Monday, September 26, 2005

This First Day of the Rest of My Life

Why now? is your quite reasonable question.

Well, I'm glad I made sure you asked.

This is happening now because I had a life-changing Moment on Saturday. Although I've had such Moments before — and I reserve the right to have a subsequent Moment that sends my life careening toward some other, lesser destiny — this is the one I'm running with today. Because right now, brothers and sisters, I feel something. The Winds of Change are blowing between my ears, and I feel I have no choice but to listen to their music.

And not just to listen, but to dance.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, and ahead of my Moment. I attended a wedding this weekend, you see —

What ho, Phutatorius! You ARE a Romantic, aren't you?

Sir, I'm not terribly glad I allowed you to interrupt just now. But I'll answer your question: yes, I suppose I am a Romantic, in that broader sense of the term. Not the wine and cheese, hire-the-violinist Romantic, but an old-timey, Robert Louis Stevenson Romantic. In that sense, then, no — it wasn't the union of souls that moved me, not the day's celebration of matrimony that set my heart afire. No — the details, as they say, are in the particulars.

It was about 9:36 EDT. The vows had been exchanged, toasts delivered, casks of wine uncorked and spilled into lustful gullets. The deejay had supplied a suitably rakish voice-over to the bouquet-and-garter proceedings, and the Village People's YMCA had put more than one embarrassing uncle's sweat-soaked dress shirt on awkward display.

And so it was time, many guests supposed, to call for the Electric Slide. And call they did, in menacing, persistent, unison. The deejay knew what to do when confronted by the chanted commands of a drunken mob: you cue up the damned Electric Slide already. So he did.

On the periphery of the proceedings (where many of my brothers and sisters have known me to live), I took dainty sips at my fifteenth Diet Pepsi of the evening, and I watched wide-eyed as the Electric Slide came on, and the initial beats of this well-worn wedding-party classic snapped the scattered and ragtag assembly of guests suddenly to attention, pulled them smartly together into a square formation, and stirred them to move together in precision-timed, uniform, prefabricated steps.

Fascism! I cried. Fascism on the dance floor! This regimented block formation dancing, this soulless display of the most politically and aesthetically disturbing sort of social conformity, this Electric Slide! I could not allow it to continue. Before my judgment could get the better of me, I tossed Diet Pepsi #15 to the ground and heaved my body into the center of this military exercise they call a "dance." Screeching and cursing and flailing my arms, I shoved grandmothers to the ground. I hurled obscenities at the bride. I kicked the five-year old ringbearer and called his mother a Nazi.

And this — THIS was your Moment, Phutatorius? Another one of these Incidents of yours?

Ah, but you're jumping the gun, Brother/Sister. And you're confusing Incidents of high drama and a reasonable amount of bloodshed (of which I admit I have had many in my life) with Moments of clarity and insight (of which I am ashamed to say I have had comparably few). My initial frontal assault on the Electric Sliders was, as you say, another Incident — but only a precursor of and necessary precondition to my Moment. It was, you see, five minutes later, as I lay on the floor under a pile of groomsmen who were beating the living shit out of me, spitting teeth, that I had my Moment.

What of that Moment, Phutatorius? What clarity, what insight was given you during your Moment?

Two things, Brother/Sister. I learned two things at that Moment:

I realized, first, that to that point I was a failure as a leader of men.

And second, I understood that this world of "individuals," however many billion of them there may be, is just screaming for one man to impose a singular and dominating Order upon it. This world's civilians, wayward and dispersed, wait with bated breath for someone to play the song that will bring their lives into a strict focus. And its soldiers — God bless them! — they're just looking for someone, some Supreme Commander, who might give them an excuse to pile on an enemy and make off with his cuff-links.

And so, on Saturday night, as I pressed a Ziploc bag full of ice to my jaw and awaited treatment in the Mount Auburn Hospital Emergency Room, I took stock of my life. I understood that my ambitions were understated, and my regular suggestions of satisfaction (I'm just fine. How are you?) were outright lies. Lies I told to friends and acquaintances, and — far worse — lies I told to myself.

So now I find myself poised on the verge of a new Life's Adventure. I know not where this new path will lead, in the short-term. I can't possibly predict every twist or turn, every uphill climb, every misstep, tumble, or fruitless double-back. I only know that I will move down my new path with a steely determination, and that at the end of this path lies World Domination . . . or not. That's the game I'm playing now: all or nothing.

Keep your eyes open, Brother/Sister. Don't dare to blink. You won't want to miss a trick.

2 comments:

NewillMeister said...

that profile picture is MY moment... LOL!

Anonymous said...

Phutie,
Your first task should be to (at least attempt to) take over those pathetic Indians. [Cough, choke]