Sunday, December 4, 2016


257. HELLO ME!
I had plenty of tough
times. One of the
toughest always
seemed to be getting
up the courage to
say what I really
felt. That doesn't
sound like much  -
but it actually is,
or was; especially,
for someone brought
up as I had been.
Subservient, taught
to be quiet, not speak
up, have few opinions
and, certainly, not
speak up with them.
I do want to say - I could
understand all that  -
and did. The tier of
society I was raised
at was one of
inconsequential people,
ineffective reciprocators.
It took a long time,
but in a bit I did realize
that remaining quiet
was done at my own
expense  -  because,
by that, people just
assume you're with
them. I wasn't; and I'd
gotten pretty disgusted
over time too. Think
back, to youth, and
what is that you
remember most
vividly? Yes, the
loudmouths, the
opinionated ones,
the bombastic lunkheads
who spoke out of turn
and just said what was
on their minds. I suppose
it just comes down to
having been taught to
remain inconspicuous.
But inconspicuous never
raised a tyger, tyger,
burning bright.
My first 'big' city  -
outside of a sixth grade
bus trip to NYC to view
the movie 'Ben Hur,' was
Philadelphia. That NYC
Ben Hur trip, be the way
was a real bust of a movie; 
bombastic and boring
as well, except for that
stupid chariot race,
which we were almost
forced to 'like' as boys.
The rest of it all was a
long, drawn-out costume
shadow-play of really
dumb, squat-little NYC
actor types, or obvious
Jewish voice-over actor
types, dressed in togas
and pretending to be
witty-one-liner Romans.
Olive-leaf crowns,
swords and massive
medals, and huge
leather belts, with
sandals. By today's
standards, so
ridiculously gay as
to be laughable.
We made the best
of it anyway, in
that ornate palace
of a cinema. The
usual points of
view and jokes,
all trotted out.
'Why do they wear
togas?' Answer: 'So
they could fart freely;
get it? To Gas!' Yes,
I was the champ of
all that impish stuff.
Fart freely, indeed.
Anyway, in the seminary,
a few times, we'd get
to Philadelphia.
Pretty much for
the same reason  -
about 1964 there had
begun a series of really
cloying 'Catholic'
religious movies, or
what we were told
were, in any case.
'Becket', and 'The
Greatest Story Ever
Told,' crud like that.
Really itemized and
by-the-book 'get your
religion straight,' fact
and figure movies
all dramatized and
made pretty. One of
them even had this
Max Van Sydow
guy, a Swedish actor
or something, portraying
'Christ' with these
beautiful blue eyes.
Everyone swooned.
We'd get dragged to
these, four or five or
five of us at a time,
by whichever 'priest
was going as chaperone
or whatever it was called  -
his favorite boys. If you
knew what that meant, you
were already in trouble.
But getting past all that,
being out   -  and allowed
to walk around  -   to
whatever the theater
was here or there,
(I forget all these
incidental things, and
besides I didn't in any
way 'know' the city),
it represented seeing
some other world
entirely. How a person
was supposed to live
a cloistered existence
like that, as we were,
amidst nothing more
than a bunch of geeky
boys and geeky men,
was beyond me  - but
in Philadelphia, even
for those few times,
I made sure to observe
and note and take it all
in. Making sure to
myself : 'Yes! Another
planet really does exist.'
Even to this day, when
I get to Philadelphia my
old-boy heart soars as I
remember these things.
The city and the approach
to it was constantly
fascinating. Most of that
is long gone now, but
I can still picture the
approach off the Walt
Whitman Bridge, from
whatever town that is
on the Jersey side, and
all those riverside
factories and junkyards
and oil-storage tanks
and refineries. And
then the slow, dark
entry into this tough,
gritty, second-tier
big, American city.
I was lost, and it
was all gold. I don't
remember the people
as much as the places.
Most of my life, even
back then, was in my
mind. All that usual
crazy stuff  -  not weird
or perverted, just I think
the usual heroic, adolescent
balloon-thinking. When I
later read Carl Jung,
('Memories, Dreams, and
Reflections'  - grand book),
about all that archetype
stuff, I knew I was off
and running : this was
life-creation of a
psychological proportion,
by subliminal and creative
subversion. I had found
my own key! There were
no limitations, nor any
forbidden aspects any
longer to whatever I
could do  -  choose to
do  -  dream to do!
I'd instantly become
my own self-help book! 
Now I just had to find a 
way to 'speak up' for
myself and this, much 
greater, new-found

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