Like the Feds or a good 21 year scotch, things have a way of sneaking up on us.
It's not yet all such a "federal case" here on the midnight train however,
so at this time we light-heartedly present, Mesonoxia-light A.K.A.;
Red Reward Day
After being imprisoned and tortured in the final years of his life, forced to recant his views; The death bed last words he was reported to have ever spoken were: “No matter what they say, the earth revolves around the sun."
In third grade, teachers generally fell under one of two headings, “nice” or “mean”. With there being three teachers per grade level in the Cecil P. Koenig elementary school however, an occasional median “okay” label could be in order, though it was a rarer phenomena. The middle designation occurred only when there was another teacher of the same grade level whose meanness was of greater infamy, while still a third being of a sweeter temperament. All were defined by what they were in relation to.
The dreaded desk-throwing psychopath Mr. Dreers, from what I’d heard was one example of catastrophic meanness, making all others look docile by comparison. Mr. Dreers reduced fifth grade bullies to tears, frequently hollering loud enough to be heard by first graders on the opposite wing of the building, shuttering at what they had to look forward to.
My crabby third grade teacher Mrs. Bruzen, had not achieved this level of monolithic tyranny, but in her first year was quickly assigned a probationary mean status. No proposals to change this had been brought before the board of third grade popular opinion, and if she was hoping to remedy her public persona on this day, she struck out indeed.
Our everyday class room was being sanitized by Cooper Carigzaust, the janitor, after the unfortunate combination of taco salad and chocolate milk made the journey from my class mate Heather’s stomach to our class room ventilation unit. We were camped out in the library, not working hard, just doing some light reading (short stories) when Mrs. Bruzen asked the class a question which would come to shape my early perception of formal education, among other things.
“What color is orange juice?” she asked simply enough, and with a tone that implied the answer ought to be obvious. It was obvious in fact. It was especially obvious to me, who having drank the stuff every morning felt supremely qualified to answer. My hand shot straight up to the heavens as my eyes fixed tight on Mrs. Bruzen.
“Don’t pass me by baby” I thought, and amidst a sea of wrist flipping,and “ooh-ooh”-ing of the obnoxious and less patient, she called my name.
Proudly I declared, "Orange juice is yellow." for certainly there was no doubt. Never had a given answer been so solid, and if a magic court stenographer was capable of assigning words to the feeling in my head, it would have read, “Shall I collect my prize now or are you going to embarrass me with unnecessary praise and adulation, really I’m above all that let’s just…” Interruption ensued however as to my dismay, "Close" was then stated as rejection, and/or offered as a pittance of consolation.
“Jen?” she said next, looking for someone to give her the preplanned correct answer.
“Orange juice is orange Mrs. Bruzen.” came the somewhat obvious and yet abhorrently incorrect response. A couple of brigands now even began to chuckle at me for getting such an easy question wrong.
“Why that’s right Jenny, orange juice is orange, and of course that’s why it’s called orange juice.” she said while looking my way.
“Big frickin’ mistake Bruzen.” I thought, with the absurdity of the situation now gnawing at me, arm again launched straight up.
“Yes, Justin” she said with an exaggerated politeness, and in my eight year old mind, suspiciously out of character.
“Orange juice is yellow" I argued in a defiant tone and also adding most assuredly, "I drink it every single day.” I was pretty sure I had it locked up at this point but received only the smug retort, “Then why do they call it orange juice?”
Now, the idea that orange juice was called orange juice because it came from oranges had not in fact occurred to me. I knew simply that what I drank was yellow. Mrs. Bruzen next proceeded to ask the rest of the class, and with the minor exceptions of my friends Ray Tyler and Pat Sullivan, everyone agreed with her. She began to move on, pretending not to notice my hand, and since I was not listening can only imagine proceeding with her lecture. Finally, I was done waiting.
“I bet they got some orange juice down at the cafeteria. Write me a hall pass and I’ll prove it to ya, it’s yellow.” I interrupted.
