Thanks for all the little notes you've wafted down along the Greater Southeast Peripatetic Olfactory Canal lately. Read them devotedly, bookmarked accordingly, grinned when our own thoughts have been replicated in the "real" press, et cetera. Been busy finishing off the A&F site. Now I move into the promotion and maintenance phase. A six-month contract. This Always & Forever contract should prove to be a keeper. Sue's going out to Hector's farm today to load AOL on his Performa out there, and also to begin formulating his farm site by gathering up horse pics.
Newsburst. Peter Burris is moving into the Dollhouse basement next weekend for a season or two, the Sunday following my 42th birthday. Yes, happy and all that. We'll be hosting a few in a quiet gathering after work on Friday. Blumstein celebrates his last day at Columbia Research on the same night. He hasn't responded to my E-mail inviting him and Allie over, but I reckon he might have other celebrationary options up his sleeve. We still haven't tossed the balls since that night of the pokerfaced airconditioning mishap a month ago.
We plan to throw a lot of cash and sweat at the basement as you've already been made aware. Timing is gonna be tight to get all the damned ducks in a row, but everybody involved is psyched to making it work. So Peter might be camping out for a few days or a week until we cut the ribbon. This has all been rather sudden. A year ago I would have never dreamed that PHB would welcome or even be welcomed into this house on any sort of long-term and, uh, familiar basis.
Time does tend to change our perspectives for better AND worse, n'est pas? Karen may have landed us a huge trucking company account, but it won't kick in until late October as the owner puts the finishing touches on a multimillion dollar startup company. It's not in the basket yet, but is almost a sure thing, as he's an ex-and-wouldbe-current beau. She's really excited about her new role as GSIS sales rep. So are we. And best of all, she's no mirror mashed maniac like the rest of us. She's a levelheaded bubbly sort, who just has too many potential contacts to not exploit. So we've all stepped up to the plate looking for that fat pitch down the middle.
By the way, Karen gave Pitch a major bitching over that condescending kissoff note he wrote me, from her own volition. She told Sue about it later. Pitch had CC'd the note to her. Apparently she read it the same way I did. Sue's often characterized Karen as not being too awfully smart. I haven't been around her that much, but she continues to impress me with her downhome country wisdom. She's nobody's fool. She loves Sue, and is always cratcheting Hector about undervaluing Sue. And her mother loves me, in Karen's words. Now isn't that just gravy for an old roast like me. We have suddenly found ourselves bright-eyed and bushy-butted, primed for the feast.
Having long realized the repeated pleas I kept making to the same proven players to tighten up their respectful games so to stretch the sails of success still possibly available to this wretched ship of business on the one hand, while amply compromised by the sharp tendon-seeking harpoon of irksome friendship on the other, were becoming nothing more than the tools of my own self-torture, brief sightings of my own anecdotal white whale, I had arrived at the place where I knew I must finally best my faux Epicurean foes or finally sink into the straits of oblivion, that deep oscillating blue gray brine, that contemporary patch of something that nothingness claims as its home base from which nothingness is accorded a rightful position as a literary device only because nothingness itself probably will be soon facing its own purloined Waterloo burdened by an unspecified difficulty factor of zero minus one where not even floating point negativity can pull you through when faced alone with the white sheet of one's own periscopic blind. Like I insisted to Tom Howell a few years earlier as we both sat in opposing chairs in the Dollhouse living room not long after tacking my own 95 theses to the front door back when he was renting our sofa bed a couple of years ago, "Life is a submarine." What I never did quite understand was what Tom that early smokey morning had to gain by emphatically resisting my characterization, telling me I just could not make up words and phrases that made no sense. We battled over it, but I stopped cold when after I counterpunched, "And life is a bowl of cherries makes sense?"
Most recently a young catcher on the New York Mets named Mackey Hatcher suddenly could not return the ball to the pitcher without doublepumping his arm. His throws to the bases, say to second on a steal attempt was not affected, but over a several year period this phenomenon continued to plague Hatcher’s game. Sometimes it goes away as quickly and mysteriously as it appeared. Hatcher eventually lost his starting job to another catcher, and unfortunately I don’t know what happened to his career since Hundley replaced him.
Yes, it does, he said. It was famous, he said. "And we all live in a yellow submarine makes sense?" Knowing this was a lyric from the Beatles that summed Tom up neatly in what some might call "spiritual" terms better than anything I could ever muster, I was not surprised when he answered, "Of course." It was then everything crystalized and I fathomed that this master of snark was just arguing for the sake of telling me I was no writer, and to just get over it." And yes, these were the créme de la créme of punks and hippies and addicts and phreaks who wobbled around my words and works to find their way into my 95 theses. I would probably post those here, but that document appears to be lost or at least carefully preserved in some cardboard box stacked like a sailor's bunk in the basement keel losing zeal with each half-life of a uranium smile.
