Today is 12.19.18.9.8 5 Lamat 16 Tzek

533 shopping days until 13.0.0.0.0 4 Ahau 3 K’ank’in.

After over a year out of work (I like to think to think of it as a sabbatical from wage labor, rather than unemployment) I did finally get a job, several months after we arrived in Louisville. I work part time as a machine monkey, running postal insertion and sorting machines. I actually enjoy it. I get paid to do aerobics for five or six hours per day, with noisy machinery in a warehouse, rather than paying to use exercise equipment at a gym. I lift boxes full of mailers instead doing the clean and jerk with free weights. Breaking a sweat on a daily basis has whipped me into shape–I have lost at least 25 pounds and I am much more limber and lithe than the old man I felt like less than a year ago. So, you may ask, what does that have to do Jack Nicholson, and why have I posted the above pretty-in-pink pic of his beautific mug?

When I perform repetitive physical tasks, as I did when I worked as a baker, or when I operate complicated production line equipment, the repertoire of movements become a meditative dance, and the dance once learned allows both focus on the task, and frees the ghosts in the machine, so to speak, to wander. And the ghosts in my head do wander.

One of them wandered into a shabby cinema on some side street in my occipital lobe, and sat down to watch The Last Detailwhich happens to star Jack Nicholson. The film was released in 1973, and I haven’t seen it since the Seventies, so the print was old and the projection quality poor. What remained of the film in the mind’s eye seemed to be inter-cut with scenes from Hitchcock’s Marnie (There are drunken sailors in both movies, I think). Nicholson makes this face, you see (See above). Sitting under the flickering cone of light in the empty theater, I watched this face ebb and flow on the screen. A thought entered, like an usher with flashlight: Jack Nicholson built his career on the moment just before he speaks, utters a witticism or vulgarity or a barb or explodes into a rant, the moment when he makes the face. It is the exact face a constipated baby makes when it feels the big dump coming on, and is about to shit its diapers. This, the ghost whispered, is the secret of his success as a movie actor, and probably as a ladies’ man as well. Little Stinker.

The credits rolled. The monkey continued to dance to the clatter of machine. That is all.

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7 responses to “Today is 12.19.18.9.8 5 Lamat 16 Tzek

  1. Now that I’ve posted it, the image seems more a magnificent in mauve mugshot than pretty in pink. There is some slight peril in tweaking the color of a digital image, since I am partially colorblind.

  2. Mrs. Dr. Omed took one look and said, “You make exactly the same face when you think you’ve gotten away with something.”

  3. The Face, yeah. That’s how he Made It. Ok the rest of this is unrelated to your post. I guess I could email…

    How You Be??? I had to think of you tonight. Because I accidentally found a picture of Bhiksuni Chen Yen. You see I was googling to find a picture of some anonymous buddhist nun that I could photoshop my own face onto as a joke, and that picture of Chen Yen stopped me because it’s the same one you put in one of your scissor dances. You sent me a color reproduction of that one, with her framed in a lotus flower of lips, above a very stern looking gathering of Chinese ladies in uniform. Did you know that was Chen Yen when you made the scissor dance? Who are those other sourpusses?

    Since I moved, your collages, postcards and other art continue to ooze out of boxes, files and envelopes. Your stuff is layered with meanings that continue to ooze out as well. That collage had recently reappeared, and had been hung right over my bed. I just realized I also just refreshed my (personal) connection to Buddhism and have been working on memorizing the classic Dedication of Merit. So after finding Chen Yen’s picture, I did a little reading about her too. What a good inspiration for me (and everyone) right now. Seems that my own home is filled with things that constantly interact with me as I continue to develop my spirituality. Your contributions are a part of that, Master Omed.

    Sorry I’ve been out of touch. I also have been on sabbatical from wage slavery, not by choice. I’m now hanging by threads, trying to get a job as hard as I can. I had a pretty good interview yesterday and just heard I’m one of two finalists. But that could just as well fall through. Yesterday, before the interview, when I walked in the park in the morning, there was a blue heron by the pond who told me I would not get the job!!! I hope that was an hallucination.

    Fiona

  4. http://blogs.salon.com/0002296/stories/2003/08/14/theMothersOfIndustryAndTheBuddhaOfTheFuture.html

    I see now. The sourpusses are the Mothers of Industry. So the Buddha of the Future, Chen Yen, the one who rises above, is into “Buddhism in Action”. No time left for belly button gazing. Today’s Buddhas Do It On Their Feet.

  5. Fiona! How you be? I still have the little reliquary containing a fragment of the “Sacred Plaster of Paris Aura” of the Guadalupe that you made for me. It’s hanging on the wall in my new lair. I also have the collage you made of Dr. Omed with breasts and crossword puzzle, but I need to reframe it.

    No, I did not know that the image of the buddhist nun I used was Chen Yen. I’ll google her. I tend to use the pieces I harvest from old magazines without reference to the original context and identity of same. Sort of like quilting.

    So, you no longer live in a barnacle? How’s Shorty?

  6. I think I’ve met the same blue heron. Blue herons have a loud, grumpy croak. My sabbatical from wage labor was not completely voluntary, tho’ it certainly didn’t break my heart to be out of work. Mrs. Dr. Omed and I have relocated twice–from Oklahoma to Maryland, then from Maryland to Louisville, Kentucky–following her career (she has one). We lived about 50 minutes north of D.C./Beltway and 50 minutes west of Baltimore. There just wasn’t a decent job for me that didn’t involve an epic commute in Beltway traffic. If I’d been willing to spend 4 hours plus per day in the car, there was work, but I wasn’t.

  7. Willing, that is. I be well. I loved being a Fredneck in Frederick, MD, and both Mrs. Dr. O and I really miss it, but Louisville is a very fine place as well. I think you’d like Louisville. Very hospitable to artfucks and oddballs like us.

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