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March 31, 2010

Feel

When I left for vacation, I promised I would return, and I have, but something has changed. I used to feel an almost supernatural responsibility to the Truth. It was as if it was my personal duty to set the record straight. I don’t know where I came up with such a misguided notion, but I think it may go back to my childhood.

When I was a child, I came to believe many lies. I don’t think I need to lay them out here; I’m sure you can think of a half-dozen or so of your own. Some of these stories were more outlandish than others, and some of them persist. It is a human phenomenon. Or perhaps it is merely cultural.

Given the opportunity, I set out to bring as many people as possible together with a perspective based on reason and perception, rather than upon cleverly composed fictions, myths and metaphors. After all, they were really no more than lies designed to manipulate the weak-willed, to control the masses. Isn’t that right?

As it happens, my outspokenness drew the attention of several concerned adults; it was determined that I was “special.” There was no other way to describe my uncanny ability to “know” certain things, as it were. It was suggested that I might have something like ESP, and I was given a bunch of silly tests. It was very similar, in fact, to that scene in “Ghostbusters,” where Dr. Peter Venkman is testing college students to see if they can guess what shape is printed on the other side of a card. Ha ha ha. I couldn’t figure out why they were doing that. It was stupid!

Then, at one point, it was determined that I had many more nerve endings than the average person, like five times as many. This didn’t really explain my “knowing” things, but it did kind of prove that I was, like, super-sensitive, in a way. It wasn’t anything to get excited about; at best, I could tell what the thread count in a bed sheet was by rubbing it across the back of my hand, for instance, but it wasn’t like Professor X was likely to come knocking, asking me to join the X-Men, or whatever, so I could check the linens at the School for Gifted Youngsters. Right?

It also turned out that I had more rods and cones in my optic nerves than most people, meaning I had to wear protective sunglasses. On the other hand, there was another kind of extra-sensitivity because of this, and, at times, I could kind of see through things, but it would only be, like, heavy curtains or something. It’s not like I can see through wood or metal, at least not really thick wood or metal.

Back in those days of discovery, my doctors said it would probably be a good idea if we didn’t go public about my “condition.” People tend to be suspicious of anybody who is special, so I was raised like a normal kid. I went to public school. I kept to myself, for the most part. And, rather than just blurting out the things I “knew,” I was encouraged to write them down, so a group of counselors could review them. And, because my eyes were so sensitive, I was sent to the movie theater four or five times a week. This kept me out of trouble, and I was OK with it because I liked the stories about ordinary people like the Man with No Name and James Bond.

Over the years, my various sensitivities have gone a little haywire. I started to be able to taste colors and see flavors. I can hear shadows approaching. For my vacation this year, I went to consult an expert on certain matters and found out some people can’t handle common Truths, so I figure I can keep them to myself. The Truth, as they say, is self-evident, and the truths that I continue to believe in are likely to reveal themselves to be unreliable muck if I hang around with them long enough, so what do I know?

With apologies and acknowledgements to: Orson Welles, Santa Claus, “The Incredibles,” Lance Clayton (a.k.a. “World’s Greatest Dad”), “Kick Ass,” “Watchmen,” Benjy Compson, “Here Comes Peter Cottontail,” The Bible (New Testament), Alex Chilton (R.I.P.), Col. Nathan R. Jessup, John Ford, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” and Hans Gruber.