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After his son entered, Joe closed the gate that led into the children’s park and glanced at another father who stood with his daughter close by. Joe smiled at him, and imagined some bond with the other father, as both of them were sharing time with their children in the park. There was a swelling in Joe’s chest, a slight welling of tears in his eyes, and a tightening in his groin area.
In fact there was no bond between the two men, so Joe’s smile was contrived. He intended his smile to convey, firstly, a lightly conspiratorial tone, as if to say, “You know, fatherhood is so crazy but you wouldn’t trade it for a million bucks, right?” Further, Joe meant to send a more reptilian, non-intellectual message, one of reassurance: “Don’t worry. I know to close the gate; I’m watching out for the kids too.”
For all the nobility of his intent, the outward appearance of Joe’s effort was one of decay and sadness. His grin, more like a leer, showcased his upper row of teeth, browned from 12 years of methadone maintenance. When the other father merely looked back at him with suspicion and annoyance, Joe felt his confidence slip, followed by slight nausea and a receding in his groin.
Joe saw the small round cap on the man’s head. As he began to push his son on the swing, he silently rehearsed the more prevalent strains of his bitchy anti-Semitism – ‘it’s just a form of tribalism, those beanies or whatever they call them’… ‘why do they think they’re so superior?’…‘well, they do watch out for their own, you’ve got to give them that…’ Joe allowed an idiot hatred to enter his blood, observed it, and discarded it with revulsion.
Next, Joe fancied that he felt an even-keeled oneness, not just with the other father, but with the other parents in the park, and perhaps humanity in general. This was a typical gambit within his consciousness, whereby his thought-processes – mostly fantasized projections – cartwheeled through a parody of Hegelian dialectics: First, there was a simple sentiment, often too simple and cloyingly sweet, followed by an equally simplistic antithesis of that sentiment, usually expressed with malevolence. Finally, a synthesis of the two sentiments would be reached, and Joe would experience a temporary feeling of mental stability and clarity.
This ‘clarity’ often collapsed quickly, because whatever temporary respite it may have allowed Joe from the whimsical, low-grade insanity of his thoughts, it also brought the stinging realization that he had no control over the dull hum of his consciousness in general.
As noted, Joe’s manic highs and lows were often accompanied by activity in his groin area and stomach region. He had speculated about some link between mental activity, peristaltic movement, and latent, involuntary sexual stirrings. Today, however, Joe experienced a different kind of clarity concerning his groinal activity, one admittedly more pragmatic and earthly:
He realized that he simply had to take a shit.
Date Written: May 24, 2004
Author: Phony Millions
Average Vote: 4.25