More Power

Eleven thirty. I went out to my mailbox and found a small windfall. Quest Diagnostics refunded my payment of about twelve dollars. So I ended up paying zero dollars for the bloodwork. It raised my spirits for my walk to the store. They were doing a good business today because of Mother’s Day. I’m of a mind to call Polly, but she’s not my mother. Roger is out working on something in his driveway. Aesop is a bit happier than the other day. My rhododendrons are blooming in the front yard, pink and lavender. The air outside is perfumed with blossoming things. The feel and the smells remind me of past Mother’s Days, especially when I used to drink beer. I miss my family whenever there’s a holiday. Even if I had a limitless supply of money I would not buy alcohol again. Money is not our only lifeline.

One o five. Spring sunshine brings back a lot of things. When I was in seventh grade we studied The Red Pony and a novel about the Oregon Trail. The following year was The Call of the Wild. Then the next I read A Separate Peace and a lot of mindless books for pleasure, Tarzan and Doc Savage especially. I still can’t guess what I liked about these two Herculean superheroes who could do anything. Anything they willed was not only doable but done. Fantasies of strength and control gave me vicarious power. I don’t think it was homosexual necessarily, but rather compensation for weeny feelings. I wished I could BE Doc Savage and manage my life accordingly. If I had been Tarzan, my wishes would’ve been realized. No sooner thought than done. But I don’t remember what I wished for, and maybe at the time I didn’t know. I had a crush on a girl named Kathleen and never told her until years later.

The City of Gold

Two o’clock. I dreamed about the mystery of death. It was a secret kept at the end of the basement hallway, put there by the Programmer. Vaguely there was something about the Tarzan books I read during junior high school too. In the sixteenth book, the City of Gold, Tarzan was given a serum to make him physically immortal. He would be deathless until someone took him out. He would never age from that point. But however I may wish, I know I’m not like Tarzan. I see the evidence gathering around me, signs of implacable old mortality, the Grim Reaper in the autumn leaves. It always seems impossible to us that our turn is coming. Yet when we realize it, we start to think about what really counts before we go. How do we want to be remembered? For it’s inconceivable we should be utterly forgotten. Somewhere we’re leaving footprints, hopefully not in the sands of time but rather in indelible stone. Or maybe this is too much to ask. The most we can expect is a cease from the pain and suffering of mortal life. The kicker to the whole thing is how complex the human mind is, how well adapted to the universe by means of mathematics for some and imagination for others. Human beings are so amazing that it’s hard to believe our lives come to an end. Certainly we can cheat death and live forever? And be like Tarzan once again, invincible lord of the jungle. So what did the Programmer put in the basement of my mind? Consciously I can barely remember the plot of a single Tarzan novel, yet I know those stories are all there in the archives. I read the bulk of the series while a ninth grader. They kept me healthy and strong all that year. I wonder what the 15yo projected onto Tarzan, interfusing our fates? For after all, I was the Programmer…

Dreamland

Three thirty. Dream: I was with my dad at Fred Meyer, perusing their books. They had a lot of Tarzan paperbacks and a couple of pictorials by Hogarth. There was so much stuff that I asked Dad to go away and come pick me up in a few hours. I was in seventh heaven and wanted to buy as many books as I could while I was there. Even as I dreamed, I knew I was dreaming and didn’t want to wake up. Heaven is a temporary place in dreamland. One only hopes that it may be returned to permanently someday.