pieces can be read in any order that one wishes. But,
obviously, I have ordered them this way because each piece
builds on what came before. I am making the overview clear
here and providing links, as I began to see that it would
otherwise be confusing for many.
- a short overview of "Message from Michael" and
how I was led to write it
Michael: His Authentic Life..." -
Begins at the top of the next column and expands on some of
the themes that are covered in "Message from
Michael," but also provides additional context about
Michael Jackson and his life, which it seemed necessary to
provide as the years of persecution had a tendency to push
out of public view his considerable humanitarian and
philanthropic work, and his humanitarian, visionary work and
Other Audio from the "Michael Jackson and
the Authentic Life" Collection (orig. Entertonement.com)
Authenticity, Truth, and Hope Are Back: A Dawn of Cultural Awakening?
- SillyMickel Adzema
|Bringing Hope to Planet" by SillyMickel Adzema
"Michael Jackson's Influence
Transcends the Grave:
My Personal Story Revealed and Pitiful Men Who Can't Bear Goodness or Light.
Part 2: How to Commit Soul Murder,
by SillyMickel Adzema
"Will Oldham's Authentic Musical Path Opens Unbelievably Delightful Innerscapes in His Listeners:
His Genius Leaps so far Ahead as to Create a New Paradigm,
Which No Else Has Done in Music for Nearly 50 Years." by SillyMickel Adzema
You Say You Want a Revolution by SillyMickel Adzema
About "The Authentic Life"
their traditional practices, brutally separate us from our source of
life, guidance, and inspiration and create a blank slate at birth,
which would otherwise have been a map of life, with contact numbers
directly to God and technical assistance angels -- a kind of Jacob's
Ladder for when the going got rough. Then, culture tells you to be an
individual and aspire to greatness and puts up examples of people who
have done so and made a difference for their society and the world.
And then culture punishes severely any one who is exceptional and
shows it and/or strives to do exactly as the cultural teachings were
inspiring him or her to do. This is the cultural double-bind, the
mind-fuck that makes us all somewhat crazy.
John Lennon nailed it in his song "Working Class Hero" on
the "Imagine" album: "As soon as you're born, they make
you feel small, by giving you nothing, instead of it all...till you're
so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules...then they expect you
to pick a career...but you can't really function you're so full of
fear...." Of course, his chorus then expresses the other side of
the this cultural push-pull "A working class hero is something to
be..." then sadly he ends the chorus "If you want to be a
hero, well just follow me." At the time, the zombie critics
didn't get it that he was being sarcastic and sad when he said that,
not egotistical. Nevertheless, he was pointing out that it is damn
hard to be something in a culture that targets you then for doing it.
And that brings us to Michael Jackson. Michael is the latest example
of what we do to those who give the most to us: Lennon, Jesus,
Michael, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi -- while half the world is
inspired and grateful, it brings up jealousy, spite, and hatred in
others. So authentic people, real people, often play a very heavy
price, sometimes death, at least persecution.
Despite these huge drawbacks, our deepest desire is to be authentic.
It is the reason we were born; it is our only real mission in life;
and it is given by God. That desire is to live lives of richness,
truth, and love, being all that we can be and expressing that unique
thing that all of us has that no one else does, so that God's purpose
will be fulfilled in that the world will receive that which we alone
can give it.So, many
people strive for authenticity, for realness of life, richness of
experience...the old-fashioned term would be "fulfillment."
People who are authentic are extremely attractive and draw just as
extreme hatred on them. Obama, like Michael Jackson, is another
example. JFK was another one. You see the problem. Look at how many
were assassinated. Bhenazir Bhutto, in Pakistan, shot in the head as
she returned to her native land to help reform it.
Yet courageous people continue to aspire to regain what they had
stolen from them at birth: their uniqueness, their greatness, their
one true mission in life, indeed, their very soul. In Hindu culture,
they call it your Atmadharma -- in other words it is the right action
to do (dharma) that is in line with your soul-divinity (Atma).
The clips and the audio presentations in this collection,
"Michael Jackson and the Authentic Life," all have something
to say about this quest for authenticity. And at this time, when the
fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, it is only an uprising of
authentic people, and people striving to be that, which will keep this
planet from becoming another Mars in the very near future. That's why
this is so important.
