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Considering the philosophical underpinnings
of the story and events of the surveillance between
Christmas Day 1987 and the Republican National Convention
in August 1988. Also, a story concerning the odd notions
of a Fourth Form English teacher.
“Final Thoughts: Postmortems or Postmasters”
However, comrades, does a story ever end? Does the universe
have a beginning and an end?
Perhaps you realize the answer to both questions. After all,
we are left with the facts of this loaf of life as intuitively
Marcel Proust sought to deal with the infinite by writing an
infinite story. Why bother reading even one book, some
surrealists argued, when a small library contained more books
than a person could consume in a lifetime? Why indeed?
By the same token, as Proust realized, a writer could take
the simplest object or concept — a tree branch, molecule, a
single thought — and describe it until the end of time, or at
least one’s time on earth. The task could be picked up by the
next person and the next in an infinite chain that never breaks.·
Therefore, can you comrades in ultimate confusion even
pretend to be shocked that the Tyger Williams saga can never
conclude. There is always this item or that to add, subtract,
consider, and remove; add again, paint, describe, draw to en end,
and begin again resurrected.
Perhaps that is the core of all religion–the feeling, the
belief, the inescapable impression that there must be more
to the tale than meets the eye. Humanity needs to try to understand
and bring order to the basic principles of confusion.
One will go insane trying to understand the origins of physical principles.
Instead, one must try to explain as much as possible
without asking that silly one word question:
The answer is always the same:
And why, as the surrealists asked, bother?
If humanity can not know even the most basic questions,
how we came into being,
what the perceived universe contains;
if humanity can not possibly explain the smallest part
of the smallest portion of reality to the largest,
from the tiniest subatomic particle to huge supernovas,
why bother discussing anything?
Why not stay in the simplest vegetative state, living for each moment,
considering only what makes a person happy,
pursuing it with every ounce of attitude and being?
In case you have been buried beneath the ground
in death-in-life forever like dirty rotten morons
such as Roots Badburns and Heave Broward, the answer is self-evident.
Many persons do this.
This classification, in fact, includes much of humanity
from the politically piggy higher up corrupts like Shrubby, Fail, Ray-Gun, Nixxon,
and the many legions of losers who made them possible;
all the way down to the simplest purest soul living
in an as yet undiscovered prehistoric Amazonia tribe,
if one exists.
Many persons observed at this moment from a front window,
walking across a busy street, driving along a highway
bound for nowhere fast, simply do not care.
They could care less about the higher principles we now consider.
Truth means nothing to them. It means less than what is on television,
less than what transpires in front of their faces,
far less than question of what is for dinner or who are they going to fuck.
They are, in short, animals, animalistic like the cat, the giraffe,
the lowest insect and highest soaring bald eagle.
(Oh, dolphins and certain species of whale; maybe a few other air, land, and sea creatures
of superior intelligence have a clue as to self recognition, true.
Let us not demean such creatures unduly.)
Let them be. Let them be all they can be for they have no choice.
There are no higher options to consider for such as they.
Just the usual shop until they drop, eat until they are full,
live until they die, state of being. But a few lost and lonely souls
must consider the higher meaning of life, ultimate questions that transcend life and death.
These questions have been considered since time immemorial
and will be part and parcel of man’s quest for ultimate meaning,
not to get too heavy lest gravity pin us to the ground.
As long as the species and planet evolves.
Our highest mission is to understand what is our highest
Such tasks in ancient societies might be assigned to an
individual called a shaman, priest, or known by some other
official designation. This division of function served a useful
purpose thereby freeing the strongest, and wisest, leaders down
to the lowest dull bulbs, nuts and dolts, to pursue the parallel
course of trying to fulfill the doctrine of survival of the
fittest or even improve humanity’s earthbound situation.
While most were toddling around with the actual physical
task of making man s lot better, more comfortable, more
efficient, less shitty to use an appropriately anal expression;
shaman, priest, psychic leader, guru bore the most troubling
burden of all, contemplation of the infinite, those questions
that cut to the core of man’s existence.
That is their horrible burden and awful task. The rewards,
however, are beyond anything that even the wisest temporal leader
could possibly imagine. The reward is a closeness, a closerness
to the fundamental building block of universal disorder.
Once upon a time, Tyger had a Fourth Form English teacher
named Mr . Sherman. This particular instructor was an odd bird. He
shaved his head, spoke with an effeminate and peculiar tone,
uttered bizarre and equally peculiar sentiments, all the while
browbeating the class into a state of cowering mass submission.
Mr. Sherman hit on the simple truth that the best way to
control a large group of ignoramuses was to confuse them
further, split them like atoms, explode their lame brains
with unrelated anti-matter.
Highly effective counter-insurgency tactic. The class
of dullards, usually loud and rude beyond belief to
less terrifying and sublime instructors, were reduced to
an eerie state of submission and silence.
Some students followed Mr. Sherman around like
a brood of kittens after their big mama cat.
Others took the opposite tact, mocking him,
albeit behind his back, never daring to confront
those strange, blank staring eyes.
(That would be foolishly dangerous.
Who knew what such a madman might do.
