Literature, Quietude, sweetness of honey

Bobbleheads, Epiphenomenalism, and You

If you don’t choose your thoughts you don’t choose anything

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You don’t choose your thoughts

If a hierarchy governs their placement it eludes codification. No obvious criterion separates the bobbleheads on the upper shelves from those below, certainly none based on contributions to civilization. Why is the Terminator next to the Incredible Hulk? What twisted taxonomy consigns Simon and Garfunkel to different shelves?

Look closer. Patterns emerge and vanish, icebergs of data drifting in an ocean of static, foiling assumptions and postulates. Is chaos a type of order or is order a subvariety of chaos? Are they antipodes or kin? If nothing is random then chaos is shorthand for ignorance. Careful. Some people break codes. Some codes break people. The line is slight and you won’t know you’ve crossed it. Others will.

Perhaps the difficulty involved in their acquisition is key. The bobbleheads easiest to obtain reside in the center. The more rarefied spread out in a spiral pattern. Regrettably these subjective elements necessitate the decryption of a medium even more convoluted. To account for a collection we must first understand its collector, forcing us to explain the enigmatic by means of the incomprehensible.

A Novel of Vengeance, Honor & Bobbleheads

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Vicki & The Bobbleheads

“How many bobbleheads do you have?”

They gander like alien invaders awaiting the signal to attack, their infiltration scheme brilliant in theory (camouflaged in the likeness of their prey) but destined for disaster owing to the retention of their oversized craniums.

“Many are called. Few are chosen.”

“You have more than that bar on Lincoln Avenue.”

“Bobbleheadz. The bobbleheads at Bobbleheadz are mostly sports figures. Quantity counts for nothing. Quality is indefinable.”

“How long have you been collecting them?”

“I prefer not to think of our relationship in those terms, or any. To speak of some things devalues their importance by denying the uniqueness of their nature. It assumes a linguistic currency that can be exchanged for the subject in question. Priceless things have no currency, conceptual or otherwise.”

“So they’re more like roommates or imaginary friends who aren’t completely imaginary. I get it. Not.”

“Would you like to see the heads bobble again?”

“Again? I’ve never been here before.”

“I was thinking of the ones in the bar. You should see these.”

“Big day in a girl’s life. Is this like that act where the performer has to keep ten plates spinning?”

“Much more impressive. Take a seat in the big comfy chair. Stare at the one in the center.”

“Jerry Garcia.”

“It’s Karl Marx.”

“Why is he between Chico and Harpo?”

“Think about it.”

“So you sit here and get baked and watch your bobbleheads.”

“What’s wrong with that? People turn to different things to find shelter from the commotion of life.”

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“I guess. It’s no worse than losers who play video games all day.”

“How flattering. Thank you.”

“Do you do this with other guys or is it a solitary thing?”

“Take three deep breaths. It’s important to relax before you see them.”

“I’m looking right at them.”

“But they aren’t bobbling yet. Take a deep breath and hold it. Let it out slowly.” He flicks a switch on the wall. Cabinet lighting bathes the bobbles in blue neon. “I want you to imagine you’re drifting down a stream of clear water beneath a pale blue sky.”

“What does this have to do with big-headed baseball dolls?”

“First of all, as the presentation will demonstrate, there is not a single sports doll. Not one. Second, I might be exhibiting these at a Bay View art gallery. I’ll have to introduce them several times a day. I need practice. Do you think I’d let people walk up and paw them, let children put their sticky fingers on them? Maybe I shouldn’t bother.”

“Maybe you should pitch this to Cirque du Soleil.”

“Watch the sky change colors. Dark blue. Darker.” He turns on the vibrating dumbbell. His subjects nod like a coliseum of hydrocephalic dwarfs. “Watch them shimmy. Relax. Let your eyes slip out of focus so they look blurry. Blurry like a cloud.   Can you see any faces in the cloud?”

“Yes.”

“Who do you see?”

“Betty Boop.”

“Good, very good. Take a deep breath. Let it out. What color are her eyes?”

“Blue.”

“Are you sure?”

Mm hmm.”

“You’re seeing the sky behind the cloud, that’s why. Just like when you look into the eyes of the blue-eyed man. He is as temporary as a cloud, but the sky behind him remains. Do you understand?”

“I’ve never understood anything less in my entire life.”

“That’s okay. We don’t know anything for certain. That’s why we have instincts. Yours are telling you the current is moving in circles. Look at the cloud being blown by the wind, molded by it. What does it look like now?”

“Count Chocula — No, Franken Berry.”

“Are you afraid of monsters?”

“Monsters aren’t real.”

“Very good. None of the faces are. Only the sky behind them is. There are no individual monsters. What color are Franken Berry’s eyes?”

“Blue.”

“That’s because you’re seeing the sky behind the cloud. Just like when you look into the eyes of the blue-eyed man. The sky is a permanent mind watching you, thinking about you, judging you from behind many passing manifestations. Do you understand?”

“I don’t know. Maybe.”

“That’s good. The wind is getting stronger. You’re spinning faster. Are you dizzy?”

“A little. I’m afraid of drowning.”

“Look down at your feet. It’s a whirlpool. Look how fast the horizon is spinning.” She shrieks. Duncan sips his beer and smiles. “Watch your cloud. Which one are you seeing?”

“Boo Berry.”

“Very good. Look at Boo Berry. Look at his eyes. Think of the blue behind them and the mind of the blue-eyed man and what the mind wants. Then the terrible spinning will stop.”

“What does the mind of the blue-eyed man want?” she pleads.

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He picks up a book and opens it to a page bookmarked by a cigar band. Some sentences are highlighted, others crossed out in red as though stabbed. “He wants you to remember a simple phrase. Then he wants you to forget it until you hear it again. Can you do that?”

“Yes. Anything.”

“The current is slowing down. What does your cloud look like now?”

“The Great Gazoo.”

“What color are his eyes?”

“Blue.”

“And why is that?”

“Because that’s the sky behind the cloud.”

“And the sky is the mind of the blue-eyed man. So deep and blue. So blue and deep.”

“The sky is the mind of the blue-eyed man,” she says. “The sky is the mind of the blue-eyed man.”

“Excellent. Look into the blue of his eyes. A blissful calm washes over you like you just had an orgasm. You’re not tired but you’ve never felt more peaceful in your life. Do you like this calm?”

“It’s like ecstasy.”

“Ecstasy the drug or the many states of being squeezed into that concept?”

“Yeah.”

“Would you like to feel this way all the time?”

“I couldn’t drive or go to work.”

“How about feeling like this more often?”

“It’s not worth the effort. Guys resent constructive criticism. It makes them self-conscious. I learned my lesson. Accept what you get or move on.”

“This won’t involve the Pavlovian manipulation of inept boyfriends. Are you interested?”

“Definitely.”

“Then listen very, very carefully.”

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Sweeter Than Anything

I, Petronius Jablonski, scholar and philanthropist, do hereby solemnly swear to NEVER again use the foul, twisted Deep Dream program to ruin good pictures.

The Reader interested in Epiphenomenalism should read this. It’s potential relevance to The Sweetness of Honey and bobbleheads and everything is obvious only in hindsight.

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Go Forth My Book Into the Open Day

“If I abandon this project I would be a man without dreams, and I don’t want to live like that. I’ll live my life or I’ll end my life with this project.”  Herzog

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