Starry-eyed couples who take moonlight strolls along the Sea of Love do so at the risk of their hormone-driven happiness; for the beach along Sea Of Love is littered with “Globsters”–those unidentifiable, high smelling, amorphous sacks of putrescent goo–which, to paraphrase the words of the Munchkin Coroner, are not just really dead, but are most sincerely dead.
It’s difficult to believe that these foul lumps of decaying schmagma were at one time singularly beautiful creatures given life by the hormone-driven happiness of starry-eyed couples. Yet until everything between the couple eventually relocated to the Sea of Hell, these fantastic combinations of the swan and dolphin had capered, minced and frolicked on and below the moonlit surface of the Sea of Love with light souls and airy hearts that had been shaped by impossible expectations and the I Can’t Live Without Yous exchanged by two hearts that had striven to beat as one. Deep analysis of any bloated corpse found on the beach at the Sea of Love, however, always reveals the faulty DNA of a creature that had been conceived with the best of intentions yet fell victim to its own bad internal wiring; thus it slowly devolved, succumbed to a dormant case of the stupids, sank, drowned and washed up on Love’s shore as something that not even a dog might roll in.
The Sea of Love, of course, is a fantasy place like Oz, Narnia, The Hundred Acre Wood and that bittersweet paradise known only to the sentimental at heart as Tarbolton, Scotland (“Aye, skank, we’ll always have Tarbolton”). Thus, the creatures in Sea of Love cannot possibly exist on the same plane of reality inhabited by the human race. Yet Love’s Globsters are real enough.
Now that the backdrop has been sketched, and now that my primary complaint has been approached, I ask that you imagine a room at a YMWCA or a church in which chairs are arranged like Stonehenge and there are gum wrappers and empty styrofoam coffee cups lying on the floor. This setting is indicative of 12-step program meeting place. And now you watch me rise to my full magnificence, hear me clear my throat, and bravely say: “Hello, my name is Alice, and I am a Globster-holic.”
Aye, skank, aye, blighter, in our hearts let us be true: Ninety-nine percent of people are stupid about love (and most likely about everything else as well). That’s why all the Globsters. But of that ninety-nine percent, I’d say twenty-four percent can develop an immunity to the stupids and achieve loving happiness as long as we do not set the bar for it too high (this is where you will find me). The one percenters who are not stupid about love aren’t necessarily geniuses. Mostly, their greatest talent lies in knowing when to retire to their little hiding holes until the majority goes away. Even in a planet populated by billions, in which one percent is a large number, it is especially hard to locate a one-percenter because of all the hiding. But I think I have finally found one in the open: his name is Jim.
I like the sound of Alice and Jim. But I have similarly hitched my name to three others in the past; hence Globsters.
To be honest, only one of my three Globsters has left a lasting memory. For about two years now I get flat out angry when I run across the number 122. You see, my ex-fiance (oh, let’s give him an imaginary name that’s in keeping with his deeds and personality–Eureka! “Shitball”) had seemingly ruined number 122 for me for life. Although our love was already showing signs of the stupids, Shitball and I were living together and had bought rings and were just two months shy of the Big Day when I was pulled over for performing what around here is known as a “California stop” by a policeman (for the record, I was guilty of that). This routine infraction went straight to the Sea of Hell when the officer returned to my vehicle and took me into custody. There had been a warrant issued for my arrest. We had only my car, and it seemed that Shitball had rung up 122 unpaid parking tickets in my name, without telling me about it.
Allow me to isolate that fact for greater effect:
As you may have guessed, this is still a bit of a sore spot with me. Sadly, it took me a little while to get around to assigning some of the blame to myself. If I hadn’t allowed Shitball to have the only key to our mailbox, chances are that I would have seen at least one of the many final notices sent to me by the Charleston Gestapo. As it should be expected to result from the activities associated with someone named Shitball, the components necessary to produce a perfect shitstorm had gathered and eventually headed my way. Component 1.) I do everything electronically, and outside of Amazon deliveries, I had almost forgotten about such archaic things like paper mail. That and the Cali stop are the only items here that are on me; Component 2.) The Charleston PD (and for that matter, the entire Torqwamni County government) is still struggling to enter the 20th-century, let alone the 21st, technology wise. Someday, God willing, they will hire someone who knows how to send an email, a text, or even a phone call. Component 3.) Shitball turned out to be…well, a Shitball. When I called him to bail me out of the hoosegow, he must have sensed my level of rage, because he packed up his shitball shit (and some of mine) and vanished. Mom had to come get me. I recall my mood rising to a hitherto unknown level of pissed-off as I silently sat there and had to let her I-told-you-so me all the way home.
