The U.S.S. Millicent Kent. Another victim to social expectation. What’s that? You’ve “never really loved competitive tennis?” Your “real love and passion was modern interpretive dance?” You “accepted a scholarship to E.T.A. at age nine for the sole reason of getting away from [your] father” (123)? Join the club. Who cares that society has no place for you to express what resonates with you most? Better that you let yourself be exploited. It’s better than being stuck under the rule of your father, right? There are new rules, let’s be clear, like “staff-ordered weight-management post-dinner stroll[s],” but they’re not so bad (122). They’re there to make sure your talents are optimally exploited. So alienate yourself from your passions, maybe even your feelings, and most definitely any positive connection to your body. If you’re lucky, you might get to try to jerk off a rather – shall we say slow? – affable young fella who won’t have the capacity to recognize that it’s your “sexual stimulation sucking tremendous quantities of ambient energy out of the air” (125). You’ll both be nervous about it. But nothing will come of it, so to speak. He’ll move on in all his glorious blissful ignorance. You’ll get back to mastering your egoless strokes.
Meanwhile, in other weird physical encounters (though all physical connection should be held more sacred than it is, I’m gathering), we have Lyle, the “oiled guru…in yogic full lotus in Spandex and tank top” whose “smile could sell things” (127). This beautifully described “crustacean”-like creature “lives off the sweat of others. Literally” (128). How does he do it? Just sitting there all patient and Zen, letting life come to him like that, not pulling anything toward him that exceeds his own weight. Not pulling anything toward him at all really. He just sort of rises toward what he wants to pull down, like a weird reverse gravity. And then it all just sort of happens, the magic, so to speak.
But then goodbye to “proper” linguistics! We’re off to spend some time in the depths, though really, the struggles there aren’t all that different from the affluent heights of E.T.A. Which is like part of the point, I’m gathering. The David Simon The Wire style juxtaposition of police and gangster. Oh look, they talk different, but they ain’t so different. How bout that? Cause man, when you want something, any something – cause it don’t matter yo temple o’ yo fix – you know you is “not 2Bdenied” (131). And so you go to those great lengths, even driving yourself to death, knowing it the entire way but not stopping yourself from it, your death. Like yrstruly you get that “wicked cold inside feeling,” but man if it ain’t a feeling, and that’s something, so you head straight for it. Even though you know it’s like bad for you but hey man it is for you, and that’s not nothing. That’s something. And that’s all you want. Something. In this game here, “life’s endless war against the self you cannot live without” (84). Go get you yo fix. Worship at yo temple.
And maybe one day you’ll find yourself, if you’re lucky to get the chance – to keep playing the game, that is – awash in enlightenment in the E-Tier shower like “the Guy Who Didn’t Even Use His First Name” (137). The guy with “egoless strokes,” transcending the self that you must destroy anyway – as part of the game’s rules, that is. What sweet relief it will be, that “utterly total surrender” (138). You keep trying to pull it to yourself, I can see that. But what if you’re trying to pull something that’s too heavy for you, the you that’s stuck in some Ego trip. Relax. Let others work. Taste their sweat. Be like Lyle. Before you know it, you’ll be rising to the thing you’ve wanted for so long, blissfully out of yourself for the first time, and, for the first time, wholly embodied in yourself.