Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.


Book Review with Many Quotes

As a kid, I imagined lots of different scenarios for my life. I would be an astronaut. Maybe a cartoonist. A famous explorer or rock star. Never once did I see myself standing under the window of a house belonging to some druggie named Carbine, waiting for his yard gnome to steal his stash so I could get a cab back to a cheap motel where my friend, a neurotic, death-obsessed dwarf, was waiting for me so we could get on the road to an undefined place and a mysterious Dr. X, who would cure me of mad cow disease and stop a band of dark energy from destroying the universe.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Cameron worships at the church of apathy, can’t stand his family, and has a wittily sarcastic response to most everything. He’s a not untypical slacker sixteen-year-old, in other words. He also makes a good narrator, with his sardonic voice giving us a personal perspective on this story. It starts as a normal enough narration of teen life in small town Texas, except Cameron starts experiencing severe attacks of pain, sleeplessness, seizure-like muscle spasms, and fiery hallucinations. Between teachers, parents, and shrinks who would rather box Cameron into their preconceived notions than listen to him, it takes a bit for the truth to emerge, but they finally figure out that he has the rare human form of mad cow disease. His brain will continue its gradual deterioration with no cure or treatment, and he is checked into a hospital for what remains of his life.

Until, that is, one of his visions sends him on a quest to save the world from certain destruction. He convinces his hospital roommate to join him, and they sneak away in the middle of the night to end up crisscrossing the country, trusting in the guidance of random billboards, tabloids, and strangers, never quite knowing what is real and what is imagined. The adventure is chock full of wacky elements--with social commentary encounters in the vein of Cervantes, Voltaire, and Twain--but it is all serious business to Cameron as he desperately searches for the one man who might help him escape death. Strange, funny, original, and insightful. This one stands out from the crowd.

One of the Hotness Crew smirks. Staci Johnson. I’m not too proud to tell you that it makes me go a little expansive in my Fruit of the Loins. Staci Johnson is a shallow social climber who would never allow me within a ten-foot radius of her rather magnificent body. I know this. But what can I say? My penis is a traitor.

“Cameron, do you think that’s such a good idea? They might think you’re unreliable.”

It seems a bad time to point out that I am unreliable. Or I’m reliable when it comes to being unreliable.

“Maybe you don’t have a daddy at home. Maybe you do. But here at the Buddha Burger, I like to think of us as family. You know what that means?”

There’s yet another place where I can feel awkward, resentful, and out of touch?

As a coping tool, denial is severely underrated.

“Because Cameron is our brother, our friend, and we do not abandon our friends,” Balder chides.

“Thanks, man,” I say.

“No matter if he has lost his wits completely and speaks like one whom the dogs should tear asunder in a mercy killing,” Balder continues. “This is a quest. I pledged my loyalty to Cameron back on the cul-de-sac. I shall see it through to till the end.”

Figuring out who you really are is hard work. Why do all that if somebody else has done it for you, if they can tell you who to be?

“We’re casting for a realitymercial. It’s like a reality TV show mixed with an infomercial. If you like what you see happening here, you can call the 1-800 number and order up any of the custom-made lives demonstrated by the characters and, you know, try them on for size.”

“Custom-made lives?”

“Yeah. We send you the clothes and the name and the backstory. So you can be the troubled kid from the trailer park who comes with the
Wrestle Craziness! package. Or the bright, hopeful inner-city kid of Dope I. Am. The wardrobe and soundtrack for that one are killer. Or the rich heiress of Envy Me. That one comes complete with a small dog and a cell phone that you can have surgically attached to your wrist. And there’s Gosh, I’m Lucky, which is the innocent country girl with the awesome singing voice. That tested huge.”

In our travels, we have come across many equations--math for understanding the universe, for making music, for mapping stars, and also for tipping, which is important. Here is our favorite equation: Us plus Them equals All of Us. It is very simple math. Try it sometime. You probably won’t even need a pencil.

Please. We know. These are hard times. The world hurts. We live in fear and forget to walk with hope. But hope has not forgotten you. So ask it to dinner. It’s probably hungry and would appreciate the invitation.


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