What He Did up in Weed

It was said, maybe by Descartes, maybe me, that you cannot imagine anything which does not exist. So there must in a parallel universe be already a zither acting as a gazelle humming Bach while performing an obscene act on a certain diva, for I just conceived it.

I have a corollary conviction. I do not believe anything can happen lest it be prefigured in metaphor. For unless you can project a pattern, however can you realize it?

Think of it. You are standing at a crosswalk and you see the signal and you expect traffic to stop for you to cross, even though the precise minute has never happened before. Crossing a narrow lane at dusktime because you have noted disheveled pedestrians approach and you have an idea what ignoring the laws of decorum mean. Bending to stroke the ears of a cocker spaniel, you expect to warm the heart of his owner, though you’ve never before seen her. Someone is knocking at your door and you think, boredom, as you observe what seems to be a brochure in her hand. There once was a mother-in-law who presumed extravagant fancies about our pedestrian little village due simply to soap opera overdose. You look at the news perhaps for the sake of the gossip, or maybe for the great effect, or the local angles. Me, I look for a grand allegory.

Fact and fancy are intermixed in this crazy world. – Dr Sax; Kerouac


My first encounter with the world outside my small Texas plains village was the book On the Road, which supplied many magical cultural patterns of which I had no other access. I listened to Billy Holliday and Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray and Old God Shearing and Slim Gaillard and I read Woolfe and picked at Proust and even Myteries of Paris a time or two. And I read Saroyan and Steinback, too, because of

As dawn began to break I lay flat on my back in the lawn of the town square and kept saying over and over again, "You won’t tell what he done up in Weed, will you? What’d he do up in Weed? You won’t tell will you? What’d he do up in Weed"? This was from the picture Of Mice and Men, with Burgess Meredith talking to the foreman of the ranch. – On the Road

It was after high school when someone who went away to school mentioned this Steinback novel. I thought originally through imperfect recall the author was Burgess Meredith. It was much read in our town because it was very brief, so I read it, too, then forgot it, and then like mythology generally it crawled back into my mind and set up shop there.

(Mystery always reads like this. This is from old D H Lawrence. One primitive in the night stands high to crash down a large stone into a puddle wherein the moon glows. He breaks up that orange sphere into lapping shards, but in time they ebb and drift back together and are whole again. This is how you know dreams are. Because time leads to more entropy, and imagination less. You must write that down. No matter how large the stone, no matter how high it be raised, time will dissolve what fancy will draw together. It helps to know this while waiting for the light at intersections.)

It was the story of a hulk of a man with superhuman strength and the mind of a grizzly with childlike affect. This was Lenny. He only wanted softness and pleasant feelings yet he blundered into gross error and major mayhem. He had a handler named George who he trusted and who tried mightily to steer him to the useful and the good. George was not always successful.

I began to see parallels everywhere. All the Southern Baptists I knew were merely George coaching Lenny. "Lenny, put the wagon down now, Lenny, release Curly’s hand, that’s it, no, set the house back on its foundation, that’s right …"

There is this big Lenny guy up in the sky, see, and he’s too dumb to know that floods and fires and family sickness are bad, so you have to remind him over and over. "Dear God, please help cousin Miriam overcome the juandice and relieve us of this drought and make that demon rum go away, amen."

Jesus himself said, you think the father don’t know what you need? (Not a direct quote.) *

If George were a bit more conniving, and using Lenny to advance his own cause and preferences, you would have a parable of the Israeli Likud running America’s foreign policy to please themselves and their own interests. "Look, George, lay down your Taliban tempests and take up arms against our enemies, Saddam and the Ayotollahs, for if they be eliminated, our world is more secure, if yours be less so." And Lenny, the big dope who only wanted soft votes and tender notes, blundered off into the desert and was gone at least 40 years and more and the end of the story is yet to be told as another chapter is opening even now.

* But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. – Matthew 6:8

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