You’ll come to when you lean your face over the nose will fall with it – that is know as death. You’ll come to angular rages and lonely romages among Beast of Day in hot glary circumstances made grit by the hour of the clock – that is know as Civilization. You’ll roll your feet together in the tense befuddles of ten thousand evenings in company in the parlor, in the pad – that is know as, ah, socializing. You’ll grow numb all over from inner paralytic thoughts, and bad chairs, – that is known as Solitude. You’ll inch along the ground on the day of your death and be pursued by the Editorial Cartoon Russian Bear with a knife, and in his bear hug he will poignard you in the reddy blood back to gleam in the pale Siberian sun – that is known as nightmares. You’ll look at a wall of blank flesh and fritter to explain yourself – that is know as Love. The flesh of your head will recede from the bone, leaving the bulldog Determination pointing thru the pique-jaw tremulo jaw bone point – in other words, you’ll slobber over your morning egg cup – that is known as old age, for which they have benefits. Bye and bye you’ll rise to the sun and propel your mean bones hard and sure to huge labors, and great steaming dinners, and spit your pits out, aching cocklove nights in cobweb moons, the mist of tired dust at evening, the corn, the silk, the moon, the rail – that is known as Maturity – but you’ll never be as happy as you are now in your quiltish innocent book-devouring boyhood immortal night.
Jack Kerouac. Doctor Sax. 1977.
But at night the waving trees made a swish of black ghosts flaming on all sides in a fire of black arms and sinuosities in the gloom – million moving deeps of leaf night – It’s a fear to walk along it (on Riverside, no sidewalk, just leaves on ground at roadside) (pumpkins in the dew of Halloween hint, voting time in the empty classroom of November afternoon) – In that field…
Once a guy stood all day shaking bugs from his hair. The doctor told him there were no bugs in his hair. After he had taken a shower for eight hours, standing under hot water hour after hour suffering the pain of the bugs, he got out and dried himself, and he still had bugs in his hair; in fact, he had bugs all over him. A month later he had bugs in his lungs.
Having nothing else to do or think about, he began to work out theoretically the life cycle of the bugs, and, with the aid of the Britannica, try to determine specifically which bugs they were. They now filled his house. He read about many different kinds and finally noticed bugs outdoors, so he concluded they were aphids. After that decision came to his mind it never changed, no matter what other people told him … like “Aphids don’t bite people.”
They said that to him because the endless biting of the bugs kept him in torment. At the 7-11 grocery store, part of a chain spread out over most of California, he bought spray cans of Raid and Black Flag and Yard Guard. First he sprayed the house, then himself. The Yard Guard seemed to work the best.
As to the theoretical side, he perceived three stages in the cycle of the bugs. First, they were carried to him to contaminate him by what he called Carrier-people, which were people who didn’t understand their role in distributing the bugs. During that stage the bugs had no jaws or mandibles (he learned that word during his weeks of scholarly research, an unusually bookish occupation for a guy who worked at the Handy Brake and Tire place relining people’s brake drums). The Carrier-people therefore felt nothing. He used to sit in the far corner of his living room watching different Carrier-people enter—most of them people he’d known for a while, but some new to him—covered with the aphids in this particular nonbiting stage. He’d sort of smile to himself, because he knew that the person was being used by the bugs and wasn’t hip to it.
“What are you grinning about, Jerry?” they’d say.
He’d just smile.