Wednesday, May 4, 2016


There have always been maxims
I've heard over the years; things that,
however simple, have stuck with me.
Mostly they're the inconsequential
and stupid sorts of things, like 'he
who laughs last, laughs best,' and
'don't look back, (or behind, whatever
it is) someone may be gaining on
you.' That second one, by the way,
never made much sense to me. That
looking back seems as if it won't
be changing things, if or not there's
someone there. I could never much
get any interest in them  -  like the
old Aesop's Fables things, just patter.
William Blake had about 50 or 60
aphorisms, or what were called that,
and my favorite of them, not that it
too really made any sense in the
regular run of things by today's
standards, always was : 'The cut
worm forgives the plow.' Wow,
to me that was great. There are
72 of them, actually. And they
take some study and some
understanding. He himself
called them, and wrote them as,
'Proverbs of Hell'  -  his idea of
Hell being an unrepressed, Dionysian
frenzy, essentially representing all
those 'Human' based things that the
traditional societal repression always
confined to Hell and to (as) things
that will keep you OUT of Heaven,
not get you into it. If you need more
depth here, try to read, perhaps, 'The
Marriage of Heaven and Hell', by
William Blake. All things sort of get
turned on their head, as good becomes
bad, vice becomes goodness, and
even directness becomes a grace. It's
all another way of saying, I guess, that
intrinsically nothing is good or bad, it's
more the repression of the human urge
to do something, pleasurably, that
causes the problem. Repression
begets excess. Here are a few, in
one long quote mark - "In seed time
learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy;
The road of excess leads to the palace
of wisdom; Drive you cart and your
plow over the bones of the dead;
Dip him in the river, who loves
water." Those are just a few. My
own view, over all these years, has
changed somewhat, and in so many
ways now I could say I am actually
opposed to his conclusions, but
whatever. As I see it, we are now
literally drowning in excess, and in
so much of his, 'if you feel it, do it'
stuff, that's it's become a sick and a
dangerous distraction to all things.
No matter, this point about excess and
repressing things and all that brings me
right back to the Mr. Jennings episode,
from yesterday. He'd accumulated
such a 'reputation', which really means
nothing other than that he was 'reputed'
to be mean, foul, angry, nasty and
dangerous. By my taking the proverbial
bull by the horns and just walking
right up to him and telling and talking,
I broke through all that and got his own
words flowing. The root cause of all
this, in his words, stemmed from : "Go
ahead then and come up here. For years
now the drivers they've had ain't been
nothing but pussies, and then they start
blaming it on me. I just be trying to help.
They get these guys too afraid to try to
bring that bus up here and into this
narrow turnabout. It's the only way
out, you know. They'd get up here and
get stuck and I'd have to help them get
out and I'd get mad and then they'd start
saying I was a damned, crazy fool out
to harm them. They was all shitheads, in
my book. Now, you get yourself up here,
with that bus, you better be ready to get
ourself outta' here with it too, and make
that turnaround without wrecking stuff."
Somehow that all made a perfect common
sense to me, with an aphorism all its very
own, something like : 'Dig that hole with
your own shovel; fill it with it too.'
The only maxim like that that ever made
real solid sense to me was Euclid, or
Pythagoras, or whoever it was, saying
'a straight line is the shortest distance
between two points.' That actually was
practical and worked  -  even if some
would say it wasn't universal and could
be disproved. I never cared, and for me
it was always apparent. In fact, just
this morning, out on a walk, I put it
to use, and it worked again. Walking
in the rain will do that to you. Cut
any angle right, and you get home
before dark, so to speak. So that
had real value, and always did,
for me.
I liked to think clearly at all times.
It wasn't always easy, or possible,
but within my working image of
myself it usually seemed eminently
doable. What made it more difficult
was being around the sorts of people
I found myself among  -  a type I'd
never really seen before, and to
whom I'd certainly given to exposure
-  of them, or of myself. I had to think,
what did I want to present of myself
for them to see. It's not that often
that you get to 'start all over'. I realized
that, for a blinding moment, I did have
the chance to make myself whatever I
wanted to be to them : whatever self-story
I came up with, and told carefully, they'd
believe. It was weird. I could have said I
was Chauncey Whitworth III, of the old
Philadelphia Whitworths, of publishing
fame, and just wished to strike out and
live jaggedly for a while, to study the
local folk, or write a book, or most
anything. Yep. Yep. If done right,
they'd have been saying, 'Oh, yes,
Chauncey, and we all have been
waiting so long for someone like
yourself to come by and tell our
stories.' As it was, it didn't, for sure,
work out that way. The Jan. 17th I
arrived there, alone and after driving
all night in my VW (mentioned two
chapters back or so), I'd burned the
distributor points, and was only able
limp it in, at slow speed, humping
along. And it was like 10 in the
morning, so all I did was  -  instead
of going to my own place  - I went
to this Guthrie guy's, since I knew
he worked on cars and trucks there.
I just knocked on the door cold, and
his  wife answered (she of the 'long/hard
crueller' joke quip earlier), and she went
and got him, somewhere. He came out,
and after some scrambling around over
the type of car and engine, we'd taken
down the distributor and filed points
and stuff, and got it all going again.
This guy didn't know me from Adam,
thought I was some kook, and was
surprised to hear I'd be his neighbor
some 3/4 of a mile off. It all worked
out so well  -  I tried offering him
some money, but he blew it all off,
just saying 'that's what neighbors do
here.' Alas, he's one of the guys buried
now in that expanded old cemetery
atop my hill. It was a shock to see  - 
he's got a big, black, marble slab, with
like a Heavenly sun-spray, all sunbeams
and stuff on a horizon, with two trucks,
believe that, driving towards that sun.
With his name and dates. 
Almost made me cry.
Thinking back again, on that Chauncey
Whitworth stuff, I'm glad I never did that.
High-falutin' puffery. It reminds me of
another maxim that seems here most
perfectly apt for me  -  all my dumb
behavior, ever : 'The higher a monkey
climbs, the more you see of his backside.'

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