JUST FOR FUN
"The Snorter, Mr. Boehner, and the Auto Salesman" by SillyMickel Adzema
This is just plain nonsense; a combination of vocal
gymnastics and memorable one-liners; super-silliness cut from the
beginning of "Anatomy of Class Consciousness." The primary
speaker is the auto salesman; the invisible non-speaking other is a
well-to-do man who is there to buy a car; called Mr. Boehner; his
actions are implied from the reaction of the auto guy. As far as who
is the singer and who is the Snorter, that is the riddle for the
listener to try to solve. Along with how John Wayne managed to walk
through; and how come he can't see.
"I've been telling you about the "filthy
"You lost your wife and you come up with her, a snorter! Aaaaa
haaaa! Well, I'll tell ya. Well, we'll talk about karma later, Mr.
Boehner. Anyway, oooo weeee!"
"If you're not allowed to be sad when your entire family all of a
sudden, suddenly die, all of them....
"I know I've been awful kind to you...and I've been talking to
you about sex and all, trying to cheer you up, y'know..course you
didn't have to hit me in the face for that one thing, y'know....
"I'm not kinky.... I'm just kinky in the head; but that's just in
the head; it don't come out; don't come out; I ain't got like holes in
my ears, er anything.
"Mr. Boeh-ner, get back be-hind the coun-ter."
"Auto Salesman Does
Perry Como Does the Doors" by SillyMickel Adzema
This is as funny as it
sounds.I did it; and I
still can't stop laughing, especially since it was completely
unplanned, an improv off of a screwup in the reading of "Anatomy
of Class Consciousness."
When these things come
through you in the spur of the moment, when you're on a roll, you just
know that God's got to be the best comic of all; I don't know where
else this kind of material comes from. I'm still laughing.
Hey, maybe I can do what auto
salesman wanted to do, yea!That's
the ticket, "SillyMickel does Perry Como does the Doors."
Yea. They'd wait months for tickets to that show.Yea!
Oh my God, did I just say
that out loud. I didn't did I? No way!! Oh, I did?
"Oh, man, who the hell,
who the hell sings like that, man. That was like the fucking worst
I've ever sung.
Man, where my mind been that
I can't remember the Doors, and somewhere out of the really far past,
I'm singing "Backdoor Man" by Perry Como.... Wow....
But ya know. Somebody's
laughing. I think I can make a gig out of this.... Ya know, can't you
see it: "Perry Como Does The Doors"
(There's' no way that any
more can be expressed in text; it has to be heard -- SillyMickel)
Audio Rendition of "My Personal
Tale: Reflections on Persecution of the Talented, Sensitive, and
Unique; and Culture's Sick and Contradictory Purposes
Part 1: Fathers, Sons, and Everyone
Inherits a Laundry Room
by SillyMickel Adzema
on Persecution of the Talented,
Sensitive, and Unique; and Culture's Sick
and Contradictory Purposes Part
One: Fathers, Sons, and
Everyone Inherits a Laundry Room
Touched by Michael's Story
For days I've
been pondering Michael
Jackson's life and his tragic and unfair persecution for basically
succeeding at what our religion and culture say are the aims of
life. (See my article titled, "Message from Michael." In fact, it would be best to read that
article before this one, as then this story will come across as more
like a case study in the kinds of cultural processes I describe there.
And one will get a lot more out of this read.)
I'd written an article in 2004 defending him
during his persecution. I highlighted that article on this site after
he died in honor of his memory. Additionally, I published an audio
clip of that article on Entertonement.com,
which clip is a personal reading of my 2004 article. I decided to do
the reading for Michael and to do it with the flavor and style, also
the passion, I'd intended for the article originally.
heartfelt, personal reading ended up including some updates and comments,
some personal asides of my own, and some unplanned eulogy-type
passages that came out of me, as I got caught up in remembering how
Michael had been scapegoated. As a result of this immersion in
Michael, I was inspired to write "Message from
Michael," in which I evaluated what one should take from a life with
such soaring highs and then a crashing to Earth heard round the world.