“Yeah, what now Broo-hoo-zen?” I thought to myself, but clearly pronounced with my face.
“Justin, it is inappropriate to interrupt the class!” she exclaimed. “Would you feel better if we asked Miss Pellet?”
“Feel better? If we asked your co-conspirator? Hard LEE. This isn’t about feelings lady, this is about justice. “ I thought without yet the capacity to vocalize.
Miss Pellet, the librarian, was currently on one of those borderline “okay” visas mentioned earlier, but I distrusted this proposition for several reasons.
First, Miss Pellet had previously been a first grade teacher and if not for the ruthless Mizz Strapman, Pellet probably would've had her own ass stamped with a “mean” rating, but kind of slid through on the “okay” default.
Next, the librarian was on par with like the gym, music, and art teachers. I saw all those fools but once a week and so it could be deduced by very simple logic and arithmetic that they were all a step down from a real teacher and therefore, less an orange juice authority, more likely a Bruzen crony.
The final reason I was less than confident in this proposition was the brazen way in which Bruzen had offered it as a conclusion to the trial. Why should we, the discerning, distinguished ladies and gents of Barnegat Township, truth seekers from all corners of Timbers, Windward, and Settler's Landing, settle for the measly view of one puny Pellet, when sufficient and undeniable proof, for all to rest their weary gaze upon, and which would conclude this laborious exercise in futility and stupidity, resided a mere sixty feet down the hall? Tell me. Reluctantly, I agreed. At least we were now in pursuance of the truth. The case was again open and with it the potential to cleanse the matter of all doubts and blemishes to our character existed. I was optimistic that in furthering the conversation, truth, justice, and for God's sake, common decency would inevitably prevail. This however, was not to be the case.
“Miss Pellet,” she said, “In your opinion, what color is OWRE-INJ-JOOOS?” she said slowly and phonetically, stretching out and elongating the word orange.
"Woah,woah, wuh, hu, hOB-jection! Leading the WIH-HIH-HIT-NISS." I thought, franticly glancing around the room to gauge who among the living may have picked up on this propaganda. It appeared her tactic was momentarily back firing as I could sense the class moving my way. It was a dirty trick. I knew it, and though the class was generally uninterested or apathetic about the details, they were instinctively starting to suspect that perhaps not all about this Bruzen was on the up and up.
Predictably however, it was only a fleeting glance of clarity for the class, who did unfortunately recoil back into their poor deluded sheep mode when Miss Pellet responded, and of course roboticly.
Sounding remarkably like my Speak & Spell , “It’s orange of course Mrs. Bruzen, that’s why it’s called orange juice” came the ditzy, glazed over offering of the same retarded logic.
“Oh my Lord Misspellit, get some back bone woman.” I again thought without words. “This ain‘t satisfyin' man. No Mam. No way. Not doin’.”
It wasn’t really whether it was orange or yellow. I had Crayolas. I knew there was blue/green and green/blue. It was now their unsophisticated reasoning that bothered me. I was eight; I had no knowledge of word etymologies. I didn’t know whether oranges were called oranges because they were orange, or if the color was called orange because it was the color of an orange. Nor did I care. I just knew that what I drank was god damn yellow and as such, couldn’t possibly be called orange juice on the basis of it being orange. The skin, the juice, the juice, the fruit - not all the same, outrage!
“Just give me the darn pass if you‘re all so frickin sure. Whatchy’all afraid of? Or forget it, how bout I just bring in some YELL-O.J. tomorrow, had that be?”
Oh brother, here it comes. The Pellsters lookin’shell shocked and the Bruzens a cruisin’ now boy. Everyone in class knew what should happen next, figuring the big Bruz had got to make a move now.
“Mr. Kotz!” she exclaimed. “I’ll give you a pass - to the office! You mustn’t interrupt this class so rudely!”
