alone my unborn child’s. So what can I do about it? Well, unfortunately Marie refuses to have the baby in our bed, so we’re going to the doctor’s work house, who more than likely would not miss dinner out tonight if earlier in the day she delivered a stillbirth. I pity her if any seen or unseen injury damages little Jourdan or baby Jane. Isn’t it a lovely world that coaches a father to begin his child’s life with threats and unjustified accusations to invisible enemies? Yes, it’s not my fault! As a newborn baby boy, I too was on the pediatrician’s rigorous schedule. Modern life was brought to me, not me to it. Maybe I was sick, but damn everything! Now I am diseased.
Just a moment ago I let Beany run loose into the backyard. He and Frisky the cat love to chase the birds and squirrels. It gave me some free time to think. Yesterday, Marie and I went to a family doctor for a consultation. We wanted to get his opinion on immunizations. This “feeling out” of prospective physicians has become a common practice for us lately. We don’t trust anyone! Well, to tell the truth, it is me who won’t trust anybody. Marie is a Libra. Libras see every angle, but unfortunately for the Aquarius, they tend to side with the guilty party. Libras appreciate both doctors and the criminally insane. No, it is I who searches for the “right” person when pressured into looking for a doctor. I could spend the rest of my life without one, if repeating nuisances such as asthma attacks or my child’s exploding eardrum could be avoided. These misfortunes happen because of my own negligence. Proper home care and prevention hinders development of both dumbness and disease.
As a young man I was willing to take the doctor’s opinion as truth, if not law, which should be one in the same thing. I had no reason to doubt his learned expertise. Really, I could care less what was done to me as long as I got better. I had very few doctor visits in my life. The first one I can remember happened during my freshman year at college, after two long years of avoiding my swelled and monstrous left testicle. It had become too big not to notice. When my roommate brought back a pamphlet on testicular cancer from the health center, I knew that it was time to see a professional. I can’t remember the doctor’s name or face. He asked me to drop my pants, said “Oh my,” and two weeks later I was out like a light, under the knife, and sent home with a monster scar to show my girlfriend.
Yesterday we went out in the cold late afternoon to visit with a prospective client who will oversee our babies’ medical emergencies. We can trust the doctor to handle an emergency. All minor and major ailments, from the common cold to influenza, ear infection to rabies, diarrhea to pink eye, and any other childhood discomforts and diseases will be sent over to our offices, Marie’s and mine. She’s a mommy and I am a daddy. Who is better equipped to handle infection? The licensed cadaverous physician clutching a clipboard, shooting off his mouth and gesticulating his body as if he were playing air guitar, to prove a well-researched and documented point-of-view? Off his sickly, green tongue memorized medical terms and phrases jump past his white lips with frightful intentions. But he’s wasting his time. Words make us angry. We are not poor, ignorant teenagers voicing a “yes, doctor, whatever you say doctor” answer to every problem. We are intelligent adults there to find an emergency care provider. The stuff of broken bones and deep wounds. All other visits are just a waste of our time, money, pride and joy. He doesn’t agree. Now he doesn’t trust us. That is what this world of books and cars has come to be. The idiot thinking the other guy is stupid and always so depressingly vice-versa.
I bet there is an Erasmus society in existence on the web. At Oxford or Harvard paid academics discuss discussions over what discourses Erasmus discussed with his eager students. The poor doctor had books. Greek books. Roman books. “Get back to the classics fellow sufferers. For the next hundred years we should dive into the pool of ancient learning, and dog paddle there until we tire and drown.”
