S T R E A M # 2 3

Start: He whispers the word, “Calm,” and he takes a slow, deep breath. Next, he whispers the word, “Happy,” and the ends of his lips curl upward into a smile. He’ll do this even if he isn’t legitimately happy, just as he’ll recite the word “Calm,” and draw and exhale a deep, slow breath, even if he’s officially agitated. After that, he’ll whisper the word, “Here,” and he’ll focus on something in the room, or on something wherever he happens to be; he’ll note the shape, the color, the size, perhaps even the feel of whatever it is. The order of these three words—Calm, Happy, and Here—is not important. He shuffles them around. What matters is that he remembers to say the words and complete their related tasks whenever he finds himself dwelling, or whenever the bottom of his belly fills with the feeling of lead. He doesn’t know how many times a day he recites the words, but perhaps he should start keeping track. If he keeps track, he’ll be able to track his progress—assuming progress is being made. But he’s felt better since he’s started doing it. He wants to believe that this practice has a cumulative effect. There are many who believe that one can “think” oneself “well,” if not somehow “better.” These believers range from respected physicians to the likes of “pickup artist” Neil Strauss. If memory serves, even Michael Jordan wrote about it in I Can’t Accept Not Trying. But a mental effort isn’t much without an accompanying physical effort. Only, this time, he won’t go overboard on the physical effort. He’ll be a lot more practical about it. Before, the physical effort was all about punishment. Before, he took aim at ending it like Douglas Adams had—on a treadmill. Granted, Mr. Adams probably hadn’t planned on running himself to death. [And, in sooth, it’s unclear if it was the treadmill that did him in.] No, this time, it’s about empowerment; that is, as opposed to punishment for screwing up and being his own brilliant embarrassment. He is a Man—GODAMMIT! (Or rather: Goddammit, he is a MAN!) And Men? Men CONQUER; boys beg. Ole Oscar Wilde’ll tell ya: “…it is safer to beg than to take, but it is finer to take than to beg.” No more excuses. It begins this weekend. The opportunities are laid out before him. He has sought them out, and they have presented themselves. Willingly. Trouble is easy to find. The key is in finding the right kind. He needs to find something to wear that’ll pass for something that was worn during the 1980s. Beyond that, this should be a cakewalk. (That’s the right altitude, at least, if not the right attitude.) Why? Well, damn near everybody else’ll be there for the same reason. I mean, you don’t go to a meat market to rot on the hook. You know? I mean, if you’re gonna be hooked, then you want to be dinner. Right? Anyway, anyway, he still needs to come up with a few “Indirect Openings.” And if he’s met with rejection, he needs only to remember this: HE isn’t being rejected; rather, his TECHNIQUE is being rejected. Because you can’t legitimately reject a person you’ve known for less than five minutes. Can you. (Well, I suppose you CAN, especially if they smell like ass and dress in clashing colors.) No, from here on out, he must always radiate positivity. Bottom reached? 
17 June 2008

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