Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Power polka, away!

You have magical powers. Everyone does. You just don't think of them as magical until you look sideways and notice nobody else could do what you just did. Your magical powers probably aren't "It's a bird! A plane!" - more like, "Mr. Rourke! De plane! De plane!" And nobody notices little Tattoo's hawk-like vision always spots aircraft first. So be it. Mamie has the power to find a space where she wants it; we call it her Parking Karma. I have the magical power to get into hospital rooms at odd hours, though I couldn't possibly look as if I belonged there. Do I look like I showed up to change bed pans? I don't. But in I go, and there I stay when I am needed. It's like I'm invisible to the stern eye of the night nurse.

One magical power I do not possess is the ability to make a fine witness. Let's be serious: I'm a little fruity for jurisprudence. Suppose you were on trial and I was your character witness. In no time, it'd look like you were a wack job in a monkey suit, clown nose optional, because that's what I look like from the outside. To a certain extent I accept this external view exists, but just because someone says something about you doesn't make it the truth. In fact, I don't own a monkey suit and refuse to rent one.

When it comes to very serious issues, I'm crazy and I know it but I'm not stupid, and it is a serious error in judgment to confuse the two. Yesterday, I wrote an Altrok column on a grave matter. I didn't know if it'd be suitable for publication in that forum; I was willing to put the column here if the editor decided it was off-topic. I wouldn't have blamed him if he were unwilling to stand as a lightning rod for the kind of attention no one wants. I respect him for publishing the little piece, despite the fact that our political views sometimes diverge.

Now the reason I mention the column is that in the here and now, I expect to look around in any room and feel small and covered with fur. I expect to utter a line, have an audience that laughs and demands I cut it out, and life goes on. Not that the punchline wasn't pointed, mind you. I expect bigger minds with longer lists of credentials to stand up and keep a straight face. After all, we accept that I'm Unconventional with a capital U, and sources should always be considered.

Still, the column had to be written, the point made and the punchline put aside for the moment. I feel as if I've been pushed into being a Voice of Reason and it annoys me. Grown ups! You are not doing your jobs! The discourse of our time has become so skewed with irrational rhetoric that crazy people have to talk sense. Is this how you want your moment in history to be remembered?

Now if you please, I'd like to go play with my ruby slippers...


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