Saturday, October 8, 2016


200. A MUCK 
Maybe it was about 1957 
when my life came upon 
itself. I think that happens
to everyone  -  we all 
have childhoods, and 
then one day the empty
kid-vessel that is us gets,
or begins to get, suddenly
filled up : with awareness 
of Being, with senses of
identity and place and 
operative value. It can
really screw you up, that
moment. I think, with a 
big combination of things 
like home-life, parents, 
the presence or lack-of 
presence of family, and
values, traditions, civility,
by that point you basically
'are' what you are. From 
that point your character 
simply 'is'. By, say, age 
8, (or 7, which in my 
case I feel), the future
killer-to-be is already 
the killer; the cheat is 
the cheat. The thief
the thief, and so on.
Irrefutably. It's all long
and drawn out, yes, but
the inherent nature of
everything is already set.
Whether you can change
that or not, I don't know.
I won't pretend to know,
Was Charles Starkweather,
one of America's first,
random victim, mass-
murderers, already set 
up at age 10? I don't 
know. But, I'd bet he 
was. It seems to be a
way of setting the table, 
so to speak.
Perhaps later in life, as
we meet each other, 
and interact, etc., that
'quality' is part of what
we react to in each other.
There's a vibration, some form
a of 'soul bleed-through' that
we feel between us. With
others. It could be that the
entire channel of life starts
right there, when we first
fill that 'empty' bucket.
In psychology, in studies 
of aberrant behavior and
criminals, etc., there used to
be a grand, constant debate
between the two schools of
thought, referred to as,
'Nature vs. Nurture.' I don't
know if it was ever solved 
or equalized. The 'Nurtures'
would say it was your own
upbringing  -  parents, the
family life, the ghetto, which
influenced behavior. The 
'Natures,' on the other hand,
would say that  -  no matter 
what, no matter the conditions, 
the influences, you ARE what
you are to be be, it's already
built into you, from day one.
Maybe my view here was of a
little of the two. Don't know.
I do know that there have 
been people I've known who 
had that killer-eyes look, the 
weird, perverted, no-mind 
sensibility from the instant I
first met them. In Pennsylvania,
for instance, there was Lloyd
Perry, of a pack of wild boys, 
all Perrys, from one family on
the curve at Big Pond. Lloyd
would rip the head off a
bluebird just to watch it die
headless. He was crass and 
vile. No two ways about it. I
think he just walked out of sixth
grade and then never looked back.
His brothers had no bragging 
rights either, but from all the 
Perry seed that I'd ever seen, 
he was by far the worst and
most murderous. Lloyd would
make me nervous and quite
uncomfortable even if I was
dead in my coffin and sensed
he was there, looking in and 
down. I'd check my pockets,
my keys, my heart and my
wife, even then. Lloyd sort
of disproved all categories ;
he would nurture the nature
of mayhem and murder.
Believe you me.
I think I mentioned Charles
Starkweather earlier because 
he was one of the first, if not 
the first, 'newsy' things, of 
the moment, that I faced. It
made a huge impression, it
imprinted my 'what-if' world
quite deeply. There were other
things  -  stuff I heard about,
listened to others talk of, but 
they were never nearly as
important as was this one. 
Others ? oh, Sal Mineo, the
supposed decapitation of 
Jayne Mansfield in a car
crash, Ernie Kovacs 
dying, drunk in a car 
crash too, I think it was.
I forget the guy's name  -
no, got it  -  James Dean.
Another road fatality. The
Sputnik, Russian space
flight. Francis Gary Powers
and that whole U2 spy plane 
episode. Kruschev, Eisenhower. 
Billie Sol Estes. Any number of 
other things. Yes, I was but 
a kid, for some of these, 
but they packed a wallop
 that never left. Like Davey
Moore getting killed from a
boxing match (yeah, yeah,
a later Dylan song made 
it ring even truer). These
things made me witness
life, as it filled me up too.
That's the finality of the end
time of the beginnings of who
you are. From any of that, you 
then grab what you can  -  a 
memory or a piece here or 
there, and you go with that.
Using Dylan again  -  you
take what you have gotten  
from coincidence. Yonder
stands your orphan at the 
door :  It all goes on (Even
today, for some reason, I 
still find myself defending
my defaming of this guy,
while my defending gets
defamed. Go figure). As
in so many other things,
I'd stand in the isolated
middle of my own Lloyd
Perry Kingdom of the 
Blessed and think about 
all this. I never thought I
owed anyone any allegiance,
still don't, except maybe the
lone thread of a Jesus from
within. None of the others
ever meant anything to 
me, any of that creepy-crud 
stuff. The legions of doers 
and movers, the Phil Ochs
types, the Dylan characters, 
Wavey Gravy (Hugh Romney), 
and a hundred others. They're
all dying off now. I'm left 
with remnants and aftermath.
They were all around. Big 
deal. All those writers and
supposed thinkers. Singers.
Protest people, comics, the
protest comics, the singers.
corporate publicity-machine
maniacs. None of it stuck.
None of it mattered. I sensed,
hell, I knew, I could write
better than any of them, 
and would as I could, right 
to my own end. You could
shave Pete Seeger around the 
head, and bring him to me
in the bottom of a barrel, and
I'd still say what I say. I was 
better than the entire stupid 
lot of them. And funnier too,
if you want to add that in.
Determined to live, not die,
and to make my way through
fifteen acres of a Lloyd Perry
muck called living.

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