I bought the best painting on earth in a vintage store in Nashville this weekend:
There is a toy ambulance glued to the top and a plastic dog glued to the bottom and it reads:
Elvis did CPR on a dog to save his life.
My Uncle Jimmy used to own the world’s biggest Baby Ruth bar, one of the first Asteroids machines and a whole bunch of antique cans full of antique lard and sprinkled with Fillmore-era psychedelic rock posters. I used to help him haul the contents of dead people’s houses back to his auction house and hoist up WWII antiques, old metal trucks and ’60s board games up and down the aisles in the back of the store he and my aunt owned while the whole town of Smithfield bid on them to his spitfire gravel drawl.
The weird seeds planted in me early and grew real big. I’ve got a zombified Elvis karaoke robot with its rubber face torn off and a giant painting of King Kong made out of roofing tar in my house, and I can’t stop dragging stuff home like an ant with psychedelic antiques hoisted over its head.
The queen of my nest is not always impressed. She says I need to throw stuff out before bringing more in, but look.
Are you going to stop taking communion just because you’re on a low-carb diet?
Writing and performing have been kind of a drag lately, too. I mean, I do it anyway because what am I going to do, just quit and be some kind of a normal schmuck? The obsession’s been driving while the joy naps in the backseat for a few months. I need new material, always want better gigs, and I’m taking empty chairs at the And I Am Not Lying shows personally.
Sometimes I look down at my heart and see that old black hole that shows up sometimes, sucking in laughs and ideas and opportunities and applause and compliments. They look real pretty when they’re sliding past the rim and then they’re squashed down into cold nothing all over again, and the only thing that distracts me from letting my own face fall into the hole is more and more of the former sliding past the rim.
So I needed this weekend’s trip to Nashville real bad, is what I am saying here.
Savant Vintage Couture on 12th Avenue South was a hell of a church away from my home worship zone. It’s a dense curtain of awesome, a solid wall of everything that everyone else either bought or got rid of in a flurry of exceptionally poor judgment. I saw a working phone shaped like the USS Enterprise, posters for silly ’70s skin flicks and just missed a few Manuel shirts.
Then I found it. I found the painting that turned the whole beat around for me – the one that made the trip a lightning strike. And I mean, sure, some people get hit by lightning on a clear day. But most people are fucking around on a golf course in the rain, and that’s just what I was doing: looking for it without knowing I was looking for it.
The thing cost me 40 bucks, and while I was pullling out my wallet I asked the sweet beatific lady behind the counter “where you find this stuff?”
She smiled a little half smile and pointed to the edge of the counter, saying “There. You’ll find your answer there.”
The edge of the counter read
I get it everywhere.
She pointed to her left, saying “there’s an expanded definition over there on the pillar.”
Here it is:
For the vision-impaired, it reads:
Where do I get all this, you ask? I love what I do and it comes to me. I get it everywhere. When I walk out the door I’m searching. When you find what you’re supposed to do it all just comes to you. I cannot explain it, but then I can.
It’s a God thing.
It is. It really is. Nowhere in the Bible or any other sacred text does it say “loving is easy.” It just says you better do it anyway. It is to take pleasure from the photons streaming through your body and shape them into something else that somebody else can love, too. To be filled with love is to be filled with alternating pulses of joy and frustration.
And I think I just entered a joy phase.