Page Two: Going Places
A metaphysical jumping-off point for a return to the good fight
Many weak men lied
They came to God in secret
And though they left Him nourished
They would not tell who healed
Though mountains danced before them
They said that God was dead
Though his shrouds were hoisted
The naked God did live
This I mean to whisper to my mind
This I mean to laugh within my mind
This I mean my mind to serve
Till service is but magic
Moving through the world
And mind itself is magic
Coursing through the flesh
And flesh itself is magic
Dancing on a clock
And time itself
The magic length of God
– "God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot," Leonard Cohen
After my congestive heart failure at the hospital, in the depths of my illness and madness, draining body and healing sores, hallucinations and chaos, I remembered a piece by Ken Kesey that appeared in a 1971 supplement to the Whole Earth Catalog.
In the piece, he remembers traveling in a car "on old west Q Street," where the "house where my mother and father and brother and I lived all our school years until Chuck and I left to get married," which he considered "home in my sentimental mind," was just up ahead. He remembered that "a little logging train used to come ... [through] a few times a week at 11:45 P.M. and then fewer times and fewer times until, well, I guess it's been clear back in high school I can last remember hearing that whistle, lying there blinking out past the coon cage at my mysterious futures, thinking, 'Someday I'll go someplace on that train ....'"
The train had stopped running, only it hadn't. Kesey goes on, "Now, here it is, ten feet away coming across the road and the Bonneville is already on the tracks and for once added power is important and I tromp at least the front half of the car across before that awful black noise running on a track red with rusted neglect ripped away everything from the backdoor back and sent the rest spinning on down West Q."
He thought of his son: "The train was stopping somewhere behind me. Where was Jed?"
Kesey found him, "picked him up and carried him into the Walkers'. He didn't look hurt anywhere but oh he was such desolate heaviness in my arms. I sat down in a chair, holding him. ... My ear found no beating at his chest. I looked up. There I sat across the room in the Walkers' big diningroom mirror holding my dead son in my arms."
Kesey had a head wound but, looking at his son, thought, "'If anything ever counts, this counts,' then I closed my eyes on my reflection and called aloud:
"'O dear Lord, please don't let him die.'
"Then things became completely calm," Kesey continues, "opening my eyes I leaned back to Jed and began to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The ambulance drivers came in but made no move to interrupt me ... while I worked over Jed. Finally Jed sighed again.
"I knew I had participated in a miracle and I was absolutely amazed. As the days went by and Jed drew out of danger in the hospital I found that it wasn't the miracle that had amazed me. That returning sigh will sound through all the rest of my life and I will be ever thankful. What amazed me, though, was that when the chips were down I knew where to call, and that I knew Who answered. I had interceded in my son's behalf, and talked the powers into letting us have him for a time more, Thank God." (©2002 Point Foundation, ©2002 Gale Group)
The sentences to note: "What amazed me, though, was that when the chips were down I knew where to call, and that I knew Who answered. I had interceded in my son's behalf, and talked the powers into letting us have him for a time more, Thank God."
I went a lot of places in my endless, rolling, free-form, dreaming madness in the hospital. As Bob Dylan sings, "You're gonna have to serve somebody," but you can do that without getting all mystically mushy about it. I knew where to go, and I went there. And so it was – there where I went inside myself (outside myself).
Just because this column has brought up Kesey, I think it is well worth noting that the left, quite properly, embraced One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but Sometimes a Great Notion – his second, more neglected novel – argues for the two as Libertarian masterpieces. I'm not advocating Libertarian politics, but I always do love to mention that the best and most devoted novel expressing the author's political beliefs not written by Ayn Rand is Sometimes a Great Notion. Read it. I'm not kidding.
Now, we all have to serve somebody, but the act of serving does not legitimize the forces and/or beliefs served. In the hub and ho, bubble and trouble of health chaos and hospital soothing, I forgot to get out my annual messages to all my beloved kin in the conspiracy community.
We are now so many years past the Kennedy assassinations, the Oklahoma City bombing, and 9/11. The conspiracy hobbyist collector gang still insists that I'm the closed-minded, scared idiot and that they are the fearless "patriot" Constitution-loving truth-seekers. Yet for the hundreds of thousands, and likely millions of hours invested in research, they have not a solid indictment to show. Cotton candy, whipped out of sugar and air, seems substantial till you put it to tongue.
I can practically promise that way too much research is worse than no research at all when it comes to obscuring and neglecting the history being considered.
My favorite historical reporting this year was by Super Wing Commander Space Ranger Alex "Rocky" Jones and his tribe of super true patriotic Space Cadets. In an effort to indicate the enormity of the cold-blooded, anti-human callousness of the New World Order and Quilting Circle, he argued that both the Nazis and the Japanese did not initiate campaigns that in their scope included large number of civilian casualties until the Allies did it first, citing the Allies' bombings in Germany proper and the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo.
Arguing dates here is doomed to failure, the entire supposition being preposterous. But if we accept that Super Jones does not deal in opinions but only facts, and therefore all the recorded histories have been obscured to cover up the truth, still he is evidently giving Japan a complete pass on its activities in Nanking (1937 – Doolittle's raid was in 1942); Nazi Germany's ethnic, political, personal preference, and religious cleansing (Jews, Gypsies, Catholics, lefties, labor organizers, gay people, etc.); and Italy's misadventures in colonial Africa.
I would love to add that given the amount of misperception and interpretive manipulation one finds when dealing with modern history and politics in general, the arguments that the good Ranger and his armies of stalwart followers make perhaps don't seem like much, being only a bit more of the same. But explaining and justifying genocide against the Chinese, Jews, labor leaders, Catholics, Ethiopians, Gypsies, lefties, nationalists, etc. is just beyond the pale.
Junior, novice, and trainee "Lost Boy" Space Rangers, remember: Ranger "Bucky" Jones represents the truth, and I gleefully work for the lying devils out to destroy us all. It is probably going to work out that in order to stop us, it will be best to exterminate us before we "kill" you all off. At least that is the logic that has driven almost all modern campaigns of genocide. Get us in our beds before we get you in yours. Not that I care or know where you live.
Foolishly, while doing the devil's work, I feel like all I'm really doing is supporting and defending the United States Constitution. How silly, right?