Here we go, see this shit? Pat shook his head. Ray snickered while looking at me as if to say, “Is this broad for real?” He could tell what was crackin’ here. The rest of them knew it too, cowards. This chick had an agenda. Her lecture could only proceed on the basis that orange juice was orange, truth be damned. Though I had yet to ever hear his name, I know I felt just like Galileo. Ray, feeling bold raised his hand but didn’t wait to be called on.
“Why does he need a pass to go to the office? I mean, if he gets caught without a pass, they’ll just send him to the office right? So so what?” Many in the class now started giggling.
“Would you like to join him Mr.Tyler?” she responded, noticeably and predictably alarmed, temper escalating. She was so transparent, I could see the words before they left her yap. Ray kept his mouth shut after that, but I appreciated him. At least somebody in here was able to look past the completely obvious but right back to the even more obvious, and call a spade a spade.
I marched up to the front of the room and half took her arm off ripping the pass from her hand. With each step, I next stomped briskly, confidently toward the door with the fervor of the innocent, eager for his day in court. Bruzen was hollering some gibberish incoherent nonsense as I made a straight line to the exit cutting through a younger class's reading group which resided on the floor. I accidentally kicked over a cup of pencils, so like a cat who had stepped in puddle I heaved my right leg up jumping off my left, did two bouncing sidesteps to the right, and shot that group’s teacher a dirty look for putting a god-damn barricade in the middle of the freeway. Shaking my head walking, I cut a super sharp right out of the open door with my left arm out sarcastically straight just under 45 degrees, overemphasizing every movement. I had to angle my right shoulder backward 20-30 degrees as I exited the library, so as not to hit the door jam. Catching the brunt of my death march was a bulletin board in the hallway which lost a few R.I.F. (reading is fundamental) award certificates. I tore a final painted paper plate off the end of the board with my left hand and in full stride, performed a counter clockwise pirouette while attempting an unsuccessful Frisbee toss into the wall. The velocity of the throw caused the plate to just flutter straight up in the air, and as it came down I tried to kick it, but missed, so I stomped on it and then scraped it across the floor, leaving a long streak of dried paint and glitter which started out as a splotch of deep purple, but faded into lavender and finally, as the blue paint ran out, just light little specks of red glitter trailed off.
I arrived at the office wide eyed, clenched teeth, grabbed the door handle and yanked on it hard, not once, but thrice before realizing the door went the other way. Rattling the entire wall panel of glass it was connected to, “dud ut duh! dud ut DUH!” the secretaries heard before seeing the door fly open and a four foot penny loafered whirlwind spinning around the edge of it. Lunging forward so as not to fall before looking up and looking like a crazed ferret, I next grabbed for the door handle, but half missing it I struck my right elbow into the frame. This action enraged me even more, so I steadied myself like a golfer about to tee up a par five drive, got behind the door, and with two hands pressed flat against it, arms out razor straight, body perpendicular to the door parallel to the floor, drove it closed with a final four step assault, akin to a football player rushing a padded sled. WHAM!
The office was shaped like an octagon and the rattling after shocks canceled each other out as they caught up on the back side of the office. It took me a confused, agitated couple of seconds to find and retrieve my hall pass/note for the superintendent which was now somehow half way across the office. It must have been the wind created from the swinging door which sent it sweeping across the room. “Where the fuck-hell you think you're going?!” I thought, “The nerve, I gotta walk all the way over, y’know…”
I snatched the note up off the floor, crinkled it in a ball, and walked towards a terrified looking secretary who braced herself believing I might be about to throw my pass at her, which I did briefly fantasize about, but since she correctly guessed this was perhaps on my mind, to be ironic, and a contrarian, I switched hands and sarcastically flipped it to her in an overtly gentle manner. With my right foot flat on the floor, left foot on tiptoes, left hip swinging to the side, the paper bounced and rolled across the desk. My hand was then pulled back toward my left shoulder, fingers spread apart; the whole motion akin to a Pee-Wee Herman throwing a pinch of parsley in a soup.
