Beginning an essay with an italicized quote is a sure way to impress readers – David Hardiman from “I Was Wrong About Me”
“Good morning children. Our God is silent. Now if only I could get the rest of you to shut up,” and with that cheery credo my kindergarten teacher Miss Casey, began each day at Loretta Lynn Elementary School in Backwater, Tennessee. And even though I’m 30 years old now I can still clearly remember her daily testament. No great feat really considering my adoptive parents, in an effort to give me an academic advantage, delayed my schooling till I was 29. They tried home schooling, but I was expelled for truancy (it would’ve been too easy to say “expelled for having sex with the teacher”). My friends used to comment on my parent’s rectitude saying, “Your parents are so kilter.” It was true. They were straight shooters. I was the one who was off kilter. Strangers would look at us and immediately say, “What a beautiful adopted son you have. He looks just like Bono.” In this case the acorn fell very far from the grafted tree. I should probably mention that for tax purposes they adopted me when I was 21.
My biological parents would often say “Our names Aren’t Important.” And they were right. Mom was Mrs. Aren’t Galvin and dad was Mr. Important Galvin. Mom’s nickname was Ain’t and dad was simply referred to as Mr. Important. They raised me from baby to adulthood; if you define “raising” as not poisoning my food. They weren’t exactly nurturing and every Christmas I found a goat kidney in my stocking. Ain’t and Mr. Important were self-indulgent and uninspiring figures. Their disinterest in life and complete lack of intellectual curiosity always set me to wondering why their bodies didn’t spontaneously disintegrate due to the apathy with which they occupied them. I mean if they didn’t care, why should god waste a perfectly good body on them when there were innumerable homeless souls wandering the cosmos in search of bodily shelter. I’d see these shivering souls in my dreams, meandering the ethers in hopes a zebra body might become available, or a baby panda born in captivity or even a baby Kardashian born in captivity. These unbounded souls hoped to experience the earthly tang of standing in line for 3 hours at the DMV only to discover they were standing in the wrong line; and in that gloriously circuitous way somehow feel God’s pleasure. I’d awake from these dreams in a warm comfortable bed (not everything has to be funny).
Although they were married they certainly weren’t engaged. They loved each other in inscrutable ways. Dad used to glow when mom said, “Hey Mr. Important, you have such lovely child-bearing hips.” Well, whatever makes you pucker hardest. One day when they weren’t paying attention and suffering from Stage 4 bouts of metastatic ennui, their bodies finally succumbed to mental auto-suggestion. And before my very eyes they began cratering and quickly disintegrated into something compostable. Spontaneous Deconstruction the coroner called it. Of course he said the same thing about the Bush Administration, so I’ll never know what truly caused their demise. And as the clergyman said at their memorial, “Now that they have passed, redundancy is obsolete. Anyway it Ain’t, Important what’s in that compost urn.” “Excuse me, Reverend Graham,” I interrupted. “That’s Mr. Important to you.”
Never Think You’ve Really Got a Handle on It
I mean just because Halley’s Comet is out of the news doesn’t mean it’s not still being Halley’s Comet. The same holds true for the Golden Rule. Or why it’s important to not to be so disappointed with circumstances. Be generous and charitable in your demeanor and never be deceived that truth and love isn’t abundantly around just because it isn’t topically apparent.
Anyway, (quite the segue. Although if I were taking a motorized walking tour of Nashville I might say, “Quite the Segway.” And if that Segway had a noisy motor I might say, “Quiet the Segway.” Reverend Graham was right; “Redundancy is obsolete.”) Now that my adoptive parents have me in the 1st grade, I rather dominate my classmates. Reading at a 3rd grade level clearly identifies me as an AP student, but dating is where I really shine. Notwithstanding what that busy body Brittany says, according to darling little Clarissa I’m dating at a PhD. Level; and if you’ve ever seen the expression of joy in a 6 year old girl’s eyes when I order her the Jim Dandy at Friendly Ice Cream, you’d know what satisfying a woman is all about. Being the only 30 years old in the 1st grade has proved a mighty premise from which to launch MIRV’d (Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicle) jokes. Too easy. We’re gonna do something more. Well something more or less. Something greater than ourselves. No I’m not talking about FOX News or 3-ply toilet paper (is there a difference?). We must be aware of our impermanency on earth and optimize our experience as good stewards of our bodies. I mean we don’t want them to disintegrate like my birth parents. I’m reminded of this ideal every time I see the poignant note my son scribbled onto the back of his closet so many years ago – “Dad. The handwriting is on the wall.”
To get in the mood to bestow upon my dear reader a sense of a level beyond this perception, I’ve just returned from the garage where I bitch-slapped myself till I drained all the superfluity from my pen. Of course now I’ve got nothing to say but the foul raw boned aphorisms so common to Psalm 3:17 where Pontius Pilate discovers the importance of prostate massage, but dare not tell his wife for fear she’ll know he got the idea from Mary Magdalene. Wow. And you think you’ve got secrets.
Time for Some Clean, Crisp Prose
It will be shortly. But for now why not enjoy some byzantine gobbledygook? To wit: I used to think I had a unique destiny reserved only for me. A destiny indepedent of marital aids and Silly Putty. Now I know better. Additionally, having promised never to use the word suzerainty in an essay, I don’t know if I can any longer trust myself. I certainly can’t trust Levi Strauss. There are a bewildering array of Levi Jeans styles and fits – 501 Button Fly, 520s, 420 Tokers, Boot Fit, Homo Cut, Tall and Skinny, Rude and Hairy, Relaxed and Flatulent. Help!
Furthermore and completely tangential to my argument for the greater availability of early bird dinners, whenever I see a pair of sneakers suspended so forlornly over a utility wire, I always wonder the same thing – why did it take so damn long to put wheels on luggage? Also, I have a mole that has changed into an ATM machine. As soon as it stops dispensing money I’ll see a dermatologist. And finally to my narcissistic overlord who has perpetuated the myth of hyper individualism and personal sovereignty I say a little less me and a little more you are the keys to the kingdom. Of course when I zealously explain all this to my chorale group, they say I’m just preaching to the choir.
As I reflect on my journey thus far, I realize I was wrong about me and Miss Casey was right. Everything I needed to learn she taught me in Kindergarten when she attested: “Our God is silent. Now if only I could get the rest of you to shut up.”