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Tuesday, November 30, 2010


caterpillar with something on her mind

It's been a rough day in the mind. Drove to town to get out of my mind and visit with some of the regulars at Selma's coffee shop, Backwoods Bean. It's a good place to talk with friendly people who aren't trying to prove anything about themselves being high up the ego scale. Everybody has their egos. That's not the issue. We live with our own egos and other people's egos. We learn how not to be abrasive to other people's egos, as much as possible, and forgive egoic infractions that are unconscious. I've been wondering about a definition of civilized behavior, what it means. It's not about tea in the afternoon or putting your shoes together by the bed.

It's difficult to call this world we're in during this time civilized. Like Yeats said, the center doesn't hold; we're going off in our own egoic directions following whatever motivates us individually. I like the above sentence that came out one word at a time. I'd never seen it like that, or so articulately in words. We learn how not to be abrasive to other people's egos, as much as possible, and forgive egoic infractions that are unconscious. Civilized is not a concern for others, nor is it a concern for the whole. It's self-centered as it can be. In our self-centered goings about we attempt not to be offensive to others with our egos and attempt not to be driven nuts by other people's egos. It's a delicate dance. It's about keeping peace when we humans live together in huge numbers so we're not like a bunch of fighting cocks jumping at each other all the time. We just show our spurs in civilization for evidence of manhood, as if nobody could tell by looking.

I've been having an inner conflict involving someone else's ego that is way out of bounds and can never stop making certain I understand he knows more than I do. And, of course, if I say something about it, he throws it back on me. I've known a lot of people in my life, have learned how to interact with other people's egos well enough to keep peace most of the time. Like Jr said, God puts things down in front of you to get through. When you get through one, he puts down another. Evidently God has offered me an overwhelming ego in a friend, with a sticky note attached like the title of Courtney Love's first album, Live Through This. I've taken bearing it as a challenge and attempted to pay it no mind.

A couple nights ago I dreamed a man broke into my house and I shot him. In dreams I take one's house to be one's self, attic mind, basement subconscious. The shooting happened in the living room just inside the door. Next night I dreamed a bear grabbed hold of me in a bear hug. I broke free and took off running. Later, lying in the bed awake, I was thinking about the issue at hand and said to myself in my mental talk, I can't bear any more of this. Bear. There it was. I've had a hard time bearing this invasive ego and made the decision to let him go. If it's as important to him that I look up to the shining light of his ego, insisting time after time I get it that he's smarter than me, he has spent our entire acquaintance frustrated. I'm happy he's smarter than me. I'd love to see everybody smarter than me. I'm nothing to compare oneself against in any way for any reason unless it would be laziness. I'm real good at that.

I'm just an American Joe who likes an awful lot of people, loves an awful lot of people and likes living in a world with my friends in it, civilized people with nonabrasive egos, people who don't have to be proving every minute of every day they have the biggest ego in the room. What can I say, but, Hey, your ego really is big. Carumba! It's curious that I also saw Wendell Rowell by apparent chance just as I'm reeling from this other friend, Wendell the non-gamer, the man who is satisfied you can see on sight he's a man and doesn't need to be huffed up calling attention to his manhood. His knowledge, his intelligence is his own for his own use, not something to browbeat others with. In my mental agitation, he was such a contrast to what I was struggling with in my mind, he helped me make the decision I feel I'm faced with now.

My friends are the most valuable people in my life. I like to regard them family, like you can't quit knowing somebody in the family because they piss you off. They keep on pissing you off and you keep on taking it, because it's family. That's how I want to be with my friends. His intrusive ego broke and entered where knocking first he'd have been welcome. He got shot because I couldn't bear any more. Lines from a Carole King song play in my mind, Something inside has died and I can't hide and I just can't fake it. I hear a Chicago blues singer, Everthing gonna be all right. Oh yeah.

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