All of this got me to thinking about
culture's double-fuck on us all: First, in its brutally separating us from our
source of life, guidance, and inspiration and creating a blank slate at
birth, which would otherwise have been a map of life, with contact
numbers directly to God and technical assistance angels -- a kind of
Jacob's Ladder for when the going got rough; then, culture tells you to
be an individual and aspire to greatness and puts up examples of
people who have done so and made a difference for their society and
the world; and then culture punishes severely any one who is exceptional and
shows it and/or strives to do exactly as the cultural teachings were
inspiring him or her to do.
And the question was, why would culture be
structured that way, and why would people hate exactly those kinds
of people that would most likely be the ones set up for future
generations to learn from? The answer follows from the basic
sickness of the societal members, which as mentioned is caused by the
So we have sick societies and
cultures. Yet within them we strive, still, for authentic lives of richness of
experience, truth, love, and connection with our spiritual roots of
strength, to be the unique person God intended, as well as awareness of
the sacred map of our destiny, buried along with our source, which
when found provides a felt inner compass that, if followed, daily
brings us closer to God, more openness of feeling, and more desire for
spreading love, joy, and for giving of oneself, and eventually brings
us down the line directly to liberation. All of this must be done
fighting a culture and its sick members who want us to be anything,
anything at all (that is like them) but not exceptional.
contradictory or mind-fucking quality of the cultural tenets is seen
in that it is only through people who defy and buck the
soul-murdering immersion in the cultural
bosom that culture improves, that people receive help for their
sufferings, and that anything good, improving on the average or status
quo, can come
into the world.
So that's the dilemma of culture, that's the
mind-fuck, and that's the buzz saw that Michael Jackson got sucked into in the end.
But as I was going through all this, it
opened up in me my own personal experiences with these elements. So,
as it turned out, last night I was writing a little introduction for
the article, "Message from
Michael," and I ended up spending the night tapping
into and laying out my story. I laughed, I cried, I had fun, I peed my
pants (oh, just being sillymickel, not really); you just might too.
Plus, after reading this, you might have a little
understanding of how authors, not just myself, can seem to know so
much about others and certain topics or processes that seem often to
readers would be hard to know without some gigantic "study." Read my
story and I'll be surprised if you don't come away quite a bit more
understanding of the kinds of processes I've described as impinging on
Michael Jackson; and I think also with a great deal of clarity of why
I'm able to see, with ease, what was really being done to him.
Own Story is Triggered
I wrote in my
Memoriam: Michael Jackson..." that Michael "had lived his life with
the un-self-conscious boldness and absolute commitment to his unique,
real self -- more so even than most primalers are able to yet -- and
for that he had been singled out, hounded, ridiculed, and laughed at;
and these things no doubt diminished his life and then took it."
story had got me to thinking but that quote captures the crux of it. I became
reflective then, and I
still am, as I recall how I'd also experienced persecution
for being different - and for me, like Michael, it had to do with
being more sensitive or more talented or intelligent, or all three,
than males are "supposed" to be.
those were the reasons that my father hated me,
especially growing up. He, ignorant and struggling; me, bright
and athletic without trying or even wanting to be, and having
everything come easy for me. Whereas for him, he had to wear himself
out struggling, desperately trying to prove to his father --
of course, one of those "ghostly others," I've been
mentioning -- that he in fact COULD take care of himself...and a wife, and
Lest one think, "Well how could he know
that about his Dad?": Consider that my father NEVER shared
anything about his life, his childhood, his parents, or any feelings
at all with me or any of my siblings. Except on this one occasion,
which I will relate.
was doing a family project and interviewing my Grandmother, parents,
Godmother, and family of that generation, about their lives before us,
their lives as children, the times, their feelings about things,
basically getting the story or biographies that nobody younger in our
extended family ever got, since the entire generation seemed to have
this tight-lipped attitude about everything personal and on the
So it was that in the course of this, with
everyone of the elders cooperating as best they could, though all being at least somewhat shy and reticent, and sadly
forgetful of what their lives were like, that I was sitting down with
my father and the tape recorder for his story. It was the hardest
interview anyone could imagine. No matter what I asked him, he steered
it right away to trying to get me to record his memory of the (a) list
of vehicles he had owned in his life and the year he acquired them; or
(b) the list of jobs, big or small, that he had worked in his life,
beginning in childhood and up till his retirement, and the dates (of
I maintained my composure and persisted. Did
you do much with your father? Did you see much of him? (Give me a
break; I couldn't just come out and ask him how he FELT about his Dad;
I had to work my way up to that; and I wasn't having any luck even
with "How about games that you played back then; can you give me
just one game, for starters, that you remember playing, with friends
or your siblings, or anything?" Now, trying getting "No,
can't remember any." to a question like that and you know you've
got some heavy lifting coming.)
