Thursday, August 14, 2008

All the Right Things For All the Wrong Reasons

I've done all the right things for all the wrong reasons.

I stopped drinking in college when I realized that something wasn't write in the fact that I needed alcohol to get me into a different social space to have a good time. Why couldn't I do that on my own? I stopped dealing cocaine in college as soon as I began because, while I did it because I needed to make money, I was doing my own profits. I left production work because I didn't like to take orders and I stopped becoming a professional actor as I felt it to be an affront to a deeply held sense of worth.

The side effect of this is a social chaos as the orbits of friends and compatriots change either by decisiveness or by evolutionary attrition. I left my 2 best friends from high school because of this. We had all come to Los Angeles to make our mark. I saw their alcohol intake increase and I realized I did not want to go down that road with them. I said to myself, "We need to part." And I cut myself adrift.

You see, I have a hard time looking around something that's obvious in front of me. To do this means that I have to "go blind." I'm not sure if there is any compassion in this, but I mean, can't one argue about having compassion for one's self? My body is innocent. I will fight to protect this body. And I will fight to win.

"We're thinking of expelling you from school."

The school is St. Mary's. Now, Marian themes have run throughout my life. My mother's name is Mary. I had an ongoing series of dreams that I would be working with Madonna and did become her first yoga teacher. I had a profound dream with Mary, mother of Jesus, in which she saved me from the Ticklish People, grotesque looking people who would drive in an old Packard jalopy similar to the on in the old TV series, "My Mother, the Car." To me it seemed to move at the speed of light. They came only at night and would torture me by tickling me to death." Praying wouldn't stop these nightmares. Disciplining myself to think of them twice a day did though every now and then I would slip, think of them once and they would show that night. The weird thing was that before the dream in which I was "saved" I would visit the Ticklish People where they lived. They lived underground and across from a cemetery that was a mile east of the farm and in which no one had been buried in a hundred years. Here underground, I felt at home with them. They lost there grotesqueness, were very sweet and loving, and were highly sexual, warm and welcoming.

Mr. Carido says this as Mr. Singer stands nearby. Dean of Boys and Assistant Dean of Boys. Varsity Football coach and Varsity Baseball coach. Squat Filipino with glasses from the streets of Los Angeles and tall, husky Caucasian from the nearby cowtown of Hanford.

They are the authorities. I am the school spirit commissioner. I have been called in during E period to be faced with the decision about what was to be done with me for having caused a post game on the floor melee/riot after a pivitol varsity basketball game that took place the night before. Saint Mary's had won and events had finally gotten out of control.

The three of us stand in the deans room in the admin building. the door is to my back. The filing cabinet with student records and Carido's desk is to my right. Behind the desk is the large window that looks out onto the senior lawn. To my left are chairs that line the wall. It's administration is non-chic. On Carido's desk lay some student files. A pen. School stationary with a green letterhead of St. Mary's school crest and it's latin term, "Veritas." E period is almost over. It's 12:55 and it's obvious that I won't get back to Miss Lewis' religion class.

Carido's words keep ringing in my ears. I know they don't like me. I have fought a pitched battle with them throughout the year. I am the spirit commissioner of the school. I do my job of building enthusiasm so well that while his authority and order are threatened, there is nothing they can do about it.

Until now. They don't know I'm shaking inside. Or maybe they do know. This school is my life. The position I've been elected to is the penultimate. For four years, I've counted down the years before I graduate because after I graduate I don't know where I'll go. I don't know what I'll do. I've seen where my brothers and sisters have gone. This year, I see where my classmates are going, applying to colleges, getting scholarships. For some reason, I seem to be out of the loop. What I am holding to be true, important and of value doesn't seem to fit the models in front of me.

I burst into tears. It feels like a submission. The pressure is too much. And Frank Carido, Dean of Boys, Football Coach and pseudo-Cholo has pressed the button. With Dave Singer standing at his side. My face is stinging hot with embarrassment. In front of men who preach the word and virtues of toughness, I'm nothing but a crumbling little pussy.

Carido then says, "We're not going to expel you. You're suspended for the next month from attending any school function that takes place on campus."

Mr. Carido did me a favor that day. He showed me that no matter how much of my heart and soul I gave to these people and this institution, they were not going to be on my side. A certain hypocrisy became clear and a door began to close. I subverted their order as much as I could that month because I knew how to. I also knew that they couldn't watch me all the time. And that day when school was let out, the burn of embarrassment had transformed into the burn of anger. The decision I made was so white-hot and clear it scared me. I knew what to do. I drove my 1969 orange VW Bug to the Bijou Theatre, paid my $3.00 and walked into Stockton's only porno house. I walked in the end of one feature. I didn't know the title of the film that was playing. I didn't care. I stayed through the second and stuck around to see the first film all the way through. I sure knew the title of the film by the time I walked out. And the meaning of it's title didn't click for me until 20 year's later.

"Mary, Mary"

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