A New Path to Enlightenment


Matt has been hired by a plumbing company to sell toilets.  His old man who works for the same company got him the job. What could Matt do but accept? He was good at nothing else.
Larry, a hotshot salesman goes out with him one day and lays it on the line: “I don’t tolerate laziness. It’s a form of treason,” he says.
Matt says it’s not his fault he’s not pulling in big figures. He has no sales experience and no one is willing to train him.
Larry shoots back, “Baptism by fire.”
But Matt whines and says it’s been over a year and he still has no idea what he’s doing.
Then Larry comes back with this: “Your job is to go out there every day and get your face kicked in. It’s the only path to Enlightenment.”



 I don’t know if Larry and the Buddha were talking about the same kind of Enlightenment and if they were would the Buddha have agreed with Larry’s method?
Is Larry right? Or can’t you find Enlightenment through the toilet trade?
Are some trades/professions more inimical to Enlightenment than others? Can a politician find Enlightenment? would it help him in his job?
 

Tethered

You could give it up, you know.

Nah, mate. I couldn’t.

Sure you could.

Think I haven’t tried ? I’ve cut back, mate. Cut back heaps.

Still ….

I’m in a happy spot. I’m not going to beat myself up.

But ,,,

Everyone needs one vice in their life, mate. It keeps us tethered.

How Could I Not?

I put up a post the other minute that I knew might offend people but I wanted to honour the veracity of the experience. Would it be more acceptable if the man was the one shouting, and he was the bear of the title rather than his female partner? She did unleash a scatological attack upon the poor guy. What he had done was unclear; more likely it was what he hadn’t done. The title of the piece was unavoidable, though might have been more acceptable were it the man hurling abuse.

It was what happened. Security was called. I overheard the remark, ‘woman screaming in the mall’. It was quite an event. It stopped everyone in their tracks. I could bend over backwards to sugar-coat the experience or ignore it but I’m a writer. How could I not respond to it?

Biros

I started to think about biros again, how mine was long and thin like a matchstick but it had no heft.

A biro should have heft if it is to write anything of import.

Mine is fine for writing light verse, things of flippancy and quirk.

But for something darker, more adventurous, a biro with girth is required.

Yes, I decided, for Father’s Day I’m going to request a biro with a stubby stem, a bit like its inventor Lazlo Biro

photo of Lazlo Biro courtesy of Wikipedia 

Secrets

There should be secrets

For us to ponder

to worry about.

Not everything need be known

like how we got here

on this island Earth,

Why God put us here,

the point of suffering,

of brain tumors, cancer?

why some people sail through life

while others ….

What’s it all about, Alfie?

Like the house across the street.

Who lived there? Why did they go?

Why has it been left to ruin?

I could ask the guy raking the leaves

in the house next door

but if I knew, I couldn’t ponder.

There should be secrets.

There should be secrets.

She Needs Cheering Up

I need cheering up, she says. I work better when happy.

A shared laugh would help, she adds.

So it’s down to me. What am I? A stand-up?

I can’t think of anything funny to say.

It’s a lovely sunny morning in spite of the forecast

so that’s something to be happy about

but happy isn’t funny.

I riffle through my corny joke book but she’s heard them all

even the good ones, like what do you call an Igloo without a toilet?

An Ig !

I thought that was pretty good but all it elicited was a groan.

And anyway, how necessary is it to be happy when you’re working?

Take art. Some of the best paintings were birthed in rage and fear.

Think ‘The Scream’ by Munch, Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ or Bacon’s ‘The Screaming Pope’.

You don’t read ‘In Memoriam’ for a good laugh or listen to ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ for a bit of a lift.

These did not come from a happy place.

Sure, being in a happy place helps, but you’re not going to get the dark matter, the weight if you’re buoyant as a balloon.  

pic by John Currin on Pinterest

The Mermaid Question

Seven year olds will always ask, at some stage when you are least ready for it, the mermaid question.

Granddad, Tina asks me, how do mermaids go to the toilet?

While you are grappling with this one, they ask another, THE BIG KAHUNA of questions, usually in the car while you are driving them to or from some event:

Grandad, where would I be if you and grandma never got married?

It’s the sort of question you need to pull over the side of the road for, but I kept on driving, hoping an apt answer would ‘pop’ into my head. Where’s the Muse when you need her? Surely she’d good for things other than poetry.

I don’t know what you would have done? I mean, how do you answer a question like that? There’s an obvious answer but that might depress the hell out of her, Who wants to be confronted at that age with self obliteration? And there’s the ontological answer but she wouldn’t get it.

I thought I’d go with the mermaid answer. That’d be the easier of the two …. maybe.

Where Celebrities Grew Up

Reading an article by David Remnick,

editor of ‘The New Yorker’

since 1998

I discovered

he was born in Paterson, New Jersey

the same place as Philip Roth,

the novelist whose biography Remnick was profiling,

as was Ginsberg,

the man who wrote “Howl’

that poem that still echoes down the decades.

the same place too

as William Carlos Williams,

the man who wrote ‘the red wheelbarrow’

and wait for it,

Lou Costello,

the comedic partner of Bud Abbot

whose films split our sides

in the fun house of the fifties;

what do they have in the water of Paterson, New Jersey,

that so many famous people

grew up there;

it must be quite a place

The Happy Caddie

It’s okay being a caddie

tagging along with the team

light as a butterfly

nothing to prove

floating along the lazy rhythms

of the afternoon,

the dappled sunlight,

the bodyguard gums,

the cheeky creek bed waiting

to gobble up golf balls;

you’re nimble on yr feet,

jovial as a parrot

keeping the banter going

handing out irons

as a waiter would drinks,

planting the flag after putting is done

like Neil and Buzz on the moon





*pic courtesy of Wikipedia

Phone Call at 3a.m.

I get a phone call at 3a.m.

Who calls at 3a.m?

You think the worst.

I glance across at the screen.

The call’s from Algeria.

I don’t pick up.

I don’t know anyone from Algeria.

I used to get phone calls from ‘my mate’

in Mogadishu asking me how my bank account’s going

but since I told him I’m a pisspot he’s stopped calling.

But Algeria?

I don’t even know where the fuck it is.

Africa somewhere?

But here’s the funny thing.
It rings three times then silence.

What’s the point of that?

Is it a scam?

How can you scam someone unless you speak to them first?

Perhaps he’s inordinately shy.

Perhaps he’s a mute.

Perhaps he only speaks Martian.

I knew a young man once, Simon whose father was the Lord Mayor of Mars but that’s another story.

I look up Algeria on the map.

No clues there.

But he’s there. Somewhere.

On his cell phone.

Now who shall I phone tonight? he wonders.

Whose puffy slumbers can I puncture?

Bizarre.