Thursday, December 23, 2004

There's a stack of forms and folders on the little table in the living room.They're what I have to fill out in order to get disability status. I have to write down the history of my back and the projected future, allow strange men and women to examine me, ask me questions and even ask my friends and relatives about my pain and my ability to function. One aspect of this strikes me.... well, maybe many aspects, but one is that the first reaction to hearing about my back, the crushed bones, the herniated discs, osteoporsis or something... is disbelief. If I was so screwed up, how cum I'm standing here, or sitting there, in apparent good health?
Because I'm sitting here or standing there in a great deal of pain. There's a jolt of electricity that bounds down my left leg like a car battery being leaned against. There's the cold firey tingling that always exists between my shoulders, sometimes going down the back. Then the right leg gets started. All in the first hour of the day. But I have to convince these people that chances are leaning over a CADD terminal moving a mouse all day is out of the question. Then they have to realize that the ability to work in short clips of 15 minutes or so and then take at least 10 minutes to ease up the pressure on the nerves somehow eliminates most kinds of employment. That said, it would be interesting if the thing took a whole nuther tack. Suppose they decided that as an artist, what I have left is 100% of what I need, so I'm not disabled. But I bet it would be fun to have the government put in writing that I am a fully functional artist. Just for jollies, ya know.
Well, at some point I'll go fill them all out and send them off. See, even typing this blog is maybe 75% typing and 25% correcting, so I make a lousy typist/clerk. I suppose I could find some other kind of work, like a sauna clerk. If that exists I'd like a job that made me sit in a sauna a lot of the time, maybe testing new setups. That would work for me.
Once they're filled out, someone reads them and decides if I fit into a certain mold. If I'm close, and I won't be, they move me on the line. It goes like this until they notify me that they have refused my application for one reason or another. Eventually you get a lawyer and a judge sits in front of you. I'd like a good, long session while everybody says their piece, because by then I'd be screaming in pain and jumping up to limp around the room swearing. Then I'd open up my camera case and pull out my drug store and grab a bunch of pills and swallow them down, washing them with a juice pak laced with vodka. It wouldn't be an act, and I would get the disability check. By then I'll be getting a percentage of my pension, too, just because I survived long enough to qualify as "old". So the point is, that although I will be "poor" most of the income will last long enough for me to finsh some nice pieces, if I start NOW.
Suddenly I'm seeing projects and "problems" and series of archetypes. Such nice work and if I can start now, just in case the ole back decides to go deep south, I can still work small, I can do assemblages...doing some now, in fact. All light work, easy to do from a wheelchair if need be. Clay is always something a confirmed artist can do. But wouldn't ya know it, I'm also suddenly thinking large wooden projects, finishing Andy's family.
For years Andy has walked just outside the ring of light set by our bonfires. 12' tall, he is made of cedar and watches over the bonfire site as well as the nearby altar. But he always was promised a family, some siblings to watch over with. I have parts here and there but am just now putting them together. It will be a busy back yard if I pull it off and Andy will never stand alone. And then there's the hops vine we're trying to get to grow pants for Andy in the summer, some shorts or coveralls so he doesn't get sunburned. It will grow about 8"/day and eventually will send out many shoots to weave a nice year round covering for Andy and his family, too.

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