Somehow -- and yes, I did have to take down
on the recorder and I think also in writing the lists of vehicles and
jobs; but he had a recorder off button to my head, what could I do? --
but somehow during that time, and the persistent questioning, often
saying things in different ways, breaking the questions up into their
components to try to get single word responses (failed), even reducing
them to yes or no questions (you've never heard so many, "don't
remember"; "coulda been either"; "don't know's;
and the like, in your life...failed). But persistence and time must
have had at least some effect, for he let slip one remark -- God knows
he probably regretted saying it, later, and may even have feared that
I'd gotten some power over him because of it; I'm serious, that's
really the way my Dad thought about things.
I was asking him about his Dad and asking
some things along the lines of, does he remember his Dad saying
anything to him that stood out, or did you have the sense that your
Dad loved you, or have any idea of what he thought of you, did he
praise you, put you down, and on and on, in that vein, and largely
without getting even a shimmer of light into his actual youth
experience. But it was in the midst of those questions that this
slipped out, reluctant and tentative, the words: "My Dad worried about
That was the first opening, but I had no idea
what he meant. So I pushed my advantage, "What do you mean, Dad,
he worried about you? You mean he worried something might happen to
you, like in the mines, or getting hurt or sick?"
"Well, what was he worried about,
Dad?" (seriously, pulling teeth HAS to be easier!) In retrospect,
I see it coming out, and I envision oatmeal slowly emanating out of
him, from his mouth, but elsewhere too; that's the way it seemed to me
-- like it wasn't said, but more like it leaked, pushed out by some
inner built up pressure stronger than him, and in a way that was
thick, vague, and with no thing at all to even connect it with.
the revelation in a vacuum, which I would ponder for the rest of my
life, and realize its importance, as it was the one
thing his inner self pushed out of him. Because, no doubt, it
was something always on his mind, and it was the thing around which he
built his life, and every other truth about him could not come out,
would have to wait in line, until this cork had popped, or until this
logjam were broken up. Somehow his unconscious knew that before
anything could be said about him, this would have to be expressed.
So, here's what bubbled up out of him; no
doubt against all his wishes: "My Dad was worried I
wouldn't be able to take care of myself."
I still didn't quite understand. I said,
"not take care of yourself...what do you mean, Dad, take care of
Still reticent, and his voice a little
quieter than before at each piece that he was revealing, he said,
looking more vulnerable by far than when we started, and a little sad
and a little mad at me for putting him there, he said, "wasn't
sure I'd be able to get a job, make a living..." he trailed off.
Well, I don't remember if I ever got more
from him that day. But I remember feeling, first, "Geez, Dad,
what are you telling me? Did your Dad think you were mentally
"retarded" (using the word that would have applied at that
time); then when I heard more, I came away feeling pretty sure that,
since my father WAS a hard worker and had proven it by going into the
mines at an early age, among other things, like paper routes and such
at even earlier ages, that my grandfather must have been concerned
about his lack of "smarts." His sister reported that
he absolutely hated school and schoolwork, and had a difficult time
with it, and didn't do well at all. He barely got by. In fact, he quit
school, with a couple of years or less to go, and got a job in the
mining was chosen by my father over going to high school. That tells
you where he put the pleasures of his life at that time. In fact, he
would not have graduated at all, except for an incident at the
mines. I don't have the details at hand, but I believe it had to do
with a runaway car or line of them, and donkeys that were supposed
to be pulling them. Something happened; and the way I understand it,
he barely escaped with his life being run over by barreling rail
cars, or the donkeys or something. The event is vague; but his
closest sister and my Godmother confided gravely, a very unusual
tone for her, that "He was scared out of his wits. He left the
mines, and would never go back. He was terrified. He never forgot
it; and it stayed with him for the rest of his life." Now,
that's a lot of terror for simply the incident the way my father
described it to others. People are in auto accidents in which they
almost lose their lives, but don't have such terror, and even go
back to driving.
