Wednesday, September 12, 2012
You're the LSD in my Coffee, the Psilocybin in my Stew
We spent part of the late morning breakfasting on the veranda. I left a bit before she, retreating to the indoors as the temperature advanced toward my uncomfortable zone. Through the patio doors, past the carved desk and Carl Larsson exhibition, I moved into the music realm, the space wherein Linda practices her wind and percussion instruments. There rises a music stand, and upon it, a quarter ream of sheet music from various sources and of various genres. Atop the pile was an opened pamphlet, a hymn I must suppose, one that she might be rehearsing for a later Sunday worship date. I'd seen this particular page before, in fact a dozen times I'd guess. Yet I still find it speaking to me in some mysterious way, as if it was not simply happenstance that kept it within my periphery but some odd supernatural purpose, as if some magician's trick where Linda plays a multitude of other tunes and layers their transcriptions on top of this, but the moment she leaves the room, this one rises to the top, lying in wait for my next passing.
"Let all mortal flesh keep silence" it says. Each time I glance the words I suddenly feel naked. I envision a thousand tiny mouths adorning my skin, each one blathering on about this and that with no care in the world as to who might be listening, if in fact anyone at all. And then, as the music title seeps through my textual recognition module and begins to disseminate throughout my nervous system, the little flapping lips de-flap, and all flesh is silent. While I am stuck with disappointment in that the mouth's clamping shut seems to prove that my flesh is indeed mortal and not that of a demi-god as I might have daydreamed now and then, I am more concerned with the concept that silence seems to be some sort of virtue, and that I seem to be blabbing so much that otherworldly forces have deemed it necessary to tell me to shut the hell up!
I do take some comfort in the fact that the phrase is led by the word "Let", which could be interpreted as meaning "allow", as in "if that's what mortal flesh wants to do is keep silence, well then who am I to stop it!" That of course would be my most advantageous interpretation, and were I a normal human being, such as the ones who would feel perfectly truthful when saying "waterboarding is not torture but only enhanced interrogation technique", I could use it, be satisfied with my life and move on. The problem is, as those in the latter example should, I actually know better than to accept my perception as reality. I realize what it means is "Hey you! Chatty Cathy! Shutcher piehole!!!"
I suppose there is a possibility that Linda keeps this pronouncement in the fore as she's always wanted to say these words to me but has lacked the malice. I couldn't put it past her to use cleverness in lieu of a ham handed style like my own. Yet she has always seemed to enjoy my prattle and spends a lot of time giggling in response to nearly everything I mutter, particularly those things offered in a romantic context. So unless I am totally devoid of the ability to discern acting from reality (excluding my ex wives saying they loved me and Susan Hickey once faking an orgasm on me that I didn't figure out before she'd told all her girlfriends and one of them whispered it to a guy that knew a guy that knew me and squealed), I have to conclude that my wife does not indeed want me to live a vow of silence.
Perhaps the page (or the "keeper of the page") has something else in mind. Perhaps it's not full silence it's demanding, but silence of the realm of the mortal. It doesn't say anything about immortal flesh. Sure, that may be implied, or it may be that the writers concluded that immortals have no flesh as such, or maybe even everyone knows that you couldn't keep an immortal's mouth shut if you wanted to, because what are you going to do if they won't shuttup? Kill them? Or maybe in spite of my little flappy mouth vision the fact is that mortal flesh can't really speak so the whole title is just a metaphor for "if you write a scary sounding phrase some people will become forever confused", though I can't imagine why anyone would want to write a metaphor like that... as if everyone isn't well aware of the fact.
Finally, I decided I'd stood there long enough, I'd thought the command through, and during the entire time had managed to be quite silent. As I must do other things today, and as it's clear I may never resolve the true significance of the profundity before me, I must choose an interpretation that works, if only until the next time I pass its magnificence and am stunned into a ponder once again. For now it means only this: "If you have little tiny mouths all over your body, tell them to observe a moment of silence."
I should then add... "and then rush to the nearest nuthouse pal cuz you're about to freak out in a major way", but I won't. I'll just pretend that part's obvious.