The surest cure for vanity is loneliness – Tom Wolfe
Without words, without writing, and without books there would be no history, there would be no concept of humanity -Herman Hesse
Cult classics develops their die hard following because a small niche of people are able to identify genius where others see confusion. I don’t think any novel sums that up better than one of my all time favorites Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas By Hunter S. Thompson. Long live Dr. Gonzo!
“All of Life’s Lesson’s Can be learned through literature” -🍤
This is the first installment of the Monthly book recommendations of some high quality literature because the written word isn’t dead. Read a book it won’t kill you shlubs!
Week of March 10th: Narricisus and Goldmund by Herman Hesse
This month’s recommendation invites you to get in touch with your zen side in the crazy ides of march during the ensuing days of March Madness to come. Hopefully after reading you’ll be more Enlighten and able to pick some absolute locks by the Final Four. It’s a good story about friendship and finding yourself give it a try it’s very short.
“So Ernest, how have you been?”
“Good doc, real good. One might even say, darn right swell.”
Dr. Reynolds is either too dull to understand sarcasm or just refuses to acknowledge its existence out of spite for me. Either way, I make it a rule never to give him a straight answer off the bat. I gotta keep the good doctor on his toes; after all he’s gotta earn that ridiculous hourly fee somehow.
“I’m glad to hear that. The medication must be working then? The question sounded more like he was trying to validate a previous decision rather than genuinely asking me how the mood altering medication had affected my psyche. BUT, I let it slide.
“Working like a hooker on the corner at midnight.”
“Ernest, I see you are still inclined to use vulgarity as a defense mechanism?”
“Oh fuck! Sorry FUCK! Oops did it again! I just can’t seem to fucking control my goddamn whore of a mouth. Kind of like those hookers on that corner, huh?”
I him gave a wink and fake air nudge. He didn’t say a word, just scribbled on his legal pad, sighing and judging, always muttering and judging, and scribbling and scratching, the man was chock full of “ings”. Like right now attemptING to not let my “defensive vulgarity” get in the way of his self validation about his penchant for overmedication.
“Speaking of fucking, I actually read this really interesting article about how old people in these depressing ass nursing homes are actually banging all the time. I mean like goddamn bunnies going at it in a petting zoo. So much so that they’ve even developed their own strains of STD’s. Isn’t that nuts?”
What I got in return for my question was that oh-so-familiar blank stare. You know, that condescending look mixed with just a touch of disappointment and bewilderment that I always get from adults whenever I say something I was genuinely interested in rather than filtering my thoughts through their cookie cutter version of reality.
“Ernest, You seem to want to discuss sexual acts quite vividly. I do have a new medication that can quell some of those primal urges for you. It works by suppressing libido and slightly lowering your testosterone levels, which has yielded great short term success in behavior modification with a few small side effects of course, nothing that should concern you.” I sat there staring blankly while he let the fact that he basically just offered to neuter me like a frisky house dog sit in the air for awhile. He returned to his scribbling then added, “I will say though that it is PERFECTLY normal for a boy your age to be interested with sex.”
I rolled my eyes at the contradiction and wondered if it really was possible for your eye muscles to become stuck mid-stream in an eye roll. Then I began to wonder if any of those dumb adages you learn as a kid from adults were actually true. And where did they come from? Are carrots really good for your eyes? If you don’t make your bed, will the boogie man come get you? Is this deep rooted fear instilled at an early age what draws us to the comfort of medicating all of our troubles away? I had no idea, but instead of engaging with those harsh realities I had an entirely more pressing matter at hand. That matter being to keep my ability to get a hard on out of the grip of Dr. Reynolds’ bone-killer drugs.
“Oh I’m not interested in sex, Doc. From what I’ve read sex seems like an unnecessary complication to an otherwise simple existence. I’m strongly considering foregoing it all together. Kind of like vegans and animal products.”
“How do you mean?”
“Well you know how vegans forego eating or using any animal products even though there are no studies proving there are any real health benefits to abstaining from animal products?”
