Tuesday, January 5, 2010
My Head On a Freakin' Map
Neither on a stick nor on a windshield. Not on a Pez or on a post, but my head on a freaking map!
Imagine my surprise when the magazine distributor for Normal's walked in one day with more of a leer than usual and showed me the recent Charles Village newsletter. There in black and white was a reduction of a cartoon map of The Village drawn by esteemed local artist Tom Chalkley. And there floating top mid-center of The People's Republic of Broke-Ass Waverly was my head! And even though I hadn't seen Tom in years he had captured my hairline's losing battle right at its present moment. And in black and white I looked almost human. In full color I look a bit more like the missing Pep Boy who didn't know squat about changing oil, which is not necessarily a bad thing, just not something that will nurture my persona of El Cascarrabias! The Absurd Surrealo-Miserablist.
Poe's lovely head has graced many a map, but he always manages to pull off such a sexy look of languor and deep suffering. I have suffered! I have lain awake many a night weeping over lost love, woken before dawn and reached for succor in a bottle of Pernod or left over beer. Trembled with anxiety over getting slugged by some street psycho while manning my retail post. But there, there is my head, on a map, looking like a Pep Boy!
Where are my parents now that I am engaged and my head has been turned into a caricature on a map floating in the histiorosphere?
When I was in my wildcat 20s and 30s drinking my way through an ocean of Milwaukee's just-passed-inspection-barely my folks saw me merely as a strange quiet lad who had turned his back on an opportunity to pass a lifetime behind a desk at the NSA and who had somehow ended up in a dangerous city drinking every night with a wig that resembled a burnt sofa lying overturned in a ghetto alley. They thought nothing of my writing or music. In fact, my mother cried when I showed her my first book and they weren't tears of Hallmark. As long as I wasn't floating in cash from my creative efforts it was a juvenile waste of time best left behind once I walked out the high school doors.
Eventually they came not to hate me and to respect me somewhat, mainly due to a City Paper article written one Thanksgiving by Eileen Murphy naming me as one of the "People We Are Thankful For". They grudgingly called off the Hezbollah hit and stopped referring to me as Johnny the Pumpkin With Special Needs. In fact, in a moment that truly broke my heart, one of the last things my father was able to communicate to me the night before he died was asking if I had been able to wrap up the most recent issue of Shattered Wig that I'd been working on.
How I truly wish they could have hung on to meet Everly and have had Max the dog catch every last crumb that fell from their dinner table. And then, one quiet afternoon as we went through a photo album from back in the day, I could have taken them both by the hands and said "Remember how in Church Father Kharms said that one day when the last hours of time had run down, we would know life itself was done when The Great Hated One achieves love through trickery and his head will be found floating cartoon-like on a map? Well. Mom and Dad. I am that hated one. And my head is floating on a map." I would then unroll the glossy paper and the thundercracks would cause a lasting deafness while waves grew taller than Empires.