The judge wasn’t a complete dick–just partially so; since he must’ve been two-hundred, what he did to me was probably all the dickiness he could get up to anymore. He didn’t give a rip about Shitball’s hand in the affair, and all that His Flaccidness (after he had sentenced me to paying restitution, twenty hours’ of Community Service, and a hefty impound fee for my car) had to say about my defense was to advise me to always check my mail and to get a new boyfriend. I stared him dead in his rheumy eyes and nonchalantly brushed my nose with my middle finger, which is about all the satisfaction I got out of the mess.
I’m about as violent as a Smurf, but plenty of dark fantasies formed in my head when I first wrote a check to the city that wiped out my savings, and later as I spent three hella-fucked, clad in a bright orange jailhouse jumper, days picking up garbage, spent syringes and used rubbers at Evergreen Park. This moved me to compose a psychotic little song about the lousy experience, which I hummed under my breath. I call it 122 Ways to Dismember Shitball (which owes plenty to Paul Simon for its melody and title). Behold a sample:
Boil his head, Red;
Don’t forget the spleen, Jean
Gotta joint that leg, Peg;
Cos Hefty bags don’t grow on trees…
It goes on pretty much the same.
Looking back at the naive, starry-eyed lover girl I had been, I now believe that her threshold of acceptance for being unwittingly left on the hook for unpaid parking tickets may have topped out at four (six, if the Shitball who had screwed her over had been her own child), but at least there would had been a number for it. Today, and forever more, the amount is zero. Live and Learn is embossed on the harpoon that puts Love’s Globsters out of their stupids-induced misery.
Now, some of you out there are probably wondering, “But, [wise] Alice, how will I know that my frolicking, mincing, capering swan-dolphin has caught the stupids and is doomed to be a Globster turning to worm chow on the shore at the Sea of Love?” Good question. Here’s a couple of symptoms that ought to come up hella long prior to you being hauled off to the crossbar hotel on account of 122 unpaid motherfucking parking tickets: (Please note that although your author, by her nature, is only acquainted with the hetero strain of the stupids, she is fairly confident that the affliction follows a similar arc for members of the LGBT community.) Do either of you disrespect the other in front of other people? And do either of you scan his or her phone for female/male contacts while the other is asleep or in the shower? You cannot have one of those seemingly unrelated symptoms without having the other, and even though only one of you may do both, the other will soon follow suit. Neither symptom is more likely to cause the other; they just coexist, and as it goes with all issues involving respect and trust, both-as-one are always indicative of the stupids.
Alas, I may still be a naive, starry-eyed girl who believes in love. But since I’m only twenty-four, I think that I should be allowed belief in the concept even if it does turn out to be another Santa Claus. Still, when I put Jim under the light, I see someone who is so rare and pure of heart that he couldn’t even conceive of scanning my phone let alone do it.
And there are other things:
I was pleasantly surprised on a rare sun-splashed Pacific Northwest March morning, which had happened early on in my Jim Experience. I had run over a beer bottle on the way to his apartment (a vial of Tarbolton love potion, as the new old joke goes). I wanted to see if any of the glass had stuck to my tire.
“Do me a solid, Jim,” I said as we stood out on the street. I handed him the keys and requested that he, “put her in reverse and slowly ease her back.”
A look like that of a three-year-old boy fessing up to wetting his bed appeared in Jim’s face. He hemmed and hawed and gazed at the ground, then he looked me square in the forehead and said, verrry softly, “Ummm, I’d like to, but I don’t know how.”
“Can’t drive a stick?” I asked, for my car has a manual transmission, and that was the only thing I could think of that could have been the source of his embarrassment. “No worries,” I continued, “it’s not like it makes you less a man–Like they say on TV admitting to having a problem is the first step, don’t ya’ know?”
“Umm, I don’t know how to drive. Never learned how. Been meaning to get around to it.”
I don’t recall precisely what I said to that. But I will admit that a certain joy inside me was larger than my astonishment. Although I could not at the time fully grasp the idea that a perfectly healthy, and in no way disabled or marginalized 26-year-old American man did not know how to drive a car, I knew there and then that a repeat of the Shitball Debacle, though theoretically possible, was unlikely.
