Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I can’t take it anymore. I really can’t.
Maybe I’m losing my mind. Not the straight-jacket, quarantine-me-or-I’ll-turn-into-a-serial-killer kind. In fact, it’s not even me. It’s everybody around me that’s going insane.
I should say everywoman.
“I’m fine, really Doc.”
Who I am kidding? How would anybody react, in a situation like mine? I was reading about the Dodo bird the other day. Flightless pigeons weren’t exactly a wonder of the animal kingdom, yet they went extinct. They weren’t highly valued for their plumage, their meat was tough and stringy; not particular useful in any way, really. Pretty harmless. Extinction didn’t come from humans. The source? Dogs and pigs. Pigs like the one sitting before me now.
“Stuart, talk to me for a minute about the reoccurring dream you have. About the tree?”
Little piggy face with those atrocious checkered Gucci specs perched on the end of her pig snout, magnified beady black eyes. Thick, chunky pig fingers grip a silver ballpoint poised over a yellow notepad. Jowls quivering, healthy, pink, fat flesh. Stick an apple in her mouth and have a luau…
“Have you had it in a while? Stuart? You have to talk to me. That’s the only way I can help you.”
Help? Absolutely. Can’t argue with that. I just need a different type of intervention than what is being offered at the present. Like a miracle. Or drugs. “It’s the same as always. I’m in the forest, at night. I come across a little clearing, and there’s this big old tree in the middle, silhouetted by the moon. It seems like the tree stretches up into the sky forever, but the roots are all dead. Almost the entire tree is dead. Just the top, that I can barely see, is green. I can see acorns falling from the top branches, but they burn up before reaching me on the ground. So I start to climb. But the further I get the farther it seems. I’m pretty high up in the tree, and the moon is so bright, I can barely see. I can’t climb any further, I can’t get to the top, my strength is exhausted. But I don’t fall. I just hang on to the side of the tree, clutching at the branches. Finally, the tree starts to fall, and all I can do is hold on. Right before I hit the ground, I wake up.”
Dr. Piggie, head nodding, made notes on her yellow pad with that pen hidden beneath her little sausage fingers like she knew what the hell I was talking about.
“Mmm-hmm, mmm-hmm. I see.” Mumbling about psychoanalytical-unconcious-something or other; didn’t listen too intently.
She was on my mind again.
There was something unique, singular about her. Sister Mary Elizabeth Catherine McCartney. Maybe her parents went a little overboard on the name, but what Irish Catholic’s didn’t? Blacker-than-sin hair. Light blue eyes. Soft, creamy white skin. Not that I had ever seen more of it than her face and hands, not that I had ever touched it, though it seemed so inviting.
Yet there was an intangibility about it. When the light shone through the stain-glass of Jesus on the cross onto her face, it lit up her coif so it looked like a halo. An angel in a church.
What the hell am I talking about?
“Now this tree, talk to me about this tree for a moment. How tall is it? How old is it? What kind of tree?”
“Uh, well it’s the oldest tree you’ve ever seen. It’s got acorns. So maybe an oak. You want more specific?”
“No that’s perfect, mmm-hmm, an oak, yes, continue.” She wrote something on that yellow pad again. Smug look on her face.
“Well I don’t know how long oak trees live. I guess it’s sorta young, like 50 years old? But it’s tall enough where I can’t see the top from the base. Like 150, 200 feet?” What else do you want from me? It has approximately 379 limbs and weighs 700 tons? Oh, and it’s covered in bacon. Sorry to offend your family.
She wrote furiously. “Fascinating. Stuart, I find this dream extremely significant if we place it in context with your condition. From other dreams and memories we’ve discussed it seems as though there is a veritable goldmine in your unconscious, currently being repressed. If we can just release that, release those desires and impulses, I think we can get you on the road to recovery.”
Road? I always imagined it more as a bed, but…
“Isn’t that exciting?”
“Yeah, that’s great Doc.”