He might even flunk them, thereby blowing
that all-important Ivy League college admission,)
Tyger took a more judicious approach towards the
maniacal might be gigantic prophet.
As Ray-Gun said, trust but verify, a state
of suspended disbelief, best associated
with appreciation of great art.
One fine spring day, however, Mr. Sherman gave a lecture
that stuck in Tyger’s mind forever. At the time, Tyger considered
the speech a standard diatribe given to each of Mr. Sherman’s
classes to keep them under control, perhaps an annual rite of
passage. The young boy didn’t think much of the talk, although it
made sense in a quirky sort of way.
Consider the scene in this, the final moments of our brief
time spent with the ever searching and curious surveillance pelicana.
Push the hands of time back back back to the outfield fence….
Take up a surveillance of that moment, existing in the mists
of memory before there were portable video cameras and recorders.
That far-off time when the Great Society was all the rage.
Kennedys and liberals were respected American leaders.
Little has cha-changed since then except for political
fashion, technical advancement, and alternation of popular
personalities. There have been no changes of the fundamental
human spirit or inner condition that persists through eternity or
at least until man·s perception of eternity has ba-da-bing ended.
Final act begins stage right.
A bell rang signifying a change of school periods.
Boys enter a third floor classroom.
They sit at wooden chair-desks still excited
by the brief freedom afforded in the
temporary suspension of school discipline and order.
They are impervious, not
noticing any particular differences before their twinkling eyes.
Mr. Sherman has drawn a white chalk picture on the blackboard.
He sits stage left, surrounded, almost obscured, in his chair.
Boys chatter aimlessly until one by one they sense
the need to cease and desist.
Mr. Sherman does not have to call them to attention.
He psychically wills their motor-mouths to
“Yes. Yes. You are quiet then,” Mr. Sherman notes
in his strange turn of tone, a kind of
cocktail hybrid of geek with a twist of Marine drill sergeant.
“I call your attention to what I have drawn on the blackboard.”
He points with a ruler.
“Consider the weeds I have drawn.
The weeds that all of you, myself, and everyone you
know, and will know, are mired in,
trapped like animals, beasts, inextricably bound,
unable to escape, unable even to imagine escape.”
(Mr. Sherman had a funny way of pronouncing certain words and a masters degree in
literature from the University of Michigan to validate his erudition. So, he pronounced
Oedipus as Oy-Ay-Di-Puuuus, for example, as the class went Greek from time to time.)
“Oy-Ay-Di-Puuuus is down there.” Mr. Sherman pointed to the ground.
“Clytemnestra is down there. Your mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers are down there.
The smartest person you will ever meet in your life is down there.
And yes, even I am down there.
“Now, look above, above up there to the top of the blackboard.”
Everyone looked over, under, through the blackboard with X-ray visions blurring.”
Nothing. Sorry, comrades.
“That is God or what we call God or what others call what they call the ultimate being,”
Mr. Sherman continues monotone unabated.
“The beginning and end of time. That is off the blackboard.
No one can see it.
“Now, just beneath the edge of the board,
but significantly higher than the weeds is this.
Mr. Sherman had drawn three white clouds set on the blackboard sea.
“This is where one person reaches.
One person can find this place, a place above the
weeds where the vista is clear.”
“He could look down upon the weeds and everyone in the weeds,
but there is no need to bother.
He does not care what the weeds contain,
what the weed persons do with
their brief time in the weeds.
No. No. Never.”
Mr. Sherman’s voice rose like a reedy flute,
piercing the psychic atmosphere marked by
half-listening, barely comprehending 16 year old youths.
“No. He has made it to a place above the weeds.
He can never look back. He is up
Mr. Sherman held a hand up to the cloudy picture,
“and all of us are down there.”
.He points with the ruler to the weeds.
“You are a dull class,” Mr. Sherman said.
“In fact, when they gave me your class they
warned me these boys care not to learn.
They are stupid boys. They only are interested
in becoming businessmen, bankers, lawyers, whatever.
“They warned me. Do not waste your time, your energy
with boys such as these. They will not benefit.
Simply teach them the lesson,
wish them good luck on their way to
wherever they are going.
I have seen you boys for nearly a year.
I must agree. You are the worst class I have
ever taught. You will live your lives,
make what you will of them.
That is nothing to me.
You are stupid boys.
I have drawn this picture,
wasted my valuable time all these months for a
What reason is this,
I see you ask with your dull eyes.
I will tell you.
“While you and I are stuck in the mud,
hidden from the higher truth of order by these
wretched weeds, unable to get out or climb above;
one of you is exempt from this
inhumane status of humanity.
Yes. Yes,” Mr. Sherman’s thin voice seeming to rise like a fine mist,
“look at your classmates. Look to the right and left, behind and in front.
One of you is here,” and pointing to the blackboard clouds.
“One of you stupid boys is wisest of all,
wiser even than me although he does not
realize it. One of you is above the weeds.
This boy among all of we weed eaters,
this boy who does not realize what he is.
For this boy, I have done everything.
“I have sweated at night, prepared
these many months of lessons even as you did
not comprehend them, perhaps never will,
or might eventually come to realize a small
portion. But this boy above the weeds comprehends,
and yes, understands even, understands all I have spoken,
perhaps without realizing it as yet.