In the office, the secretary, still looking nervous, sat me in one of a long row of chairs behind a counter I could not see over. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Luchenbroad appeared on the other side of the counter with a look of pseudo-disappointment.
“One of my students, in the office?” she asked with wide eyes. My mood then changed on a dime. Just who I had been looking for.
“Hey Mrs. Luchenbroad, When is W a vowel again?” I asked earnestly, and because I genuinely wanted to know. In first grade, this woman taught us that the letters ‘y’and “w’ were both “sometimes vowels”. I’d never really understood why, but had memorized it, and have been at a loss to explain it ever since. No teacher since Mrs. L had included double-you, and this was certainly going to come up again. If Mrs. Luchenbroad could have just re-explained it right quick, I would have once again be able prove my intellectual superiority over Mrs. Bruzen, and/or anyone else for that matter. A sometimes vowel is the linguistic or alphabetic equivalent of a semi-conductor. This was the eighties after all. How it was that no one knew of this little gem is truly, truly outrageous. Mrs. Luchenbroad I really liked. She had in fact been my favorite teacher up to this point, but on this day did not explain but just looked at me, and I still do not know.
I was escorted shortly thereafter into the Superintendent’s office, Mr. Elling. I knew Mr. Elling as the guy who installed the traffic light in our lunch room. The traffic light stood about nine feet tall and looked a lot like a real traffic light, though we all viewed it about as a phony as the mechanical authority it held over us. The theoretic objective of the light was producing a lunchroom full of quiet children. While its mission proved a ridiculous failure, it did teach me early in life a valuable, Malcolm Gladwell-like lesson but here is how it worked:
- In default mode, the light stayed green.
- If our noise level during lunch reached a certain decibel, the light would flash yellow while a high pitched beep, louder and far more obnoxious than any of us dreamed we could be, annoyed us into submission.
- If our noise level dropped off to a comfortable green, the light cease honking go back to green.
- If during yellow mode however, which lasted about 5 seconds, our noise level remained unacceptable or further ascended, the light would turn red while a final louder sound, resembling a wrong answer on “Family Feud“, and would sound (XXX) AAANT!! (At this serious stage, the aides also blew whistles, which told us they meant business about things being quiet for the rest of the kids in classrooms.)
- If we spoke during a red timeout, we received a red ticket. A red ticket equaled lunch detention.
- Three red tickets meant you were also to be excluded from the “Green Reward Day” which included entertainment, games and refreshments, once per semester.
- If the red light went off too many times over the course of the semester, the Green reward festivities would be revoked in full for everyone who ate lunch during that period.
Now a field day without academic classes was nothing to sneeze at, and we made an honest effort to obey the preposterous wailing of the light, despite how lame we all believed it to be. The fatal flaw of the traffic light program became apparent however, during the first marking period in which we failed to stay within the parameters of acceptable red lights. Having already lost the field day, the light held no power. There was no carrot. The flashing and beeping, minus any reward turned the light into a parody of itself. We quickly learned that purposely triggering the alarm by screaming at the top of our lungs and pounding the table was a romping good time. Forcing the aides to blow their whistling hearts out gave us a deviant delight and pleasure. Hollering and carrying on in delirious defiance of the minuscule yellow threats became its own reward. Holding hostage any and all of the do-gooders who obeyed the rules just for rules sake was perhaps the most fun of all.
Rather than cautioning us to the fact of our dangerous chatter volume, the light became an affirmation of our nonconformist liberation. Despite the lure of the twice yearly green reward, why this fun could be enjoyed all year long, ad infinity. Feet stomped and kicked. Fists broke out in drum solos. Tiny heads swung side to side roaring in a chorus of spastic, euphoric glee. The feeling of being the tipping point which sent the room into the red abyss was an eight year olds’ version of orgasmic tantra. The yellow would beep, the excitement would rise, and after every (XXX) AANNT of red, the decibel level would peak in a jazz band like crescendo for just a moment of celebration before an eventual belated silence. Further still after the room quieted, much like when a comedian tells a joke and one person in the audience gets it just a little bit late, you would each time hear a couple of uncontrolled and muffled cackles trailing off. A green reward for obedient children was nice, but we learned;
Every Day was Red Reward Day.
