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May 27/2006
7:42 AM

MONKEY DO

In the 1961 book The Wretched of the Earth by Franz Fanon, about colonialism, Jean Paul Sartre writes in the preface: “The status of ‘native’ is a nervous condition introduced and maintained by the settler among colonized people with their consent.”

That line’s been haunting me lately, kicking me, prodding me. Why? Because it turns out this ‘nervous condition’ isn’t ‘native’ after all.

Take a deep breath and you’ll see what I mean.

Whether that nervous condition lands you on the side of the oppressed or the oppressor is a different question—and I wish you good birth.

But don’t you feel it? Honestly—I mean playfully. Take a deep breath and tell me you’re not surrounded by a big bag of nervous conditions.

I’m serious. Just ask my sacrum. Just ask that bouncing web of oscillating neurons searching desperately for a sentence to deliver salvation.

That, my friend, is a nervous condition.

Just leave the sentence alone.

I can’t. 8:15 Saturday morning, and here I am.

Oscar Wilde once wrote: "I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again."

I walked around a small lake in a monkey suit this morning and no one noticed.

Did you know almost all Tibetan Buddhist lamas, Krishna devotees, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Taoists and Zoroastrians are in urgent need of therapy? I’m not kidding. Even the Dalai Lama. The guy’s never been laid.

Did you know most Jungian psychologists, clinical psychiatrists, high school counselors and shrinks in general are pathologically terrified of meditation and prayer? I mean, come on, grow up. Have a mystical experience.

Did you know every single scientist is in dire need of all three—therapy, meditation and prayer? I say if a scientist can’t spontaneously hug any stranger for an hour, he should be fired. We’re only neurons after all, right?

And why do we even have politicians?

I know I didn’t create the world, so why on earth I ordered this nervous condition, I’ll never know.

I walked around a lake in a monkey suit this morning.

Monkey see, monkey do.

Who is the doer?

Is it me?

Is it you?

If you can’t laugh at your own trembling, perpetually nervous condition that keeps you moving, laugh at everybody else’s.

I walked around a lake in a monkey suit this morning.

Nobody noticed.

Not even me.

 

photo: Chris Wayatt

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copyright 2006 Pete McCormack