As we have become closer, I am no longer astonished by Jim’s ignorance of driving. He has a genius in him that makes all technological devices and programs child play in his unlimited mind. However, there seems to be a disconnect between his vast mind and objects and tools that actually do something. Smartphones, computers and the like are portals to information, and Jim shines in cyberspace, but those items gather from the ether and do not alter matter the same way a sledge hammer does. No matter whether you hand Jim an egg-beater or a potato masher, or, God forbid, an axe or place him behind the wheel of your car (as I have done once, and never will again), it becomes evident in a special hurry that he is lost, thus a public hazard.
Our driving lesson took place way the hell out in the uncharted wilds of Torqwamni County, and it went like this:
“All right, Jim, put her in first, ease off the clutch, gently apply the gas and move us on down the road.”
Right about then I realized that Jim processes information in his own manner. How else to explain his putting her in reverse, popping the clutch, flooring the accelerator and relocating us into the ditch?
After this happened three times in a row, Jim and I decided that his carbon footprint should remain the size it had been at the start of the day. I also figured out that part of the reason why the world has allowed Jim to live as long as he has, involves a sweet and honestly befuddled and sorrowful expression he gets on his face when things don’t work out. If he didn’t have that natural defense mechanism I would have ripped him a new one upon our third venture into the ditch.
But my favorite thing about Jim is his love for animals even though all animals seem out to get him. He mentors six dwarf hamsters who are little hellions, has an ASPCA welcome mat that a neighbor’s cat uses for a litter box, and may be the only human being to carry the scars from a woodpecker attack–yet none of that keeps Jim from loving them all unconditionally, or from making suet balls for the ungrateful little winged creep all the same.
Nobody is perfect, of course. I met Jim’s mother the other day and was astonished that she was old as either of my grandmothers. It turned out that Jim was a surprise! baby, born when his parents were in their mid-forties. Jim’s sister, Isabel, is thirteen years older than he is, and he has a brother who is one year older than my father. Although there is nothing wrong with any of that, I quickly put together that since Jim was the baybee, he had been aggressively spoiled (yet not rotten) by both his Mommy and Sissy.
Now, now, now, I ain’t got the stupids–for I have developed an immunity. One needn’t have a case of the stupids to glean the facts from life or see which way the wind blows. Jim’s spoiledness is evident when little things don’t go his way. Let’s say we want to go to a movie and I am dead set on seeing one because it is on a short release yet he’s for another, even though it is the type of film that will be in the theaters until the end of time, he gets all booby-faced and all Oh, okay, I guess when he finally realizes that I am right (which I’m not all the time, just most of it). I figure that this little boy thing he does (so much like that sweetly befuddled expression of his that gets him out of his foul ups), has probably had a pretty successful run. At first, I had let him get away with it until I had seen it one time too many. Then I imitated his booby-face when he made a suggestion contrary to one of my own. The knowing little light that had shone in his eyes and subsequent smile informed me that this was both something curable and put-up-with-able. So much that I lifted a strange (to him, I’m sure) ban I had placed on him when we first began to see each other.
“Know what, Jim?” I said as I dressed a fresh wound laid on him by one of his wild-eyed dwarf hamsters.
“I should get a kevlar glove for feeding time?”
“Oh, yeah,” I said, “that too. But you remember that rule I had about mentioning a certain number?”
“You mean the one where I’ve got to say 121 plus one, or 123 minus one, on the rare occasion when I must use the forbidden number?”
“Yep, that one. Go on and say it. It’s not a trick, I won’t get mad. Honest.”
Jim proceeded to whisper “122” faster than I imagined that it could be whispered.
His whole being paused for a second, then he relaxed when he saw that neither a demon nor my pique had been raised.
I held his hand and looked him dead in the eye. “You never asked why I wouldn’t let you say that, which I appreciate,” I said. “But now that it is time for us to proceed to the next level, I’m going to tell you a story about a Globster.”
“A globster,” Jim echoed.
“Gotta say Globster like a proper noun, Jim,” I said, for my hearing is so keen that It can pick up on that sort of thing. “It’s about a Globster, the Sea of Love and 122 unpaid motherfucking parking tickets, and how none of that much matters anymore.”
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