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DB Fox's Soul Page

Oct. 1, 1998 The writer of this page spent half an hour describing the day's events here, making the mistake of writing online, and suddenly, the words all disappeared, like the words of a song when the radio is shut off, like a kind of a death.

Sept. 30, 1998 Blind Lemon Joy mailed his child support check and walked east about a block when he came upon a felled, hollow tree cut into three and four-foot sections. They looked like children waiting for the school bus. There were orange "caution" cones. He looked at the log sections for a moment when a young squirrel popped its head out of a hollow. Then a second squirrel's head appeared. Blind Lemon Joy was amused, as much as saddened by the plight of the squirrels. "I'll get Jordanne," he said. He turned north and walked about a block and a quarter to the office where Jordanne worked. "Is there film in your camera?" he asked her. "Yes." "Come outside. There's something you should see." He didn't tell her what it was. She could trust him that much. "I just got reamed," she said. "The Red Cross. The woman was upset because we didn't print her press release exactly as it was written. I told her we didn't do that in the newspaper business." Blind Lemon Joy remembered Louise's similar experience, almost exactly two years before, with a Red Cross publicist. "What is it about this town?" Jordanne asked. Blind Lemon didn't have to think very hard. He and Louise had just talked about the same thing the night before. "I think what it is is a lot of people live here because they like nature -- but they don't like people," he said. "Oh, well that's me," Jordanne said. "Oh, look!" When the squirrel popped its head out, Jordanne got as close as possible. She zoomed in on the creature and snapped a photo. Blind Lemon Joy said to himself, "She is a nature lover; not a photographer." Blind Lemon Joy saw the photograph as the scene; the sections of tree trunk lying this way and that, the orange cones AND the squirrel's head popping out of the hollow, as it to say, "What the FU--?" Jordanne simply saw the squirrel. Blind Lemon Joy used her camera to take a picture of the scene with the cones and the sections of hollow tree and Jordanne peering into the hollow. He was a nature lover, too. He did know, however, that the photo of the squirrel's head was not enough to tell the story without the scene. Jenny looking into the hollow would give the story context; two pictures would have to tell it, whereas one would have been sufficient, if it had been properly conceived. However. Blind Lemon Joy knew also, that whatever happened, his memory of the day would be of those few moments with Jordanne, of moving into a new and larger apartment with Louise, and of the refugee squirrels. Somewhat hesitantly, they moved the log to the hedge that grew alongside the church. Jordanne came back a few minutes later with a state Department of Natural Resources (the "tree police," Blind Lemon called them) worker who happened to be in the neighborhood. The DNR would relocate the squirrels, Jordanne said. One thing Worrington had, in abundance, was squirrels: Brown, red, gray and the black variation of grey squirrel. It's a brave new squirreled, Blind Lemon said.

Sept. 25, 1998 What difference does the year make? Janette said she sometimes forgot what year it was and absent-mindedly wrote years like "1978" or "1983" on things. I have the opposite problem; I sometimes have to search hard in my memory to find anything that happened, given a year. Mostly, I think it's the young, not the old, who live in the past. Great Jethro Tull song. Oops! To illustrate, the paper had a picture of Egyptian children, their heads and faces wrapped to protect their skin from the September sun, picking cotton in the fields. A man, also wrapped up, is menacing the children with a stick. Some people would be shocked, but it is not so different elsewhere. The photo was just a very concrete example, an ancient model, of the same situation everywhere through all time. Some of makes you wonder, as you contemplate the purchase of a quality, Egyptian cotton shirt, though.

Sept. 26, 1998 The Associated Press reports, an open bed truck overcrowded with kids and parents on a school field trip plunges off a cliff in the Andres. Twenty-six are killed as the truck plunges 330 feet into a ravine. Most of the dead are 11- and 12-year-olds. The same newspaper reports that a 66-year-old nursing home patient is bitten hundreds of times by fire ants as, lying in bed, she is swarmed. She dies from heart failure brought on by physiological stress. Coroner Morris Henderson says, "I've never seen anything like this before. She was covered, her entire body, with ant bites."