Inside Mr. Elling’s office I saw a picture of the superintendent crossing the finish line at some sort of race or marathon. I looked at it pensively, suspicious of its authenticity. We children would engage in spirited debates about who Mr. Elling looked like more, Willy Wonka or the New York Mets catcher during that time, Gary Carter. I was in the Carter camp but the only marked difference I could discern from one curly headed dufus to the other, was that Raymond Elling had a dent on the right side of his forehead. The rumor at school had been that Elling had received this dent while being mugged in New York City. I vowed never to go to the city because I knew from watching television that if you were to go to any city, it was all but a foregone conclusion that poor people would rob and beat the shit out of you.
Mr. Elling sat at his desk looking over the note written by Mrs. Bruzen before beginning to speak. I stared intently at him. My look must have given the false impression that I was really digesting what he was saying. He softened as he spoke. I have no idea what he said as I was too busy imagining what type of instrument might have been used to bludgeon him in the head. A pipe maybe? I had seen bad guys on television swinging big chains, perhaps that was it. He kept speaking. I kept staring, picturing various objects as if trying random pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. The longer he spoke, the more confident I became in the validity of this rumor.
In my hierarchy of mugging vulnerability, Mr. Elling’s odds faired just a bit better than my Grandmother and definitely an octave or two below some of the tougher teenagers in my neighborhood. Words echo in the background of my memory, “Raise your hand” he said as the butt of a gun thumped him on the melon. “Don’t disrupt the class” was uttered as brass knuckles crash down on his dome. I shuttered. I was feeling bad for him. “Respect your class mates and teacher” was spoken as his words trailed off like a setting red sun slipping softly behind a distant hill while rocks and cinder blocks rain down pummeling the Stuperattendant in a dark alley. “Wait your tur……” and finally, there was just silence. It came to me. They just bashed his head against the corner of the curb.
Or wait no, maybe a dumpster. There was always a dumpster nearby in an alley I knew. My mind couldn’t sit still. The next thought kept coming. The more pressing question that now remained was whether he was wearing a suit like the one in front of me, or the tight red shorts and tube socks with green stripes while jogging, like in the picture. I was thinking deeply about this when he finished speaking.
Jolting me abruptly out of Central Park where I had been observing Mister Elling’s head being smashed into the corner of a park bench he asked if I understood about disrupting the class, and I said I did of course. He next conveyed that he would let me off with a warning, as this was my first trip to his office, and which came as fantastic news as I would now have a reprieve from explaining to my Mother why I was sent to see the Superintendo. He then asked further if I had any questions.
“Hmm…” I thought. “Yea, Smister Ellin, just one." I said. "On that traffic light in the cafetorium, what color is the middle light?”
He stared at me for a good ten seconds. I stared back eagerly awaiting the answer from a true authority. I started to sense this wasn’t a question he was expecting.
“The yellow light?” he asked a tad confused.
“Is it yellow, or is it orange?” I asked coyly, eyes now slightly squinting.
“Well, some say amber, but no one calls it the orange light. Yes, it is yellow I suppose. Why do you ask this?”
“There was this test in the nurse’s office; would you say that it’s the same color as orange juice?” I inquired a bit more nervously, with one eyebrow raised, suddenly wondering what might have been written on Mrs. Bruzen’s note.
A moderate pause, a slightly opened mouth and a confounded look followed for a few seconds as Mr. Elling looked at me. I looked back with pursed lips and now two raised eyebrows awaiting his reply.
“Well, orange juice is yellow; sure, I guess you could say th…”
"It is?” I interrupted with an eager, excited innocence. “You mean it’s not orange?” “Well, it’s like an orangey yellow.”
“Not a yellowy orange?”
