Yo-Yo Ma James Taylor - Hard Times Come Again No More
Charles Schulz' Pigpen could raise a cloud of dust atop freshly-fallen snow. I can raise a cloud of crazy walking from one room to another. Some moments, the mind is a trusted ally; I seek its counsel and follow, without question, its non-linear illumination of byzantine connections. Then, without slowing to pat the handkerchief in its breast pocket, it transforms into a pack of shrill yet snarling dogs and I seem to have left the box of distracting treats elsewhere.
Because I do not see myself or this situation as unique, I believe we are stalked, followed, eavesdropped upon, satellite-scanned and grabbed roughly from peaceful moments by demons. No matter if it is the demon of unwritten thank-you notes or the lamenting wraith who carries old trauma and loss like a bouquet, like something you might have left behind by accident and might be happy to see again.
Demons can be gnats; they can be the heavy equipment needed to rebuild war zones. They are the one-time friends whose habits caused you to neglect giving them your new address. They are reminders of our least perfect moments and whether or not we had any role in creating them, demons want to be sure we don't forget.
So we rassle them. Yes, it is a word...wrestling with even fewer rules and a Southern accent. I suppose we could sell tickets - you come and watch me rassle, then I'll come over and watch you. But I don't imagine there would be much to see. If the ugly little pustules would manifest as opponents that could be grabbed by the hair or if they possessed fingers that could be bent backward painfully, then we'd have a match. Buying tickets for an anxiety attack or a hand-wringing gloom fest sounds like money poorly spent.
A swap meet find which I've already owned for 40 years is a poster, advertising THELMA NICKLE, CASTING OUT DEMONS, SIGNS - MIRACLES - MULTITUDES HEALED. Oh, Thelma, you'd have to show me some moves that the federation wouldn't approve.
Once, because all else had made no difference, I helped my mother take her best friend, in her last months of lung cancer, to a shameful circus called a faith healing. Held in the Shrine Auditorium - site of Hollywood award shows, which tells you something - it was standing room only. We were banished to the nosebleed section, not having had the presence of mind to use a wheelchair. I do believe in miracles, I know that impossible and unexplainable things happen. I just don't believe they are things you can obtain with money. We are left to fend off our own demons by whatever means we can.
It is a Haagen Daaz Rocky Road or slice of red velvet cake with cream cheese icing sort of celebratory day when the demons are still. Perhaps they hibernate. They are party crashers. I swear it, all is peace and contentment, bliss and gratitude and they arrive, welcome as a whopping cold sore. Time to suit up, reach for your fiercest lucha libre mask and accept that ass-kicking season is here for real. And we can always hope that this time, once rassled, they won't get up again.