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The postal matter

Monday 4/26/21

There was once a time when I wrote when I had to wrestle a story. One wouldn't know it by what the story became. How it was in the end. The story would flow naturally and it would seem both meticulously planned and completely improvised. There'd be control and freshness at once. But I'd be writing and I'd go down some avenue that would box me in. When boxed, I'd have to wrestle. But even when I did not wrestle, there was anxiety, perhaps, in the creating. Things might not come out okay. A problem might prove unsolvable. It was pretty rare that that ever happened, but what occurs now is quite different, even if the results--in terms of the quality--are the same. For now I know that these people are real. I know that I need do nothing. They will tell me their stories. It's a strange feeling, maybe, and I could see how it would be hard for someone to understand what it must be like. I've not heard of anyone else writing this way. But a little while ago I was working on "Up the Sea" in my head. And there is just complete certainty. "You will tell me," I think. And they do. They tell me everything about themselves. It's not what I knew before. It's them. It's their story. Their lives. How could I believe they do not exist? I come to know them because they talk to me and they reveal all. It's not me talking to me. They tell me their stories.

I went to the post office to mail a card for my niece. Was there twenty minutes. There was one person working, Joseph, who is, frankly, an asshole. He's also glacial in his pace. He'll recite every single line of post office protocol, even if you answer him within one word that there's nothing liquid, perishable, flammable, whatever it is, in the card you're trying to mail. He rolls on with another three sentences. Slowly. When I was summoned one day to the post office by Molly's team of lawyers, for another installment in the raping of my life, I got a call from someone as I stepped to the front of the line. It was a call I had to take. It wasn't like a "hey, bro, we getting our drink on tonight?" calls. This is back in 2012. To the surprise of absolutely no one, I am someone who does much at once. I'm not a guy who gets distracted. I'm not absent-minded. All I had to do was hand Joseph the postman the slip to get the envelope that would inform me some more about the manner of soul-raping the most evil person I had ever known was most recently engaged in. (She had destroyed my copy of a prenuptial agreement and lied to her lawyers about having one, but then again, she was just someone who always lied.) And this dick snaps at me. "If you have post office business get off the phone." I hadn't missed a beat in stepping forward, I wasn't talking into the phone, I was reaching out to hand him the slip. Total fucking asshole this guy. And sucks at his job. Plus, he makes you listen to his shitty music while you're there. Today his playlist was chart hits of 1977, the highlight of which was apparently Bread's "Lost Without Your Love."

But, despite having sent two gifts to my niece, I wanted her to have this card. It was a princess card--she likes princesses--that plays a song from the Little Mermaid. I am pretty sure I'm the favorite uncle (I am joking), but I would still like to err on the side of caution for now until I have my house back--and a house on Cape Cod--and can pad my lead by having the kids come stay with the C-Dawg for a weekend and we can do arts stuff, and nature walks, and explore by the shore. Yes? That would be fun. I'd be good at that kind of thing with the children. My nephew Charlie is a good kid. He strikes me as the kind of boy who takes care of his friends and cares about people. My niece Lilah is artistic and smart. She's quirky. No nonsense. She has some wit. She collects things.

Joseph the post office guy also kept picking up the card and bending it really hard. I hope he didn't snap the little music player thing.

There is a woman who works at the post office who is nice. For a while in my life, she was the only person who smiled at me. Well, no one smiles at me now, save this hot woman at the Starbucks who is very friendly with me. But back in 2012 was when I first became totally alone. And it's also when I started to change in radical ways, to grow in radical ways, that left me at a further remove with the world. Because people don't grow, for the most part. And they're simple to start with, for the most part. So it was new. Complete aloneness. I didn't have much support in my life. That's when I learned that if you are great, if you are what others are not, those people will kick you when you are hurting the most. They will not let up. Kicking you, when they can, helps them feel better about who they are. People talk about love. I know what love is, and I know what love isn't. I know it in ways I daresay no one else ever has.

Which is also part of the reason why the characters in my stories come to me to tell me their stories. But she would smile at me. It was the closest I had to kindness in my life at the time. She'd ask how I was. She didn't know what was going on with me, but she'd ask me if I was okay. That was the kindness I knew. Other people I once would have trusted might as well have been trying to murder me. When I say that I trust no one--which is true--it's not because I am a coward who is scared of vulnerability. I think it'd be hard to think something less true about me. No. It's because I know how people are. I know what they can do. And I know how people are with me. I reveal through contrast. And someone has to pay for that. It is I who people try to make pay. And I remember all of it. Exactly as it happened. That also motivates me. I think to myself, "You'll have your time." It's like having a lot of things in a big closet. I walk past the closet a lot. I'd like to open the closet and let out everything in it. But the time isn't right, and the forum is not yet at hand. But it's not like I'm going to forget anything in the meanwhile.

Walked three miles. Again, not much. Listened to the Beatles' first BBC appearance from March 1962, plus the Talking Heads' first album and a show that did in front of a small crowd at Syracuse in 1977.

Sent off a really strong pitch regarding the NHL playoffs.

It is not high on the list of priorities right now, but later I would like to write a book on radio art. Examining the most vital works of art of the radio medium. Showing why they remain relevant, and may be more relevant than ever. To me it's such an obvious book to do, but no one has ever done it. Then again, I don't think anyone is qualified to do it. And it wouldn't occur to anyone else. Here is a five-part Johnny Dollar episode called "The Broderick Matter." Beautiful, yes? Steeped in human truths. I could teach a class on the five-part Johnny Dollar episodes.


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