Genuflect by Gordy Grundy
May 2006; Issue No. 80


I am a man divided. My soul cries for salvation, yet my body seeks sin. I am straddling the double yellow line of change. One foot is firmly placed on the sizzling asphalt of hellfire while the other is set on the people mover of progress. And the gap is widening. I'm afraid it might split the seam in my trousers.
Change is absolute. We, and the world around us, are always changing. I am older than I was five minutes ago. I get better looking everyday. I have sixty-three less brain cells than I did before I went out last night.
Change is good. Change is different. Change is fresh, exciting and zesty. Change begets change. Yet the winds of change feel rather chilly, coming through the hole in my pants.

Many believe you can change your habits in twenty-one days. I believe this to be true for I have picked up many bad habits in far less time.
I want change. I need change. I want to change my day job, my home life and my love life. I'd like to be more physically fit. I'd like more dough. Hell, I'd like to change just about everything. Except for my truck. I love my truck.

Change must be initiated. Unfortunately, I am not sure how to do it and I need advice. I have many influences. Who's right? What's wrong? Who knows?
If Life is a mystery, then maybe I've seen too many detective films. Just like Nick and Nora Charles, I figured that if I invited all of the suspects to a swank dinner party, I could smoke out the murderer. In this case, the killer would be 'How to change' and the suspects would be my 'influences'.

Recently, a group of twenty suspects came over for drinks, dinner and my divinity. My Metaphysicalist Lily Larraleaf sat next to John Phinn, a surf consultant. Madine DuPreen, an art curator, was drinking heavily with author Jack Kerouac and painter Jackson Pollock. It was an odd, wide-ranging mix.
A computer monitor topped with a web cam occupied a chair. Since I could no longer afford a plane ticket for my Viennese psychiatrist, he agreed to participate via video web link. I was nervous. On the monitor, Dr. Burstebagge was speaking rapidly and animatedly to someone out of camera range. In the background, an accordion was playing a polka. My elderly, pear-shaped shrink wasn't wearing his usual plaid, tweed suit. He was bare-chested. I couldn't see what he was wearing from the waist down, but I was afraid he might stand up.

[Editor's Note: Long time readers of this column will recall the misadventures of the esteemed Austrian psychiatrist Dr. Emile Von Burstebagge, a staunch Freudian with a penchant for Las Vegas. Due to a HMO insurance scam, Grundy was able to fly the bestselling author of 'Id's It!' to Los Angeles on a weekly basis over a period of several years. With his thick and incomprehensible accent, the therapeutic advice of this great man was often misinterpreted. The resulting confusion led to the first of Grundy's many arrests.]

I tapped a spoon on a wine glass to get the attention of the assembly. "Ladies. Gentlemen. I'd like to thank you for coming. Now, how in the hell do I effect personal change?"
There was silence, a moment's pause, and then everyone started speaking at once. And then they started speaking over each other.

I ting-ting'd the wine glass once again.
As all eyes were meeting mine, all eyes glanced past the monitor. A young woman, nude, served Dr. Burstebagge a large martini and then disappeared from view. The accordion started up again.

"I'll have what he's having." said C. K. Dexter Haven.
Everyone laughed.

Oblivious of his Los Angeles audience, Dr. Von Burstebagge was clapping his hands and bobbing his head to the polka beat.
I leaned into the monitor and gently barked, "Doctor! We're on!"
It startled the hell out of him. As Burstebagge snapped to the screen, his thick round glasses flew off his head. He yanked a bed sheet to his neck.
"Vat?! Vat?!" exclaimed the Doctor as he fished for his glasses.
The accordion music wheezed to a stop.

I tapped the wine glass once again. "Alright," I coughed. "Change? How do I affect change?"

Fitty-Thent, my thug-life advisor, was the first to speak. "Phuck-dat. Why you wanna change, when change gonna bite you in da ass anyway?"
"Is change going to 'bite you' in the fanny?" The forceful voice came from a silver translucent glow seated at the end of the table. Fortuna, Creator of the Universe and Purveyor of Luck, pointed her sword at Fitty-Thent. "Maybe change will kiss your butt".
Wayne Gable, an early Male Role Model, started to say something but caught himself. He just grinned and scratched his jaw.
Fortuna continued, "Take the chance. Make a change. Either way you're lucky. Good or bad, it's all luck."
Gable leaned over to Fitty-Thent and quietly asked, "You play cards?"

"Change. It's kinda simple, really." said Kerouac, "The hitchhiker who doesn't put his thumb out isn't gonna get a ride. I know."