“I was not aware. And I’m not sure if that’s even accurate.”
“Well, I was thinking of applying that same concept to sex.”
“I don’t follow.”
“My plan is that I won’t have any sex. I’ll be as abstinent as a nun. Instead of having sex I will just incessantly talk about that fact that I’m choosing to abstain from sex, all the while making unfounded claims that abstaining from sex makes me stronger, more focused, and an overall better human being compared to those those who succumb to thee vile primal urge to engage in base and sinful coupling and unfounded pleasure. My theory is that doing so will fill me with a false sense of superiority from where I can look down on others from my metaphorical Ivory tower.”
“Hmmmmm. Interesting,” Dr. Reynolds said as he scribbled his signature on a prescription pad and handed it to me. Seamlessly.
Gesturing towards the clock, “Oh not that, I just noticed my watch stopped working six minutes ago. We’re out of time.”
Damn, he’s good. I walked out of the office, prescription in-hand. Curling the script into a mini basketball I dodged two phantom defenders, turned my back to Martha, the receptionist, and shot the paper into the trash can yelling, “Kobe!” With a tip of my proverbial cap to Martha, I slammed the door behind me.
“ I dream in animation but can barely draw a stick figure. What the fuck is that about doc? Some kind of sick cosmic joke ?”
My shrink, the “Esteemed Dr. Reynolds PHD. MD” always wore an assortment of J Crew button ups under three differently striped tweed cartigans. In the 3 years of attendance in this office for painstakingly monotonous versions of “Who’s on first”: Therapy Edition, I had never seen this man in anything but one of these terribly dull sweaters. I sat there desperately trying to listen to this man who my parents pay 600 dollars an hour to shoot the shit with me. For some reason though I just couldn’t keep this thought from reoccurring in my mind.
Dr Reynold scribbled some goddamn notes on his goddamn yellow legal pad, that really grinded my gears. Without looking up he said, “Hmmmmm and how do YOU feel about that Ernest? “ Thats my name Ernest Jackson. Let me just go on record saying “Fuck Ernest Hemingway! My Dad had the SUPER original idea to name his son after that damn author because he claims he “was so extremely moved by Old Man and the Sea”. When in reality I’m cursed with this name because He and my lovely mother, true saint of a woman, love to brag to their yuppie Ivy League friends about how well-educated and cultured they are. I strictly go by Ernie except with Doc because he insists on being proper.
“I mean I’m too stoked on the feeling to tell you the truth. I think it speaks to my larger flaws in life,” I answered nonchalantly.
“hmmmmm yes.” Again scribbling away on that goddamn notepad. I began thinking about Dr. Reynolds morning routine and how depressing that must be. Waking up every morning dressing in a closet full of the exact same cardigans, then going to work and listening to nut cases like me talk about their bullshit all day. All the while having no more control over his sad pathetic life than any one of the society labeled “crazies’ he treats.
“Sorry Doc whats up?”
” I said… What flaws would those be?”
“Well, I was being partially glib but I guess im referring to my anxious fear and insomnia dealing with the true purpose of what being on this earth is suppose to mean for you me and the rest of mankind, and whether or not this is all some kind of sick cosmic joke?”. Dr Reynolds stroked his salt and pepper beard right out of a scene in Good Will Hunting, taking a long dramatic pause.
“ Ah yes… I may have a prescription to help you with that” Ahh of course the precious medication. As if all of societies problems can be solved by over medicating the youth of America with a magic white pill that numbs us into submission. That little pill that makes us mistake the suburban surrounding and dead end cubicle job as happiness instead of the slow march till our untimely demise.
“Geee Dr. R that’d be swell”
Dr. Reynolds nods muttering something under his breath as he rips of a piece of paper from his prescription pad and hands it to me.
“ So you can’t draw Huh?”
“Not even a stick figure”
“Interesting” again with the goddamn beard stroking, I swear he thinks he’s Robin Williams.