The true extent of the economic downturn, as it is politely called but really translates as the end of our world as we knew it, is not the $4.00 gallon of gas but the 50 cent piece of bubble gum. I got through most of my intellectual(such as it was) growth by balancing all my esoteric studies and learning and yearning and striving by reading Love Comics at Bryn Mawr while chewing Bazooka bubble gum or Fleer's Dubble Bubble.
Although this clearly, as I was to discover later in life, played havoc with my teeth and gums, it did handle the fact that I was always in love with the wrong narcissist(George Segal in college, Tony Perkins in my early days in H'wood, before they or I knew what gay was and it might not have mattered anyway, I so adored how smart and gifted he was, and was grateful for his pride and admiration for my creativity.) Chewing feverishly eased my frustration and thwarted lust.
As I wandered the world which I did even as a young striver I went to a-- I cannot quite call them a bevy, as they were none of them particulalry comely with the exception of Pattie in her youth, --fortune tellers, none of whom had the answer to my destiny, as the answer is usually in yourself or destiny, which is very mysterious.-
. Nonetheless wherever I wandered I had my fortune told, which is more exotic in Hong Kong than most places where you toss sticks in a temple. But it is none of it as satisfying even though incorrect as it is when you open the fortune cookie that says 'Your luck has been completely changed today' on the Fleer's Dubble Bubble Fortune in 4 different languages which it used to be if you you traveled far enough or wide.
Once I took a ship from Italy to San Francisco hoping to find out what my fortune was or if, indeed, I had one, and when I got to the last night of the voyage on which everyone on the ship except me was violently seasick-- I think it was the President Wilson on which I was traveling coolie class- I went to the Banquet that was to be the finale, -- with everything roped, chairs, tables, food, as the seas were so violent everything was sliding, including the people who were all in their cabins throwing up, except me-- and there before me were several hundred tables with roped crystal and roped china and nobody eating the Oriental feast, but all the tables laid with piles of fortune cookies. At last! I cried inside myself, enough fortunes! and nobody to go through them, but me. So I went to every table and opened all the cookies, and they were all homilies and bullshit except for the very last one that I opened with shaking fingers: 'You will go on a long voyage," it read.,'to no advantage.'
SInce that time I have resorted to colorogy, my own form of numerology, where you put the money in the machine and the gumball rolls down, and whatever the color is is what you can expect. Red is passion,(not very likely) yellow is luck(one can always hope) Green is money(ditto) orange is lust( still?) white is purity(what choice does one have?) and blue is spiritual growth. Today, on the heels and toes and instep of our latest disastrous figures, I went next door to my sushi restaurant,-- where the Dubble Bubble gumballs are. What was, when last I gumballed,, a quarter a ball, is now 50cents. Not to be deterred(I have no plans to go to France what with the euro and how stupid and ruined we are) I thought I could at least get a piece of gum. The pinlk one(love) rolled directly onto the street, and the man who owns the market felt compassionate, so he put 50 cents in for me. It was yellow, but that one, too, fell directly onto the sidewalk. He indulged me in one more, and I caught it in my hand. Blue. Spiritual growth. Well, I guess that's the only option we have. All the same it caught in my teeth and I have to go to the dentist.
It doesn't really matter that T.S. Eliot was an anti-Semite. He wrote really good poems that Jews can read.