I woke up to the sound of buzzing today; buzzing so maddening I felt I’d already gone crazy and landed in the asylum. Buzzing, buzzing, buzzing. I leapt from my bed, crying and panting, driven insane and restless, and I went to my momma, saying, “momma, momma, the sound’s not stopping!”
“What sound, son?”
“The buzz buzz!”
“Oh, pish posh! Are you sure its not just the tinnitus?”
“No, momma, the buzzing is real, the buzzing is coming from the outside as well as the inside!”
“Go to your father; he’s the doctor,” said momma and disregarded me. She went back to studying her religious books, leaving me all the more flustered and teary-eyed, ah! the pain! the sound insane!
I ran to the mirror in front of the bathroom door and I saw my eyes, so red and raw, and I saw my face, so slept-in and creased. There was the sound, that insane drilling of an electric drill into my brain, and I thought to myself, oh, boy, here we go again.
It’s the same with me every time. I’m sane for an extended period of time–sometimes days, months, and sometimes years unto years–and then snap! all of a sudden I’m down in Wonderland with the hatter and the hare, drinking tea and checking the time.
Oh wait! I saw something in the mirror, a sliver of a movement in my beard. I strained harder and lo and behold! The source of my insanity! A housefly, as big as a raisin, stuck in my beard, trying to get out, creating a deafening din in its prison of hair and keratin rope.
I took a brush, a thick and big one with which I comb my bushy beard, and I combed once, combed thrice, and on the sixth attempt, with a few strands of weakened hair the fly also came free and flew away into the bathroom. The insect killing zapper of blue neon killed it in a few seconds, but that’s not the point of the story.
The point is, my dad told me, my momma told me, son, get a beard, a big one, it’ll make you look religious, it’ll make you look manly, and besides, it’s fucking awesome to have one. Have you seen the Metallica dudes? (this last one was my father’s statement, who is a big heavy metal fan).
So I grew a beard. With me it comes easy. In a month I had a beard longer than the size of my *ahem ahem* and I was proud of it. It was thick, black, wide (the beard), and others as they passed me looked at me with reverence and treated me with a respect that they did only people of the highest religious order: the hajis, the molvies, the molanas, the sufis, the hafizes; and yet I was none of them. I’m a sinnerman, doing sins as much as a sinner can. The beard’s only there because, honestly, I like it for what it is and well, I’m a little too lazy to get in the habit of shaving every day, and not to mention shaving makes me look like I’m 12. The beard makes me look 32. I’m somewhere in the middle.
My momma and my pappa told me to grow a beard but they never told me there’d be flies getting stuck in it. My momma and pappa never told me about sex and that other birds and bees stuff; I learnt it from watching True Romance (this weird bullykid at school forced me to watch it when I was 10, traumatizing me for life; I still can’t look at Deniro and Al Pacino the same) and reading King books (a very gracious distant cousin introduced me to him when I was just growing up, the wetness damp behind my ears). I have no elder brother or sister, and my father’s a busy man, so I had to learn to shave my body on my own (I matured when I was 11/12: weird!), with a few hints from my friends who had elder brothers and whose father’s were not as busy as mine, and to this day I’ve not had a cut or a slice. Weirder.
So, from now on, I’ve made a mental note, I’ll keep my beard oiled and cleaned so flies and other insects won’t fly into it.
My pappa ain’t ever showed me to hold a gun and shoot but when he took me to the shooting range and handed me his rifle he told me to hold it such that I wouldn’t break my arm. I said to him, pops, chill, I got this, I’ve been playing games and reading books for a long time, and I shot with my mind and I aimed with eye and the rabbit that we were hunting (apologies to the reader if you’re anti-hunting; It was only that one time! I swear! and that was a delicious rabbit, yummmm) I killed with my heart, and my pappa said, son, where’d you learn to shoot like that? and I said, Childe Roland to the dark tower came, leaving him all confused and shit.
Momma always said, sonny, there’s things that a frog in a well, devoid of sunlight and other amenities save for a few wandering insects and a wellfull of water, will come to know even if he didn’t have anyone telling him those things. There’s no birds, no bees, there’s no right so right and no wrong so wrong that either of them become absolute except for a couple of basic things, but you already know them; there’s only your instinct, and your propensity for picking up things that float around in your brain … things that you’ll come to know of when you think some, do some, learn some, screw some.
Sometimes I think about what momma said and sometimes I go and ask her about what she done said to me those ten years ago when I’d run to her scared after my first wetdream (but having no words, out of shame and guilt and an instinctive desire for secrecy, for telling her what I’d done); Of course, I’d not told her what had happened to me. That woulda been weird. I asked her this, to which she’d replied the aforementioned reply: momma how do I know what’s happening to me is not something weird and otherworldly? Am I a sinnner for thinking bad things and am I a bad person if I do bad things without actually doing them?.
Sometimes I think about that answer my momma gave me and I ask her what she’d mean when she said it to me, and momma says, “huh? whatcha talking about sonny jimbodini? I ain’t remember saying such a thing!”
There’s the ether of knowledge, and us, the wayward wanderers who tap into it and drink some without even knowing when we’re drinking and what we’re drinking, and it gives us the knowledge and the strength and the motivation to move on. It’s where stories come from, it’s where poems swim about, it’s where your dreams are spinning in their yarn of marshmallow clouds and fairydust…