Unk here, with a weird story to tell you. The Kindertrauma Castle is empty today because we’re all at a reception type party celebrating the fact that your Aunt John and I got hitched in New York a couple weeks ago. I wish you all could be there with us; although your endurance of eighties pop music would surely be tested. We had some trouble trying to decide what image to put on our invitations. It took me a bit but then I thought of the perfect thing. When I was a kid I loved the poem “The Owl and the Pussycat.” It’s about these two unlikely creatures teaming up, jumping on a boat and getting married. Something about it always had a calming effect on me. In fact, as a kid when the kindertraumas came a calling, I often imagined my bed was that peaceful pea green boat. To be honest, even when I was much older I’d still think of it when things got dark and shaky. The perfect image for the invitation would be an illustration of that poem. It’s corny and romantic, but I have vowed to cultivate those things. The world sucks without them and I have to compensate for others.
I made no attempt to track down the precise image from the book from my youth, and if it crossed my mind to try, it did so fleetingly. The poem is surely found in a zillion kids’ books, so tracking it down would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. We found a suitable image of the owl and the pussycat in their boat from a random book and we slapped it on the invites and then, because we were not through being the type of people I used to want to kill, when we got our rings made, we gaily (I’m using that word’s every possible connotation) engraved one with “owl” and one with “pussycat.” I know, it’s a bit much but it seemed right and feel free to roll your eyes.
Anyway the other day I was walking about town, just burning off energy because the weekend ahead is big and I dread any kind of anticipation. I passed by a used bookstore I frequently walk by and I noticed something new. Out front there was a box with a sign over it that read, “Books good for one last read! 39 cents or 3 for a dollar.” It was the book pound, damaged merchandise’s last stop before being put to sleep in a garbage bin. Hanging out on the top of the heap doing everything but whistling, was the book from my childhood, “The Golden Treasury of Poetry” and even though I had not seen it since I was as a kid, I recognized it at once. Paging through it was like lancing a cist full of memories and, sure enough, there was the page I was looking for; the poem that has meant so much to me over the years and has been pushed to the forefront of my mind these past weeks. The price of the book happened to be exactly what I could afford. I was almost nervous buying it. The binding was broken but I had just bought clear packing tape the day before.
Walking home with that book in my hand I felt something I had not felt enough in my life and certainly not in a long time; that there was something bigger going on right beyond the page I was drawn on. Trees were throwing orange leaves on me like they cared and the wind dutifully swept litter out of my path. Once inside my house, I had the craziest idea. What if I opened the book and my name was inside? What if it actually was my exact same book from when I was a kid? It wasn’t possible. I eased open the book and no, it didn’t have my name inside. That would have been bonkers. Instead, in blue ink someone, somewhere, at some time had written, “ Generous gift of Unk.”
The higher power and me have not been on speaking terms for a while. It’s kind of like when you lose a friend because you hear they’re saying shit about you behind your back from unreliable sources with questionable agendas. I can’t prove God exists but I can prove that he, she or most likely “it” knows exactly the perfect gift to send to a gay wedding. (No, pal, I don’t mind paying 39 cents to pick up the package. I totally get that the winning $12 Powerball ticket you threw at Aunt John more than covers the tab.) From now on I will no longer give a second thought to what anyone, no matter their costume, pretends to know. I’m not interested in their convenient misinterpretations of what they thought was written or said before they were born. For now on I’m only listening to what comes right out of the horse’s mouth. Screw the middleman, go-betweens are for amateurs. As you read this I’m at a wedding party with at least one guest I had not planned on inviting. Shit! That reminds me! I forgot to put “Like a Prayer” on the wedding playlist! Consider that remedied.