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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A more ancient Taoist sage, whose name I forget, was approached by a Chinese emperor to be an adviser to the government. He declined the offer with extreme courtesy, but when the emissary had departed he washed out his ears — and also those of the donkey on which he customarily rode.
— Alan Watts
“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.
I had been instructed to enter the men’s room — Incidentally, SEGREGATED TOILETS ARE A SEXIST CONSPIRACY — in the early morning, stand at a urninal and wait.
So there I was, holding my cock. The hours went by. Several guys washed, shaved, showered, changed their clothes, read half of the Ishpeming Independent, and I was still there.
“You got problems?” said this Japanese-looking gentleman in the cowboy hat.
I explained that I had trouble urinating in public places. “I can’t get going when everybody is next to each other like this.” But, I kept my cool. I didn’t flinch. I just stood there, with dignity.
For years I had been of the conclusion that the highest plane was dope and sex. However, in recent times I had decided that suffering was important, too. This is why I decided to become aware of politics.
According to legend, The Wizard was the man with the answers. A former Harold Stassen advance man, his time almost came when Jimmy Carter took him aside and said, “Let’s break peanuts together.”
However, The Wizard, being from Michigan, couldn’t understand what Carter or his staff members were saying because of their drawls.
So, he returned to his home turf of Ishpeming and continued wandering — waiting, it was said, for a reincarnation of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was a New Dealer to the end.
Except to members of the Trotskyite press, he gave no interviews, saw no visitors. I only was able to arrange to see him after agreeing to go to the Greyhound station, with $500 in cash in an envelope, and hang out in the toilet until he appeared. The code word was: Walter Jenkins.
Toward early afternoon, my right arm exhausted, a thin man in a dayglo toga edged up to the urinal next to mine. “Walter Jenkins,” he said.
“The Wizard!” I proclaimed in joy.
“Silence,” he commanded, bringing a graceful right index finger to his rather chapped lips. He asked if I had “the honorarium.” With my free left hand, I passed the envelope to him. With his free left hand, he passed me an envelope. Then he wheeled around, and disappeared in a flash.
I left the men’s room and, outside the bus station, breathing fresh air again, I opened the envelope.
“WHITE PAPER FROM THE WIZARD,” it was headed. The sub-head read: “PARTISAN POLITICS IN AMERICA IS A REFLECTION OF THE TITANIC STRUGGLE BETWEEN SOFT DRINK MANUFACTURERS.”
In essence, the four-page essay, which contained numerous footnotes, disclosed that at the bottom of U.S. politics was a continuing war between Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola.
It claimed that Jimmy Carter was Coca Cola’s man while the Pepsi Cola Company was more closely allied with the Republicans. The law firm of Carter’s closest advisor, Charles Kirbo, represents Coke, noted the White Paper. Coke big shots are Carter cronies, it said. It noted that Richard Nixon, after he left government the first time, was taken on as a representative of Pepsi Cola, and in that capacity pushed the establishment of Pepsi franchises throughout the world — including the Soviet Union.
As I finished reading the White Paper, and began wondering whether this information was worth $500, I spotted The Wizard, in front of a pizza parlor across from the bus station.
I walked over to him. With huge green eyes with pink flecks he looked at me. “You’d like more?” he said.
“I would,” I replied.
He laughed and sat down on an empty milk crate in front of the pizza parlor, munching on a mushroom and lox pizza. “Would you like a bite?” he asked, teasingly. “I would like to wash my hands first,” I explained. He took off his hat, a Smokey Bear hat, and said: “Put your hands in this.”
I did. He said, “Move your hands around a lot.” I did. “They are washed,” said The Wizard in a jovial tone.
I must tell you, the man’s appearance was unusual, his style not one I had come across often, but he generated huge power.
His warmth was contagious. His smile was engaging. “Would you like to go to Nirvana?” he asked.
“Sure,” I replied.
“Let’s do it to it,” said The Wizard. We walked back to the Greyhound station. Nirvana turned out to be a little town between Idelwild and Chase in Michigan.
It was quite a trip from Upper to Lower Michigan. The Wizard explained he was not crazy for long bus trips because he was a chronic masturbator. “Politics and excessive masturbation are very closely linked,” he said.
Mostly, however, he didn’t talk but played Mumbley Pegs in the aisle.
The bus came to a slow stop at Nirvana. The Wizard turned to me and handed me another envelope — this time a large manilla envelope he had under his toga. “We will meet soon again,” he said, and slipped away in an instant.
This White Paper was titled: “ROCKEFELLER RUNS AMERICA.” It began: “The politics of America are most comparable to the politics of the island of Sicily. Both in America and Sicily the heaviest power is wielded by a collection of groups, or “families,” organized both by blood and loyalty. These groups sometimes feud, sometimes they work together. But there is a pecking order to their power, a cosmology. In Sicily, power is often based on olive oil. In America, it is oil without the olives.”
“Dominating oil in America is the Rockefeller family, America’s most powerful ‘family.’ ” The head of that family is Nelson Rockefeller, the most powerful man in the U.S.”
The paper went on to explain how Nelson’s “nutty and shrewd” granddaddy made oil the currency of energy in the U.S. at the turn of the century by helping push out alternate forms, and then he systematically monopolized the oil business. The White Paper claimed that paying off politicians was a tool used then by the fledgling Standard Oil Trust, and pay-offs became a long and proud oil industry tradition. The “trust-busters” of the turn of the century tried to break up the “Standard Oil Octopus,” said the White Paper. Indeed, the Rockefeller firm “was finally busted up into dozens of theoretical independents: Chevron, Standard of California, Texaco, Standard of Texas, Amoco, Standard of Indiana, Mobil, Standard of New York, and most importantly Exxon, Standard of New Jersey. But in fact,” The Wizard’s White Paper claimed, “there was no break-up. Through an intricate system of interlocking directorates and division of marketing areas, the Standard Trust still operates as it always did, with the Rockefellers further enhancing their hold on the economic system by domination of major banks in the U.S., as well as placing many of their top soldatis, such as Henry Kissinger, in positions of power in America.
The White paper claimed there were “other similar power groupings” in the U.S.: the “New Money of the West — Howard Hughes, etc. — who gave us Richard Nixon and wanted to install Ronald Reagan; the Texas power brokers, who put in Lyndon Johnson and have been pushing ever since for John Connolly. But, Nelson Rockefeller is the capo de tuti and his family predominant of them all.”
I laid down the White Paper in shock.
Suddenly, The Wizard appeared. “Meet me at sunset at McDonald’s,” he said.
The McDonald’s in Nirvana is like any McDonald’s anywhere, which really says something. When I arrived, later that night, The Wizard was munching on a hamburger he had doused far too generously with ketchup and listening to a portable radio playing Spike Jones.
“The twilight is the crack between the worlds,” The Wizard said. “You have much to learn.”
The Wizard sat down with me at a plastic table and spoke, for an hour, about the Shah of Iran. Suffice it to say, he related that the Persians, a border people, had mastered the occult to play the politics between East and West. “Oil, too,” said The Wizard, “has much to do with the Shah’s power.” He told me, too, about the Masons and about many other things. “Politics among people is preposterous,” said The Wizard. I will devote future works to some of these secrets in order to recoup my $500 investment. (I am now broke, having spent my last $4 recently for eggrolls.)
The last words the Wizard said were: “There is still much more for you to know.”
He jumped from the front steps of McDonald’s and, again, vanished. I was alone, but I had to say: “I don’t know if I want to know.”
Nirvana was pretty dark then, but the Nirvana Carter Campaign Headquarters was still open. I went in and had a Coke.