My Fantasy World
years ago, I had a panic attack that was so bad I woke up in the shrink's
office. The doctor said he didn't have enough chairs for all my demons.
He may not have been helpful, but he was clever.
If you've never had a panic attack, it's kind of like drowning but
there's no water to make you feel better about it. And it always seems
to indicate that your life's about to change.
For me, the time had come to be reborn. Not as a Christian or a Jew,
but as a conscious being. I needed to crawl out from under the childhood
garbage and open my eyes for the first time. I had to face the demons
that had chased me into the smart-aleck doctor's office. I was, for
all intents and purposes, zero years old.
Like any labor, the rebirthing process was painful. Every morning,
I'd climb the same hill and scream at the world. I'd always face the
Oaks Mall because it was a mecca for the busy-bodied phonies whom I
blamed for my insanity. When people heard me up there and pointed,
I yelled even louder. That was the point, after all, to be free. On
that hill, I burned my possessions, chanted at the heavens, and otherwise
When I came down from the hill, I'd write and recite, write and recite.
Each night, I committed to memory the ideas to be covered the following
morning. They spanned everything from what I wanted to be if I grew
up to how I'd wipe my rump. I left no stone unturned or picture unburned.
What I didn't plan on is that someone had been listening--my roommate,
Jarred. Jarred grew out of the kind of puritanism that always seems
to surround a molestation or so. He wore his hair like Sarge from Gomer
Pyle and aspired to fly a police chopper. I pronounced his name jar-head.
Funny how Fate pits us together. Part of me admired Jarred for his
ambitions, but at the same time he was so high-strung that...
...Jarred finally snapped. I don't know what happened. One moment
he was alphabetizing the cans in the pantry, and the next moment he
was screaming at the top of his lungs. He knew I could hear him. His
girlfriend shushed him to no avail.
"Look at this! He writes these psychotic little notes about God
and, and, wears his hair like a hippie and, and, he lives in a f-ing
His words hit me like strafe from a low-flying helicopter. He had
read my notes. I was mortified. I was Rain Man.
That night, I left a check on Jarred's doorstep and never looked back.
Yesterday, at the age of 12, I bumped into Jarred at the Oaks Mall.
He was wearing an officer's uniform and appeared to be on a mission
to buy bullets or something. He was still fighting the war of Us versus
Them. He looked the same but somehow less tense. He must have gotten
a job as G.I. Joe.
I didn't look the same. In fact, he didn't even recognize me. I cut
my hair years ago when I realized that it allowed me to be devious
in more meaningful ways.
Jarred nodded curtly as we passed. I heard him screaming as clearly
"He lives in a f-ing fantasy world."
The only difference is that now I can't argue. I do live in a fantasy
world. It is nutty and neurotic and largely plagiarized from Lewis
Carroll, but it is filled with laughter and it's all mine. The only
people who don't fit in here are those who take themselves too seriously.
One thing I learned in them thar hills is that everyone lives in his
own little fantasy world. Reality is just where our worlds overlap.
The least we can do is appreciate those parts that don't overlap. Otherwise,
we'll never be anything more than a bunch of hippies and jarheads.