Once outside I phone my mom and told her a little of what had happened. It’d been several months since our last conversation and I knew she was rattled. But like I reminded her: it was the thought that counted. A dealer approached and barked true to his Arian form. He’d ruined my birthday by not showing up when I had. In his world the spoils went to he that barked the loudest. Now, I felt alive. I saw him for who he was – a nothing, a dealer peddling drugs and trying to force me to buy them.
His words connected like a punch from a boxer, but I took their pummeling and laughed. After all the beatings I’d taken in my life, I wasn’t about to waste any more time playing his child-like games. He recoiled; I stood my ground. For once in my life I felt alive and connected to the true power of the Universe. Now, he stammered out words like a whimpering little dog. So I challenged his authority and spoke up daring to reveal his game as I saw it: “Is that the only way you know how to do business by pulling the rug out from people’s feet and then making them buy something from you? I don’t need your drugs. I do them because I want to. Nothing more. Nothing less. I’d rather not do them than be forced into doing something I don’t want to do. That’s the whole point behind doing them in the first place isn’t it?” He stood like a deer caught in headlights. ‘I don’t have any.’ “Then why play this game in the first place then?” He ballooned his chest and I knew it was time to hit the road. Still I’d made my point and that was all that counted.
In spite of my epiphany, searching for people I could talk to about my ideas and experiences ended in complete exasperation. Feelings of being lost, abandoned, rejected and dejected slowly returned despite all attempts to the contrary. To make matters worse, It didn’t make sense. It’d been about nine days without drugs, but the feelings of being outcast from the Garden of Eden were growing stronger all the time. But being an outcast was one thing, feeling like a dog, a Littlest Hobo trying to find his way home, was another.
Unable to fend off the enemy any longer I surrendered to my new plight. Maybe I wasn’t the success I thought I was. Maybe I still had work to do. Maybe I was a fool!
The madness returned and set up camp again, raising its tattered flag high. A chilling horn sounded retreat summoning the voices back to camp. They returned like happy campers, screaming, cursing, mocking and putting me down at every turn. I pitied them for having to follow orders from some higher demons who didn’t want to dirty their hands. They heard/felt me and laughed at me. they at least had a master, I had no one. Nearly keeling over in pain, I tried to stop all feeling. Now cold and unemotional, I saw they’d done it to themselves. Scared I was getting too good at a bad thing I relaxed a little and let them have their way with me. But this time it was different. It was by choice!
In the fragmented spaces between screams and torments, I strung together a plan: to end it all once and for all if things didn’t start to improve. Finding my core and energizing it with intention, I stopped and faced them. They mocked: ‘Look, little Mike thinks he can take us on’ ‘Hey big boy’ ‘Come join us’ ‘You’ll like it here’ ‘Oh yes, please hate us’ ‘We love that’ ‘Ah, Ah, Ahhhh!!!!!’
I watched and waited before springing my trap. While they’d been busy playing in ‘Demonville’ I’d been watching, listening and learning what and what didn’t make them tick. Playing my trump card, I told them outright they’d forgotten one basic tenet: without me they had no existence at all! If we were going to make it out alive they either had to shut the fuck up or we’d all die together. And I meant it! It was their choice. My mind was already made up! Now it was up to them. They had to choose between life and death too. They laughed, shrieked, scorned until, one by one, they fell deathly silent. With an incredible gasp, they saw how precarious their lives were. Engulfed in a most profound silence, I’d won a battle without even knowing who the enemy was. Victory had never tasted so sweet!
Leaving the demonic voices to their fate allowed my mind to quiet down enough for me to get back to work. Where once had been deep pits and hurdles, opportunities blossomed like new undergrowth. Now I saw how being homeless offered the unique advantage of being able to reach a segment of society considered unreachable. Just because we weren’t in regular classrooms learning Shakespeare from a book didn’t mean we weren’t learning. Quite the contrary. We were free to see, feel, judge and experience for ourselves from the textbook of life called the Universe. It was the same place Shakespeare and every great leader got most if not all of their universal themes of existence. Unfortunately, in the name of efficiency, education had become crystallized and tethered to economic platforms and profit margins. With overcrowded classrooms and all its trappings was it any wonder children rebelled when the outside world and the Universe offered so much more?
From experience, learning involved more than being held captive to volumes of memorization. It had to have real meaning in order to resonate within the hearts and minds of people to have any lasting and transformational effect. It was no accident so many knew every word to their favorite songs, yet couldn’t remember a line from an English or Science text if their life depended on it. Sure there were those that didn’t want to learn, but even they were learning how not to learn! Such was the yin and yang of learning. If the overall betterment of society and all its creatures great and small wasn’t profit enough then I didn’t know what was. In order to learn and do my part, I needed a plan that involved my immediate community as well.
I couldn’t believe what I was thinking. A few months ago I’d been squeaking through life like a timid little mouse. Now I was actually thinking about doing something and something on a grand scale!
© Michael J. Varma, The Gong Show, 2011 –
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