"I too am resolved to take better care of myself, starting RIGHT now," I continued to type heart and soul, fingers and toes, mind and matters of high and low estate out to my fellow genius friend and foe, Little Stevie. "Hence all these doctor's appointments to see the neurologist. Hosting the Steve Taylor Straight Past Sunday Show at the Dollhouse DOES NOT improve my chances for achieving this goal. Sorry my take on world events differs so much from your own; the harsh dovetones of this flying email of fuck thee my friend are not easy for me, because you are quite dear and karma-seutical to me, but present fact is stronger than distant fiction, and distant fiction is what we seemingly feast upon to help ourselves get through another speeding mist of snit and snotty mindswirl. So please, do me this favor, leave me alone. Let ME play it by ear, hearing nothing and all things simultaneously in damned well my own due time to prove whether or not I can survive your toying serpentlike silences. Bracken will soon be gone, as well may Shipman in the beckoning future of Dollhouse fates. Needless to say, there are plots and counterplots already in the works. Meanwhile I will light a candle to wedge into my sass for all eternity for each of my adversarial friends, each who believe in their deepest of competitive souls that they possess something of vigorously vital interest to me. That's just not so. I cannot sustain the conflicting desires of conflicted minds without losing my own endowments to the howling winds of inconstancy. I might even boast that I have history on my side in these abrupt appraisals, my friend. You play it by ear, so now hear this: STAY AWAY STEVE TAYLOR BECAUSE GT IS SICK AND STEVE TIRED! Is that enough SAST for you? Maybe these are my fevers making themselves known in words today. Test them as I know you shall, but beware, not a line on this page is as bogus as the hopping genius you bar none but spare all."
And that ended another email that would be forgiven or ignored, whichever would come upon a midnight clear ever so lastingly.
And so here again in another life, I was experiencing this very strange onset of a similar type of failure. Why I suddenly could not look at Steve and call his name was baffling. I had known him for a couple of years, and Tim a decade, Tom even longer, but the phenomenon never failed to appear during this period of mixing their names. Some deeply disturbing psychological mist-feeding bots have been picking and probing the hardwired Gabriel much the same way search engine robots work the Internet, upsetting my throughput.
A quick sidebar to newcomers. Steve and I work this ruthless game of acronymics which simultaneously insults and delights us as we plug in words to match or extend our given initials. Another variation on this passionate and rich wordplay is the psychology-based or habit-driven puns we derive from a combination of two people's names who share a discernable time-revealed psychological or sociological habit. For instance, to pull a STIM (a combination Steve and Tim habit) might be spilling a beer in a no no situation, or since Gabriel is not so free from this ghastly flaw himself, we might call that "pulling a GAST!" There is the STOO (Steve, Tim, and Sue), say anything do nothing approach to sliding past a particularly debilitating lethargy. Or in Sue and Tim's case, the SIM, responding to a question with a self-evident answer while missing the point of the question entirely. A GOO (Gabriel & Sue) work til we drop modis operandi fat ass config. If Tim were ever to develope this habit around the Dollhouse we might redub this event a GOOTS. A STAG (Steve & Gabriel) qualifies as fast as lightening, smartest in the room, analysis a million ways to Mars approach to daily murmuring. A JENSET (completely in love with themselves, immenselyand publically proud of their own physical prowess, beauty, and sense of fashion). We can extend this into a STACK (Steve, Tim, and Jack), a tendancy to usurp, and add Gabriel with his barroom boorishness to that mix, and you've got simply a GASTACK, or a SETSTACK might indicate a fast-talking never say die 'tude. A JOO (Jack & Sue) can be summed up as the cult of the secret fucksters. And on and on. Of course we can all say "we pulled a PETER..." once or twice in our lives.
This game originally evolved to its brutally hybrid level one afternoon down in the basement as I was chatting with Steve and Sue. Tim was elsewhere, but I had fallen into a strange habit of late in saying Tim when I meant Steve, saying Tom when I meant Tim. It was wild, creepy, a megahaunting thing, and explainable perhaps only with an example taken from baseball history.
Occasionally, and it's happened enough times in history to not beg disbelief, including to this writer in his own youthful baseball days, that a player suddenly can't throw the ball in the particular fundamental routine he had long ago mastered. Most recently a young catcher on the New York Mets named Mackey Hatcher suddenly could not return the ball to the pitcher without doublepumping his arm. His throws to the bases, say to second on a steal attempt was not affected, but over a several year period this phenomenon continued to plague Hatcher's game. Sometimes it goes away as quickly and mysteriously as it appeared. Hatcher eventually lost his starting job to another catcher, and unfortunately I don't know what happened to his career since Hundley replaced him.
To have rocked out with fringe establishment junkies for a over decade with little to show for it but several thousand fotographs hardly interesting in themselves stuffed into boxes of unfinished business to prove that it indeed did happen, a neurosis that is killing me, and a final ending to a dream that never happened, I can thank the participants in my long fall from self-grace to the miserable lech I’ve become for their best intentions, but I am certainly glad for the freedom to carry on more quietly without having to maim myself for a friendship that is as suburban in some respects and as dead end in others as any tract housing of the mind I’ve ever heard condemned in some ranting pop anthology cursing the hackneyed norms of the strait and narrow.