We'll never know for sure what happened in the
mines to scare him so much, but we can expect that he wasn't telling
the whole story, and he might not even have been telling the correct
story. For example, if he'd been - pure speculation, mind you -
forced into some kind of bizarre male sex initiation, and being the
young fresh high school meat in such a context of men working in
filth and darkness and for long hours, where no one got to see
daylight, barely got home in time to catch some zzzz's before going
to work again, and so no time for the wife, well wouldn't those men
be living in an environment somewhat resembling that of jail. And we
know about men's sexual thoughts and behaviors in that kind of
confinement. We'll never know, but something like what I'm
speculating would explain a lot about the person he became that my
siblings and I knew. While mostly we draw a blank, even when talking
to his brothers and sisters for some roots to why he turned out,
why, even quite different from all of them.
the incident in the mine was, it was enough to scare the high school
hatred out of him. Although for the rest of his life he was really down on "book knowledge,"
with a passion, and pumping himself up constantly claiming he had life
knowledge, which was superior; superior to anything that I or my
brother or sister would accomplish at the collegiate and
post-collegiate levels - expected, for that is how he kept us down and
himself from feeling dumb or the terrible unfairness. But later in
life he was even smarter than doctors - other professionals as well -
but especially doctors; half-joking, which is my hope, that they don't
know nothing and that he was as good as a doctor; in fact, better.
high school, graduating at the same time as his younger sister, my
Godmother and Aunt Martha. He was a year and a little older than
her. But what she said about it struck me as odd. I asked her before
she passed away how that was graduating together, expecting her to
say something positive, as I was imagining how much fun it would at
any stage in school to have been in the same grade as my sister,
Peggy, who was also a year younger than me, like my Aunt Martha was
to my Dad. Hell, Peggy was my best friend when we were preschool; we
even vowed to get married -- knowing not a damn thing about it. And
she remains my supporter and source of unconditional love this day.
So my Aunt
Marth's comments surprised me. She said, "embarrassing."
For starters, this was the first time I'd heard slip from any of
that generation that my father even in high school had something
that was like what we would all see and cringe at while we were
growing up with him as a father, and even afterwards, until the day
he died. "Embarassing," was the perfect way of describing
how all of us felt if any of our friends were to find out who our
Dad was. Nobody ever brought home a date or squeeze to meet
the parents. Hell, no one ever brought anyone over the house, except
the neighbor's kids who knew my Dad, and even then, only rarely. We
all felt that he was capable of saying or acting in such a way that
would be social suicide for us. Plus, the whole family, my mother
included, were in danger at any social or family gathering of that
same feeling: being embarassed. My father did not seem to have any
sensitivity to other people; he would bluntly say the most hurtful
things to people loudly and in earshot of everyone. There were so
many ways that you'd end up feeling ashamed that you were related to
But none of
his brothers and sisters has let on even a wink that they'd felt
anything but normal having him around when they were growing up.
That is, until Aunt Martha said this to my wife and me, years after
he's passed away.
back to what my grandfarther said to him - ""wasn't
sure I'd be able to get a job, make a living..." my best guess is
cause him to not make wise financial choices or to otherwise not be
able to navigate the increasingly complex job and economic environment
that was occurring then.
So also, it made perfect sense then WHY it
was SO important to "have it recorded" for the sake of the
freakin Akashic Records, no doubt, that, indeed, he HAD all these
jobs, one after the other, and sometimes two at a time, and even
three. And regarding the "vehicles" -- which when he was
coming into his prime they were also; and they were the symbols of
success. So, his vehicles -- and as he pointed out, I bought each of
them with cash, and bought them new. -- were the prima facie evidence
that not only could he get jobs, but that he could be very successful
in handling money, taking care of his obligations, essentially, that
he could, well, "in spades" even, "take care of
That he could buy that many new vehicles had
to be for him, the final evidence that "Dad, you're wrong. I've
proven you wrong. How could you ever think that of me? I've showed
you. And now I hope you will respect me, and see me the way that I
deserve to be seen."