I saw Blind Lemon Joy walking along the four-mile shoreline of Worrington Pond, a sort of large reflecting pool too-often disturbed by motorboats and jet-skis. It is also heavily-populated with waterfowl, so much so that the county believes it has to kill off the snails in late June with chemicals to prevent swimmers' itch. They don't kill the ducks, though, and the tourists feed them, perpetuating the cycle. Swimmers itch is caused by a tiny worm. In one form it lives in snails; in another, it is free-swimming and in yet another, it lives in the flesh of waterfowl. It also penetrates human skin, where it causes an allergic reaction, a rash, although the worm itself dies quickly. The pond had been the site of a major logging operation in the last three decades of the 19th century and Blind Lemon Joy was carrying an armload of old, waterlogged timber he had gathered from the pond. It was birdseye maple, mostly. He had some small pieces and some longer ones, up to four feet in length. They were bark sections; the water had weathered them so they looked like the bearded faces of old men. I asked him what he was doing. "Thinkin' 'bout a woman," he said. "What are you doing with the wood?" I asked. "What wood?" he said. "Oh. I was kinda hopin' there'd be some bananas today. This doesn't make very good pie." "Well, then what are you going to do with the wood?" "Burnt it, I guess. Damn trees." I was horrified. The wood was -- beautiful. It was not as wood anymore, as much as it was something with a new kind of ... well, it had gained the dignity of time, even as the worms and water had made it feathery light ... the dry pieces, anyway, I noticed. It had beautiful knots and swirling lines. He walked on. "I'm kiddin' ya," and he smiled. "I think I'm going to make some wall hangings. Some guy reading The Tao for Dummies back there said they'd make a fine painting surface. But I'm not going to do that. They already are pictures."

Sept. 23, 1998 The relentless persecution of Bill Clinton -- referred to by my supervisor as "Clinton's Cuban Missile Crisis" -- continues. We've been reading, in two installments, of the Monica Lewinsky psyche. As if anyone knew it but Monica Lewinsky. The reactions of people at work to my friend, Julie Graedon, and myself, is most revealing. Forty-year-olds are revealed to be as 12-year-old schoolboys.

Ironically, as I share Ginsberg's "Sunflower Sutra" (for somehow my Buddhist friend had never seen it, nor Snyder's "Smoky the Bear Sutra," though she is an American Buddhist interested in becoming a forester -- what are they teaching in schools, these days?"), I note, unsurprised, that A.G. referred to "cock cigar."

I see that the stock market has swung -- but not wildly -- during the crisis. It rises and falls spectacularly. A city councilman with minor real estate (he's a slumlord) holdings around town here reminded me a few weeks ago, "You can make money if the stock market goes down, just as well as when it goes up. The only time you can't make money is when it stays the same." It occurs to me, now, that the persecution of Bill Clinton is nothing save an advantageous use of the media to create a major stir in the market. First, there is uncertainty. Then, there is "I told you so." On the day the Starr report was released to the public, the stock market rose sharply. Why, if this material was so damning? It's because the GOP -- the money party -- was confirmed in its suspicions. There was suddenly certainty: "We've got the bastard. We were right all along. I TOLD YOU SO." Which is really dumb. We've known for years Bill Clinton was a "womanizer." And polls show the majority of people don't think it's relevant. Here, too is opportunity: The polls themselves. The media is keeping close tabs on public reaction. The "grand jury testimony video tape" reveals nothing more than the Bill Clinton we've come to know ... but, as public opinion, measured in the polls, shifts a little, so too does the market ... a little. On September 22, a couple of things happened in Congress. The Senate did not pass a bill which, if made into law, would prevent the evasion of "parental responsibility" by taking a teenager across state lines for an abortion. Spencer Abraham, Michigan Republican and friend of the immigrant labor force, was the sponsor. Of course, if this were made into law, there would be more "Prom Mom" destruction of babies actually born -- and more teens attempting risky "alternatives" to professional abortion. One for the Democrats. On the other side, the Senate also failed to pass Senator Edward Kennedy's bill which would raise the minimum wage by $1 per hour -- certainly not enough to change workers' lives, but perhaps providing some momentum. Score this one for the G.O.P. A balance is struck; the country continues going to Hell in a handbasket and naturally, the stock market rises a bit. What sane people might call "bad" news often is accompanied by a rise in the stock market. There is "counter-theory" involved. What has happened, during the Clinton administration? Prosperity, but not for everyone; and this has been accompanied by wars in Africa, uncertainty in Russia, a resumption of hostilities in Ireland and in the Middle East. This prosperity has to end, though: There have been actual LABOR STRIKES recently: GM, the Northwest Orient pilots. There was the U.P.S strike. People might get IDEAS. Still, the monopolies are growing under Clinton; there is no "real" shift from Reaganomics, no, that damage will last a long time. There is a sense, though, that the G.O.P. REALLY wants to get rid of Clinton -- even though, politically, it matters not. But, mind you this: They are also using this issue to gauge us, to get the full measure of the public. They want to know to what extent we can be controlled, and how to control us. This issue is helping THEM to know "US" better. That's a big part of the theory of Internet marketing, by the way. That's why there's so much money involved in it -- and probably why you or I won't see any of it!!!

