There have been a few times where I've walked like a tightrope artist on the narrow strip that divides what we consider the world of normalcy from the world of schizophrenia. I can tell you that it's extremely nerve racking placing one foot in front of the other for days at a time while never looking down.
I've struggled a lot the last few years I that taught for instance. It was when I first realized that a great many people in education had foregone speaking English, yet had become extremely fluent in gibberish.
This led me to the unavoidable conclusion that gibberish is not only the language spoken in modern educational circles, but is also very highly regarded as well by our news media, modern culture, and our governing bodies.
It is a language of riddles and the people who speak it indicate no great confidence in their position. It is used only to gain access to and to fit into a society where no one believes in their own ability to understand the world around them. The greater the proficiency in speaking gibberish, the greater the doubt.
The language has been around for centuries and has produced some very comical moments in history, many that were also tragic. People have used it to defend human slavery, to argue that a particular race didn't need to exist, or to state emphatically that there needs to only be one language (gibberish) and that everybody should be forced to speak it. The last is happening now, and if it gains more acceptance,
the world as we know it will be transformed into an unending performance of Waiting for Godot.
I couldn't focus well at staff meetings after that because I was so distracted by the comical facial expressions and hand gestures of those who spoke it like a native. I couldn't help but notice the tiny flecks of spit flying off of their teeth, and I was unfailingly left feeling dissatisfied as their words always promised feasts but delivered only stale rice cakes.
I was around far too many people who felt that their Cheshire grins signaled that they were not only woke, but they were three cups of coffee, a couple of diet pills, and an energy drink woke. They were so woke that they tattooed the back of their eyelids to make it look as if they never slept. They always left the room quietly but it took several minutes before their cheesy grins followed .
It was then I first started training to walk the tightrope wire. The day after my ex-wife died, I had taken a nap after school and woke up with a very bad sinus infection. So bad, that it resulted in tinnitus.
My ears have never stopped ringing after that day. I couldn't sleep well after that. I went almost a year on the four hours of darkness provided by Ambien. If you've ever taken that stuff, you know that it turns you into nothing and there is never any rest involved.
I was reading a guy named George Groddeck. He was friend of Freud's who had developed a reputation for healing people with hearing problems by helping them discover what it was they didn't want to hear. He cured people with vision problems the same way.
I had developed a distinct aversion to words in music. This itself was strange because my musical heroes were always lyricists, people like Bob Dylan, John Prine, and Al Steward. But, Miles Davis's Kind of Blue was the only music I wanted to listen to; he was the only one who had the ability to sooth the places where it hurt.
One day, I decided to follow Groddeck's advice and try to discover what it was that I was so set against hearing. I sat down on my sofa by a window and started looking for the words that I was avoiding.
My ex-wife, at the end of our marriage, was something of an expert in Twakfando, the ancient Eastern art of throwing darts and arrows out of your mouth. The belt she had earned was so black that it sucked in light energy and compressed it.
I always defended myself as best I could by the spiritual practice of pretending I was drifting on a cloud and listening to thunder. I had first employed this practice when I was child while my mother was devising strategies to use against my father by practicing on me.
I took out my dad's old Swiss army knife and started digging in my skin for all of the embedded darts and arrow heads that I washed in alcohol, daubed with iodine and covered with bandages.
My ex-wife, by that time, had developed something of the attitude of the Uma Thurman character in the Kill Bill series.She wasn't satisfied with just causing me pain, but had taken up the practice of writing out magical words and phrases in lemon juice and cutting them out in narrow strips and attaching them to the points of her weapons.
After I extracted the first three, I found the words
you are not
Which I quickly rearranged, using memory as a guide, into:
you are not good enough
I was drawn in an instance back to the time where I was sitting on a cloud listening to thunder and watching lightning flash. I felt that all of the world's oceans were welling up inside of me and that a tsunami of epic proportion was building.
Yet, only a single tear escaped down the corner of my left eye. My pipes were awful near to bursting but they were made of the old stuff, the shit that pumped off the waters of the Deluge; my faucet too was rusted, frozen and corroded, but it only leaked a single drop.
If those pipes had given way, I would have drowned in the waters of the Nile. I would have slipped off of the tightrope wire and fell wildly screaming and flailing into a void. The faucet holding back the flood helped me to realize that I possessed the DNA of a cockroach and the balance of one of the Flying Wallendas.
I've finally managed to pull out all of the darts and arrows and to see all of the words and phrases. I then placed them on my dining table. I admit I've hidden from the truth for a long, long time. The words I saw told me that she was angry at a boy sitting on a cloud, a boy not emotionally strong enough to come down and sit at the table to talk like a man, a boy who felt that every word she ever spoke in anger had the power to kill. A boy who didn't want to die.
Every blood stained word that emerges from the fire of truth, once deflected becomes gibberish.
In God's wisdom, he has attached two-fold meaning to every action, every word or phrase, and every creation of man. It's our job to know both. I took all of those words and placed them on the table, and I listened contritely the way I should have listened then.
And then using a new glossary that I mentally composed while balancing a tightrope walker's pole in my teeth, I managed to decode the second meaning hidden in the first.
to be a boy and not a man
you are not good enough
not the one
about my needs for
to always think of ways to hurt
listen to me
telling you the truth
In so doing, I have finally reached the understanding that there is also truth contained in gibberish, in tiny flecks of spit, in wild gesticulations, in the tattoos on the back of eyelids, and even in "Waiting for Godot".
It's there, but you gotta listen.