I think of the children who will never know, intuitively, that a flower is a plant’s way of making love, or what silence sounds like, or that trees breathe out what we breathe in.
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Karl Grossman is a journalist from Sag Harbor, New York. He is the author of Cover-Up, a book about the nuclear power industry, available from The Permanent Press, Sagaponack, N.Y. 11962.
“What are you — a weirdo?” the man in the cowboy hat and plastic clogs asked me. For hours I had been hanging around the foul-smelling men’s room of the Greyhound bus station in Ishpeming, Michigan waiting for The Wizard. The Wizard was to tell me about the secrets of politics on this planet.
My academic career was in ruins. I had just been expelled from McDonald’s University having been caught in lewd acts with Ronald McDonald, that depraved clown. Frankly, I had not enjoyed McDonald’s University. I did well in hamburger class, however I found the ambience highly impersonal. Earlier, I had been booted out of the University of Miami, where I was a sailing major just unable to get port and starboard straight. Also, I had run over a lady with a Sunfish.
My thumb was out and Interstate 86 out of Providence, Rhode Island was getting hot. Me and my St. Bernard, Roger, were thumbing across America. It had been a messy morning.
I was looking up monasteries in the yellow pages when she knocked. I was living at this time in Jersey City, N.J., on top of a meat market. It was the dingiest of places. I got up from my fleabitten couch. I opened the door to a dazzling darkhaired woman. “My name is Mindy,” she said. I immediately looked at Mindy’s breasts. I suggested she come in. Mindy nodded and entered my apartment. “What sign are you?” she asked as she walked to a window, scratching the glass with her fingernails. “Capricorn,” I said. “Don’t worry,” said Mindy, “Nobody important was ever a Capricorn.”
My friend, Arnold, is having a fight with the stewardess. “I will make you into salami!” he is screaming. I’m making believe I don’t know Arnold. I bury my face in a magazine, “Modern Maturity,” a few seats back from his. We are flying Astral Coach to Venus.
Birth and death is a continual cycle. Like corn, you have a season. You grow, flower, give seed, fade away. But the energy within you keeps going — like the energy of corn. Have you ever been in a corn field and felt that energy?
I was born and brought up in a cave. This was in a former life, of course. I remember to this day lying there in a dent in our kitchen wall, only hours after I was born, watching my dad throw stones at the wolves outside.
It was The New Age and there I was on the elevator — 68th floor, 15th floor, 43rd floor — thinking: bongs will never totally replace joints. Bongs have their place, sure, a big place. But a joint is a . . .
First he insults me, tells me I’m not a human being. Well, I tell him — this frog, this polka-dotted frog — that I just can’t control myself in the face of spaghetti. Then this frog looks at me, very seriouslike, and intones: “You’re going to have a great revelation when you’re 62.”
There are some who say all you need to survive is canned peas. I don’t necessarily agree with that. The human is extraordinarily complex. Ask yourself: when were jackets invented?