Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Chunks of Flesh

This morning was a classic early spring morning in the SF Bay Area. The Berkeley Hills were slighty damp and freezing cold as the sun had not yet topped the ridge. The air was clear as a bell, and snappish in that refreshing way that makes nightcrawlers late sleepers wave their hands in derision and make the vomit sign with their forefinger. That's OK. As Neal Cassady said, never knock the way the other cat swings. Or , as he supposedly said. Anyway, a morning like this makes you feel good.

I was striding down the road, enjoying the smells of grass, flowers, and a breakfast being cooked somewhere. Dogs were barking in Live Oak Park. Crows were swooping around looking for some nice succulent garbage. Then I saw the squirrels skittering around, running from me, and after each other. Perhaps one had a golden acorn. Then a dark image took hold, and I haven't been able to shake it yet. A picture arose in my mind of a fence line topped with perhaps fifty squirrels, all cute and cuddly and staring at me. All of them. I was seized by a hypnotic force and backed up to a parked car, against my will. Try as I might I couldn't break away. I stared at them, and they stared at me. Then an especially fat and malevolent squirrel began that horrible ragged chirping noise they sometimes make. All the squirrels joined in. The racket became intolerable. Suddenly I knew what was coming next but I couldn't move. I was to be the object of sacrifice for 4 dozen squirrels to appease whatever god they worship. They leapt down from the fence en masse, and before I knew it, great chunks of my flesh were being stripped off my legs by the leaping fat, furry little devils. I screamed even but could barely hear myself above the horrible chirping and squeaking. I went down swinging, finally able to move. Squirrels flew in every direction and the crows swooped down to take them as they hit the pavement. Ah yes, crows are my friends. The squirrels scattered, squeaking in fear as the corvids fell on them with relish. When I recover I will moblize an army of them and ravage the squirrel population from Richmond to Oakland. I will have my revenge, and the crows will have a feast. Ahhhh hahahahahhahaaaaa....


Blogger Roy said...

And so it was that man defeated nature by adopting its most frightening elements and turning it on itself. Skinny, hairless bastards that we are, we are here because we can do that.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

Er, some of us are more hairless than others.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Uh, I'm right behind you in the hairless department there, Roy.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

What do you know about Carl Jung? I was reading some stuff, and the notion of art being interpreted in the same was as dreams occurred to me. It would all depend on from where the ideas are coming.

Or something.

6:05 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

I haven't read Jung in so long, I barely remember his ideas. Can you suggest a good book on that?

8:54 AM  
Blogger Roy said...

I recently read "Man and His Symbols" which has sections, one written by Jung, on dream symbolism, archetypal symbols, etc. Very interesting. When I applied what little I managed to apprehend of that book to your sequence, here, treating it as a dream, it "fit" surprisingly well.

What do you teach, Harry?

9:26 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

Ah yes. I knew that title, and completely forgot it. thanks for the reminder.

I actually don't teach. I am a Doktor of Bureaucracy. I am the coordinator for the Ph.D. students in Anthropology at Berkeley. As Hunter Thompson might have termed it, a "brutal fixer."

9:39 AM  
Blogger Wiggy said...

I'm going right out to buy that book by Jung. My (BTW Berkeley undergrad) daughter told me to see a psychologist about my dreams. I've never had a dream about squirrels, but I had so many squirrels in my ex-yard one couldn't yell over the din of their "ragged chirping noise". It was like living next to a squirrel freeway. I wouldn't be surprised if your post was true. I'm going to Berkeley today; tell me what road to avoid.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

Wiggy, always avoid Shattuck Avenue if possible, especially in the Gourmet Ghetto between Vine and Cedar. Very bad in there, no one paying attention to anything except themselves as they eat groovy food; double parked delivery vans; and yuppies driving like maniacs. Use Oxford. Much easier on the nerves if you're going north-south.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

By they way, what does your daughter study?

11:47 AM  
Blogger Wiggy said...

I avoid the Gourmet Ghetto anyway; the food is too rich (in taste and price) for my sensibilities. But, I've gotten used to Shattuck further south and feel strangely comfortable with the mix of academics and the people who talk to people I can't see.

My daughter is studying rhetoric. I hope the department is big enough to protect her identity (joke), because her mother (me) is somewhat "folle" and I want to protect her from any association with my blogging.

I majored in Economics (pre-unemployment as we used to call it) and always wished I had majored in psychology, sociology, or cultural anthropology. Then maybe I'd have an inkling of understanding of the people around me and myself.

I'll watch out for the squirrels, though.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

Wiggy, you'll enjoy the book. One big thing you learn is that it is not a dream symbol "cookbook," like, if you dream of water it means this, if you dream of children it means that . . . You sort of get a feel for what's going on--only the dreamer herself can interpret her own dream (or with the help of a good psychiatrist.)

The shocking thing about dreams is that everyone in them is you.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Wiggy said...

Wow, Roy. Everyone in my dreams is me? Scary. Does that mean that Harry is part "malevolent squirrel"?

Speaking of squirrels, haven't run into any yet over here in Berkeley. But, I'm heading off to dinner and the bookstore so I'll be wary.

Love the title of your blog web site, Harry: Lunacy at Noon. Does that have something to do with Upper Sproul Plaza shenanigans or you (part malevolent squirrel)?

6:14 PM  
Blogger Don said...

You all and my recent visit to the old village are making me homesick.

Anyway I used to interpret my wife's dreams but that seems to have tapered off -- either they don't make sense any more, or I just can't follow like I used to, or she isn't bothering to tell me, or something. But for dreams and art to spring from the same unspoken abstract symbol language -- this makes sense. Partly from that, religion also sprang. (What is this about religion? I seem to have a need to apply a reductive analysis until it disappears. Well, I love Mankind, making religion disappear is the least I can do.)

11:40 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

I may indeed be part malevolent squirrel. Either that, or I feel the oncoming revenge of nature and I symbolize selfish humanity. Roy's take on it was good, about Man turning nature upon itself. I'll have to read Jung and see what else comes out. I always thought of myself more as part three toed sloth, or maybe see turtle in my more wishful moments.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

Thanks, Wiggy. Lunacy at Noon just came to me when I realized I needed to come up with a name. It was a dichotomy that attracted me. Or maybe that isn't the right word. In astronomy it refers to the half of the moon that faces earth and is illuminated. I was thinking at the time that we don't see the moon at Noon, but its there nonetheless. Perhaps that reflects my wishful thinking that I may not see things in my writing that are there, but I'll see them later. Or something along those lines.

Not to say that Upper Sproul at Noon isn't full of lunacy, but I'm generally in the pool then, trying to escape the lunacy of my office.

9:58 AM  

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