April 1999

Between sleep and awake there is a taco stand called nothing.
Can I take your order?

Sometimes I lay awake at night and remember things from the past that seem too far distant to have happened to me. Maybe in some other life they did. I'm not sure that I was ever fully cognizant of exactly where I was until I left. And then, of course, I could never find my way back again. But for some reason everything used to have this glow around it that I can still faintly see sometimes when I walk around the beach in the very small hours of the morning. Out there, past the ships and the haunting song of the great whale spirit in torture there's a glowing horizon of sorts. And like the past, and my memory of it, that glow resides somewhere far beyond this beautiful midnight of mine. It lives where the sun hides right before it decides to give that motivational speech it loves so much. Right before my body gives out and I'm forced to close my eyes for a change. That's when the world starts moving again. And I finally get some sleep.

But I'll tell you, there's nothing like living through nights. I've done it most of my adult life. There's a whole other world that goes on after midnight that few people ever get the chance to really see. Now, I'm not talking about the downtown's of the world. I'm not talking about the streets where everyone stumbles in and out of bars and clubs and cabs and love. I'm talking about the nowhere places where the nowhere people go. It's quiet there usually. So quiet you can actually hear yourself. Your thumper. Remember.

There used to be this grocery store near where I used to live. I used to go there and lay in the middle of the parking lot late at night and just watch the sky. It was extremely strange because it was this massive parking lot in a strip mall and no one was around. No cars, no lights, no people. And I found that relaxing in a way. There's something eerie about laying down in a place where, during daylight hours, hundreds of people are usually running around. It's not like stretching out in a field in the middle of nowhere, that's completely different. It's like being a completely wild creature that's wandered into civilization during the one time that civilized people aren't there and examining the terrain. I once fell asleep in that parking lot. I woke up underneath a Toyota 4-Runner. I was dreaming about a land beyond thunder dome. It was a-okay.

There's always an upside to everything. The down side would have to be the bugs. They eat you. Even in parking lots. There's no escaping the bugs. One day they will rule the world. It's a scientific fact, so there's nothing you can do about it. It would be best for you to make friends with the bugs. Or you could end up in a giant killing jar with the bugs on the other side drinking martinis and yelling at you: 'the scientist told you so stupid human!' they'll say. And they'd be right. But you won't hear them of course. You'll be trapped inside a giant jelly jar. We'll all be trapped in giant jelly jars. But that's not important right now. This is - The upside is this: just lie down in the middle of an empty parking lot at night right before a thunder storm hits. If you time it right, or just happen to be doing it when a thunder storm happens upon you, you may discover that there's nothing more belittling. You, like some easily squashed thing, wake up to the fact that beyond everything there is something larger that's looming out there. Beyond god, beyond the countless other nameless super beings, there is a force that remains patient and silent. A mass entity that waits to teach a lesson that we have yet to grasp. And that lesson is this: We are Pee Wee Herman with boxing gloves on and nature is Mike Tyson after he's found out you just bitch slapped his mother. It's much better to just lie there and let it roll over you like some immense army of unquestionable wonder. Preferably with a couple packs of Star Burst Fruit Chews if you can swing it.

You may find all of this strange but your options become severely limited over the years when sleeping is as difficult to do as riding one of those miniature motor bikes up Mount Everest. I've never been able to figure out why it's so hard. Someone once told me that I couldn't sleep because of hyper tension. Maybe, I dunno. I always thought someone was trying to tell me something. Like there was something I was supposed to see that I could only see in the dark. Maybe it was myself. Maybe it was to tell the rest of the world how fucking horrible late night television really is. I'm not sure. In this life there are only two things that I have come to know as truths. One: I know nothing. Two: late night television fucking sucks. Thinking about it maybe there's really only one thing: I know nothing because late night television really sucks. Then again maybe I'm wrong. Without late night TV I would never have ordered my Juice Tiger. And I simply can't live without my Juice Tiger. So that just leaves me with number one, which has pretty much been a given all along, wouldn't you say?

