Tuesday, June 28, 2022


I have an ailment the ancient Greeks were said to have called "Scorpions in the Mind."

That was their 3,000-year-old description of having so much going on above the shoulders that you can't sleep at night. Thoughts spark like fireworks on July 4th. Troubles rattle their cages and all but wake the dead. Past mistakes loom large and taunt me. Missed opportunities, they might be the most aggressive of the scorpions. Milton called it Paradise Lost.

Last night was another of those nights where the scorpions rode roughshod like Genghis Khan or the great Tamar, five horses to a man, with a million nomads and five million steeds shooting arrows from composite bows (the AR-15s of their day) and conquering people like you and me, who were living sedentary lives behind the walls of great cities.

It was three in the morning and I was turning more than a dripping Gyro in a cheap restaurant in the East Village.  I decided to heed the scorpions--to not ignore but to instead harness the synapses those scorpions were inciting.

I said to myself, "I will write down one-hundred ideas. Ideas for movies that haven't been written. Ideas for products that haven't been built. Ideas for jokes, or stories that have never been told." And so I did. 

I got to eight.

The first was noiseless sheets. If you battle Dame Insomnia as I do, you know that the sound of your body against Egyptian 800-count cotton can be as loud as the four linen-closets of the Apocalypse. Noiseless sheets I could sell. And who's going to sue me if they make noise? Could I be the Mike Lindell of bed-linens?

I could find no pictures of Vanessa Velcro.
So two pictures of Van Lingle Mungo.

Next came a character, like Benjamin Button, who aged backwards. But that tale was writ by Scott Fitzgerald. Could I update it to today and reap mammon on the basis of another person's idea? So I derived Vanessa Velcro. Unfastened by chronology, order or age.

Third came a new legal system. Where the greatest crimes by the biggest names and giantest corporations were assigned the most Dante-esque punishments. Scoundrels who make billions and don't pay taxes might have to spend a lifetime arguing with my mother. Drivers of giant pickup trucks, nine feet off the ground with tires as big as one of Saturn's moons, who change lanes without signaling, who consume fossil fuel as if none of this mattered and then complain about gas prices, their brains would be placed in the old bowl my wife's grandmother chopped liver in and would be minced for an eternity by her veiny hands and her ancient curved hochmesser.

Fourth comes retribution. And in my warped mind, it's not too much to ask, or even demand. Simple. A hand-written apology from everyone I've ever met. Detailed. All the ways you wronged me, ignored me, hurt me, talked over me, didn't consider my needs, feelings or fears. That's all, simple.

Fifth, a permanent geo-located heatwave. To sit right over my seaside neighbor's unairconditioned cottage and bake and torture their anti-Semitic souls till they're withered as a potato stick.

Sixth, a class-action lawsuit against every automaker in the world for getting away with bumpers you can't bump without scratching them. Those aren't bumpers, they are oxymorons. Functionless slabs of plastic frauds that show every nick from every old Oldsmobile on a car you're trying to keep pristine.

Seventh, an intrusive god. One who shames miscreants publicly. Who says things for all to hear, "dumold trump is a rapist and a criminal," or, say, "pete petterson stole george's headline as his own in a Cannes-talk about creativity. What pete petterson knows about creativity, genuine creativity, couldn't fill a doll house thimble."

Eighth. A medical procedure I've nicknamed TBR. Total Bone Replacement. Where the good doctors of the Mayo Clinic or a CVS Minute Clinic, check me into their sanitaria for a month--like an old German spa like those at Bad Essen. They shroud me in luxury, steam baths, thick soup and even thicker terry robes, and methodically remove each one of my 206 aching bones and replace my old with their new--probably 3D-printed.  For the first time since my pre-natal days, I am pain-free.

That's it for last night's scorpion battle.

Yes, there's anger there.

If you're not angry, you're not paying attention.

Maybe that's number nine.

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