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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 oblivious.
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 never truly can conclude.
There always is this item or that to add, subtract, consider, and remove;
add again, paint, describe, draw to an 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 tiger’s tale
than meets the naked eye. Humanity needs to try to understand, 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:
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
corrupt conniptions 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; octupuses, ravens,
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.
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. However, 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 mission.
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
cutting to the core of man’s existence.
That is their horrible burden and awful task. 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 blocks 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, splitting them like atoms, exploding 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, reduced to an eerie state of submission and silence.
Some students followed Mr. Sherman around likea 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.
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. Bell rings, 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 simmering stops.
“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. Weeds that all of you, myself, everyone you know, 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, glorious 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. Look. Look.” Mr. Sherman has 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 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 there,”
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 ever have,” fake quote marks with his fingers, “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 reason.
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,” 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. “Class dismissed.” Initial shock gives way
to boys quickly gathering belongings, throwing them into decal-covered 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 when
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 become.
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.
Funny thing about perspective provided by such a
long view telescoped through space. 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, bouncing like a superball from this job to that,
this observation, 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 madly bizarre
excuse for a prophet. Comrades who sat surveillance, sometimes ridiculous, sometimes awesome,
hit or miss, 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, mixed in random fashion between Christmas Day 1987
and RepublicanNational Anti-Matter Inconsequential Convention of August 1988 at the Louisiana Superdome
in New Orleans, of all fantastic places. That thought, comrades, dances in the sun, glints, glistens
through the slippery mirror of time as magnified by recollections divine. Anything is possible.
Anyone 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, nothingness,
dust dirt, mindless molecules floating nowhere, everywhere, too fast. 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 only were so, comrades of the
final forever so long fare thee well take care goodbye, we yet may wish upon a star.
After all the shit has hit the fan and blown nowhere, all is said and done, opened
and closed, considered, like the universe exploded into the great never ending what;
we may cling to a small silly hope, a hope dancing 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. This means we might hang by the
slimmest thread of that faint hope unwinding; that hope lingering after lights are
snuffed out; that hope like an uninvited party guest who simply will not vanish, 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?
You? Them? Me? The infinite mantra 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, squarely rounding into view,
1989 on its inevitable way. WTF. A chapter in a life ended with simply one affirmation remaining.
Just say yes. Just say yes. Chanting the countercultural mantra of the magic moment.
Say Yes. Yes. Yes…