I’m a man living in a woman’s world.
No, Literally.
Another day wet with rain, thick with estrogen. Already broke up a fight next to the Holy Mary Mother of God statue, cleaned up the little bit of blood and a chunk of long dark hair that was on her sandal. Sophomores are vicious.
It’s not my condition that’s making me crazy. It’s my environment.
Thunder is crashing outside, like a metal saw being flexed, sound smashing against the bricks entombing St. Ursula. I’m too used to these Midwest thunderstorms, like I’m too used to these females surrounding me. Too much similarity. Women and rainstorms, I mean. Both can be life-giving, nurturing, terribly destructive. Wash away all the flowers, burn up the trees you planted last spring.
It’s part of their beauty and power, part of how they suck unsuspecting victims in.
“Mr. Potis, please report to the 3rd floor bathroom in the west wing.” Damn that loudspeaker. Like a giant shackle clamped onto my leg. There was a toilet overflowing in the west wing 3rd floor bathroom that made me curse every female on my way upstairs. No doubt some girl jammed tampons down the toilet as a practical joke. Get Mr. Potis to clean it up. Clever.
The viciousness is inbred in their sex, like a defect that only develops with a double X-chromosome. Funny how at an all-girls school that leads to cannibalistic tendencies – the weak get devoured by the gossip, the back-stabbing, the general (female dog)iness. It prepares them for the real world, where the strong use their weapons sharpened on the victims of prep school to become the 21st-century woman: alluring, cunning, deadly as the Venus fly trap. And the victims turn into pigs.
I stick my mop in the bucket of dirty water and head for the stairs, where I’m accosted by Sister Bordeaux.
“Mr. Potis, I’m wondering if you might aid ‘ze good Sistairs of ‘zis school by not making a mess all over ‘ze floor?”
Pencil-thin eyebrows raise my direction in disdain. Matches her long, thin face, slits for eyes. Like a serpent; but I think I prefer vampirical suggestions from students. I can’t decide. It’s like she hasn’t seen the sun in thirty years.
“Sorry Sister Bordeaux, I’ll clean that up.”
Sorry for all souls you will suck all the joy out of in your lifetime. Bordeaux gives me the creeps, gliding like a wraith all over the school. I think Father Morley is secretly terrified of her. I would be too if I had to hear her confessions.
“The Lord tells us in Ezekiel that we must be clean from all our filthiness, Mr. Potis. Physically, morally…”
Believe me lady, if I could be morally decadent, I would, and this would be a perfect place for it. Just thank your God you have me to clean up around here, otherwise the halls would be as filthy physically as all these “pious” Sisters and students are morally. I’m the last person who needs a lecture.
Turns out it was the tampon prank again. I really need to start gambling more.
Later on I’m in the cathedral, washing the pews. Between sitting on hard wooden benches and kneeling on stone floors, I thank the heathen gods I wasn’t born Catholic.
I feel a soft hand on my back. “Mr. Potis, how are you today?”
Damn halo again. Seems like it’s permanent. Maybe I was right with the whole angel thing; that smooth skin, unblemished, like a porcelain mask behind a display case. Look, don’t touch.
“I can’t complain. Girls keeping you busy?”
She smiles; look at those white teeth, those full, red lips.
“Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have been fortunate enough to teach some of the brightest students. The Lord has indeed blessed me.”
And me. Hands clasped in front of her, black habit stretched tight across her chest.
Is she the root of the craziness?
No. She might be the solution.
Carnal, base, degenerate lusts come even in the sanctuary of God, and yet…nothing.
Seriously? This is ridiculous. I’m probably doubly cursed for coveting a nun in a church, but still. Maybe triple.
This isn’t psychological, Dr. Piggy.
She turns, accentuating more curves. They really need to find her a larger tunic.
“Father Morley, good afternoon.”
Celibacy is an admirable thing to some. I often wonder what goes on in the mind of a man who somehow hears the voice of a Supreme Being and denies himself a life of perfectly reasonable pleasure. Not even using the functional tools that Being has given him.
I call it lunacy.
My lunacy is a forced priesthood, a product of fate; theirs is voluntary.

Jowls trembling.
Pen poised over a yellow pad.
“You say the dream has changed?”
“Yeah, it’s different. There’s a woman in it now.”
I guess the dreams kept me guessing for a while; it seemed like if the dreams could change, I could change, I could improve. Get fixed.
“Ahhh, yes, wonderful. Tell me the new details. What happens with the woman?”
“Same clearing in the woods. Except now the tree is completely withered. It’s dead. No more acorns falling. I walk up to the trunk, feel the cold bark, but don’t climb. I just stand there and wait. Then I see Sister McCartney, a nun I know. She smiles and walks up to the tree. She has an axe, and begins to chop at the base of the tree, tearing chunks out of the oak. I tell her to stop, to put down the axe, but she just smiles at me and continues chopping away until the tree falls to the ground with a crash. Then everything is silent, Sister McCartney just standing there, smiling at me. Then I wake up.”
“Hmmmmmm. That isn’t what I was expecting.”
Damned by an angel, of all things.
She continued for a while, but I only caught the end: “We can continue our sessions, but sometimes our minds simply cannot overcome a physical problem. “
A psychological solution was my last hope. I’d tried everything else medically that I could.
No power. No way to continue. A dying breed, doomed to extinction.
Cursed to roam in search of some “higher” purpose.
You and me both, Father.

Friday, October 16, 2009

What if there was only one man left in the world?

