Wednesday, August 16, 2006
The Words of Christ in Red
When I was a wee one, I had a lovely babysitter named Betsy, a grandmotherly figure who watched me, my sister, and my friend Kurt on many Friday and Saturday nights. Our respective parents would drop us off for the night at Betsy's house, a falling down two bedroom on the other side of town next to the Church of the Nazarene. We'd all sit around and watch Dukes of Hazzard or Hee-Haw (Hee-Haw ran back to back with Lawrence Welk) and eat pancakes with Karo syrup for supper. Betsy could be persuaded at times to read us Bible stories out of the King James, not the kiddie Living Bible and we'd all have a good laugh over all the sex and violence in the Old Testament. We were less interested in the Words of Christ in Red portion of the New Testatment. It was, in a word, ideal.
No rose without thorn, however, as Schopenhauer might say and alas no Betsy without her touched grandson Leland, a true wonder to behold. He'd entered his teenage years and had become more and more frightening in his efforts to terrorize us kids. One night we were watching Lawrence Welk before dinner, and I kept calling him Dick Clark, which sent us into the predictable giggles. Kurt decided we should all give speeches before dinner on a makeshift podium that was a pink plastic flower suspended in water in a huge pickle jar. Betsy had these jars all over the house for decoration. After our speeches, Leland breezed into the tv room from God knows where and asked what we little fuckers were doing. We told him and he said, You want to see Dick Clark, here's Dick Clark and pulled down his pants. We ran to tell Betsy, he left the house in her old Pinto, and that night we sat down for our meal and thanked God for his many blessings. You have to forgive him, Betsy told us. He's not right in the head. Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do, I thought, and then I thought, that asshole knows exactly what he's doing. The night loomed ahead of us, nobody with a clue what surprise might happen next.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Gloom, despair and agony on me!/Deep dark depression, excessive misery!/If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all!/Gloom, despair and agony on me!" Hee-Haw chorus, sung by Buck Owens
1 part raspberry vodka
1 part orange juice
Benedictions and Maledictions
In answer to Robin's question -- Gauguin did try to kill himself, but wasn't successful. He died a a long painful death due to syphyllis (good times!). I think artists and writers have a bent toward self-destruction because of a lot of factors -- brain chemistry, the difficulties of becoming successful, the difficulties of dealing with success once it's happened, and on and on. Also, there's always the fear of having nothing left to say. That's driven many to literal or slow suicide. Of course, I think that's also part of the romantic mythology of creation. There are many creative types who don't drink, drug, go crazy with love, or do anything destructive and work better for it. That said, I always think that art brings painful and exciting ideas and emotions close to the surface.