"You must prepare for change!" said Lily Larraleaf enthusiastically. "You need to pack a bag." My Metaphysicalist folded her hands together and closed her eyes as she spoke. "Before you take a journey, you must pack your satchel. Change will not come until you are ready, not until you have the skill set to cope with the change." She lowered her voice into a husky, bedroom octave, "Now remember Gordy"
Instantly my eyes closed and I started to feel drowsy. "Deeper into the Blue Remember the archetypes. The wise wizard who will beckon to your call. Remember the safety and security of the monkeys. Think of the golden key and the blue light bulb"

"Horseshit." said Wayne Gable.
"No. No. I can dig it!" Jean Krupa, my bongo teacher, jammed a pink cigarillo between her lips and slapped the table with a fast riff. "It's all in the beat, baby. Listen to your natural rhythm! Find your downbeat. Find your strength. The melody follows."
She turned to Gable and said archly, "Horseshit? It takes a jackass to know it."
Gable grinned at her and winked.
Krupa sighed swooningly and drifted gently back into her chair.

"It's part of the flow." John Phinn shook his water glass, making waves in the goblet. Phinn, Pacific Palisades top surfing instructor, said, "It's no worries. Wait for the swell. You don't paddle until ya got a wave. Just chill. Whatever it is, whenever it is, change happens."

"Shit happens," said Fitty-Thent.

A wine glass screamed above my head and exploded against the wall. Everyone turned to see my red-faced childhood pediatrician shaking with rage. He was wagging a boney finger at me.
"Who took you off the Ritalin?!" Dr. Bob screamed as he stomped his foot, "It wasn't me!?"
This was odd. I wasn't sure why he was there. I didn't invite him and I've never taken Ritalin unless it was for recreational purposes. Then the man in the white coat, striped tie and stethoscope, stormed from the room. A minute later the front door slammed.

Gable smiled, "There goes the authority."
"Better him, not you." laughed C. K. Dexter Haven.
Larry Clark Bukowski got the attention of my houseboy who was serving drinks and dessert. "Hey-Hey, Bring me whatever that guy had."

I tapped the table. "Ladies, gentlemen, let's stay on point."

Wayne Gable punched the table with his forefinger, then at me, "Quit moanin' and belly-achin'. Change? Change! You ride a dawn."

"He's not ridin' nanny-where." It was Madine DuPreen, my personal Curator and Art Writer. She was drunk. "Nuthin's gonna change until you go back to your earlier work and throw it out. Ya gotta start--start over." A loud hiccup seemed to perk her up for a second, but, like a champagne bubble, Madine popped. She fell face first into a plate of tiramisu.
C. K. Dexter Haven folded his napkin and said, "Well put."

I addressed the crowd. "If Greatness is thrust upon you, then therefore must not Change also require an external motivation?"
"Self-induced change?" said Thurston Howell III, "That smells like an unused gym membership."
"Change is a reaction to the physical world," intoned Lord Bagby.
My Parole Officer, Ernest B. Dick snorted, "Yeah. Nothin' like a steel toe'd kick in somebody's ass."
Captain Jack Sparrow arched an eyebrow and eyed him suspiciously.

Madine DuPreen was snoring loudly in her plate of tiramisu. Jean Krupa leaned in with a spoon and dug a little trench around Madine's mouth so the curator wouldn't suffocate. Jean patted her back and whispered, "I never liked his earlier work either."

A harrumph trumpeted from the computer monitor. It was Dr. Emile Von Burstebagge. The great man started to speak. As he gestured with both hands, the bed sheet fell. The doctor scrambled to cover himself.
Attempting to maintain some dignity, he intoned "I zink dee zolution to dee parrobulum ees" The co-author of 'Emile & Oprah: Yes We Can!" spoke at length; all of it was unintelligible.

Suddenly, aggressively, Wayne Gable pushed back from the table and stood up with both fists clenched and fight ready. "Why you son of a bitch!" he hollered at the monitor.
Burstebagge ducked.
"Whoa, cowboy," said C. K. Dexter Haven, as he massaged a cuticle.
"That liver-bellied Nazi just told our boy he should have sex with his mother!"
Burstebagge sat up, eyes wide, surprised, and confused.
The nude Austrian stripper leaned into the screen and said, "Aye don't zink he said dat!"
"I heard it!" hollered Wayne; "I heard it with my own two ears!"
"What's wrong with having sex with your mother?" asked Larry Clark Bukowski.
Madine DuPreen sat up with her eyes still closed and half her face frosted with tiramisu. "Hold it down in there!" she shouted, "I'm trying to get some sleep!"

I couldn't take any more advice. Change is change. Change comes as it comes, when it comes.
I signaled the attention of Lily Larraleaf. Silently I mouthed, "Get me outta here."
She walked over and leaned into my ear. Lowering her voice an octave, she spoke deliberately, "Gordy. Take a deep, full breath. And another. You are at the top of a staircase. Take a step down. Twelve. Down another, eleven"
My eyelids got heavy, very heavy. The caterwaul in the room faded until I could hear it no longer. "Nine. Down the stairs. Eight"
By the time she said, "Seven", I was out.

GORDY GRUNDY is a Los Angeles based artist. His solo show "Fortuna: VisionQuest" will debut at the Arbor Art House in July for the Contemporary Arts Month in San Antonio Texas, in the heartland of America.