Dick and Jane

     The book that has most influenced my life and my way of thinking was Fun with Dick and Jane, my first grade reader. This book dealt primarily with the trials and tribulations of two children, Dick and Jane, their family and their rambunctious, but ever-loving dog, Spot.
     The most moving and thought provoking passage of this text for me was "See Spot run. Run Spot, run." My six-year-old mind was filled with unanswerable questions. Why was Spot running? Where was he running? Or what was he running from? Moreover, was Spot actually aware of what he was doing?
     This one line, these six simple symbolic single syllable words would haunt me for the next twenty-five years; for without my knowledge or conscious consent, I became Spot.
      In my early teens, I sought escape from the rigors and demands of life through fantasy and adventure. I met up with The Hobbit and helped him with his quest to find The Lord of the Rings. Later on in high school, I began to question society and authority in general.
      I started to walk The Razor's Edge, that line between what was deemed socially acceptable and what was not. I began to hang out with the "Pump-House Gang," but that was leading nowhere. I was tired of sitting around Waiting for Godot knows what and decided to go out On the Road.
      During my wandering, I hitched a ride on the magic bus , I was One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and passed the Kool-Aid Acid Test. This lifestyle suited me well for a couple of years, but I began to tire of constantly listening to "The Dead" and looking for the answer to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I soon sensed that living on the outside of society, life was slowly turning into a Clockwork Orange.
      In 1984, I set out to return home, but when I arrived, it was not the Brave New World I assumed it would be. This new Amerika was filled with illusion and I felt like I was visiting the market at "Araby." I recognized The Plague that infected the land but I was alone, The Stranger in my own home. My existence seemed to place me "Before the Law" and at The Trial, I became the prosecution, the judge, and jury as well as the defendant. I stared into The Heart of Darkness and saw that the evil in man was also in me. I felt trapped in the web or rather under the spell of Hocus-Pocus that has mesmerized this country in self-denial. Now I was very aware of it all. This awareness caged me like "The Hunger Artist" and in a sense abandoned by humanity like "Bartleby the Scrivener." I felt like I was tied up in The Cat's Cradle, sent off to "The Penal Colony" and thrown into Slaughterhouse Five. In my despair, I almost became Dr. Faustus signing my own damnation with the Lord of the Flies.
      Salvation came to me after I took up Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I seemed to go through "The Metamorphosis." I came to a realization that The Rebel in me must carry his burden in life as in The Mythe of Sysiphus and although I see others making the same mistakes as I did, I know that I cannot stop them because I am not The Catcher in the Rye.
      Throughout my life, I would say that there are many books that I have read, from schlock to the great works of literature, and most have left some imprint on my way of thinking and my view of the world. However, it was Fun with Dick and Jane that had the greatest influence on me and although I finally know why I was on the run and where I am headed to now, I still wonder about Spot.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011 - 14:09

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