Someone once told me that intellectualism is a vice of the weak. I always thought that having a dump truck full of smarts was useless without wisdom. I've known my fair share of smarty-types in my life and I can't say that any of them were all that wise. Maybe that's because factual redundancy is far more common than fighting lions bare handed. Facts, unlike wild lions, are static. They represent something that is perceived as current truth. Wild lions, on the other hand, can rip your head off in a little under ten seconds if they haven't eaten in a week or you just happen to be down wind of them wearing far too much Old Spice. It would be wise not to fight a wild lion with your bare hands. But wisdom is made up of challenges that lead to understanding, unlike factual knowledge that's usually based on building super structures on foundations that already exist. Wisdom is gained through personal trial, through baptisms of fire. Thus is wisdom attained. So, the reason you lose to the lion is because you don't respect what it can do to you. Once you respect something like that then it begins to dawn on you how absolutely unique and pure a force it is. And then you and the lion can share some Twizzlers and a Lime Jones Cola. I really have no idea what I'm talking about. I've often admitted as much. No one seems to listen. How come you guys don't listen? The fact that I know nothing is pretty sound. I used to be a non believer. To tell you the truth I would probably still be a non believer if it hadn't been for this guy that happened upon me one night in the parking lot. There I was, watching the sky, when this raggedy old guy pushing a shopping cart walks by me and says 'knowing nothing is power'. And then he just kept on going. I have lamented over that statement for years. My conclusion as to the meaning of that statement is as follows:

Knowing nothing is power because internal recognition defies external influence. Like a ship lost on a massive ocean with many other ships, is it better to remain under the power of your own sails or lash your ship to other ships because you've come to the conclusion that you might never find land again?

This is one of my latest conclusions. In the past nine years there have been many others. I'm sure, in the future, there will be many more. But that's the beauty of what the shopping cart guy said. For nine years I haven't been able to figure out what he meant. And maybe that's the whole point. It's all so confusing really. There is one thing I do know for sure. There ain't nothing like Fruit Chews in the rain. Except for maybe two tubs of Cool Whip, the bud girls, and a log cabin trapped under 400 feet of snow. Mmmmmmm. Cool Whip.

Knowing nothing is power: retaining internal integrity. Remaining beyond the grasp of external commonality so as to refuse any possibility that you might undermine yourself.

Knowing nothing is power? It really doesn't make any sense (and yet does).

Then again, he could have just meant that knowing nothing is far easier than knowing something That's the bitch of it, I guess. If you know nothing then you've got a pretty good idea where you stand. On the other hand, if you know something then you have to spend the rest of your life trying to know everything (because that's the goal of knowing something. One day it leads to everything and you discover your wife in bed with another woman, some dirty hippie guy, and a lama. See, you'd rather know nothing). My problem with this specific train of thought is that it seems too simple. How often do guys pushing shopping carts say things like that? Usually they're saying things like 'This is the shopping cart guy to Uridium 15, come in Uridium 15...' But this guys says: Knowing nothing is power. Maybe he was talking about humility. Maybe it's just that simple. It can't be that simple. I've spent nine years trying to figure this out and that just came to me in less than five seconds. Damn I hate that. I need a fruit chew. The little fruit chew people will make it all better.

So sleep is elusive and in the absence of nourishing rest this is how I pass my time. Remembering how to forget and memorizing how to remember. See what I mean, there's nothing there. My nothing's come a long way baby. So the moral of the story is this: this is what happens when you spend your time lying around in parking lots at three in the morning. Either that or it's about glowing fruit candies and theories that are completely unintelligible and ridiculous. Either way, I win. And that's all that matters really. So that's pretty much all I have to say to you. No money shot this month. All out of quarters, black penny.

Your Questions. I'm All Out Of Answers. Thus Ends The Living-Legend That Was 1-900-Idiot Savant. The Bugs Will Be Right With You.

Things I Love To Say But Can't.

1.We are Devo!
3.Honey Pants.
4.Disco Dick Tease.
5.That's no moon!

If I were to start my own country I would:

Make it sound like some roller coaster laden paradise when in fact it would be nothing more than an island laced with high powered explosives. And after killing thousands of innocent people I'd go on 60 Minutes and tell Ed Bradley that I was the leader of a world wide death cult.

If I was a surgeon I would tell patients this before surgery:

- 'Whatever you do Carol-Anne, don't go into the light...'

If I were allowed to do anything I wanted in one day, I would:

1.Fly 500 Etheopian children to North America, give them all tasers and drop them off in front a Super Value.
2.Buy the Bud Girls some Grolsch.
3.Buy Disneyland and replace Mickey as the official mascot with a guy dressed up like Michael Myers.
4.Purchase the USS Independence and enter the America's Cup.
5.Rebuild the Canada Arm in the space shuttle so that every time it's deployed it gives the world the finger.
6.Build an indoor water slide park so immense that it could be viewed from space by the naked eye.
7.Bring back J.P. Patches.
8.Get The Bat moved from Canada's Wonderland to my backyard.
9.Bring back One Ton Bubble Gum.
10.Buy the Arsenal Gunners.
11.Replace every gun on earth with those plastic guns that fire ping pong balls and proceed to start a world war.

If I were dead, my epitaph would read:

-'Hardly worth it.'

If you were all dead, my epitaph would read: