Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself
-The Pixies, Surfer Rosa, 1988
I used to be of the opinion that if something was in my mind, I must have put it there. It is only (relatively) recently, having half-heartedly perused an article on free-will (in that internet addled manner that reduces any real understanding into one or two useable soundbites… that you can then misrender at your next dinner party to seem smarter than you really are) that I’ve been challenging this notion (in my own bungling way).
Could it really be that most of my most hardcore and intractable beliefs were actually placed there by someone else? Did I simply entrench and calcify those ideas? Am I just this porous hominid, absorbing things haphazardly like some sort of organic, meat-sack sponge and then imagining myself as all-original-Joey, self determining extraordinaire and eater of delicious carbohydrates…
That’s not to say I don’t have original thoughts. Well… I’m assuming some of them must be original… eh, right? Although now that I’ve been ruminating all of this, I’d love to see that version of me that could have evolved as a blank slate free from outside stimuli. What sort of person would that have been? And what color was his warpaint?
“His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of mans heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.”
I wonder if I would be more Jack? Or more Ralph.
Probably Ralph. Wiggum I mean.
As spirit animals go, I suppose it could be worse. I would have been disappointed, for example, having accidentally stumbled upon the combination that unlocks the chakras of my mind to find out that my spirit animal was the desiccated remains of a once chubby rodent awkwardly interwoven into his exercise wheel at disturbing right angles. Police would later rule out foul play and theorised a likely scenario based on anecdotal evidence. A broken crack pipe and a half empty bottle of Oxycodone if you must know. Personally I remain unconvinced.
In any event, since we opened with the Pixies, I feel it is only fitting that I should offer up some form of symmetry and close out this post with the rest of their song…
I was swimmin’ in the Caribbean
Animals were hiding behind the rock
Except the little fish
But they told me, he swears
Tryin’ to talk to me koi koy
Apparently all that time I spent considering what Black Francis (or is it Frank Black, I find artists that change their nom de guerre mid career discombobulating) if there was any deeper meaning to these lyrics was apparently wasted…
“That came from me snorkelling in the Caribbean and having this very small fish trying to chase me. I don’t know why – I don’t know too much about fish behaviour.” Frank Black in SELECT, October 1997
And now you know the awful truth.