Glisten

One night when I couldn’t sleep, I created an art museum in my head. I often do such things during my reverse siesta in the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes I build a dirigible. On other occasions, it’s a petting zoo, whorehouse, or some combination of the two.

This time it was an art museum, which is not to be confused with a gallery. A gallery, more often than not, showcases the work of a single artist. This artist is frequently in attendance, trying to maintain a game face while being surrounded by the art-gallery set. An art museum, on the other hand, tends to be filled with the work of established artists or from plundering the indigenous and poorly armed.

There is no plunder in my imaginary museum. It’s not that I’m above taking what doesn’t belong to me. It’s just that if my brain were a country, it would be Ireland, too busy fighting with itself to conquer anyone else.

I suppose there are hundreds of works of art in the museum, but I am only interested in one. In fact, the museum is primarily there for this one piece I’ve conjured in my head. Think of it how the Louvre would be to someone obsessed with the Mona Lisa. All the other works are at best decorations and at worst pointless distractions. Nothing can compare to that surprisingly small painting behind a thick pane of Plexiglas to protect it from booger-flicking tourists.

My own Mona Lisa equivalent wasn’t a painting at all, but a marble sculpture of a man crouching on top of a desk with a nameplate on it that said “Boss.” He was holding a gun in each hand, one pointed at an emergency exit and a window. He was naked from the waist down, his genitals hidden behind a shirttail, but his anus was in plain view between his spread buttocks. You could see the beginnings of a bowel movement.

The work was entitled “A Crowning Achievement.”

There was a small group of people on either side of me. The ones on the left were not impressed. They criticized the selfishness of the man on the desk. With all the unemployment and poverty in the world, it was the height of privilege to end his career in such an uncaring way. If he didn’t need the money, they argued, he could donate his wages to those less fortunate. He needed to lose the guns as well because male violence such as this creates a hostile work environment.

The folks to my right loved his display of freedom almost as much as they loved his guns. One of them quoted Thomas Jefferson. “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Feces makes good fertilizer as well.

It should be noted that those on the right rarely mention privilege and when they do, it is often to deny its existence. This is nonsense of course. I am fully aware of advantages the advantages of birth in a stacked-deck world have bestowed upon me. Where I differ from many progressives is that I don’t wear my privilege like a hairshirt. The fact is that I’m a pretty marginal person and would never be able to lead a life of comfortable mediocrity of the world were anything approaching fair.

But I digress. Where was I? Ah yes, I was lying in bed, unable to sleep and thinking of about a statue of a man taking a shit on his boss’ desk. Is this something I would like to do?

Not exactly. I have nothing against my boss. Even if I did, it wouldn’t be practical. I do remote work with an international team. Any bowel movement of mine that hit that desk would first have to go through customs. I think this has more to do with the fast approach of February 25, my 59.5th birthday when I can dip into IRAs and 401(k)s without getting dinged with a penalty. As a result, I’ve been eye-raping my retirement savings with increased frequency as of late.

Add insomnia to the mix and boom, an imaginary art museum. Unfortunately, the mental exercise proved to be pointless. I have no immediate plans to exit the working world so the only thing to be gained from pondering the meaning of this nonexistent sculpture was prolonging my insomnia.

I commanded the figure to turtle that thing back in the same way I have in the past, with reverse peristalsis aided by mucus lubricant I call “glisten.” I’m not talking about ropey, voluminous rectal phlegm that comes sputtering from the ani (plural of anus, look it up!) of the infirm, just a healthy amount that keeps the body from seizing up like a car engine running with no oil.

At that point, I knew I had to get away from that subject or I would be up half the night. I know myself. The more disgusting a topic is, the more I feel compelled to keep thinking about it. I picked up my phone and got on Facebook. The plan was to find something that would divert my attention but fail to hold onto it for very long.

What I found was a post in one of the film groups I belong to. There was a still from the 1957 movie The 27th Day. Its plot involved aliens coming to earth and giving a select few people the ability to kill everyone within a 1,500-mile radius (Wikipedia said it was a 3,000 diameter, which I converted to radius because that’s how blast areas are measured). It got decent though not stellar reviews. I liked the aesthetic in the images I saw. It mixed cheeseball 50s sci-fi with a foreboding proto “Outer Limits” touch. I found the look soothing and hoped it would help me drift off to sleep.

Then it got me thinking about a show I got lured into watching as a kid. There was a press conference interrupted by a malevolent stranger who could make people disappear in a flash of light and a puff of smoke. I was a sucker for that kind of thing (still am) even though the bad guy was there to destroy an envelope that contained the secret to happiness. I soon found out this scene was a dream the titular character was having in an episode of “Father Knows Best.”

For those unacquainted with the series, it was some Eisenhower-era pablum starring the future Marcus Welby and the future mother of Mr. Spock. Feeling conned, I didn’t watch the rest of the show back then. Now decades later and having nothing better to do, I set about finding the episode online to see if it was all that bad.

It probably was, but I never made it to the end. I only got as far as the part where he told his wife about the dream while heating up some milk to help him sleep. Does that really help insomnia? I personally think he’d have better luck with a shot of bourbon and an edible, but it was the 50s after all. All I could think about was what this grown man, probably lactose intolerant, was going to do on the toilet later on. They would never show it on “Father Knows Best,” but what he’d leave in the toilet bowl would be the same mucus that would help my sculpture delay his defecation for another day. Born in another era, it would have to wait.

Waiting.
Listening.
Glistening.

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