Tuesday, November 18, 2003

life of buddy don, chaptur 74:
cuttin up pieces of my ownself


in the winter quarter of 1978 i tuck a class in buddhism, witch thays three mane thangs bout that relijun ye gut to start off with, n all three of em cums frum hinduism.



  1. the furstn is how everthang everwhar is changin all the time, witch thatns a lot lack whut heracleitus figgered out in the western intelleckchewall tradishun.
  2. on a counta the furstn ye gut the second, witch thatn says that everthang is suffern or leads to suffern on a counta ifn yer suffern now, then yer suffern alreddy n ifn ye thank ye aint suffern now, then yer a'fixin to suffer as soon as thangs change. n one of the mane reasons fer the suffern is how folks gits attached to other folks n thangs. everthang ye mite git attached to kin hurt on a counta tiz gonna change n sooner or later, that change is a'gone be fer the wurst. in the case of folks ye git attached to, however hard ye wurk at makin thangs good, eventually sumbidys gut to die, n then tharll be plenty of suffern.
  3. n ifn that aint a nuff, the thurd princepill is how thay aint no 'i' or individual personalty in innybidy. tiz all an illusion, n tiz one of the mane thangs folks gits attached to that brangs em the mos suffern.

by the time i gut to that class, i had been studyin sum of them princepills without even knowin em yet on a counta a helth problem i gut round the time i wuz sixteen year old. that wuz the furst time i had me a sinus infeckshun. mama tole me whenever i cum up with it that twuz a permanint cundishun. n far as i could tell, she wuz rite. i wood go as long as bout three munths tween attacks befor i wood start gittin them symptums, startin with that funny feelin in yer throat n then gittin so my mucous wus thick n ugly n then twuz jes a sneeze or two till i had them hedaches. once that happent, thar wuznt much of  nuthin i could do bout innythang.


furst cuple times, i sufferd a lot till i larnt whut i needed, witch i gut that frum the same docter that deliverd me whenever i wuz born, witch his name wuz docter wilde n he wuz glad to see me evertime i cum. it gut sos i wood tell him i wuz on the way in n he wood rite up sum perscripshuns fer me, one fer a antibiotick n tuthern fer a antihistimean. i wood take one of them antibioticks rite thar in the offus sos to git a jump on thangs n i wood take one of them antihistimeans purty quick after that. by the nex day or so, thangs wood be gittin better.


then i wood fite off them symptums till the nex brake in the skool n shore a nuff, i wood git sick agin mos evertime. twuz as if the illness knew when i wuz a'gone be able to take time off n do nuthin till i gut better.


durin that time i thought a lot bout whut i really am. fer one thang, the enemy seemed to be my own mucous, witch i knew frum studyin biolgy n such that twuz fer my own perteckshun that i had it. but i gut to wonderin, when did it go frum bein part of me to bein part of the enemy? when did it git to the point that my own bidy wuz attackin its ownself? n why wood it doot? shore as yer born, furst thang i wood do is blow the stuff out of my bidy quick as i could. so whar wuz the profit in it to turn agin me thataway?


i had gut to thankin lots about witch bidy parts a person needs to be whoever he or she is. thar wuz that flossofy of literchur class i tuck, witch we started it out by readin a book by dalton trumbo name of 'johnny got his gun.' thatns about a guy who gits near killed in a war. he loses his arms n legs n mos of his senses. i cant member whuther he could here innythang, but he had verr lil he could do that mos folks cunsidder part of livin. couldnt talk or walk or see n so furth.


n i gut to wonderin, whut wuz johnny? he wuznt his legs on a counta he continued bein who he wuz whenver he lost em. n same is true of innybidy. lose a foot n yer still yew only yer a bit more limited in whut ye kin do. but folks talkin to ye kin tell tiz still yew. ifn ye take the leg, tiz the same thang. n ifn ye tuck the arms n both legs, woodnt ye still have the same persun left over inside? n thang is, ye git to wunderin jes how much of a persuns bidy ye wood half to have left over sos ye still had a persun, n i reckon we generly thanks that ifn we kin jes keep that brain a'goin, we'll still have a persun thar, even if that persun cant do nuthin but be thar n mayhap wunder whar in the worl he or she could be.


n ye kin jes magine how i wuz thankin bout all this whenever i wuz under the attack of the sinuses. wuz it me attackin myself? how wuz it inny differnt than when i turnt that car n aimed it at a tree? twuz slower n more painful n the hole time, i felt lack i wuz fitin agin it, witch i wuznt fitin agin nuthin much when i hit that tree. or wuz the part of me that wuz drivin jes a lil infeckted by sumthin that made it sick n same as that mucous, it turnt on me?


so when i gut out fer the winter quarter, here cum that sinus infeckshun jes lack clockwurk. i called up docter wilde n tole him i wuz on the way n we dun our usual bizness fer the same twenty dollers. twuz jes in time fer christmus n thang wuz, me n susannah had planned a trip to the outer banks for tween christmus n the nex quarter, witch it dint start till january fifth.


