Tuesday, April 1, 2008

if you ain't smokey it ain't yo muthafuckin message

5) Squirrel Lady

Some days I wanna be that squirrel lady. Don't you ever want to be that squirrel lady? The one in the park who brings the squirrels food every day and talks and clicks at them while they eat it. The one who stays until all the food she got is gone and then goes home to bring back more. That lady.

Sure, she looks a little weird. A little frazzled. She's the squirrel lady, for god's sake, and who knows what happened to make this the organizing principle of her life. But she loves it. Can't you tell? She loves to have a function, a purpose, a name--Squirrel Lady. How many of us have such a unique label?

And why shouldn't she love it? She's worn-looking, frazzled like I said, unraveling a little at the edges; but she has someplace to go every day, a structure, a purpose. She has a connection with living beings--knows which squirrels are male, female, old, young, pregnant, which ones like nuts and which like grapes. How one squirrel peels the grapes before she eats them, like I used to do when I was a kid. Don't we all want to believe we understand nature, we commune with nature, we speak to nature and nature speaks to us like no one else? And she has creatures that see her walking up and are so excited they come running. Granted it's because she has something tangible to offer, but how many people come running at you every day just because you have something tangible to offer? Let alone if you have something intangible; forget about it. Maybe Squirrel Lady understands something we don't.

Some days I really want to be Squirrel Lady. Mostly those days when I'm sure everyone understands something I don't.

6) Remember, you were stranded on that tiny island. All around you was the vast ocean and you couldn’t for the life of you recall how you got there. No, you didn’t have anything to eat. Nothing in your pockets, No crates of fruit washed ashore, and no wild beasts to hunt down. Not even a coconut. But all that didn’t matter, because (you remember now?) you didn’t have any fresh water. So you dug a hole and pissed in it and covered it with your Perry Ellis jacket. You sat under the partial shade of the island’s three palm trees while your piss condensed into water.

You started to think about the time when you watched all the ants going in and out of the cracks on the sidewalk. You sucked on a butterscotch candy for a minute and then sat it on the ground. You went inside to watch TV and then came back out to find the candy swarming with ants. You thought what if I was an ant, and then you spit on them. You kicked the candy away. Then you wondered if any of the ants got on your shoe, so you looked. There was one ant crawling on it, so you took your shoe off. You walked away barefoot thinking about how bad it must suck to be taken away from all your family and friends and candy syrup.

A few hours later you took another piss in your hole. It stung your urethra. You had been sweating buckets under the sun. It was hot. Pretty soon you were lightheaded. Then you were delusional. You thought about the time when you were a kid jumping in the fountain in the park. When no one was looking you ducked your head under the water. A man came up suddenly and held you under even longer. You were really drowning when your Dad came up and leveled the man. As you came up gasping, you were dizzy and your head was pounding. It was hot and it was cold. You saw your assailant lying on his back. It was a white man in a black suit with gray hair. You saw blood pouring from his nose over his crusty lips. Then you puked.
Isn’t that how it happened? Don’t you remember? You can’t be sure anymore. Could be it happened like that. But now there’s the sun over your head and water all around you and none to drink. You wanted off the sandy patch of shit. You were about to die and you wanted off.

That’s when I came sailing by. Aboard the U.S.S. Commerce I came gloriously in my captain’s hat. Looking trim and refreshed, I offered you a smile and a wave. I seemed angelic cruising way up high above the waves.

But then I did what I had set out to do. I gave you the finger and a “die motherfucker” and I left you to your little piece of parched paradise.

I was sailing out of sight. In fact, I was long gone. And remember that one word you managed to utter.

You said: “Thanks.”

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