“Every time a culture gets itself into trouble, it casts itself back into the past, looking for the last sane moment it ever knew.”
When I was very young, something like primary school age or earlier, I one day found myself walking around the block. Halfway down the next stretch of sidewalk I halted, dumbfounded. I don’t remember what I was thinking at the time, but it was some kind of synthesizing process, a lot of things coming together at once. They exploded into a sudden realization, something I was now certain is certain without a doubt. In that moment of satori I spoke it aloud, “Anything we can imagine is possible.” And if it’s possible then it’s certain to exist, even if it only exists as a possibility. It means that anything can happen, and so it’s possible for it all to get better and weirder and more interesting. A sense of joy and relief propelled me into new awareness. The very thought of it removed all fear. Anything we can imagine is possible! The evidence of consciousness, spirituality, philosophy, science, science fiction, speculative fiction, and our collective human fiction have all served as proof that the initial conclusion remains sound. Anything we can imagine is possible. We is createlings. We controls the doomiverse.
My first remembered nightmare is one of the most vivid of my entire life. I was three years old. In the dream I was standing outside our back door at night. My mom, dad, and brother were there. I thought it odd that we were all wearing our pajamas. I heard a commotion coming from the driveway. I walked through the back gate and looked to the far end of the blacktop. Hundreds of cartoon Smurfs were running across the blacktop, screaming in terror. Behind them was Gargamel, laughing and reaching out his arms. The Smurfs ran under me and around my feet. As Gargamel drew nearer I became overwhelmed with dizziness and fell. He leered over me, laughing and clutching. His face got closer and closer to mine until everything swirled in color and fear. I woke up in the living room, spinning around in place. It took a moment to realize where I was, to place familiar form on the darkness. I didn’t quite understand what had happened, nor how I had walked from my bed down two whole flights of steps, but I’ll never forget that dream.
It never really bothered me if I overheard my parents having sex. Yes, the idea was completely revolting and thank god that the one time I did accidentally walk in on them all I saw was a bulge of moving covers. Yet it never really bothered me because they would both be happier afterward. In my mind, if my parents were happy then it meant they still loved each other. And that made me happy.
I used to have a recurring dream where I’d be in the backyard and suddenly start floating and then rising up above the giant maple tree in our backyard. I would usually start to panic when my feet went past the highest branches and the tree receded as I went even higher. I didn’t know if I was in control or something else was in control. If it was me, what if I made myself fall? If it is something or someone else, what if they let me? And I did fall, every time. Then I’d wake up.
I was the undeniable master of sneaking out of the house. It went from pretending I was a spy, to actually spying, to getting in and out of my girlfriend’s house safely without getting caught by her parents. At first I stalked the neighborhood at night, listening to Axel F over and over again on my cassette player. Later I became dedicated to spying on the three sisters who lived next door—all of them white trash whores. I had a crush on the youngest, who was 14, but I was only 11. Two years later she was pregnant, so…dodged that bullet. In high school I didn’t so much sneak out as tell my parents I was sleeping over Brian’s, which meant I’d actually be sneaking into my girlfriend’s house for some serious (and long overdue) demivierging. Those stories you can read in one of my books that I keep saying I’m going to write someday, Confessions of A Towel Boy.
The happiest moment my family ever experienced was when we climbed up Dunn’s Rivers Falls in Jamaica. That was the day I got really sick on the cruise ship—fever, chills, the works. The ship doctor made me bend over and he gave me a B12 shot in the ass. It worked! For the duration of that climb I was higher than those waterfalls.
My Pop-Pop lived right on the corner of Rte. 40 and Malaga Lake. Countless times we went fishing in his little green rowboat. The first fish I ever caught was a yellow perch. The first fish my brother ever caught was an 18” pike. There was a giant fallen tree that floated around the lake literally the entire run of my childhood. You could always see four or five turtles sitting on the log but whenever you got close, they ducked under the surface.
In pre-school I had a crush on a girl named Kiki. Yes, that was her real name. One morning as my mom pulled into the parking lot to drop me off, I saw Kiki getting out of her car. I saw this girl every weekday but for some reason the excitement of us arriving there at the same time caused me to open the door and jump out of the car while it was still moving. Amazingly, I didn’t trip or fall and simply ran right up to her. I think she was more WTF than impressed.
I was a really good swimmer. I was on the swim team at Capri Pool Club. The only trouble was that I was scared of diving. They tried to teach me but I never quite got it. I was also very sensitive to the chlorine, so I always goggles and nose plug. Yes, a nose plug. Swimming was the one sport I truly loved competing at. The only trouble was I always jumped into the pool instead of diving, so I’d lose the precious lead. But like I said, I was a good swimmer, so I nearly always got second place. The one kid who could swim as fast as me would always win because he knew how to dive.
I was once stood in the Field of Dreams. Literally. You could look it up.
The first time I read the word “halcyon” was in a Calvin and Hobbes strip.
1. calm; peaceful; tranquil: halcyon weather.
2. rich; wealthy; prosperous: halcyon times of peace.
3. happy; joyful; carefree: halcyon days of youth.
4. of or pertaining to the halcyon or kingfisher.
5. a mythical bird, usually identified with the kingfisher, said to breed about the time of the winter solstice in a nest floating on the sea, and to have the power of charming winds and waves into calmness.
6. any of various kingfishers, especially of the genus Halcyon.
“The term originates from the Greek myth of Alcyone.”