Sept. 21, 1998 The song, "Maya" by Incredible String Band has been chanting in my head for the day. It has replaced my own highly-personal attempt at deconstructing Henry Mancini's work. Jordanne has a certain effect on me; she politely refused my invitation to play ring toss, but she probably won't ever look at a bagel the same way again!

I wonder how aware she is of her effect on people. She is 43, which is a very difficult age. I had to leave ... actually, it needn't have been that way ... a woman who was that age, once. She was going slightly crazy, she said. "Something is happening to me." She started to say a lot of contradictory things. One thing she was consistent about was rules: A set for her and a set for everyone else. I had another friend at the time; not someone I saw often, but sometimes ... and she wasn't possessive. But Donna was seeing other people, too. I had to choose, she said. And she meant, choose definitively and entirely. So I left ... not because I was choosing one over another, and that didn't happen, nor did I expect it to happen. I couldn't stay with someone out of pity, either. And there was no underlying commitment, no social contract, no deep and abiding reason to endure. And it was a difficult time for her.

Jordanne seems to be facing that difficult time. "She was aware of the falling of hair" ... stop there and set that line in a song ... the other night at work. I picked some of the curled, gray strands up and said, "I'll leave these at crime scenes." She did say she felt almost as if she had been smoking pot. I'm an awful one to be around when you're giddy. I love heaping plutonium onto a small campfire.

The "Weakened" Edition

I know that hair, though: It is soft and lovely, though it has been mistreated with dyes and perms. Sometimes it falls on my shoulder, for this person does sometimes allow herself a little spontaneity, which is most unusual around this little town. We were mirthful as we edited and paginated the news of the nation and our misshapen little town Friday night. I notice that Julie ... I would not call her moody ... is "love me, laugh with me" one day, and somewhat withdrawn (though always clever) the next. I do notice she is not terribly open-minded; she is a better talker than a listener and she draws these hard lines. I guess that is why there are some "gaps" in her education. I don't know what her younger days were like, though. I can't imagine her being much different than now. She is an extraordinarily beautiful person, who is also appearing "old" for the first time, really. It is not a time when relationships work, for she is trying to become independent, to be on her feet, to get out of debt and to publish a book. This is an awful lot of weight.

Spontaneity, without an open mind, is awkward as a bad comic with a drunken audience.

"I don't meditate; I do daydream," Julie said. On Monday, Sept. 21, 1998 -- there's a little structure -- I share a quote in a note: "The other option is that there is no possibilty of there being other options." "I invite you to meditate on this," I wrote. It's from Marc Beaupre's "The Lost Writings of Miscellaneous Jones" which is somewhat Brautigan-like, structurally. I added this as a note that I read her regretful (not regrettable) poem about saying no to staying with a man one night on the Internet.

I threw a life away, like that ... the invitation was for much more than one night (we had a few nights) but I had to find something, too. I left to try to "make it" in the real world before I could accept the spiritual one this person, Sommeyah, offered to share with me.

I guess the mistake I made was the lesson. I regretted it for a long time, realizing eventually, that the two were hopelessly intertwined, and that "finding myself" absolutely REQUIRED her.

In these ways, I feel I could be related to Julie. Our experience has been not all that dissimilar. Our perception -- at least our emotional responses -- has been the same. And we've both read Brautigan. "My" Buddhism is different from "hers" -- but we share mirth. There is something more, though, something like a tangible excitement I feel when she's around, which I'm pretty sure she doesn't feel. I'm be embarassed, but anyone could see we have fun when we're together, so why should I be?

Of course, being relatively sure that this excitement is mine alone makes me blue. There are a lot of practical things to be concerned with also ... other people, for sure.

I wonder about that invisible force. This is something entirely new to me, or at least it feels new. Some might call it magnetism. I think she knows she has it. She is careful not to reveal "feelings" which might be illusory, or, at the very least, fickle.

It is another lesson, I'm sure of it. And they are all quite painful.

Aug. 1, 1998 Suzanne Cerf works at the customer service counter of Lymon's, the downtown Worrington supermarket. She is, appropriately enough, the city's philosopher-at-large. "I forget to scan your card in," she said as she was putting my frozen juice in the bag. When you get old, you start to forget things." I said, "I know, but I keep forgetting that." "Sure. You're not old enough to remember that," Susan said.

July 6 My computer crashed the other day. Everything was lost -- the entire contents of the hard drive. Months of work were wasted, not to mention hours of downloading. Before it went down, a message flashed on the screen: "IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY I DID THIS, WATCH THIS WEEK'S EPISODE OF SOUTH PARK.'"


Click here to check this out -- Boomer Babes: A Woman's Guide to the New Middle Ages

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