Now, thinking of my father that way and how
he pushed himself, struggled hard, saved every penny, didn't waste any
money on booze, vacations, or any of the sensual gratifications -- he
raised us as real Spartans -- you can be sure. So, sacrificing,
saving, and working long hours; his life revolving around a desire to
be able to make his father eat his words, take them back, and (behind
it all) then maybe his Dad would love him, and not think of him as not
smart enough, consider what I must have represented to him.
A whiz since the first grade at "book
knowledge," top of my class, always; socially successful without
having to try (well, he'd do everything in his power over the years to
fuck THAT up!), athletically adept at everything, often upon my first
try, it must have galled him no end. No doubt I was his stick in the
face, poke in the face, constant bee sting reminder of -- no, not that
he had sold out or anything; he had in fact succeeded with what little
God had given him. No, different than Jackson, I was the reminder that
life was unfair.
He'd been born into poverty and had to
struggle, knowing that others are born wealthy and don't. Unfair, but
that's life. But then I'm his son, born into poverty also, but
considering the gifts and talents that teachers and others are telling
him that I have, well it must have been like spawning one of those
snotty rich kids and having to live with them, work to feed and clothe
them, and so on. And then to have to see that every day must have been
a painful reminder that (and these are his exact words, words he often
used -- not coincidentally, I think) that he was the "poor shnook"
and that, damn the luck, HE "had gotten the shitty end of the
stick" in life.
I should point out that among his generation and
his social group he was not the brightest bulb in the pack, and
socially, he was rougher around the edges than his peers, but there
wasn't any kind of great contrast that would make him feel bad about
his fate. But with his children, myself and a few others of the six,
there WAS that great contrast. And he spent his time with us doing
everything in his power to try to undermine our success or
achievements in anything -- academically, socially, athletically -- in
fact in any area of life except the one that he had succeeded in; and
even in that, he would undermine any effort at making a living that
didn't involve just getting an ordinary job, physical work, work that
a high school graduate would do; working class jobs.
He did this with
ridicule, grounding us, conveniently, for social events that were
important social milestones and learning experiences that could not be
gotten any other way by concocting something from the past that he
didn't like that we did that we should be grounded for, and for out
and out not giving his permission for activities that he knew we'd be
In that respect, I have to give the example that
causes me heartache right now, at the age of 59, as I'm thinking about
it, although his action completely changed the direction of my life,
caused me to act out and become self-destructive, and essentially hung
over me like a huge cloud of sadness, regret, and -- ah, I see, so
THIS was how he made himself feel better about his life...at my
expense...I absolutely never thought of this before in my life until
this very moment, although I've had occasion to relate this
life-changing action by my father to every therapist who ever knew me,
and every friend who ever got close enough to where we began revealing who we "really" were.
OK, coming down from sad insight epiphany of
finally getting WHY my father had been so cruel at that moment, so
unexpectedly cruel. Coming down enough to reveal what is was. Remember
how I was just saying above that unlike Michael Jackson who might
bring up feelings of jealousy, or that people might have made the
wrong choices in life, I probably brought up in my father the feeling
of the "UNFAIRNESS" of his life.
So, there we have it, making perfect, diamond
clear sense. He hated me for the gifts God gave me, which I didn't
even have to struggle or work for. Bright, athletic, sociable,
naturally caring, sensitive, and loving -- he hated all those things;
and I don't just mean in me, I mean, IN ANYBODY!
Christ! Even my sense
of humor -- boy, would we laugh and have fun among my brothers and
sisters...after dinner, say, on a school day during the winter... and
towards the end of the meal, it would start, someone would make a
comment, before you know it we'd be coming back with things, and
practically falling on the floor with our laughter. We loved each
other; we worked hard all day -- our Dad adding plenty to our normal
work as schoolkids -- and after dinner there was a lull when Dad had
left the table (and we could all breathe a little easier, for
certainly anything of humor or any kind of conversation among us,
would receive some mean or sarcastic put down, telling us basically
"who the hell do you think you are, talking, being happy, making
an assertion, when you are just a stupid kid, you have a "head
like a tack," and are just a "piece of shit" thinking
you're "hot shit" or something).
