A Curious Meeting

Case History - Axis I - Type Antisocial & Classified Indigent.

Dear Dr. Mongee,

It has been a strange week and I don't know where to begin...

It either started with a "poemscaper" I wrote called "Arctic Sang Witch" or with a curious meeting outside an exclusive Bourse I was attending in the city.

As you know, it is difficult to be a smoker in the city... BTW- it was a cool evening and the wind made my teeth chatter as I exhaled the smoke. I was lonely and the Bourse had proved disapointing. Too many "petit bourgoise" lusting after simple but elegant coins, I fear. In any event, after I finished my cigarette, I was about to return to the warmth indoors when an elderly bag lady pushing a grocery cart hailed me from the south:

"Ho, Mister! Ho!" she said, and I stopped. It was a curious salutation uncommon from the usual street banter I was accustomed to in the city. My teeth chattered while I dug for another cigarette with my numb fingers. As she approached I finally lit the thing, drew a quick puff and said as courteously as I might:

"Yes, Madam, how may I help you?"

"Help me?" She huffed incredulously. "No, I shall help you! Listen: Jospeh Heller - Buck Henry - Catch 22. Are you familiar with it?" She earnestly asked.

"Why yes, Madam, I once saw Buck Henry's film on television. A strange film as I recollect."

"Strange indeed, she said quietly as she finally drew abreast of me. "Give me a cigarette" she ordered, and I gave her one. I recall at the time thinking of that old quotation from that Algerian chap, Camus, who quipped something about the "freemasonry of the cigarette", and I wondered if I were being tried. Evidently I was, for after she had taken a few quick puffs she dropped the cigarette on the sidewalk and we watched it spark and blow fitfully along the street. Then she said to me:

"O, patiently abide - wait and feel the seed! Harken! The cry of your soul is in the breathing life of the seed. It is sweet, kindly, and natural, Abide I tell you - and wait for the risings of power in your heart, in the Fathers seasons, and for faith and power, that thou mayest feel inward healing, of all your inner wounds through His blessed love of you."

Then the woman left me. I noticed the old grocery cart she was pushing kept tugging to the right and one of the wheels squeeked very badly. I put out my cigarette and returned to the Bourse inside, collected my cases and left. Nothing more remained for me in this covey of pretenders... It was only later in the evening that it came to me - what the old woman had said was an approximate paraphrase of something written by the 17th century Quaker, Isaak Penington. But why now? Why to me?

So you see Dr. Mongee, it was a curious encounter and I am puzzled by it. I must collect my thoughts further before I proceed to relate the rest of my strange week. Yes, I must collect all of my thoughts carefully... Sanity is like trying to cross a frozen lake, you know. Never knowing if the ice is thick enough to support your weight - don't you think so? No matter... whether the ice is thin or thick - all across our world we see cracks forming everywhere. Don't you think so, Dr.? Dr.? Are you there? Can you hear me, Dr. Mongee?... hello?

To be continued in the following message...


A Curious Meeting -Pt. 2

The Physician comments:

Mr_______, is currently under evaluation at the State Hospital for the Socially Insane. His labile mood swings, persistent reliance on over valued ideas and various delusional thoughts warrants his involuntary commital. Here at the hospital our job is to study and treat the failure of our patients to conform to the rituals and social constraints of our well ordered and productive society.

This patient is permanently insane. He rants night and day that "Catch 22" is a prophecy on mutation. He says the mutation process is synonymous with toilet training and tyranical political systems which have imposed conformity on every individual within it's "society and culture of death". Sometimes he calls himself "Yosarian" and insists he is a bombadier who is a "conscientious objector" against "our" socially mandated rituals of personal hygine and sphincter control. He continues to regress at an alrming rate...

The patient is also wont to write rambling bizarre verse which makes no sense. His poems are manic flights of unrelated, derailed ideas held together by the clanging effect of the hopelessly regressed, maladjusted and socially insane. Here is a sample of this pathetic creature's "poemscapers" (sic):

Arctic Sang Witch

=Scram Star n' Polar-wire.
Mongerer fer hire:
-GUSTIN' wind))))))))))))))))))--))) blowin'

rorschach tumor n' my brain... Lakota Sioux Watts cries (grumblin'...ahem)

rubber cork floats

Coal oil and flash strips light the pitch black noon time... Hands grippin' goute cane N' Jaco' Lantern, ya'll...Uncle Potomus, sez I.... I'll sell yer Bangalor torpedos if'n ya' hands me yer goute cane, sez I...

I'll sell 'em, sez I...
limp along - fetch its
limp along - fetch its
Booomba booomba
I'll sell yer Bangalor torpedos if'n you wants me to, sez I:

Arctic Sang Witch

Arctic Sang Witch

St. Elmos fire in my rorshach tumor brain
UHHHHHN! Snow snake dibble-dabo ya' all...
fetch its - fetch its ya' all...

Arctic rhythym blubber
-limpin' Arctic rhythym blubber
-limpin' ARrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhgggggggggssssssss
hissin' to white ya' all

The costs to the state in supporting this insane individual can no longer be justified in the absence of any optimistic prognosis. Both his family and community will have nothing to do with him and he will be a ward of the state after we seize all of his current assetts and property.

Final recommendation by me and my staff: euthanasia.

Samuel T. Mongee, M. D.
Spock Memorial Hospital for the Socially Insane
San Francisco, California

COntinued in next message....


A Curious Meeting - Pt 3, Conclusion.

Extracts from the hearing:

The Magistrate: Mr.________, have you anything to add in your own defense?

The Defendent: Dear Your Honor, if it please the court, I would make a personal statement concerning the charges about my failure to conform to those social constraints and rituals that should govern and regulate every member of our well adjusted and productive social collective.

In a word, I plead myself a hapless vistim of circumstance and temporary confusion. I assure this court and Dr. Mongee that it is my earnest intention to rehabilitate and conform myself to those standards of respectability that might recommend me as a productive member of this wonderful society.

I assure this court I no longer call myself Yosarian and that the post modern popular media will become the sole oracle of my moral intelligence hereafter. In fact I can appreciate the collective's mandate that any failure to master and practice the rituals of hygine is an antisocial act warranting the fullest reprimand form that society.

Your Honor, esteemed Jurors, Ladies and Gentlemen, I here declare solemnly that I have failed to achieve a harmonious congruity with the post modern social order which mandates "man is the measure of all things". As a reprobate I refused all consumer products and chemicals that more responsible, productive and decent citizens religiously employ in their collective effort to remove the last traces of "animal smell" from the company of heaven - that is, our wholly divine and productive humanity.

I nonetheless must assert my individual right to excercise my sphincter muscles myself, for they are a part of my own body and it is a violation of natual law for those muscles to be governed by any outside authority for whatever reason.

That is all i have to say to Your Honor and this very honorable court.

The Magistrate: "Jury, have you reached a verdict?"
The Foreman: "WE have your honor."
The Magistrate: Please read it to the court".
The Foreman: "We the jury, find Mr____, guilty of the highest crime against human divinity: he is a foul smelling man."
The Magistrate: "Mr_____, you have been found guilty of the highest crime against human divinity. I therefore sentence you to death by injection. Next case."