However, I developed a similar affliction when trying out for second base on a new team after our family moved to a new town in a different county where nobody knew my name or past stardom. I threw the ball fifteen, no exaggeration, feet over the first basemen's head every damned time I fielded a ground ball. It was preposterous, daunting, downright wicked and demonic to this hopeful infield candidate. I knew at fourteen that I had somehow, for some mystical reason beyond my grasp, succumbed to this strange affliction I had read about somewhere as I voraciously consumed all sports data I could plow my eyes through. But I really wanted to win that second base job. I did not want to get stuck in the outfield, which is where I ended up, so this was no pretend thing. I was a star athlete the previous year, and would do okay this summer, but during this spring tryout this mysterious baseball fluster swooped in and blew any opportunity for infielder status I had in front of these strangers in the new town. Needless to say, none of these kids or the adult coach were hip to this odd baseball phenomenon, and I knew there was no need to explain it. A second baseman was worthless if he couldn't thud the first baseman on a groundball, even if it wasn't his own fault.
And so here again in another life, I was experiencing this very strange onset of a similar type of failure. Why I suddenly could not look at Steve and call his name was baffling. I had known him for a couple of years, and Tim a decade, Tom even longer, but the phenomenon never failed to appear during this period of mixing their names. Some deeply disturbing psychological mist-feeding bots have been picking and probing the hardwired Gabriel much the same way search engine robots work the Internet, upsetting my throughput. This game of ours was destined to be willed into existence. For on this particular afternoon as I was looking right at Steve and Sue and referring to in a quite obvious way to Tim, I stumbled over S-T, stuh, catching myself, switched gears, finished with I-M, and STIM was born because at that very instant Gabriel and Steve both realized the genius of the tongue slip, and Sue followed in a little slower, but we all shared a great meglomaniacal guffaw since the reference I now forget could have just as easily been describing Steve. Well, we spent the next few hours racing up and down the possibilities like a rabid dog trapped in a narrow dog run. Once again, genius had won out over routine expectations.
So where were we?
Addendum Of The First Kind
... because of the several requests for the next installment of the Dollhouse Fevers, I finally buckled down to publish this much today. I do not compose these things over days or weeks, but try to get as much down in one or at most two sittings before I am so cramped up by the sheer horror of what has happened, what was said, what was left out, and what I am now feeling as a result of what most readers of this already know as the dismissal of one, maybe two of my longest running if not deepest cryptically-maintained friendships I've boasted in DC, or anywhere else for that matter. Combine these with the alienation of Jack Johnson in an affair which Tim was also slightly involved but of little relevance to the underlying issues of my Jackpast, this past year of 1996 has really cleaned house. For that I am honestly grateful. The DHF narrator's sentiments are real, rather unrefined, and by nature self-centered, but as close to the oil in my veins as they get to reality hype for me. To have rocked out with fringe establishment junkies for a over decade with little to show for it but several thousand fotographs hardly interesting in themselves stuffed into boxes of unfinished business to prove that it indeed did happen, a neurosis that is killing me, and a final ending to a dream that never happened, I can thank the participants in my long fall from self-grace to the miserable lech I've become for their best intentions, but I am certainly glad for the freedom to carry on more quietly without having to maim myself for a friendship that is as suburban in some respects and as dead end in others as any tract housing of the mind I've ever heard condemned in some ranting pop anthology cursing the hackneyed norms of the strait and narrow. True, we are all more than and simultaneously less than any song, any label, any criticism spewed against us in whatever forms vengence and circumspection take, but in the end, it's all about respect. We will all pay this price in some coin or another. I do intend on finishing this raw version of what happened to me last New Year's. This Day 4 installment will probably be published in three segments. This ends the first. Day 5 and Day 6 will be rather short. Extremely short.
But I, like a pit bull gripping an only child's leg, will not let go of the memory that separates a responsible idealogue from the reeling irresponsibility of those who have been given a mouth but have never learned to use it in a way that benefits others as much as they think it benefits themselves in having no ties to its effects.
The Epilogue may spill rather long as I attempt to resolve all the loose threads and restitching of this cloth several months after the original sequence of events. Even as I look at the clock on the wall a few feet away from my Macintosh, knowing I have spent all of this and last Saturday mornings composing this insult to people I still love like a parapalegic loves his wheelchair, my neck is all crinkled and noisy, popping stiffly, as my back is twisting in agony of sharp pain, and I realize with a grashing of teeth that grace is as often found in forgetting as in remembering. But I, like a pit bull gripping an only child's leg, will not let go of the memory that separates a responsible idealogue from the reeling irresponsibility of those who have been given a mouth but have never learned to use it in a way that benefits others as much as they think it benefits themselves in having no ties to its effects. The only way out of the abyss is to invent the perfect game. A game where one answers a question with a question. A game where that question is constructed in the form of a surrealistic entendre which must somehow logically and I emphasize, logically (yeah, what a gas...), commit the next question also constructed in the same surrealistic form to match and then succeed it, the forerunner. This game has been invented. It is the 21st century.
"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""