Brick Highlights The Click


I’ve just had yet another demonstration of what has so far proved to be the most recurring spiritual lesson of my life.  I guess what recurs is the reminders of The Truth principle and who knows, if I ever fully took the lesson to heart—learned it, I might be able to just demonstrate the principle and not need all the reminders.

I’m sitting in a Starbucks writing the blog today. I just had a great massage which is something I should do regular as part of my self-care regimen. The other massage therapist and I are doing a trade so it’s “free.” Finances are sort of tight right now and…  well now, see, even when I type those words I’m reminded that it goes against the Truth Principle that I’m about to talk about. I’ll get back to that. Taking care of my body and giving myself things like regular trips to the barber, pedicures, massage, acupuncture— in reality these things make me more able to get back out there on the front lines and continue trying to make a difference but— see, right there— “trying” to make a difference. Trying to to do something is not doing it. (I’ll avoid the temptation to quote Yoda here.) Can you see how my mind works? Each thought dividing in twain and then those two to split again. One train of thought then gets abandoned for the new diversion, not necessary less worthy of my attention but certainly not where I intended to go in the first place. As I’ve mentioned before, difficulty paying attention is likely the most prevalent symptom of PSTD for me.

Let’s start over.

I’ve just been reminded of what is probably— dang! I can’t really say this without realizing the meta-truth in the telling: If I really learned the lesson, I wouldn’t need all the reminders!

The Truth Principle is this: What I needed was there all along; it was right in front of me.

Here’s the story of today’s reminder: I was pulling up to the coffee house to write about an hour ago. I also brought along three books I’m reading and knew that in addition to getting some work done on the script, I also wanted to get some reading in. Most specifically, I wanted to read some more in The Power of the Subconscious Mind by Dr. Joseph Murphy. (How this book came to me is also a very interesting story of serendipity but I already have enough plates spinning. Think I should reconsider that Adderall thing? It seemed to work when I took it.)

… okay, I just called the Birmingham VA to see if I could get hooked up with a prescriber in the Mental Health Clinic. I would consider going back on Wellbutrin too. My lows are so incredible and well, the highs ain’t that great but SSRIs (Wellbutrin’s not one) have ridiculous amounts of sexual side effects when I take them and that, I find, is inordinately depressing which is sort of against the point of the whole thing right?

A fellow Marine, a journalist and documentarian, is coming here tonight to spend the weekend. He’s interested in doing a project on veterans who have considered suicide so he’s coming to interview me. I still maintain that I’ll never find enough recovery in the codependency arena to off myself but you never know. I suppose it would be great for his doc if he got a great interview and then I went on to end it. We’ll see how much I like him after the weekend before I consider doing him such a “solid.” Relax. I’m joking. Y’all ai’t’ got no sense of humor. (“Suicide is no joking matter.” Yes it is. Fuck you. Shut up.)

Let’s start over again.

When I was pulling up to the coffee house and realized that I didn’t have a highlighter and I was thinking about how much having a highlighter enriches my reading experience— some of my fondest memories of my second Bachelors (in English) from the University of Utah— did you know I still haven’t finished that degree? I only lack two semesters (3rd and 4th) of Spanish to have a second Bachelors in English. But it’s been so long since I took the first two semesters of Spanish, I’m afraid to dive into 3rd semester. I’m so close to finishing the degree it would be such a waste not to go ahead and finish it. (Adam is better than me. He’s a doctor. He has lots of degrees.) I did learn a lot in pursuit of this English degree so it is worth the effort on its own but the principle reason I got it (well, I haven’t gotten it yet!) — but the principle reason I embarked on a second Bachelors is that the Voc Rehab program wasn’t about to send to grad school and— oh hell. That story is too long. Anyway Columbia didn’t let me in and I’m about to let the deadline for reapplying pass. Effemell.

Eventually getting jerked around by my brain like this can get me to a place where I want to just shut it down. Permanently. But don’t worry. I won’t add my name to the list of those who silence the brain with a firearm. Did you know that over half of the gun deaths in America are suicides?! Fifty-six percent! 82 per day!  I was astounded when I heard that on NPR yesterday!

The drinking was definitely about trying to quiet my very busy brain. Tennessee Williams is, as many of you know, one of my ascended masters and there is a strip of dialogue in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof which I consider to be some of his best. It’s not flowery at all like some of his more poetic dialogue. It is, however poetic and beautiful in its simplicity and the meaning behind it hits me like a ton of… well… Bricks.

Brick: Somethin’ hasn’t happened yet.

Big Daddy: What’s that?

Brick: A click in my head.

Big Daddy: Did you say “click”?

Brick: Yes sir, the click in my head that makes me feel peaceful.

Big Daddy: Boy, sometimes you worry me.

Brick: It’s like a switch, clickin’ off in my head. Turns the hot light off and the cool one on, and all of a sudden there’s peace.

Big Daddy: Boy, you’re, you’re a real alcoholic!

Brick: That is the truth. Yes, sir, I am an alcoholic. So if you’d just excuse me…

Big Daddy: [grabbing him] No, I won’t excuse you.

Brick: Now I’m waitin’ for that click and I don’t get it. Listen, I’m all alone. I’m talkin’ to no one where there’s absolute quiet.

God, I get Tennessee. I’m so grateful we’re friends.

So I was pulling up to the coffee house and I realized I didn’t have any highlighters and I wanted to use a highlighter while I read this book on scientific prayer and so I went down the shame spiral and met all my working-class poor programming when I was considering whether I could afford to go into the Walgreens and simply buy myself a new highlighter and because I’m out of money I’d have to put it on Mommy’s debit card which does make me feel like pulling the trigger but I decided to do it anyway so I went into the drugstore and stood in front of the highlighter section for probably five minutes trying to to decide what the most cost effective choice would be because they didn’t really have a single highlighter package but only multi-pack choices so I ended up with the yellow, green, pink 3-pack because I although I almost exclusively use the traditional bright yellow highlighter if I ever am going to use any other color it’s probably going to be pink or green so after I went fully into the tearing-up-eyes/closing-throat fear of spending scarce funds (I really do go there) I decided if I didn’t buy them then I simply wasn’t going to and my reading experience would be so much less fulfilling so I grabbed the 3-pack and dashed toward the register only to get stopped by the sight of the bank of Christmas cards and I remembered that I needed one to hold the gift card that I’m giving somebody so I stood there reading the Christmas cards designed to hold cash or gift card getting increasingly depressed realizing how much I really despise the holidays more and more with each passing year but finally I settle on the least obnoxious one and made my escape and finally got to the coffee house in hopes of getting some work done and I opened up my sand-colored Camelback backpack only to see that there was already a yellow highlighter pen in there and so that whole drama about not having one and what I had to go through to get one— well, three actually— was all so unnecessary and then I opened another compartment on my Camelback and found yet another and then another yellow highlighter so I already actually had three yellow highlighters in my bag when I would have bet you money (if I had any that is) that there was none in there! What I needed, I already had! And that is the most constantly recurring lesson in my life.

Now— I need to pay off my bills. And I want to live in New York. I guess these are wants and not needs— but hell, when I think about it, the highlighters are really wants and not needs also. I could certainly read without the highlighters. Heck, I could get by without reading— I don’t want to but I could. It’s a want and not a need.

Oh Brick! Oh Tennessee! I need “the click” too. And drinkin’ don’t work for me no more.

See y’all tomorrow. 

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