The inspiration that ultimately led to the ritual ground breaking ceremony for the Thee Tawny Owl Institute of High Flying Wisdom and Rising Consciousness started out curiously enough with a few injuries I suffered upon falling out of an oak tree. I knew instantly it was a great idea. The injury to my shoulder was inconsequential. The bone bruise and scrapes were nothing. It was the injury to my head that ultimately achieved a spherical measure of greatness. The nourishing expansion due to a partially busted and leaking head is a terrible thing to waste, I know. I answered that niggling question long ago with the assistance of Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix. It’s how the ice melts and puddles develop into lakes and streams and empty holes expand. It’s how the mud sets to become hard like a brick. Now, it’s settled dogma.
But even a great idea to be followed like a beacon adrift requires delineation, circumspection, orientation to detail. Without the proper planning and execution, all the gibberish becomes so much blah, blah, blah for onslaughts of followers to repeat for eons. Then comes the mud. Where would any of the major Western religions be without all the high powered automatic weaponry to recall as backup? Or the burning sensations and the hallucinations? Closer to nowhere in the mud, that’s where. When gelled into paste, all important ingredients required to pulverize theory into practice must be at least adequate, if not as great as the idea in its naked form, because nothing is or can be as great as an idea whose nude aesthetic has arrived, in a shapely manner, sort of.
After the initial jolt, which naturally caused a blossoming spasm in the tianzong zone of my fire phase meridian, and wrenched me away from the jianjing orbit of my wood phase meridian, I understood there was only one meaningful course of action to take. Make no mistake. Don’t think. I know I for one am good and fed up with that. Sick and tired, too. Sure, why not? Act. Be. Shit or get off the pot. Go on.
So, before long I was standing in a squiggly line of indifferent bodies among others. My eyes were opened in tandem by then. Some, among the others, might ask the reason why. But, not me. Action invariably requires a courageous response. There were no windows to any outside world as I knew it. Unless I was missing a component that was key. I checked my pockets but found nothing. Why wasn’t that enough of a warning? It was a good question that I did not ask. I felt as if I was going to pass out and be stepped upon. Or sideswiped, at least. I was familiar, sort of, with feeling that way inside of any enclosed environment containing linoleum or vinyl. Acrylics, too. Especially the tightly woven acrylics that attract dust like magnets. There is a known history of linear connections in similar spaces between confined, standing bodies, all silent nouns, presenting their shallow breathing in varying stages of distress, and the feeling of light-headed unconsciousness, a singular verb. Lines suck valuable energy from the multiverse, I’m sure. Unless that was knitted, not woven. Look what happened to Pluto, a former planet. The absence of windows can’t help. What’s left becomes altered and diminished, like spit. What other explanation makes any sense? But, when my turn came, I stepped forward. Decisive, unfulfilled action still remained to be taken.
For all the great utilitarian good it did me, I stated my so-called case for a non-profit business. Firmly, and with some feeling. I maintain that a massive woman heard me as plain as the crooked, humpback nose on my face, but did not look up. An old-fashioned black and white clock ticked ominously. The second hand jerked something awful. She was sitting in a cage on an ergonomic stool designed to accommodate a wide body. She smelled refreshingly like artificial mint. Skeptically, she said, “Next.”
I tried hard not to feel too silly about looking around for acknowledgment of my existence, if not support. Of course, there was none. The nose was healing satisfactorily according to the schedule approved by the AMA, I had been assured. I passed my filled out form through the bars. To me, it looked pretty good. Sort of.
I said, “You mean me, right?”
She looked down at my smudge-free form. The ink, though colorful, and fragrant, was dry. I could have been anyone. Oh yeah, I was. I should have phoned it in. That’s what I get for being me.
“That’s me, all right.”
I should have been accustomed to the rampant skepticism by then. But, the familiar taste of salt remained in my mouth long after the biting of my tongue.
“First name, First?”
Warily now, though not without a feigned measure of confidence, I replied, “Uh-huh.”
Like gravel, she rasped, “Middle name, Person?”
I was not sure why she was asking like that. She made it sound so sinister. If she continued like that, I was sure she’d hurt her throat. I was there to register for a fictitious name. Why would I lie about my real name in doing so? Nature or nurture, no matter. It had never been a choice. All I really knew for sure was none of it was my fault.
Then, she said, “I’m sure I don’t know who you think you are, Mr. First Person.” It was a statement of fact, no question. I had no ready answer.
Then she glared at that clock. I swear the awful jerking stopped. Then she nixed the deal.
“We don’t authorize non–profit businesses at this window.”
It sounded to me like an out and out slur. A new N word. I said, “But…”
The gravel turned to stone. “We are for profit only. You’re in the wrong line.”
I said, “But…”
She said, “Next.”
Animals are afraid for a good reason. Survival depends on it. Humans are more afraid than most animals because they are too hot and too cold, and too thin skinned and too fat headed, and too slow to respond to stimulation. Survival requires many elements in short supply, grit, spit, speed, and dexterity most of all, as well as foresight, intelligence, accuracy, and cunning. If you don’t survive you can’t fuck the hottest guys who fuck the hottest chicks, or the hottest chicks either. You can’t kick back. You can’t talk on a telephone for long or bust out in spandex or natural fibers. You will likely descend into mere dirt. More mud becomes a certainty then. Heaven won’t help you. Where’s that at? Nowhere, that’s where. Humans are afraid a lot like deer and antelopes are afraid, and especially rabbits.
Theoretically, that’s where education comes in. Where else are you going to come up with calculations for smoke stacks and conditioned air? Humans need it because they have nothing to fall back upon. No sky, no sea, no free range for grazing. And that’s where the Thee Tawny Owl Institute fits into a tight groove like a rubber glove that must not be foiled by spermicides, friction, or unmatched polarities. Lessons would be learned but not taught. Lessons would be unlearned. The answer to the most commonly asked questions would be: None of the above. Try a little bit harder. Keep digging. Deny less. Lie less. Accept less. Choose more discreetly. Dance around if you can, sing if you can, laugh your ass off if you can, breathe by all means. Count on it. Start instantly. Stop extinguishing other species while you’re at it.
I was hoping to keep some of the more prurient details from the tawny owl until we were closer to consummation, and ready to dig my shovel into an expanding hole to make it bigger with more mud, but that became difficult to accomplish once he began to read my mind the next hot morning when the hummingbirds were showing off and I was enraptured. Sure, my mind was drifting. How else to get to higher ground? I won’t deny some vital juices not only leaked, but shot off and sprayed.
“You must be sharing too much wacky juice with the hummingbirds.”
“They don’t share. You know that.”
“Then those silly mushrooms that grow out of fat cow pies,” he chortled.
“But, that doesn’t mean it’s not still a good idea,” I countered.
“All you silly knee jerkers still believe in all your good ideas even after you find out you’re all wrong.”
I said, “But…”
“How many of your kind still believe the Earth revolves on your cock-eyed axis?”
“Now, I know you’re not talking to me. I’m way higher than that.”
“Then why are you sinking in that mud hole with a stick in your hand?”