On January 28, 1975, Zagreb, Croatia, I slinked into the world at last, a tethered bundle of bone and fatty tissue. It is said I screamed for over an hour, but what do you expect, entered thus into the human race – an adversarial race for the most part; predators, backbiters, double-crossers – entered thus: empty handed, skin-naked, bewildered and thoroughly unmanly despite the disproportionate nutsack that comes part and parcel with male natal garb. And – note – defenseless: no teeth, no knuckles, no nails, nuthin’. A couple of clear-cut shapes like a wrist or a collar bone would have set me apart. Instead, I emerged pouffy, a blotchy neck-pillow, with zero motor skills and no clue about anything at all: not the light that flashed EVERYWHERE, not the rubbery hand that cupped my skull, and not the knife that clipped the cord that’d kept me alive and kicking for nine glorious months of relaxation and water sport.
How can I say…. I was pissed off.
One thing I had going for me though – one thing I’ve lost since – a setv of vocal cords so badass and shreaky I silenced mother, father and attendant staff for fifteen minutes. My first fifteen minutes I owned. This was my guitar solo, and I let loose! A good thing too because for the first fifteen minutes at least, I was nameless.
Eventually, it came: Lui Antun Labas.
Understand my frustration, though, I came from a very simple place: temperature regulated, sound muted, light unnecessary, food channeled in, and me all padded out in my little my capsule, proof against impact of all sorts, doorknobs, broom handles etc. And most importantly, my thoughts reigned supreme. I crossed deserts on foot, floated weightless through the void and threw javelins at meteorites. Now and then, for sport, I kicked my mom in the gut, but mostly I was adrift in realms of my own.
Now jump thirty-five years forward… watch your step.
What do you get?
I’ll tell you, my friend. You look here. I’ll tell you what you get. A whole bunch of crap you get. Crap-you-don’t-need carefully collected. Bric-a-brac, cardboard boxes, books I’ve never read, books I’ll never read, almanacs, wristwatches ticking and defunct, maps of the world, maps of Crete, maps of Rotterdam, folders of miscellany, bits and pieces, chips off chandeliers; I have bundles of letters, letters from Leticia, shit she wrote way back when she put her hand down my pants for “feels”; I have chessboards – I have three – I have shoulder bags with leather pouches! Belts in abundance; I have scarves, my friend, long, short, fagggot-ass, you name it. Christ so much shit. Do you have all this shit? Do you have all this crap down there Bigman? Corkscrews, shower mats? You have that shit in your burrow? I’ll tell you what, don’t you envy us, my friend, don’t you envy us. You see this silky thread here – feel that. You feel that? – between me and each thing here there is such a thread. A tether, Bigman. A silky tether.
Ever heard of Gulliver? You know Gulliver, right?