i sufferd thru christmus n barly member innythang that happend. we wuz too ole fer it to be lack twuz whenever we wuz lil n grandie wuz still alive. in them daze, the hole fambly wood gather at her house in wartburg n we wood have bible readin n hymn sangin n presunts fer everbidy. we wuz too ole fer that by then, but mos everbidy frum grandie on down, all the cusins n ants n uncles n everbidy cum together at mamas on a counta twuz her turn.


thay wuznt nary a wurd bout our lost cusins persilla n her bruther pete n i kindly wunderd whuther thar had ever been such folk. woodnt sumbidy mentchun them sumtime ifn thar wuz such kin of ourn still in this worl? n thang wuz, i gut to thankin mayhap i had magined the hole thang bout them, so i dint ast uncle jeff no questchuns, witch thay wuznt no way to ast him without astin ant hester on a counta the way she kep rite by his side at ever momint. i wuz hurtin too much to ast innybidy much of innythang, but i couldnt hep but wunder whut had happened.


randy fox had bought hisself a old van with a stove n bed in it frum a junkie name of dusty rhodes, witch dont nobidy know his real furst name, but everbidy always called him by his nickname. n susannah had cunvints randy to let us use it fer a trip she wonted to make to the outer banks north carolina. susanah wuz one to make the mos of ever opportunty n she figgered we could bof have us a good time n twooda been a good idee ifn i hadnt been so sick. but i figgerd i had dun gut my drugs n i generly gut better purty quick after that.


so the day after christmus, we tuck off in that van n drove as far as we could. i dont ritely member whar we stopped. by then my temperchur wuz verr high, tho we dint know it till twuz almos too late. we had found a park of sum kind whar ye could park n sleep. i tuck the floor n give susannah the bunk, witch that wuz a miss take, but thar wuz no other optshun on a counta the way daddy razed me.


but twuz a miss take n purty soon, i gut to shivern n feelin lack i wuznt able to stop. n i wonted to ast suze could she hep me sum kinda way, only i couldnt thank whut she could do fer me. i figgered i wood half to fall asleep purty soon. but thang wuz, the metal floor of that van wuz bout as thin as could be, n no matter how i tride to warm up, that floor wood git me cold agin. n i couldnt fall asleep n couldnt stop shivern.


purty soon it gut to whar i wuz shakin the hole van n that woke susannah up n she tuck one swipe of my forhed with her palm n sed i wuz burnin up. seemed lack i blinked or sumthin n when i woke up, we wuz in a motel room n she wuz on the phone arguin with sumbidy. she kep sayin she dint know whut to do n how i had a temperchur of 104 n i kep passin out. i tride to listn but i couldnt follow whut wuz goin on too well. seem lack i dozed off, but then she wuz shoutin, 'he's a 26 year old man, you idiot! i never said anything about him being an infant.'


nex thang i know, we wuz sittin in the mergency room, or susannah wuz sittin n i wuz layin on a cot they had thar. n turnt out i wuz real sick n they wuz wunderin had i dun damaged my brain n all. i dint follow much of thar deliberayshuns on a counta how i kep passin out, but they give me sum kinda shot n i gut to healin n after two more days in the motel, witch susannah paid fer it n woodnt here nuthin bout bein paid back, we gut on our way back home.


but that warnt the end of our problems fer that trip. fer one thang, i wuznt as recuverd as i mite have lacked, n we figgerd out purty quick how i couldnt be drivin on a counta i nearly dozed off before we gut thurty miles down the rode back to tennessee. so she had to drive, n twarnt cumfterbull on a counta the seat wuz stuck as far back as it could git n she had to lean forward the hole time n sit on the edge sos she could reach the pedals. n i kep fallin asleep.


then the van started losin power n slippin gears n losin speed n gittin slower n slower till ye couldnt git the gears to do nuthin n it jes stopped. i dont member whar wu gut stopped eggzackly but twuz near durham n thay wuz a guy with a fillin stayshun thar name of jimmy schmidt. he tuck a look under the hood n sed he dint thank the van wuz wurth fixin n ifn we wonted to git it fixed, twood take maybe two weeks to git the parts on a counta twuz a ole model n twood need a hole new transmisshun. he give us food n wuz bout as nayborly as innybidy i ever met. twuz he who tuck care of our van n thangs fer us n promissed to keep em locked up till we gut back fer em.


we couldnt do much of nuthin then cep stick out our thumb. we gut rides frum one town to the nex befor we gut a ride with a perfesser frum utk n he tuck us all the way to oak ridge.


i wuz on the mend but still runnin a lil fever of about a hunnert fer the nex week n on the weekend we drove out twards durham n met jimmy n hitched the van to my vw n pullt it home. randy junked it. i offerd to pay, but he sed it had only cost him $50 n he figgerd he owed me moren that. twuz thonly time he ever made mentchun of the money he owed me, but i never sed nuthin neethur.


whenever we met back up with jimmy schmidt, we tride to give him $20 fer his truble but he woodnt take it. sed we should member it n whenever sumbidy cum along in a simlar spot, we wood be payin him back ifn we hepped em out. he sed he wuz still trine to balance his heavenly books on a counta he had dun had more hep than he desurved. so we promissed. tiz a promiss wurth keepin.


