The Sword and the Stone

Posted: January 10, 2013 in Life, Mom, Russ
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’ve always been intrigued by Arthurian Legend – I sometimes imagined that I was a child Arthur, destined for greatness. If I was Arthur, though, Uncle Richard was my Merlin. He probably would have demurred at the thought had I spoken it aloud to him, but it didn’t make it any less true – not to me, at least. He consoled us when Uncle Carlo passed – offered encouraging words, and thoughtfully quoted Shakespeare.

Uncle Richard: Golden lads, and girls all must, as chimney-sweepers come to dust.

I understood, and appreciated it. It just pissed Mom off – possibly because she didn’t understand it (most art was well out of her intellectual reach). Russ was the polar opposite. When we told him of Uncle Carlo’s passing, he scratched his chest and shook his head.

Russ: Pretty big bummer, huh?

Mom panicked in the weeks and months after Uncle Carlo’s death – she was concerned that The Agreement wouldn’t come to fruition. She constantly called Russ and fretted – left obscenely long messages on his machine, or gave him ridiculously long letters. That man had to go through answering machine tapes like water. I remember her calling back after leaving a long message (maybe a 20 minute message) and being dismayed that the machine ran out of tape in the middle of her second one. Such was life. She insisted up and down that I was the Chosen One (not her words, exactly, and not how she would have phrased it – but essentially that’s what it meant) and that I was going to be backed if The Agreement went through.

She began to seek out psychics for advice. Not that I necessarily disbelieve that psychic power exists, but I am well aware that the field is well populated by charlatans and frauds. Particularly if you were to walk off the street and pay $25 for a palm reading. If I ever get a psychic reading, I want to know the person is legit – I want good references. Anyway, we went to the beach one month and Mom decided to stop in to one of those boardwalk places. She decided to do so because the intersection where the psychic was located had the same name as the street Russ’s studio was on. Surely, this was a sign. She went in, paid her money, and I sat in the waiting room reading. It was a typical place for that sort of thing – lots of beads and crystals and strange looking artifacts. I nodded politely to the psychic when she emerged with Mom, who looked positively thrilled.

Mom: She said that R.P wants to come back to me, and he’s really trying. And that Uncle Carlo’s spirit is in transition – and that he’s going to help us as soon as he gets to the spiritual plane.

Me: Uh huh.

Mom: And she said that you’re going to be huge. She said if things happen one way, you’re going to be a Garth Brooks. If things happen another way, you’ll have a band and be like a John Lennon.

Me: Really?

Mom: Yeah.

I took it in stride, but I would be lying if I told you my ego wasn’t at least a little inflated. I was not only a Boy Genius, but going to be the next John Lennon – who wouldn’t get a big head? I knew, of course, that a lot of psychics make general pronouncements (“Do you know anyone that has died?” etc) and we attribute meaning to those things which gives them something to work off of. I even bought a book once and tried my hand at “reading” people – it’s actually rather easy. Needless to say, I wasn’t sure I believed everything the psychic had supposedly said (besides…it came from Mom who misheard, misinterpreted, and misremembered conversations on a regular basis), but Mom believed. And I wanted to believe. Besides, it was nice to think Uncle Carlo was looking out for us. I guess, in a way, that’s kind of what faith is. You know there’s a possibility – even a probability – that it’s all bullshit. But you believe because you want to, or you don’t have a choice. Back then, I had a lot of faith.

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