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Ginny Good, A Mostly True Story:

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Super Groovy Juju

We're a single species among a few hundred million other species on the surface of a speck of sand at the bottom of an ocean in an ocean of oceans. The notion that we affect anything beyond ourselves is absurd. Think of all things we can't think of: black holes, dark matter, dark energy, the goings on inside an electron, the eternity of time—fourteen billion years is a drop in the bucket. What we don't know fills more space than exists, more states of matter and energy than our wee pea brains could collectively dream up if we were really smart and we're not really smart, we're really stupid. The more we know the more we know we don't know jack. So forget about all that and concentrate on what counts, little things, life, the culmination of everything we'll never know.

Something in a universe of universes conspired to make life. Who could possibly know what? Who's to say some subset of dark matter and dark energy and whatever other weird stuff we don't even know we don't know yet aren't made of some single unifying, animating force? The known universe, they say, is almost all dark matter and dark energy, both of which are more or less undetectable. There's got to be a unifying, animating aspect of dark matter and dark energy—there are unifying, animating aspects of every other kind of matter and energy so why wouldn't there be? Whatever this quality is it's got to be even more undetectable than the undetectable stuff it unifies and animates, right? So why not come up with a name for it? We've tried. We've called it thousands of things, God, love, logos, chi, agape, Brahma's dream, Christ consciousness, Buddha nature, orgone energy and so on, none of which seems quite right. I'm calling it super groovy juju, which doesn't seem quite right, either. The Tao that can be spoken ain't the eternal Tao.

Not only am I calling it super groovy juju, I'm also saying we help replenish the super groovy juju it took a universe of universes a long, long time to make us make. And they've only just begun! We poor human hunks of gristle, except for vague glimmers we can't put into words, don't know anything worth knowing. We don't need to know anything worth knowing. All we have to do is live our little lives, let them unfold in whatever odd, unexpected ways they unfold, and if, along the way, we add an undetectable jot of super groovy juju to the incomprehensible glob of super groovy juju it took to make us we've done what we were made to do. And we do! Of course we don't know it, we don't know diddly, but no matter how frivolous or fraught or famous or fortunate we happen to be, we unwittingly add to the substance of the super groovy juju that got together and made us in the first place. From the second we're conceived super groovy juju passes through us, leaving bits of itself behind and taking some of what it finds in us with it. Making super groovy juju and passing it along to the glob is our only job. I know I just got done saying it's absurd to think we affect anything beyond ourselves but I changed my mind. Ha!

Wedding Day

I'm getting old. I've gotten old. My mind wanders. My mother died three months ago. She was ninety-five. I was her first kid. We lived in the same house for the last twenty years. If I still wrote books I'd write a book about her like I wrote a book about my dad after he died but I don't still write books and we already said everything we had to say to each other. We said everything we had to say to each other over and over again. We repeated ourselves. She was too cute for words. She's still too cute for words. She's got what's left of her life stored here. It would take some digging to find it all. You'd have to look at old photographs, leaf through dusty ledger books and read box after box of meticulously sorted letters and diaries shut away in drawers and linen closets. Nobody's going to do that. My sisters say they will but they won't. Someone will take it all to the dump. The house will get sold. I'll move somewhere and sooner or later what's left of my life will get taken to a dump. If I find anything worth saving between now and then I'll stick it on the everlasting Internet along with all the other stuff I've stuck on the everlasting Internet. The first thing I'm saving is what my mother remembered about getting married. What the rest will be I haven't a clue.

June 21st, 1941:


The excitement of meeting in Royal Oak, at a store on Main Street, early in the morning...smiling happily when we spoke of the "bad luck" that was supposed to bring, the fun of dressing in a white, lacy wedding dress and anticipating the surprise Gard would feel when he saw me looking more like a bride than we had expected I'd be able to...then waiting for the dozen red roses that arrived at the last minute. I also wore a wide-brimmed, "picture" hat that was white and lacy, because Gard always said I looked pretty in hats.

The long drive to our little church in Waterford, with Bud driving my car, Evie beside him in her pink, shortened formal. I sat in back with mom and dad and Polly, next to a window, and chattered constantly all the way—pausing only to reassure everyone that I wasn't the least bit nervous or thought that was very funny, I recall. I was so afraid we'd arrive at the church early that we managed to be one minute late. Gard was waiting, with his sisters, Marge and Betty.

I can see our church...painted white inside and out, with tall windows—all the pews empty. Gard and I sat together in the front row; I looked down and saw his knees trembling. The ceremony took so little time; we couldn't believe it was over. My new husband was still trembling when he kissed me.

Nothing seemed real until we were alone in our own car and driving to Royal Oak, where we had our pictures taken. The day was very hot, and the roses were drooping by then. We were so happy and excited that things aren't too clear...but crossing a bridge on 12-mile Road, we looked down and saw Gard's dad catching minnows. We stopped to talk, but he didn't have much to say...told me, "Don't let him get lost on the way to Alpena."

