Saturday, December 26, 2009

metaphors are the crutches, pain killers, and blindfolds of those too terrified of and easily beaten by the literal

While waiting for an appointment with my hobo psychiatrist (story for another day) I was doing a little web-logging. Everyone knows the pain of waiting rooms, but only a dozen or so of us know the frustration of sitting on a rotting log while waiting for your hobo psychiatrist to finish beating a can of fruit cocktail against the sharp edge of a rock so that he can then, much too slowly, savor its contents. I know that most, if not all, of his patients have gifted him a can opener. I know in my case he mumbled thanks only to then ramble on for hours about his "roots," "sense of identity," and the practice of "communing with nature."

Finally he, with a slick of fruit syrup from chin to navel, emerged from the shanty and waved some busted lumber in my direction. I noticed he seemed more frustrated than usual with me. I asked, while disassembling the desktop computer, modest desk, and generator I had brought along so that I might kill time while waiting, in what matter I'd peeved him. He just looked at me and pointed at the sun, which is his way of indicating the unwanted passage of time. Message received I began to pack up so that I could enter his office with my belongings safely in tow. Within a couple of hours I had the machines reduced to the most easily transported modes, another twenty minutes and those pieces were inside a series of duffel bags. Sometime during my leisurely packing he'd retired to his shanty-office so I entered hoping the invitation hadn't gone stale. The intensity with which he was now banging the jagged end of a 2x4 against the syrup and fly slathered sheet of tin that functioned as his desk led me to believe that his frustration had increased considerably, so I decided to pay for the session up front. By the time he'd finished hammering his payment against a rock and eating its contents it was night and I feared leaving the shanty town during the moon's reign, as the hobos in this particular pack* are enraged by the night, and even some that aren't feral will jump out from behind trees/shanties/other more docile hobos and bite at you while begging the moon for a reprieve from making its bloodthirsty demands a reality. So I hoped to stretch this session till sunrise, when I could toss a length of sausages downwind and easily slink out of the shanty town while the hobos circled and snarled. I thought I might pad the session by trying to extend the "silently staring each other in the eyes with menace" portion of our session beyond the usual quarter-hour, so I was greatly disappointed when he cut that short by five minutes and began asking about the mysterious devices (the computer/generator/duffelbags/sausage grinder I was carting around inside the old timey popcorn trolley that I was also carting around). He didn't relent, so eventually I explained this web-log and its purpose.

Then he barked a profanity and we backtracked and I explained, as best I could, about computers, the internet, electricity, and how, to the best of my knowledge, certain super-large chain grocers provide the world with this electricity by harvesting ghosts** and rendering the mystical ghost-meat. Eventually he came to the conclusion that this web-log is a waste of resources and time, and that I would be better serving the world by doing some hard labor and better serving myself, if I insist on doing so, by revealing in a stupid metaphorical sense, the things stuck in my mustache. So instead of informing the world of the brussels sprout that spent a relaxing weekend in the hair hotel, I'd type about how frustrated I was with energy costs or the disposable pen industry or airline food. And that, he claimed, could be "What's stuck in your mustache." I informed him that only two of those items had ever been lodged in my mustache. He re-explained the metaphor concept again. I started to say a polite goodbye in the shanty town fashion, but I'd barely kicked any dirt over the customary corner urine deposit when, in what was both a bewildering and terrifying turn of events he lunged at me and produced well-kept can openers in each hand. He held one to my throat and then, with the devil's glint burning in his eyes, another to my mustache and made me promise that I'd list what's metaphorically stuck in my mustache, or, as he was forced to explain again, anything that's been bothering me recently. He claimed that his would be good for my "overall mental health, and he swore that if I didn't comply he'd "give kindly Mr. Moon the dessert it deserves."

The point is, I won't be doing that. He'll never know anyway since he's never near a computer or source of electricity and totally oblivious when it comes to rendering ghost meat***.

*No offense to any hobos that may have stolen a computer and stumbled on to the internet and stumbled on to this web-log, or if you've stolen a wallet and used the ID within to obtain a library card and then used a computer at a public library and read this. I'm sure most of you are fine people and your misfortunes are the products of a cruel society and crueler circumstances. It just so happens that this pack of hobos tends to get a tad rowdy, please don't feel stereotyped.
**not sure if this is true, I panicked
***not sure if this is relevant, but I'm panicked and must console myself

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