“I have done everything that I have done for this boy,
this one boy who will rise above
you, above me.
I have told only him about
Oy-Ay-Di-Puuuus and Shakespeare’s sonnets.
“One boy out of all, and you know what,
I will not tell you who he is.
You will never hear that from me.
“He might be you,” Mr. Sherman pointed at a dull lad.
“Or you, or you, or you,” pointing at different students.
“You must always wonder who he is. It might be anyone.
It might be he who none suspect,
none of you even vaguely consider.
“Or it might be you,” pointing to Bob Lippman, straight ‘A’ honor roll Mensa student.
“Or you,” pointing to Andy Suchin, worst ‘D’ student one planet earth,
“or you or you or you…
You must always wonder who he is for you are in the weeds.
This special boy will know the higher order
that even I can not possibly understand, nor could I
should I live an eternity.
He knows this intuitively. He knows this without asking.
I have done all I can to help him.
I have devoted myself to him, this secret boy.
I will never utter his name.
The rest of you are irrelevant. The rest of you are cattle.
I only hope this person remembers what I said, what I tried to show him.
I hope he has pity on me when he remembers my unworthiness.
I hope I have been of some small service to him.
Pause as Mr. Sherman bows head towards floor.
Initial shock gives way to boys quickly gathering belongings,
throwing them into decalled book bags.
They fear Mr. Sherman — usually a stickler for detail and punctuality —
might change his mind, considering he had dismissed class
with 20 minutes remaining on the big clock.
Mr. Sherman sinks in his chair scene stopped.
(That was the last lecture Mr. Sherman ever gave the class for he was terminated
suddenly, and without public explanation, the next week.
Circumstances were unclear
although whispers of gay indiscretions refused to die.)
Three card monty shell game of a time
Nothing is as it appears, everything is as it seems,
No difference through the mists of history.
Pelicans sweeping above the levee, oblivious
to what has come and what yet will be.
Frauds and occasional triumphs of the spirit
in our mind one last time as in a dream or a Joe Fine black box
secret surveillance system videotape upon further review.
And a funny thing about the perspective provided by such a
long view. Classmates spun various webs of lives with wives,
children, and families. They became lawyer doctor businessman
fool; even a few artistic lines intertwined, splitting off in
consciousness to places near and far, tight and wide.
But Tyger, Tyger Williams in his Gulliver’s travels through
Alice’s looking glass wonderland, stopping at this place or that
seemingly at random, moving from this job to that, this project,
this thought to the next in an inevitable progression,
this mirror of time, snapshot reflecting nothing
happening for a reason while everything
adds up to life in the weeds yearning for the
higher understanding of the clouds promised a class of
dullards many eons ago by a mad and bizarre prophet.
Comrades who sat surveillance, sometimes ridiculous,
sometimes awesome, poignant, beyond comprehension and every point
of human consciousness betwixt and between a few white pages, as
related by and for Tyger Williams, insurance investigating art
detective everyman observer.
Comrades who bore witness everlasting to the small, although
potent, magic potion of events briefly described that mixed in
random directions between Christmas Day 1987 and Republican
National Anti-Matter Inconsequential Convention of
August 1988 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, of all
That thought, comrades, dances in the sun, glints, and
glistens through the slippery mirror of time as magnified by
Anything is possible.
Let us spend the end of this tail, comrades,
contemplating Mr. Sherman’s sphinx-like riddle, never expecting
to know the answer. We are lost in those damn weeds.
nothing dust dirt, mindless molecules floating to
We are their inevitable conclusion; like it or not, know it or never care.
But it would be nice, if only for the briefest moment; it
would be a pleasant and comforting thought to imagine, if
only for a nanosecond, that such a person might sit on a cloud
above even as we shit in the weeds below and contemplate a high,
higher, highest order. If this were only so, comrades of the
final forever so long fare thee well take care goodbye–perhaps
there is hope for all of us yet.
That means, after all the shit has hit the fan and blown
nowhere, all is said and done, opened and _closed, considered,
forgotten and probably like the universe exploded into the great
never ending what; that we may cling to a small silly hope, a
hope that dances an awkward stupid jig that a hero contemplates a
higher calling, holds a wake in honor of all the other so-called
heroes, smart and dumb ones combined into one world order.
That means that we might hang by the slimmest thread of that
faint hope unwinding; that hope lingering after the lights are
snuffed out; that hope like an uninvited party guest who simply
will not vanishJ that hope that Mr. Sherman’s riddle might yet be
solved; that even the lowest soul sunk in the worst weedy way may
one day be freed from his awful state of unknowing.
Could it be? Could it be? Could it be? The infinite mantra
the last moment of time disappearing like a grinning illusionist,
vanishing into that space where nothing has existed forever.
Be that as it may.
For your final contemplation comrades:
Tyger Williams thinks
about the past year as he sits by the lake at Audubon Park
smoking a big fat illegal smile.
He also thinks about the future, coming into view,
1989 on its inevitable way.
Just say yes.
Just say yes.
Chanting the countercultural mantra of the magic moment.
Say Yes. Yes.