So, for sense of humor -- well, and this is
the first thing I always say about my father to try to give people an
idea of just how different a guy we're talking about, for starters: My
father is the only person I know in the world -- and this is literally
true -- who never SMILED...never smiled the entire time that I was
growing up...with a few exceptions which are totally consistent. For
he would smile, ONLY at weddings, and after he'd had a few to drink.
He wasn't a drunk, but a few drinks, every four to five years, at a
wedding, and then this transformation where he'd be smiling,
glad-handing, even noticing his kids, once he was even supportive of
one of my aspirations at such a time, encouraging me and even offering
to talk to the band about me joining them to show off my drumming
skills. This is a guy that on any other occasion, not drinking, would
think me an egotist for trying to be a musician. So it was the drink,
only, that quieted his mind of that demon of put down and criticism --
I believe it was about being too dumb to "take care of
himself" -- enough to act like a normal human being for a few
But at any other time, re: humor; well, I
just have to tell you about the many times that I heard him just rip
and tear into, on TV now, (who would you guess? For me, it would be
Bush. There's a lot of people that really piss people off.) But my
father, as usual being in a class unto himself, well I'll tell
you the man who he despised the most, out of all of them. It wouldgo something like this:
We'd be sitting around in the evening
watching the show. My mother was always there, I would be there, any
of my bros and sisters could be there. And -- one of those happy times
for us -- we'd watch the show and we'd be cracking up. Who? Well, me
of course. My mother, ALWAYS, too; she had a great sense of humor. My
sister almost always would be there, too, and laughing so hard, why,
probably peeing her pants! (No, not literally. That's a little side
joke to Peggy if she ever reads this, she'll know what I mean) -- but
figuratively, yes, she and I would laugh; it was just great. And my
older sister, Mary Ann, why she'd be just as much in hysterics. We'd
all be having fun. Chuckie, probably wouldn't be there, Joseph, older,
probably engaged in schoolwork; Jim, too young.
But myself, my Mom, and perhaps my two
sisters would be light-hearted, happy, laughing, grateful for the gift
of this comedian and the temporary lifting of the ordinary drudgery
and darkness or meanness of our lives that this comedian was
Then, from the corner seat, my Dad, bowl of
ice cream in his lap, and making his way methodically through it,
smack in the middle of an uproar of our hilarity: "That
SHIT!" -- like a bowling ball at us, right down the center of the
alley....STRIKE! All pins of mirth down. That's 10 for starters, for
you, Dad, and you've still got another roll.
"That's STUPID!" OK, Dad,
you're really on a roll. That's another strike. 10 pins of mirth still
down. Geez, Dad, it's only the first frame, and you're already bowling
20 plus the next two rolls in the next frame.
The rest of us in the room are much more
subdued, but I mean I've tried questioning him about it, you learn
you're not going to get anywhere.
Uh, oh, the
show continues, and we just can't help ourselves because this routine
on TV we've seen many times; and it's always a riot. Oh, my God, yes,
this time it is too. It's funny, yes; oh the faces he makes; he's a
freaking genius of expression, no doubt, making us roar just with
those incredible larger than life ways he's able to move his rubbery
face, saying with each expression more than a thousand words could.
We're cracking up, but then he's also making us a little sad. It's the
tramp routine, and you know the guy is lonely and sad, but he's trying
to be "above" it and to actually still be giving to others,
or to poor hurt birdies in this park you imagine, because they've got
a park bench on the stage as the main prop he's working off. So we're
laughing, and then we're feeling sad, a tear comes to my eye, for
sure, and I feel a welling up in my chest. There's such a beauty in
people,even when they're down and out. Yea, he's telling the truth
about people in this skit; he's making us aware notto judge people on the clothes they wear or the money in their
bank account,but on their
It's perfect; pure genius. And he's a beautiful person too; so
gentle and caring… and funny" is all going through me, welling
up about the beautiful poignancy, and also the sad tragedy, of life…tear
beginning its journey down the cheek....
