> When you were a little kid, if you tapped the left side of your chair a
> few times, did you then feel compelled to tap the right side of your chair an
> exactly equal number of times?
Rev. Carey, that IS a very important question. I for one can answer in the AFFIRMATIVE. In fact it was I who decided that question should be posed in the Questionnairre. And it's a little embarrassing to admit to anal compulsive behavior like that. But it's true, from the neurosis-prone ages of 12 to 15 or so, I was a regular Binky Brown (see Justin Green's classic ug comic, BINKY BROWN MEETS THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY ((one of the works of art that was most influential on me as a youth))). I even believed in Jesus for awhile there and prayed like a choir boy every time my mom was late to pick me up at school. I guess my brain didn't have enough to keep it busy in those days. Needless to say, thoughts of "BOB," and worries about money, now take up that excess RAM and keep it busy. But for quite a long stretch I had some sort of bilateral symmetry compulsion. I also had a tendency to trance out on road trips, while sitting in the back seat as my parents drove, such that I would CLICK MY TEETH together THRICE each time that, from my point of view, a passing telephone pole intersected with the spaces between the white lines on the road. I used to sit in the back seat doing that for HOURS while simultaneously losing myself in memories and/or improved fantasies of cool sci fi movies I had seen.
I suspect that there's an unfortunate instinct toward animistic magic in some poor wretches. Maybe I didn't have ENOUGH religion (my parents were/are secular humanists/SubGenii) and I therefore imbued inanimate objects with consciousness and souls in my own mind. Regarding the sides of chairs and tapping, it was as if the right side of the chair would be INSULTED if I didn't treat it the same as the left side... as if my butt's connection to the metal folding chair created some sort of psychic friendship which I didn't dare endanger. Obviously, I needed Slack or else a good konk on the noggin from reality. But I think the problem was too MANY konks on the noggin from reality. My immediate family, which is miraculously okay now, was a bit DYSFUNCTIONAL in those years, one might say. Mayhaps I was just a tad INSECURE. Certainly, the pressing need to placate and satisfy CHAIRS indicates some underlying insecurity...? Trying to create order in the universe by balancing totally imaginary forces might suggest a lack of order in one's personal life, wouldn't you say? As in MOST RELIGIOUS BELIEF? It's a miracle that I didn't end up becoming some kind of lunatic like in THE THREE FACES OF EVE, or a cult priest or crackpot mystic. Uh... wait a minute... well anyway, at some point the pressure must have let off, because I totally lost that respect for inanimate objects, and now treat them as the pathetic disposables that they are. I don't even have a pet name for my computer. I would think that a good sign. Perhaps I made my peace with PEOPLE by applying the principles of HATE-SQUARED in my life, so now I compulsively try to placate only PEOPLE, and even then, only SubGeniuses. (Although I see lots of people around me, such as the old gals who are checkers at the supermarket, as UNSAVED SubGenii.)
I now say, FUCK the chairs, FUCK the Pinks; if you can be fair with SUBGENII, you're doing better than most people.
This is not to say that I don't sometimes treat machines as if they are people. I have found that such an attitude aids me in the Healing of Appliances, at which I'm quite good for a layman. In the last week I was able to restore FOUR broken dubbing decks to functionality, and in each case it involved a certain amount of "laying on of hands" and communing with the ghost in the machine. I know perfectly well that it was my manual dexterity, patience and primitive knowledge that actually did the trick, but I can't make those abilities WORK right without hanging them on a framework of superstition. It's like astrology or palm-reading or ANY kind of "magic." The fortune-teller or "psychic" is merely letting their superior intuitive mind get to work using subtle clues from the CLIENT. But they can't free up that deeper level of reason without resorting to a "system," no matter how imaginary and arbitrary. The tea-leaves aren't magic, it's the act of MESSING with the tea-leaves that triggers the fortune-teller's inate nonmagical skills. It's the LUDICROUS RIGAMAROLE of astrology that allows the astrologer to USE his insight. If the world weren't so complicated and distracting, most of us would probably exercise Faculty X without even trying. It's just a damn shame that we have to utilize some ridiculous system of correspondences to pull it off. We SubGenii tend to develope our own self-delusional systems, and recognize them for what they are, so I guess that puts us one jump ahead of the poor "witch" who has to memorize the full Gardenerian liturgy or whatnot in order to achieve some semblance of SLACK AWARENESS.
All I know is, I am really glad that I no longer expend my energies making apologies to metal objects, but instead channel that same compulsion into MASTERY over metal objects, whereby, when one discovers that a belt has slipped off the wheels deep in the tape deck, unreachably behind several layers of hard-to-remove machinery, one can TAKE COMMAND and OVERPOWER the broken machine rather than "PRAYING" to it and giving up -- by bending two paper clips into the specialty tools required to GET IN THERE behind the machinery, SNAG the rubber band belt, and OH-SO-DELICATELY get it back into proper position, using one's MICROSCOPE-LIKE NEARSIGHTEDNESS as a PLUS rather than a MINUS to manipulate the tiny physical objects on a NEAR-MICROSCOPIC LEVEL.
See? I'm not MAD.
"Would a MADMAN write SONGS such as THESE?" -- Janor Hypercleats, SHOCKED THE LIVING GHEE OUTA ME
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