I have a head full of words. They’re easy to extract. I can either extrude them through my mouth, à la aluminum tubes or beryllium blocks, shaping them with my tongue and lips and filling them with air and sound, or write them down on paper, or a computer screen. But as soon as I launch one batch, another set of words appears, demanding expression. They seem to self-propagate.
I can’t get away from them. It’s part of being a human being and living within a certain culture. One that shares words. One that makes sounds that have meaning for one another.
And then one day I got drunk and starting tossing out words whether they made sense or not. I had a lot of fun doing that. I soon learned that the very process of tossing words out willy-nilly produces a state of intoxication. Handy, if you like being delirious, not so handy if you need to find employment.
Today I want to avoid anything unpleasant. Making an appointment to have a new molar installed, or doing the laundry. I often have an urge to lie down on the floor and stare at the ceiling.
Eyeballs are created out of muscle, jelly, blood vessels and nerves. Light waves stream through the jelly activating nerve impulses that carry the shapes and colors to the brain where they are identified according to patterns learned while growing up. Today those light waves consist of just about everything. Lamps, cat, stove, plants, sunlight, cars, rocks, towels, tomatoes, onions, jars, drawers, computer keyboard, computer screen, glasses, soap, coffee grinder, thermos. Words. More and more words. Fucking A.
And then there is the matter of ears. This morning I awoke to the sound of the washing machine. Though I didn’t know it was the washing machine. It sounded more like a cement truck whining away as it spewed wet cement into a cavity. It was a large, intrusive humming and whirring sound that later developed into a rumbling. The building shook. Someone was doing laundry early this morning. It must have been an emergency. Whoever it was must have needed some clean clothes pronto. The machine was set on heavy. What were they thinking of wearing? A double breasted cement suit? An earthquake? Tornado tennis shoes and a hurricane tie?
I was trying to listen to Hal Sparks on the radio. He’s filling in for Stephanie Miller and The Mooks. He’s a terrible radio host. He does not have a pleasant voice and his speech mannerisms are annoying. He inserts um between all of his words. This morning he was going on and on about how gays should be able to marry. Of course they should be able to marry. What a boring subject. Why does this need to be debated. Christians called in and said they objected. When gay people marry it destroys the institution of marriage. I don’t follow this logic. Sometimes people use words in a manner intended to convince you of something but the process gets so muddled it goes backwards. It reverses. Instead of sounding rational it sounds insane.
All marriage is is a promise to stay with someone for as long as possible. Until death do us part they say. So it’s pretty serious. That’s a heavy commitment. Because if you stay around anyone long enough, no matter how much you like them, it’s a guarantee they’re going to drive you crazy at some point. But that’s all marriage is. That simple promise. And whether you fulfill that promise is a lot of work. It’s not just words. Some things are just words. But marriage is not just words. It’s punching a wall instead of a person. Or staying by somebody’s bed when they’re sick. Possibly dying. It makes no difference whatever whether you have the same genitalia or not. Genitalia are only marginally involved. Either for having kids, or having a good time. But that’s not marriage. You can share the pleasures of genitalia without being married. People do it all the time.
So who wants to hear a bunch of crazy ass Christians denouncing gay marriage on the radio? Hal Sparks does. It makes him look cool and smart to argue with these people.
You never see words stuck in a beard like food. That’s because words are just sound and air. Hallucinations, really. Because they represent something or someone not present. If I say there is a giant parrot eating the Eiffel Tower it may or may not be true. I could even say it in French. Il y a un perroquet géant mangeant La Tour Eiffel. But that does not make it any truer. It may be true and it may not be true. You would have to go to France to find out. Or turn on the TV and see if anyone is reporting it.
There was a time when people used words like jewelry to show off their education. Big words like ‘distensible’ or ‘ithyphallic.’ But now that it has become cool to be ignorant and illiterate you don’t find that to be the case quite so much anymore. The American empire is crumbling and so is its language. Ironic, when you consider the fact that this is occurring during a time when people have access to so much information and so many tools for communication. But that’s why they invented twitter. So people could remain stupid while communicating with one another.
Stupidity has its charms, no doubt about it. But on balance, it is richer to be curious and expand your knowledge of things.
Because if you ever find yourself in prison, I guarantee that if you know enough words, you can always get out. Consciousness itself can be a prison. Ignorance is a prison. Language is the key to open the doors of that prison. Words words words said Hamlet with ironic contempt. You can never get rid of them and sometimes they tire your brain but most often they’re your ticket out of this world.
Drums Along the Potomac
2 days ago