Salvatore Difalco is a Sicilian-Canadian poet and satirist.
Eventually the elephant grew tired of my obduracy and departed, leaving behind several piles of smoking dung. The metaphor loses steam. I retreat to my table and rest my hairy head in my hands. I would pay a barber a premium to come here and clean me up, I don’t know how people manage. I picked up the shears the other day and like a suicide sliding a razor along his jugular to test his nerve, I clipped an inch or so off the sides, but stopped before my hand lost its mind and attempted to complete the job.
In your mind you see things working smoothly, efficiently, with fully economy of movement, and you believe that execution will come easily having visualized it, as modern athletes often do. It has been argued that this mental conditioning is as important as the physical component of an athletic feat or performance. Yes yes, thus, goes the reasoning. I had rehearsed the procedure in my mind. But I knew better than to trust this exercise.
Let’s face it — genetics often prevail when it comes to athletic or physical performance in general. All the visualizing in the world will not correct a weak eye or a shaky hand or a fried nervous system. Then, because the hand so often betrays the mind, having a mind of its own, a botched job ensues. The individual, oblivious, departs his flat without wearing a hat and soon is accosted by strangers and dogs and scorned at large by all.
People take offense at the strangest things these days, but this is one of those things. Then the poor bastard is forced to hurry home and grab a hat and head out again.
But restraint saves the day. At least it saved the day for me, the narrator of this story —it that’s what it is, a type of story — for fifteen minutes. We are often oafish when we have spent too much time alone contemplating our loneliness, or too much time toying with trivia and nonsense to stave off the feeling of being marooned on a distant planet or moon. Boredom drives us to do stupid things, things we would normally refrain from doing, things we would never conceive of doing under any circumstances.
And then the shears begin to make that music they make, in 3-4 time. Let’s not call it jazz, okay. Hey man, look at what you’re doing, look at what you’ve done. In the hours of mental violence that follow, I am a ball of silence.
The elephant creeps back into the room, sheepish. It doesn’t flash its tusks. Rather, it coos in a comforting manner. Things will be fine, give it time, give it two weeks, no worries.
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