Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Holy Goof by Mark Anthony Given

Condense some daily experience into a glowing symbol, and an audience is electrified. 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


          WHEN I WAS eighteen I hitchhiked across the United States; I got all my stuff stolen in Oklahoma and was a wanderer on the side of the road penniless with nowhere to go and no hurry to get there.  After I lost everything I had spent months preparing, the next night I was alone in the middle of the New Mexico desert a hundred miles from civilization, I suddenly knew why it's called "The Land of Enchantment," when the desert under a million stars and early Fall became completely alive, like I was in Grand Central Station in New York, except you couldn't see anything.  The strangest sensation of being completely alone with millions of eyes watching you.  Years later my first night in the middle of Montana miles from any town again the Big Sky Country was alight with stars, but a creeping eerie feeling from the complete absence of sound....complete silence... it took some getting used too, but it was exactly what I was looking for.  I lived in the Helena National Forrest in Grizzly Gulch, Montana where I could stop all the outside distractions, the incessant car alarms in the city or car doors slamming in the parking lot and time clocks and deadlines that need to be met.  Somewhere I could read and study the Torah.  No cable bills, car insurance, rent or mortgages.  Turn off the digital age long enough to grab onto to something that has been around since at least the Tenth Century before the death of Christ.  Before I even finished the Old Testament the first time I knew it had to be true.  What history of people would make up a story of betrayal, disobedience, murder, incest, on and on and expect you to believe it?  You would think they'd leave that part out....
          BUT BEFORE THAT, standing on the side of the road/interstate hitchhiking with nothing but the shirt on my back and shredded dignity, it became increasingly difficult to meet the eyes of oncoming traffic blowing right by me and never tap the brakes.
           CRISES OF CONFIDENCE and defiance and youth gave way to shame within hours of facing head-on hundreds of people glancing at you and stomping on the gas and merge onto the interstate and you and the 'likes of you, five minutes from now are a distant/forgotten memory.  There are a few times in your life where you are called on to the carpet to answer to yourself.  How the fuck you get here?  What the fuck just happen and WHAT are YOU going to do about it?  You idiot.  I had stuff in that backpack since the sixth grade, everything you would ever need to hitchhike across America and like the best-laid plans, I had no backup plan.  It never occurred to me that I would lose everything I owned in the middle of the country and be standing on the side of the road with nothing, and what surprised me more than anything, and my biggest disappointment at the time? I didn't have anyone to call.   Nobody to rescue me or send me money or check into a motel to figure something out, make a few phone calls...


SLOWLY THE IDEA of a perilous journey was recreated out of the debris of failure.

-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Last Tycoon

To be continued.10:34 AM 10/19/2014

Here's another story about loosing all my stuff while on the road.  Six time across country over twenty years....!/2014/10/the-sandals.html

"The Holy Goof," is a line from "On the Road," by Jack Kerouac
“The HOLY GOOF,” a wanderer incapable of fulfilling his obligations as a father and husband.
and also the title
The Holy Goof: A Biography of Neal Cassady


Copyright 2014 by Mark Anthony Given
All Rights Reserved
28 USC 1746, Invoking 90 Stat. 2541 and
Article 2(4) of the Berne Convention for the Protection
of Literary and Artistic Works