Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Power of the Natch

Natch is not what you might assume. It’s not a nickname for Natchez Mississippi, nor is it street slang naming a hiding place for marijuana. And though it might look right, it’s not an acronym for National Association of Turgid Cybersexual Hermaphrodites.

I mean natch as in… naturally. It’s a word fragment I use at least once every day, and sometimes nearly as often as I use the word that starts with “f” and rhymes with truck. It’s an identifier, a conclusion; it’s the acknowledgement that I understand fully what has just happened and why. It’s a perfect personalization of Murphy’s Law. I’ll explain.

Let’s say I get up late one morning (natch), and it just so happens Linda showered already and there’s no hot water (double natch). Once I leave the bathroom only to discover I was daydreaming and forgot to use my deodorant (natch), and return to try and concentrate long enough to complete my chores, I scurry to my closet to find I’ve all wrinkly shirts (natch) and I need to take clothes to the basement where I might iron them. It takes me 10 minutes to iron a shirt and when I’m done I slip it on only to find that I’ve gained a few pounds over the last few minutes and my belly hangs out from under the shirt (natch), forcing me to hold my entire wardrobe of unironed shirts up to my chest in search of one that will hang properly below my beltline. So now it’s been 30 minutes added to my tardiness (natch) and I am clad in freshly ironed t-shirt and jeans. I grab a cup of coffee and rush to the garage, tripping (natch) on the boot laces I’ve neglected to tie and spilling half my caffeine on Linda’s truck (natch). I get a little angry finally and sort of slam my cup down so as to tie my boots, and when I do a big bloop of coffee spurts from the cup and lands on my nice newly ironed shirt (natch).

I know this all sounds very common, but I assure you, it’s only because I can’t remember any really horrid examples right now or you’d understand when I tell you that I, and other male members of my family, are cursed!

It’s been this way since birth, since my squashed head slipped from the doctor’s forceps and my barely womb free body crashed to the floor, prompting the midwife to immediately make the sign of the cross so that she too wasn’t marked by the magic of bad juju. My life has been one tragic incident after another, each of them a single digit with a common denominator; the voodoo target that is me!

I expect as with most of my neurosis’ I’m not alone with this one either. I don’t actually think I’m cursed, it’s a game I made up decades ago to make silly what seemed overwhelming at times. The problem is I never really outgrew the game in a subconscious sense, I still react to all inconveniences as if they are part of some master plan to ruin my life. And the sad thing becomes that I lose all perspective now and then, making my dropping a jelly sandwich face down on the kitchen floor just as grief-worthy as a death in the family. That wouldn’t be such a big deal if I didn’t demonstrate to the world what silliness I’ve contracted; but while my reaction to death might be a quiet sullenness, my reaction to jelly floor might be wailing and gnashing of teeth, kicking and screaming and even perhaps, destruction of nearby, carefully chosen property.

It would be fine if I were accustomed to the curse, resigned to its power and oblivious to its maliciousness. But as we know, life is never that easy. 23 hours a day, 6 and 3/4 days a week I don’t think anything of my bad luck. I just mutter things like “naturally” or “certainly” or “of course” or “sure, why not me” every time something bad happens, which is about every 30 minutes give or take a few minutes. But the beauty of having a non linear brain is, I seldom remember from natch to natch that the last natch and all the little natches before that one happened… so they don’t gang up on me and it’s just one more disappointing day in tiny spurts of natchness.

But on that 6 and three quarterth day in the 24th hour, all hell breaks loose. That’s when I suddenly realize that my entire week, nay my entire damned life (or “cursed” life if you like) is simply one long string of natches, and I become bitter and visibly shaken, sometimes vocally terse and somewhat scary to those unaccustomed to my girth and curmudgeonly appearance.

BD (before drugs) I might begin by loudly pronouncing sailor verbiage, practicing my intonation and enunciation again and again, so that my ability to deliver verbal spew stays current and professional, high, and quite mighty. Then, my excitement would elevate upon each new “natch” endured. (Oddly, the number of natches would increase exponentially the more angry I got about being constantly natchified) Finally I would hurl… either invective if that were all I had available, or perhaps a wrench, a fender, a 4x8 foot sheet of plywood or a 120 pound rolled Turkish rug.

PD, (post drugs) I can never quite get to the hurl stage. I more tend to lay my head on concrete, unfocus my eyes and drool until I fall asleep, and once I wake up I can never remember what it was that made me drool in the first place.

The bottom line of the issue is that I should long ago have found a way to rid myself of the feeling that I’m cursed, so that every pinprick didn’t draw blood, the finger become infected and the entire arm scream for amputation. It’s so ingrained into my psyche that every speck of white dust that lands on my black robes comes with a calling card; one that reads “don’t ever think you’ve lost me bub, I’m right on your ass.” Or, translated for those who can’t read donnickcottage metaphor, “don’t ever forget that your life is not alright, that you have and will continue to have until your dying day the worst luck, the most untimely tragedy possible. If it’s not a lost limb it will be a forgotten and unraised zipper. If it’s not a falling tree causing thousands of dollars in damage to your home, it will be a checkbook forgotten on the bumper of your car that spins off somewhere within the 200 miles you drive to a vacation spot that doesn’t take credit cards or cash.”

It's very hard to think of the future as a cache of possibility when in the back of your head you see fires burning and dead bodies being floated out to sea. It'd be a lot easier to succeed at something, if I wasn't so positive beforhand that I will undoubtedly fail. I know it's all my fault, that I am who I am through my own self creation; but it's easier to face when I blame some other nebulous entity for my downfall, such as the caster of the curse. At least then I can believe that the world's ills are not entirely my own doing, and that I may indeed be fabulous... if only the curse were lifted.

It’d be interesting to spill on myself just once without feeling the need to shake my fist at the sky. Of course it’d be far more interesting to not spill on myself at all for a few months, but I can hardly control a curse now can I? Nope. Natch.

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