“I think its more yellow than orange generally, but colors can mix and not everyone sees them exactly the same, some people can be partially color blind, they might mix up purple and blue, or blue and green; this was not part of our conversation Justin, but did the nurse say you were having a problem?"
“Nah not really but if orange juice is mostly yellow why do they say orange juice?”
“Justin this is…” he began with a tinge of frustration but mid-thought process as if suddenly struck with a good way to answer my alleged confusion, added, “No, just because something is called something doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what it... Here, let me...Orange juice is called orange juice only because oranges are squeezed and the juice comes out of them.” He spoke while squeezing his palms together in case I didn’t understand what squeeze meant. “The skin of an orange is most certainly orange, and if I had to guess, it's probably more likely that this is the reason we call the color orange, orange.”
“Oh yeah. That’s what’s up.” I thought. “Well done Sir. No more questions your honor. Good job, Amen Raymond. Just wait till the Bruz hears this shit.”
I wanted to ask him if he could write that down on my pass or perhaps an announcement over the loud speaker would really be more appropriate given the tenor and gravity of the situation but, before I had a chance he distracted me with, “Now Justin remember, your teacher can explain these things to you, if…” he said, looking to me for the answer. I looked back at him.
“If...” he said again waiting for a response.
“Omm… If she knows the answer?” I thought, "Heck do I know? If she doesn’t want to be shown up...? (nah that can't be)
Oh! Duh, of course,” I thought and then followed out loud “If I raise my hand.”
“You got it.” he said.
Walking out I thought to myself, "You know what Ells? You’re alright. I mean, I feel bad about the dent and all, but I can see you mean well like, the light is whack, the shorts are weak but, at least you know what color orange juice is. It's hard, difficult for most but, I guess that's why you run the joint. Well done Ellen man, well done."
Cooper had finished decontaminating the air conditioner by the time Mr. Elling and I were through. I had gone back to the library but the only one in there was Cooper, and Boy George with Culture Club was playing on the portable radio in the back where he was working. It was the song, "Karma Chameleon". I hated it. "I'm a man, without conviction. I'm a man who doesn'tknow...how to sell, a contradiction, we come and go."
I remember the song only because I recall hearing the words "Red Gold and Green". I didn't know what the words karma, or contradiction meant yet. I wasn't aware of the concept of irony, or synchronicity. I do remember however, attempting unsuccessfully to think of or picture a new color. I kept envisioning just different shades. What I suppose I wanted was a new primary color. I've never been able to do it. Imagine that. Not just a different shade, blending into each other, but a whole new primary color, but let us not digress, nor skip ahead.
I walked back into class, handed the Bruzer my pass, and as I walked to my seat someone asked me if I had learned my lesson.
"Yes,"I thought. "I've learned you are all color blind, and Senór Elling agrees with me! I’m not exactly sure how encouraging that is, but, no matter what you sheep say, orange juice is frickin' yellow."
Patrick Sullivan, who they called a red head, looked at me grinning through his freckles and bright orange bangs. Yeah, I guess it’d figure he would have been on my side. I couldn’t say with words then what really I had learned but I think I made a fundamental decision about things that day. Not a decision about school, or my behavior,or even authority. No, those were lessons to be ignored for many years. Just about people. It wasn’t that I felt superior to them in any way. I mean that. They weren't stupid. They weren't. Many of them certainly had particular skills I didn't. Many did all kinds of parlor tricks I could never do. Lacey could draw better. Stephen was way more proficient at his times tables. They all had their specific talents and yet none of them knew what color orange juice was. It was more like they were some other life form, from a galaxy far away perhaps. I somewhat pitied them without feeling better than them, if that is possible. They were confusing to me. A strange both disillusioning and liberating feeling arose in me. It was a prequel to what and where I will be describing and bringing to you in this volume. Just as obvious and yet hidden out of sight.