we wuznt all the way back to tennessee yet befor susannah ast me whut i had spillt on my shirt n i looked down n saw how twuz blood n she figgerd it out bout the same time n that made her scream n then stop n then make me promiss to go to a speshulist. i promissed i wood go to the docters, but she sed i should jes ast him witch speshulist i needed, so i promissed i wood.


docter wilde tole me the speshulist fer me wuz a ear nose n throte guy name of docter pilger, witch he had im a offus one of them medicull centers on the turnpike. i went in n he tuck sum pitchers of the insides of me usin a x-ray machine n after he dun it, he cum out n sed i wuz needin surgry. he showed me the pitchers n ye could see purty clear whar my rite sinus passage wuz crookd n how thay wuznt hardly no way fer the mucous to git out.


n i wuz sprized to here myself ast im had he ever herd the one bout the hammer? n he ast me whut? n i sed how ifn yer a hammer, everthangs a nail. n he tuck offence to it n ast me did i know how serious my condishun wuz? n i tole him i wuz feelin poorly but wood be ok ifn i could jes git the rite antibioticks n anithistimeans.


but he wuz ritin on a piece of paper n even upside down i could see whar he wuz gittin reddy to send me to surgry n twood be fer that fridy, witch twuz my 26th birthday n fridy the thurteenth at that. n i ast him had he herd whut i sed, n he sed he had to do whut he had to do n twuz his duty. but twuz fridy the thurteenth, i sed, n he anserd, it will be your lucky day because you're very ill. but tiz my birthday, i sed, n he anserd, then i will be giving you the gift of better life. maybe the gift of life.


i started to say sumthin else, but he gut up n pushed me down on the lil hopsital cot i wuz on n he looked down at me n sed we wuz a'gone review the facks. i weighed a hunnert n ten pounds, witch that wuz way below whut a six foot tall man should weigh. i had a temperchur that woodnt drop below 100. i wuz a'killin myself. so i wood be havin surgry on fridy, lack it or not, n twood change my life.


i wuz kindly mad with that docter when he talked down to me lack he dun, but he sed his job wuz to keep people alive n hep em to git better, n he wuz jes doin his job, so i should shut up or say thanks.


so i sed thanks, n nex thang ye know, i wuz in that hospital n rollin twards the operatin room. n they gut me to try countin backards frum one hunnert n i dint git to ninety seven befor i wuz wakin up with a nose clogged full of plastic n rapped up in gauze.


the recovry wuz tuff n it did make thangs better, but purty soon, i gut a nuther one of them sinus thangs. this time i went to the clink at utk n thar i met a docter frum the navy name of docter grisbee n he tole me he had the same problem n thang wuz, i wuz a'goin bout it all the rong way. he sed i shouldnt never take no anithistimeans agin n i had to git over one of them infeckshuns without antibioticks ifn i wonted to git to whar i dint have em.


n then he splained how the objeck of the mucous is fer it to catch the allergens n germs that bothers me n gum em all up into sumthin i could blow out. but ifn it gits stuck, it picks up strangth n gits harder to git rid of n once it gits a'goin lack that, ye cant beat it. he sed i wood half to larn to git it out as soon as it gut thick. n he tole me i should take sum salt water into my hand n suck it up thru my nose, witch i couldnt do that fer many a year. but i gut his main point n whenever i wood git sick, in sted of stoppin the flow with antihistimeans, i needed to git it a'goin with salt water or sumthin lack a pill he give me name of entex, n that jes made thangs flow all the more.


so twuz that i begun to larn bout bein helthier even tho i had a long ways to go.


but thay wuz plenty other thangs on my mind. i wuz wonderin bout how my bidy wuz attackin me. n i wonderd bout how't could turn into the enemy frum when twuz me. n ifn i aint my mucous, then how cum my mucous cums frum me? why do i make it? could it be jes waste material? taint lack tutherns, yer urine n feces. n then ye git into the johnny gut his gun type thankin n ye wunder whuther ye need inny part of the bidy fer ye to be who ye be. n seems lack ye half to have yer brain at lease.


but mayhap ye dont even need that. thays folks who had thar brains cut into two pieces on a counta them docters figgerd it mite fix thar epilepsy. but them folks wuz still thayself only sum of em could sing but couldnt talk. but they wuz still who thay wuz.


n thanks to all this, i wuz able to unnerstan that thurd part of buddhism, witch thats the part bout how thays no 'i' or individual persun. n i say i could unnerstan n ackcep it, but at a sartin level, it seemed lack gurdjieff had the better splainayshun, witch he sed ye aint gut jes one 'i' but many of em. or mayhap twuz bof, that thar aint no 'i' but the illusion of the 'i' kin take many forms so it seems lack thars minny persons inside of each person.


n nowhar wuz this more obveeus to me than in the novel i wuz ritin on a counta it seemed lack i wuz cuttin up pieces of my ownself n i findin out thay wuz lots of persons livin rite thar.

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