I am desperately late for High school and running my fastest to meet my destination. However, on the way, I somehow get sidetracked and wind up hiding out in my Dentist's office. I have a very clear image of my Dentist, one Dr. B. Bothwell, a very tall, slender man who is an avid cyclist, completely focused on a full mouth of teeth, steadfastly scraping and poking away. Meanwhile, I slink into the bathroom, which looks less like one found in a dental office and far more like one that you would find in a minor league baseball stadium, rows of dirty urinals surrounded by cheap tiles. Anyhow, for some reason the bowl at the bottom of the urinal is unusually long, meaning that I have to piss about 3 feet to mark the back of the urinal unless I want to be standing in a pool of urine. To make matters worse, there is a large turd chilling where the drain should be. Incidently, I really need to take one, hence lurking in the bathroom to begin with, so in unzip my pants and and let loose. Except this isn't your standard whiz, oh no. Quite the contrary, in fact. As I release, my piss escapes and makes direct contact with the crap at the other end of the bowl. It's explosive. The poop flies everywhere and leaves me speckled with every shade of shit from here to Shanghai. Bummer. From out of nowhere a smarmy, short nosed dental assistant of about 25 enters the bathroom at the exact moment my face turns into a fecal mosaic. He leads me by the arm to a shower stall at the other end of the dental office all the while with an oily grin slapped across his face. Fucking asshole. Just before he throws me into the shower he puts on a pair of those trifling plastic gloves that come with cheap hair dye and begins to paint my hair with a bbq basting brush. In my dreamy haze I don't question his actions and enter the small shower. When I exit the shower I slowly walk towards the mirror to find my self totally naked and with orange hair styled in the likeness of a Dragon Ball Z character. That's a wrap.
The other dream involved vehicles a la Madmax and a giant parking lot that looked like it came straight out of a post apocalyptic future setting. For some reason I am following a crack head with a heart of gold trying to locate and/or escape from some unknown pursuers. At one point I am in a broken down old theater that looked like a fallen vestige from a bygone era. There I begin drinking night train from a paper bag with my crackhead friend, surrounded by small children and suburban Mom's. The curtain goes up and the the theater becomes flooded with with those plastic bubbles that the toys from quarter vending machines that used to be in grocery stores and laundry machines would come in. You know, the ones that used to house those sticky hands and shitty plastic jewelry. Boom. I wake up.
The real world threw me for a loop when earlier today one of my students nervously handed me a love letter just before class:
Breaking hearts in The Land of the Morning Calm.
I awkwardly accepted the letter, immediately impressed by the occasion specific stationary and sparkly hearts. The young girl happens to be one of my best students and is absolutely cute as a button. I went along with my lesson, said goodbye to my class, and went back to my office. There I opened it and was shocked, by the intensity of her 7 year old emotions. As an English teacher I was also somewhat shocked by the level of her writing. It was much better than anything I had seen her produce in class. I was then overrun with questions. Where on earth did this little girl get romantic stationary? Surly her parents must have known about the stationary and therefore had a reasonable chance of knowing about this letter. What did they think of there 7 year old daughter writing a love letter to a grown man? What am I supposed to tell this girl when I see her? Geez.
I guess the letter was a day late.
All questions aside I have to say part of me was touched by the letter. It was probably the most heartfelt love letter I have ever received. There was a sense of urgency and intensity that I have seen in few such letters. It was just one of the most sentimental, cute artifacts I have ever seen, and if there is one thing that pulls at my heart stings it's sentimental kid stuff. Gets me every single time.
To complete the dimensional triad of bizarre happenings and to bring things back to the theme of defecation, I have one final story. Earlier today I was reading Dreams From Bunker Hill, an installment of the Arturo Bandini series by one of my favorite authors, John Fante. For those unfamiliar, the story revolves around an Italian writer raised by a deeply catholic family from Colorado who moves to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a famous writer. The stories are often filled with accounts of Arturo's insatiable lust for young women and his conflicting catholic roots. Tonight, as it so happens, I brought the book to the restroom to keep me company. While there, I ran across a passage where Arturo is in church attempting to pray to God to assist him in finding success as a Hollywood writer, but is unable to focus on his Hail marry as he is constantly interrupted by vivid thoughts of laying his secretary. It was at that moment in the book where I had a strange, nostalgic/religious recollection. I set the book down on the bathroom floor and began to attempt to recite the prayers I would say as a small boy every night before I went to bed. I said them all several times in the exact order I used to as a small boy. I began by recreating a cross across my chest "In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" and went into a modified children's prayer that my mother taught me. The original goes like this:
No I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the lord my soul to keep,
And if I die before I wake,
I pray the lord my soul to take.
The version my mother taught me was slightly different:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the lord to God Bless...
And then I went into a long list of family, friends, and other important people to me. Amen
I then moved on to the next prayer, Our Father:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be they name,
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
Finally I ended with Hail Mary:
full of grace,
The Lord is with thee,
Blessed art though among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
mother of God,
Pray for us sinners now,
And until the hour of our death.
I then finished it off with my customary cross across the chest and was done with it. Once it was all said and done I realized that I hadn't said those prayers in that sequence in... I honestly couldn't say when the last time I went through that ritual. I think I stopped saying those prayers when I was about 13 or 14 and realized that the prayers really had no divine meaning behind them and that they would not make my hopes or dreams come true. I later became resentful for all the time I had wasted as a child saying those prayers. For a long time I resolved to never say them again. It was a strange feeling to go through with the whole routine again. I felt a little bit foolish for reciting prayers I know to be completely ineffectual and that I have so often ridiculed. Even so, I am a little nostalgic for those youthful evenings when I prayed to God with so much hope and wonder in my heart.