Sunday, August 13

Dear Jim,

It’s early. The sun isn’t up. I feel like sitting outside, but its cold so I’m in the kitchen with the window open.

Last night I didn’t eat much. I feel light. I’m trying to eat less at dinner, but I’m also trying to eat more each day.

I’ve gotten thin. In high school I weighed 173. Twenty – five years ago I weighed 155 -160. Now I weigh 135. Eight more pounds than you weighed all your life.

A lot of people say I’m too thin and look shitty. I think one of the reasons I’ve gotten thin is I’m trying to be like you. I’ve never been able to move on from your death so I cling to you by trying to look like you.

Like dad used to say, “Life is a vale of tears.”

Tuesday is the anniversary of when dad proposed to mom – the Feast of the Assumption. I didn’t know that until dad told me a few years ago. I call him every year to acknowledge it. I won’t be able to this year, so I will call him tomorrow. He appreciates it.

Poor dad. Some men from his retreat group were supposed to visit him on Friday. I called him that day at 4:30 and said, “How’d it go?” He said, “They didn’t come.”

He was really disappointed. I felt sad. He was excited that they were coming. He needed the company.

Dad tried to be stoic. He said something like – things don’t always go as you hope they will. When we hung up he said, “Call me tomorrow.” I said, “I will.”

I didn’t want to. I had to come home to call when I really need to stay out late on Saturdays. I said to myself, “Christ Dave, dad would do it for you. He’d visit you all the time if you were an invalid.”

Today is Sunday the 13th. Thirteen is considered an unlucky number, but somebody said to me that thirteen is a great number – the twelve apostles and Jesus. I thought that was profound. Maybe that’s too New Age for you.

I was attracted to the New Age for a long time because I knew something was very wrong with our society. Astrology, numerology, color, sound, vibration, and the voice spoke to me. They provided me with passion and soul the way blues did before my New Age stage.

But the New Age is mainly about prosperity – getting rich. Nobody in the New Age is saying walk everywhere you go and don’t spend a lot of money. Leaders of the New Age are as evangelical as television preachers, only New Agers don’t have the balls, the common sense, or the vision to believe in God, or the passion to kill or die for what they believe in, or the passion to inspire others to kill or die for their own beliefs.

Our society is dead Jim. I think of the vitality that has gone out of me. I think of how terrified people are of one another. Won’t look at one another.

The other day as I was going through articles I had cut out and poems I had cut out so that I could get rid of the ones that didn’t mean anything anymore. I threw a lot out. Some of them smelled.

There was one I wanted to keep but it was musty. I went online to see if it was there. It was, so I threw it out.

It was about the deadness of our society. I read it in 1998 when my friends were getting rid of old books.I don’t know when it was written, but I guess the guy was 25 when he wrote it.

He approaches our dead society by writing about jail. He says we grow up in cribs and high chairs and car seats. We sit in classrooms, work in offices, travel in cars. All our life we are confined.

He says we are afraid to say what we feel because speaking about what we feel is not socially acceptable. We fear what’s locked up inside us and we fear others because we don’t trust ourselves.

He says that because more and more people are in jail, we are now a prison society and we accept our prison society. He is right. There is no shame or embarrassment about going to jail. People love having security guards and security cameras everywhere because they are afraid.

That’s interesting. Criminals have no fear of going to jail or preying upon people. Law-abiding people are willing to be treated like criminals with cops everywhere and cameras everywhere, but nobody feels safer. I wish people would get courageous and say, “FTS. We are tired of being treated like criminals you are supposed to protect us from.”

But we Americans don’t have the pride or ego to do it. It outrages me when I think that the outstanding quality of Americans isn’t Yankee ingenuity, American know-how, the can do society or, as they used to say about San Francisco, the city that knows how. It’s fear. We are scared shitless.

So am I. I am incredibly stifled. There is no sense of freedom when I walk. Everyone is either afraid or in their little world. Houses have bars or burglar alarms or cameras. There are motion detectors and killer dogs. Businesses have cameras and there are cameras at major intersections.

When I look someone in the eye their eye seldom has a sparkle – usually a glare. If I smile at a woman or a kid, I have to worry about a dirty look or having the cops called on me. I am afraid to look people in the eye. That’s what America has come to .

Well Jim. When I was young I was described as a free spirit. Now I feel like a weirdo.

Pray for me.

Love,

Dave