Yes, an ancient scholarly twit like Erasmus is studied because he studied Roman law and wisdom, and was so amazed by their utter simplicity and cleanliness. Of course the poor dirty beggar Erasmus was impressed! He walked about the shitty streets of his hometown just giddy in anticipation of the next eggs of knowledge to ingest, those to nurture his mind and the minds of his well fed followers. The cult of “oneupmanship.” To know more than peasants and kings. It is no different today, except that knowledge finishes last in its own race. To know is to pass tests is to graduate is to set up practice is to get rich. Any dwerb can know. It’s the greatest failures of the heart who actually get rich off knowledge. And failures of the heart prefer long nights of study. It takes discipline, hard work, and a well-trained ignorance of reality to memorize the difference between fibula and tibia. Memorize well, stitch a few bleeding gashes, brush up on your failing memory every couple years, put an MD after your name, and live the life of money and prestige because you copied better than the uneducated, drippy nosed, disease spreaders watching prescription drug infomercials in your waiting room.
I tell you, the persistence of modern science has ruined humanism. Humanity, when it is thriving, considers people like Erasmus, the Popes, or Ted, the barber from Havenshire, as colorful individuals from a glorious past. A sweeter time before the invention of toilet paper, when it was okay to juggle colors and images in your imagination during a walk to market to buy milk. Books are fun for the purpose of pleasure only. I will let you in on a little secret. I know nothing about Erasmus! I saw a painting of him with his pointed nose, holding down a fat book with Latin letters printed along the spine. Isn’t that wonderful enough? Everything I need to know can come from the colors of my own imagination. Colors. He is whatever I want him to be. I can argue my point-of-view, even if that point develops into a circular confusion of contradiction, and I end up thinking about Erasmus’ incredibly funny looking red hat. It’s my god damn brain! If I can’t enjoy it, who will? Science wants it. It can’t have it. It is so easy to see what science wants to do with my imagination. It does not pretend disinterestedness. It wants my brain. It needs my brain to survive. If peoples’ minds are too busy with happiness, nobody can get sick! If no one gets sick, the American Medical Association can’t show off the elegant swan ice carving and twelve foot long pâté en croûte at their annual Marriot Hotel convention. Membership will dwindle fast. Only the most dedicated and impoverished doctors will meet in a clearing of the ancient, dark forest. With big fat frowns they’ll share the latest findings from Medical Discoveries Magazine. The peasants are too superstitiously happy to accept this grave band of learned men. When Ted junior, the barber’s son gets sick, Ted makes a funny face and hops up and down like a bunny rabbit. When Ted’s village gets struck with the plague because one of Erasmus’ colleagues made a visit to Genoa last week, and while contemplating muscle structure during a lecture on Roman anatomy, stuck the end of his quill pen in a rat’s ass and then put the quill in his mouth, then Ted, his family, the village, the surrounding countryside, including all the asses and sheep, perish.
The day I trust science absolutely is the day I enter medical school with a thousand colorful syringes dangling from my skin.
So if you want to know something more about Erasmus, find it in a book written by some scholar who researched the subject well. The libraries are filled with reference about his life and teachings. Why? Because us little illusion-stuffed gluttons of science imagine ourselves to be as important as Dr. and Dr. Jones, the medical, political, botanical, psychiatrical, archaeological, anatomical couple who have everything, a Mercedes-Benz, and even knowledge. We trust them to know the truth, and to keep us safe and warm. Why? I cannot answer for the mob. It takes only a matter of seconds for my imagination to picture the privacy of my doctor, a moment to himself when he is all alone, practicing some filthy habit or dirty routine of ignorance and prejudice, or just plain, obvious acts of mental retardation. I need only picture him watching TV or eating a fat piece of chocolate cake to convince myself of the dire need to avoid his practice like the bubonic plague of old.
So far every doctor but one I have visited is an idiot of science. Books. Books. Damn the books! This baby and books have got me into a lot of trouble. It takes just one sentence to screw up the brain of a noble father. “The vitamin K shot given to newborns to prevent hemorrhaging has been linked to childhood cancer.” Oh shit! Really? But the hospital frowns on those parents who won’t accept it. What if your baby has cranial bleeding? What if the doctor drops the baby on the floor and bleeding happens in the brain?

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