Another journey through hell
Let me go home, why won't you let me go home?
This is the worst trip since I've been born
— The Beach Boys, Sloop John B
If I am taking this barque of humanity through the underworld, apparently I must continue a voyage through my own personal hell. I had hoped the previous gauntlets of blood and pee and having a tube repeatedly shoved up my penis would be enough.
In late 2010, interest in my website tonyahardingshotjfk.com had waned and I was concerned that Tonya Harding was now “old news.” Looking for a fresh start, I chose a new blog title, satanicuniverse.com, which supported the Antichrist facet of my identity and my natural talent as a devil’s advocate. In addition, the full blog title, The Satanic Universe, was homage to The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. In a C-SPAN interview in December 2010, Rushdie revealed he had planned to become a physicist but “jumped ship” to become a writer. I took the same path in higher education.
Alas, the born-again site got few hits and seemed, in retrospect, to prepare me for a hellish path.
In early 2011 my inguinal hernia had grown larger and more annoying. I made an appointment for corrective surgery on June 30, 2011, later noting that the date, 6.30.11 could add up (6 + 3 = 9, 11) to my own Nine Eleven. A few days before surgery, anticipating a copayment and deductible, I transferred some money from my passbook to my checking account. As I left the bank, I saw a 1964 Ford Falcon in the parking lot, a sign that I was on my predetermined path.
While the hernia surgery booklet advised that trouble urinating could be a post-op side effect, I proceeded anyway and, minutes before surgery, I successfully urinated in a surgery clinic restroom.
At home, after surgery, I cannot urinate. The surgeon advises me to drink lots of water. Still no luck. Finally, with his direction, I check into the local emergency room.
A nurse inserts a catheter. The process is excruciating and she advises me to relax to allow the tube to make progress. I am in discomfort. A male attendant asks if I want the Foley removed and replaced with a narrower one. (What, you could have used a smaller one in the first place?) No, I don’t want to go through that again.
Despair At this point I lost it. Am I condemned to again wearing a Foley for a whole month? Is this my punishment for my damned writings? I start blurting out “Oh God, what have I done? No, no, I can’t take it anymore.”
I am held for a psychiatric watch, a wait of about 10 hours until a psychiatrist can finally visit me and decide I am not about to kill myself. I ask for the catheter to be removed so I can go home and try to pee again
I pass a trickle of blood, but on my second attempt I still can’t urinate. This time, I go to the urologist’s office, where the doctor (not my physician) skillfully inserts a Foley. The process is much less painful but for a few hours I feel a constant peeing sensation.
I am ready to reject and abandon everything having to do with the falcon and the demonic Re and his bloody urine. Two days later, in the comic pages of the newspaper, I see a Bizarro cartoon showing a disconsolate man face down at a bar, glass overturned. He is wearing a falconer’s glove on his left arm. One man at the end of the bar tells another, “His falcon left him.”
I call a local pastor and say I am ready to give up my journey into the occult if it is not too late. He assures me it is never too late.
A week later, the Foley is removed and I can urinate again.
So was this my “come to Jesus” moment? I attend services at the local house of worship but my old critical thinking kicked in. A lot of what is being preached just doesn’t make sense. Let’s all pray for God to heal this person. So, what if a person is alone at home, without a social network? Will God still heal him or her? Does His intervention depend on a popularity contest? The pieces just don’t fit and I am not ready to use faith as the duct tape to hold everything together.
What kind of conversion is based on despair? My rejection of Re seemed more like the surrender of Winston Smith in 1984, when he can’t face his cage of rats. What am I to do? Reject two decades of spiritual experiences? Throw away the pictures on my wall? My voyage on the Boat of Re may date back to my assembling the Savannah ship model as a child. What kind of God allows Satan to mess with the life of a ten-year-old boy?
When I mentioned the falcon-Re-bloody urine connection to my Korean lady friend, she says it sounds like the work of the devil. I ask her, “Then should I avoid the falcon?” She replies “Yes,” but then I note I would also have to stop seeing her as the trip to her house takes me past the Fairfield High School electronic billboard, which features a falcon icon and the occasional message “Go Falcons.” She quickly backpedals, suggesting an alternate route to her house.
In a dream I had a couple of weeks before my hernia surgery, I am living in a big old house with an old woman. I want to leave to fulfill my destiny but she fears I will cause great harm. I am defiant. She then strongly hints that she will kill me if I try to leave.
My first thought is to go upstairs to pack my things, but fearing I will be attacked, I just pick up an expanding file and leave.
Umbrella It begins to rain, which becomes a downpour. I notice I forgot to bring an umbrella. I am walking down the sidewalk alongside a wide boulevard in an older commercial district. I see a mini-mall at the right with a small, Christian establishment that has a neon cross on its front. The church or store has some merchandise outside its front door, including a rack with umbrellas.
I enter the Christian establishment to get out of the rain and cold. It is similar to a 7-11 store, but sparsely stocked. As I look for an umbrella inside the store, I wake up.
The dream suggested that the Christian “umbrella” can protect me from the storms of life but entering the store (the church) will be disappointing as its supply of ideas and spirituality has been depleted.
Perhaps the recent Foleys were just a medical coincidence or perhaps forceful reminders that I could escape my destiny as an incarnation of Re.
Or perhaps it was time for me, the falcon, to break free of my handler, the falconer.
On August 11, 2011, the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2 was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Los Angeles. The arrowhead-shaped vehicle, reaching speeds up to 13,000 mph, is intended to attack the enemy on any part of the globe within an hour.
Alas, on the test flight, the Falcon “began flying on its own,” reported AP, before it crashed into the ocean.
The falcon cannot hear the falconer.