BELOW THE WATER LINE
When these items were being experienced, they
appeared as one thing. Of course, now, almost
50 years or more later, in a vague sort of broad-brush
retrospect, nothing is ever as it seemed. Then. There
was one period of time - in my brash, over-the-top
stupidity, when I can recall watching The Lone Ranger,
I guess a Saturday morning episode thing, and being
involved in some bizarre Saturday ritual of six, count
'em, six, bowls of cereal, in the sitting. Whatever was
that supposed to be? I remember my mother approving,
in point of fact, acting as a cheering section. I don't
remember any more of that - except that it was, most
probably, egads, Frosted Flakes, to make matters worse.
The secretly tolerated deadly sin of Gluttony, at home?
The upkeep of a maddening sugar quotient, unchecked?
Funny how ideas of 'quality control' about things only came
later. We never cared. Our Hillerich & Bradsby baseball
bats always came to us already 'up to snuff'. Sure sometimes
they'd break or splinter, but that was that. They were just
all good - no one needed an inspector to tell us that. And
what kind of brand name was that? - the one which sunk into
my brain as the icon of childhood - the name of the baseball
bat company was right up there with the five names of God.
Mostly, anyway, like God too, everyone shared - we all used
the same bat, often - whatever the weight, 24, 28, ounces, I
think it was. Big, fat heavy bats, 32's or whatever they just went
for the big, strong, heavy dudes - who were probably, anyway,
already 15 in 6th grade. As dull they were as the bat was dense.
The five names of God, did I say? Now where did that come
from? No one ever talked about that stuff - upside down as
we half the time were, in those junkyard oil-tanker innards,
half the time expecting to die, no one ever started a God rant.
Anyone who would have done that knew already they'd be
punted out of there like a flat-tire wheelboard down a steep
incline, and with nothing at the bottom. God was what was,
and for the rest of it all we didn't care. No over-starched
ninny-nun was going to try and set us any better straight
than we could set ourselves. Those half-men who ran
around with clerical collars choking tight their bubbling
red fat necks - they too were for all essential purposes
to us, non-existent, a Sunday kind of blast, maybe, only,
maybe, if the courtyard at the portables and the stolen
Kent cigarettes didn't keep us otherwise detained. There
were two Gods, you see, and we knew it. Straightforward
too : our God and the God of the rest of that hoary mob.
That we were supposed to listen to, but never did, nor
The thing about God to me - and none of the other stuff
made much sense, nor did I really care; it was more
magic-for-money than it was anything else - my thing
was 'evaporation' the 'transformation of water', that's pretty
much what did it for me. I'd wake up in the cool morning
and see - on the hoods of all the cars and stuff - the
great beads of moisture - rain or dew or whatever - on
everything. That was factual and present. I could touch it,
and my hands would get wet, get cold, and stay that
way for a while. Then after a little bit of time and
even some sunlight, that beaded water, the moisture
that was on my hands, would disappear, dissipate,
go away - having turned into something else. The
evaporation back to another state - no longer water,
not visible, an ethereal gas or something passing through,
going 'round its own cycle until it somehow returned
again from afar, from high above, as rainwater. That
cinched it for me, That was beyond efficiency; it was
far better than any Mankind based cockamamie 'we can
do it just as much' Science crap. That clinched the God
argument for me - it wasn't so much some angry and
mean son-of-a-bitch type God always trying to have it
back at his people, his own stupid creation (for God's
sake). It wasn't ire and anger and rules and regulations,
no stupid fat-assed haunchy nuns slapping your wrists
with their Virgin-Mary rulers and Sacred Family crap
(like they knew anything about that) rosary-strap
sidewinder beads they wore down their ridiculous and
stupid, crap-happy habits, the black dresses of goons.
It had nothing to do with any of that : that was, or might
as well have been, Nazi shit, by comparison. What caught
God in the fish-net for me was the idea of a perfect and
punctilious efficiency of silent mind and eye and purpose.
Enough said - the efficiency and wisdom of the exchange
of water over the course of an hour or five hours or a day:
clouds, oceans, rain mist and dew. Those beautiful beads
of clear light, in the early Summer morning, clinging to
blades of grass. That's your freaking transubstantiation.
That's God, or the God of Avenel, at least, to me.