"First you will be disturbed. Next you will be astonished, and then… "
- (Hey Zeus, from Tow Mas)
Difficult to describe what follows astonishment. I didn't think myself to be smarter than they, more talented, greater, better, or anything really. But it became apparent to me, again not so much with words, but with an intuitive validity that arose and said: We aren't paying attention, to the same sorts of details, details.
I used to like to say things twice when I was a kid. Once, and then again, the last word of each sentence mumbled a second time under my breath. I learned later from the movie “GoodFellas“ and the character “Tommy Two Times” that maybe I’m not alone in this. It was like an instinctual watching over my own thoughts.
There are these kids in class, who reject the curriculum. Some may say they have A.D.D. but their attention isn't always at a deficit. I didn't have this diagnosis. I was right in the middle. On the border perhaps, straddling the edge. We all have it; it is only to what degree. We all need a balance. The children may not be paying attention to you, but it doesn't mean they aren't paying attention. Attention, like time, is always being paid somewhere.
The specialists of this world focus all their attention in one spot. Children, without a neurotic or incessant curiosity, will memorize whatever facts you place in front of them. They will focus, get good grades, tell you orange juice is orange if they know what is good for themselves and go on to become specialists in one form or another. They will do as they are told, digging one deep well, attempting to hit water. Too many shallow holes they will tell you results in your having done enough cumulatively digging, or perhaps even more than necessary, but will hit no water, and receive no reward. What if however, the green rewards are really what is shallow and all are missing out on something?
Later that evening, I had a dream. I like to think it was around midnight. I was on a train. I entered into a passenger car, where all the children sat eating cereal. Some were eating the cereal we all know like Fruity Pebbles, Corn-Flakes or Cheerios. Others had knock off brands called Whole-e-O’s or Fruity Bits but each had their favorite, and each one came with a toy or a game at the bottom. There was a cupboard, with a box of every variety. I looked a little deeper and one box caught my attention. It had no markings, no cartoon characters, pictures, or anything fancy. It was just a brown paper box that said “Cereal”, but it was miss-spelled so it said “Serial”, like frequent. I selected the serial box. When I opened it up and poured out a bowl, I was surprised to see an eclectic combination of different brands and varieties. Each bite was a fresh concoction. The box had only one flake, one of each color of Fruity Pebble. One marsh mellow, one Apple Jack, one pellet of every color, size and dimension. One Cinnamon Toast square, One Frosted Wheat, one O.J. Joe. I took this box with me.
Everyday I dug into and ate from the serial box. I did the exact opposite of what I was told. An unlabeled box. No flashy colors. No promise of water or prizes at the bottom. Every bite was a random and exciting mixture. If you dig in this box long enough, you get very familiar with what distinguishes one thing from another. In doing that you also get familiar with what they all have in common, and then there is an unexpected something you find at the bottom. An unlabeled bottle of Midnight Moonshine. A miracle tonic, in elixir, vapor, or solid.
We might not focus on the same details, ingredients, or experiences. But I am going to let you in on where the attention has gone, when it wasn't listening to you. My grandmother used to say, “All things are good in moderation, including moderation.” Attention is no different. Our details and connotations are often at odds. While we are using the same words. Isn’t that…odd?
Remember that thing we would say as kids? “What if, when I look at Red, I see, what you see, when you look at Green?" What if it’s all just that stupid?
What if whether yearning for enlightenment
Or speaking of God, as many do, Like some unfathomable new primary color,
After a hard look
Within yourself and/or
Through some not so heavy reading
You will find what they say you can’t
At the end of the rainbow
You will see the something
Just behind the curtain
Some may call it a pot of
Some will call it what they’re told
But on any day you can call it a night
Calling all cars and - off the fight
When in this one concept we’re confident
Bullshit be walking on any continent
Like a wheel of fortune puzzle to solve
Before & After all you’re involved
The counter-clock-wise old owls
Residing where consonants
Are [SUM] X vowels
A Midnight Train of Thought instructor
Turning passengers into semi-conductors
But sorry fresh-out
Is where you will find yourself