Whoa. Gut reaction? Now think about that for a moment. Go on, take a moment or two. Ponder. Reflect. Let it sink into the recesses of your mind.
Are you chilled to the core, ladies? To think, no more emotions to toy with, no more free dinners and doors opened, no more gold digging, only DRAMA.
Or perhaps, you can breathe a little easier. The stench is gone. It’s clean, inside of your house and out. The world isn’t as hairy. True freedom?
There are the rather obvious thoughts that accompany this question. It would be more like the animal kingdom, female style. If you’re a more intelligent woman, or a lady possessing an imposing personality, you’ll most likely fill the posts men have traditionally occupied – CEOs, Senators, doctors, lawyers, law enforcement, etc. I’m not supporting the system, just saying we live in a male-dominated society. It seems as though there would be less wars, less testosterone-induced jockeying/manipulating. More motherly tendencies, more compromise. Not everything would be perfect, mind you, because some tendencies are inherent in human nature, regardless of sex. Probably an increase in back-biting, gossip, and general (female dog)-iness.
But what of the procreation question, you ask? Ahhhh, here is the tricky part. Gut reaction is to say however unattractive and non-enticing that one male is, he is going to have many chances to sow his seed. For shipwrecked sailors on a deserted island, it is only a matter of time before a shipmate begins to look pretty tasty. Am I comparing a woman’s libido to cannibalism? Absolutely. But more like the Donner Party, only if forced into it. For their male counterparts, the method and timeframe is much shorter. We are descendants of cannibalistic islanders. It’s just too natural for us. But I digress.
What if technology was so advanced women didn’t need that one man? It’s plausible. Artificial insemination, we somehow can create mojo, or have enough stored up to last forever?
How about that last scenario, PLUS that one man just happens to be IMPOTENT?
Now that, my friends, sounds like an excellent premise for a story. Hmmmm….

Yep, I’m gonna write it. But first I need to get into the spirit of it. Need to get a little literary flow goin on – it will be a first person account, so it needs to be bitter, cynical, a little satiric. I mean, he’s the only guy left in the world, he’s got the pick of the litter, but he doesn’t. Heh. I like that.
I will be honest, I am writing this because of the women in my writing class. A word describing canines I omitted above is really the best descriptor; they’re usually married, and for some odd reason I just can’t imagine what their husbands are like, unless they’re cardboard cut-outs or vegetables. Maybe they’re like the family dog, lovable and yet so useless. So she will obviously be in the story as well, as the domineering, pen-wielding psychiatrist. Yes, I think that will do nicely.

Quick story then, to get into the flow of things. A few weeks ago, I was strolling through campus, enjoying the crisp, cool fall air, the sunlight warming my face, the delights of the female population. Suddenly, my ears were accosted by a most offending sound. No, no, the offense didn’t come at first. It began like a gnat flying too close to my ears. An annoyance.
From across the open plaza filled with eager students, I heard someone whistling. The sound wafted over the heads of the students to me. It wasn’t particularly loud, I admit. But then I spotted the culprit more than 100 feet from me. However, it wasn’t just the distance. He was whistling “The Bear Necessities.” Not my favorite Disney classic, but still, not particularly offensive. Finally, I spotted the sublime look on his face, his care-free smile on his pursed lips, and my blood began to boil.
As he drew near, the volume became almost unbearable, unbelievably absurd. Who did this Jolly Whistler think he was? Um, excuse me, do you know how loud you are whistling? I don’t think I can shout that loud. It seemed as though he believed the rest of the student population was actually enjoying this. He passed by me, not noticing my look of incredulousness.
To you, Jolly Whistler: you are what makes me hate BYU sometimes.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I am a Moron

Wanna know somethin funny about that last post?

Kri called me today to ask about access to the new blog - I knew she was terribly excited to become it's first subscriber - and interestingly enough, she couldn't access the site.

"Me and Landen were thinking you might've spelled it wrong.
"Uh-huh. Lemme check."
"...Well it's called communication breakdown, so that'd be kind of ironic, don't you think?"
"Ah, yeah, I did spell it wrong. I am a moron."

I'm gonna go eat my gigantic bowl of red beans and rice now.

Happy Sabbath.

Communication Breakdown


"Communication breakdown,
It's always the same,
I'm havin a nervous breakdown,
Drive me INSANE!!!"

Thanks Jimmy and Robert. Always know how to put it succinctly.
"Suck what?"
"Succinctly, it means perfectly."

I figured I would name this little experiment "Communication Breakdown" because 1) I gots a LOT of communication in my brain that needs to/should/will be broken down on paper and 2) I love Led Zeppelin. Those seemed like the two main reasons most people start blogs, so I thought I'd take a whack at it.

I like to think of it as giving the world a free backstage pass to my worldviews, venting sessions and social/political commentary (thanks to Danny T for that last line) that have, regrettably, for the past 22 years been limited to family and friends; although I recognize that most of my audience will consist of those bless-ed individuals. It'll just be like talking to all of you at the same time. As of late it seems there hasn't been any outlet for my ramblings, and it has consequentially "drive(n) me INSANE!"

In addition to the pearls of wisdom I will be dispensing upon the human race that has access to the World Wide Web, I also plan on experimenting a bit with my fiction. No doubt to the delight of my bastion of faithful readers I will be posting short stories, vignettes, and perhaps even some poetry/lyrics from time to time. Writing has always been one of my passions, and I want to improve those skills the good Lord has seen fit to bless me with.

Hemingway used to treat writing like a 9-5 job, work on it every day; I won't be working full-time on my writing, but I will be working on it, striving to get better. That's not a personal comparision to Hemingway, just an example of how I can learn from a master.

So I hope you enjoy this grand experiment. At the very least I know Mom & Dad will think my writing is brilliant. That might be my only victory, but it's something, eh?