"What a DAMN IDIOT!"
didn't even realize it was your turn to roll already, Dad. Geez,
Dad, you're good at this. I mean all the mirth pins are down…let's
see, that's ten; but then -- don't know how you didit
on one roll but -- you got the poignancy pins -- ALL OF THEM, WOW! --
down the lane over. But, Dad, gotta give you credit, you've got to be
the genius of Spoiler Bowl. You should really think of going Pro. I
mean, you've even got another ten for all ten existential connection
pins in the lane on the other side!!! I mean there ain't no happy or
insightful or feeling pins left in this whole place; and you've
points, meanness points, think you even got hate points too, this
time, Dad…or at least you've got a goodshot at them"
"Wow, Dad, you're on a roll for sure.
You may just be the first person to eliminate good-hearted pins in the future!"
hell does that panzy, Skelton, think he is!Stupid
faggot.Oh, he's so sweet
(said sarcastically), helping a little birdie in a park… THAT'S
"You sure don't need no help from me,
Dad. I think you've eliminated mirth, clear through into the next
decade. Don't know why they don't just cede the Spoiler Bowl crown to
you right now."
"Do YOU think that's funny?" he
says to me.
"Well, yea, Dad, I don't think everyone
could do what Red Skelton does, just the way he moves gets you
damn TRAMP! That’s not funny. You think tramps are happy, you think
tramps are going around helping little birdies…they'd probably cook
'em up before helpin' 'em out. That's crazy, and STUPID! You're
telling me, that's FUNNY! HA! (sarcastically put.)
"Well, yea, Dad," I'm thinking,
"I was thinking it was really damn funny till you opened your
take it easy, Joe…" Here comes my Mom; she's pretty good
sometimes. "Just you don't understand him don't make him nothing.
He's a good man, I say. He's gentle and sweet. You might try that
"Good one, Mom!" goes through my
HA!! Comes out of his mouth. "MEEEEEE!!!
NOT in a MILLION YEARS!!.."
"I know." My Mom, quietly,
practically to herself.
"THERE'S NO WAY I'd be any silly damn
panzy. It's STUPID. STUPID and SILLY. Anybody thinks it's funny's
gotta be STUPID, too"
"Well, Dad, there's no game left. You
won and everybody's left. No pins stand anywhere her and
into the future. In fact, you, once again, have beaten all
possible records and have eliminated all good-hearted
feeling right through into the future, all the way out to
November of the year 2000. I gotta feeling with your total
elimination of the mirth and existential awareness pins and
your build up of the mean-spirited and grumpy awards out to
2000, that you've probably caused, just tonight alone, the
election of the most insensitive, perhaps worstPresident in history,with all the grumply and mean-spirited prevailing and
the hope and good-heartednes eliminated. That's practically
unbeatable. But then it always seems that way. Next time,
you'll probably outdo yourself; you always do. It's always a
real spectacle with you, Dad. I wouldn't be surprised next
time you set off getting Santa Claus shot down out of the
sky on Christmas Eve. You're something else, Dad."
So, let's say that my Dad didn't have a sense
of humor; but you'll know what I mean now.
But I was saying that he was so obsessed with
his own lousy roll of the life dice, that he couldn't stand
having any of his kids have it better in life or accomplish
anything better, which is the exact opposite of what parents
are said to universally feel about their kids success, isn't
it.? We've been talking about Michael Jackson being brought
down by people who've sold out, compromised, and who were
jealous of him, and also thinking it unfair because of
Michael Jackson not being a "real man" like them,
and so in their minds, he's a perv, he's queer, he doesn't
deserve it, "like me, who's a real guy," and so he
had to be shot down. Does my flashback above give you any
inkling that I might now a little something, more than mere
"book knowledge" of which I speak?
I never told you the greatest and most obvious damage he
inflicted out of those feelings of not being able to stand
it if we had it too much better than him. Indeed, it issuch
a big part of my family's history that, not only does all my
siblings rate it as a milestone in who I became; some of
them remember the actual details of it with better clarity
then even I do. And the topper is that, of all the things
that my parents did to my siblings and I -- the beatings,
the harshness, the meanness, the undermining of our natural
feelings to be the best that we can be in life and to aspire
to more than what we've known; granted most or that was my
father; but my mother played her crucial role. In this
instance, her role was pivotal… and devastating.
You Can't Really Function, You're so Full of Fear" - John Lennon . . .
Drowning in Fear, Unable to See, Life's Much a Struggle, Till You Reach