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thumb fun



It's very difficult to pinpoint the time your life turned around... F’rinstance, I can remember playing with my - older - sister...w/the shonky toys you used to get inside packets of breakfast cereal. And, how we always had to play her way...but, of course, that wasn’t any real kind of trauma,  just the usual cut & thrust of sibling rivalry...

No...the first real cut was when my mother slammed the car door upon my thumb...and it still bears the wound to this day.

Lest you be mistaken - and mistakenly apportion blame - my mother’s love is one of the few things, in this fallen world, that I can unconditionally rely upon... What happened when I was four, was - but, only in retrospect - the start of my adult depression. Had things turned out differently - shorn of the crucial social traumas of my puberty - this episode would’ve receded to a mere interlude, without consequence...

But...of such are our lives woven.

My sister was in kindergarten - and we were going to pick her up. I was,  just, along for the ride.... She was in a hurry/my thumb got caught in the door. Months spent wearing a leather protective - which I loathed - followed,  but...the real lesson (of course) was that my mother wasn’t omnipotent, and that I’d have to make my own way into this world.

My mother - I suspect - has never fully forgiven herself for this lapse. I have...indeed, as a much more clumsy person myself, I’d be a bloody hypocrite if I hadn’t.... And, as I said before...this wasn’t - except in retrospect - the origin of my later descent.... But...in retrospect, somehow, it was. And this too I have to deal with...

Sure...we can all start w/weaning, if we’re that way inclined. But, hell, I can’t remember same - and neither can you, I’ll bet. Such things’re universals...but, individuation - to be real - mostly plays itself out w/in our imaginations...and these are given shape by our remembrance. And, I can remember this.

Strangely...the very first photograph I ever took - the shutter closing accidentally - was of a car door. Different car, and five years later but, serendipity sometimes plays itself out in such ways...

And, I’m not even - entirely - sure why I decided to write this. The story is slight, the lessons conflicted, and...yet, I felt compelled to do so, as if my puzzlement needed to be shared.

Because, it’s just far too easy to play the origins game. We all think that we can identify the vital turning point - where history gets twisted into its new pattern - and, should we play w/multicausal models, we all too smugly assume we’ve got it right. This story is different. The trauma I speak of was - in no way - the origin of my latterday failings. It was only after repeated psychological abuse that it took on its current significance. And, so...how should we read it?

Origins ramify - particularly in the human world - gathering in resonances of earlier events unattached, and, similarly, recasting all that come in their wake. To be sure, there’s usually an event - or a cluster of same - that is the node of this changed direction. But, we shouldn’t delude ourselves that the same are the cause...and, that nothing else matters.


John Henry Calvinist