Gard's mother had a sprained ankle; his dad didn't want to take any time off, so they didn't come to our wedding. That encounter was kind of a downer, as Mr. Jones didn't even congratulate us, or come up from the creek for more than a minute. When we drove away, Gard took out a cigarette and smoked all the way to the photographer's in Royal Oak, without ever lighting it. His '37 Chevy had a horn that blew "Here Comes the Bride."

When we arrived at the house on Gainsborough, Aunt Helen and Uncle Bert were there. Mom had fixed a lunch for everyone. Mom took snapshots of us in the back yard, then I changed to my old pink slacks and blue sweater, and by 4 o'clock we were ready to leave on our honeymoon—amid a shower of rice that mom remembered at the last minute.

The drive to Alpena is really a blur. I do remember stopping at a department store in Bay City to buy pajamas for Gard. He picked out white ones with maroon collar and cuffs, but when he went to the car for his billfold, I exchanged them for blue and white striped ones because they would be easier to wash.

Close to midnight, we went to a little grocery store in Alpena and, carefully budgeting our couple of dollars, bought six sausages, six eggs, 1/4 pound of butter, and bread...also a 4-cent can of scouring powder, so I could leave the cabin sink clean. After arriving at Min and Paul's place on Long Lake, we sat and talked awhile with them, and were finally shown to our honeymoon cabin. Whenever Gard suggested that we were tired and should go to our cabin, I would tell him that we were married now and didn't have to be home at a certain time anymore. Paul nearly fell off his chair laughing at us.

On the table when we entered our cabin was a wedding present from Min and Paul—a crockery casserole dish. We spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday there...three days of swimming, driving, walking and dreaming. I remember that I smiled so much, my face actually was a wonderful feeling. As we were leaving Min and Paul, her sister, La Verne, came to the car to say, "Goodbye," and put a dollar bill in Gard's hand. Thus we were able to stop and eat on the way home! La Verne had a habit of saying, "Ain't dot cute," whenever she talked to us...I think we used that phrase the rest of our married life.

It wasn't until we neared Pontiac that we began to think of the problems we had left behind. Looking back, our honeymoon days included little bits of wild strawberries for breakfast, the call of a whippoorwill each night at nine, sending a telegram to mom and dad to let them know we had gotten there safely, and signing it "Mr. and Mrs. Gerard Jones." Also wandering happily in Alpena without even a nickel to spend for a coke, rowing out on the lake in the moonlight, catching a couple of fish one day, and having them for supper. Then there were ordinary things, like watching Gard shave, washing and drying our few dishes together...just being together constantly.

The highlight driving home was discovering a remote stretch of beach along Lake Huron that no one else will ever see the way we did. It was enchanted, with bright sunshine, white sand, waves breaking gently, the sky so blue...a huge rock ankle-deep in the cool, clear water. Gathering wild flowers and ferns on our climb up the steep bank to the car, then tucking the bouquet into the door handle, so we could look at them all the way back. It was a wedding and honeymoon that was perfect for us...and more than we'd ever hoped for, because neither of us knew there was happiness like that possible.


If fishing's a fair metaphor for falling in love, and it's been around so long it must be (it may even be the world's oldest metaphor, like if being a hooker is the world's oldest profession, where but from fishing could the word "hooker" have come? From the hooks on the ends of shepherds' crooks, I suppose. I like that even better. I can just about see one of my maternal ancestors near what's now Munich, yanking one of the local lads into her cave for a quickie in exchange for a particularly fetching piece of malachite or amber or jade. There she is now! Crook in hand, lounging in the shadow of a granite cliff with her pelvis thrust out, smoking the last of a lipstick-stained Benson and Hedges Lite, eyeing a guy coming unawares up the rock strewn path—all of which, however, points up one of the flaws in the underlying presumption, that being, to wit: can prostitution be equated with love? That's another question I can't answer. What I can say on the subject is it's always made me feel good about myself that there was never anything of any monetary value in it for anyone who fell in love with my worthless ass—which is not to say I didn't pay. I paid. I paid plenty. I'm still paying. Nor is it to say that, if you can equate the two, had I ever had anything of any monetary value, I wouldn't have given it over gladly. Take my watch. Take my shoes. Love, love me, do. But, enough of this; I have don't have time to go into the etiology of every minuscule thing that comes to mind. Maybe I should take the time, though. I'm not sure quite what's expected of me. I suppose I could go on the Internet and see what everyone in the world has had to say on the subject every time the word "love" reared its ugly head. Or is it jealousy that rears its ugly head? I have a hard time telling the two apart. I have a hard time telling all sorts of things apart, etiology, for instance. I think I may have talking about etymology. Etiology's the origin or the cause of things, etymology has to do with words. Not to be confused with entomology. The last thing I need is a nest of cockroaches scurrying around inside this already exceedingly ill-advised parenthetical remark. Which I think, at some point, I may even have forgotten was a parenthetical remark. Okay, okay, where was I?

"Where you been, Ope?"

"Fishin', paw."

"Wha'cha usin' for bait, son?"

"Crickets, paw."

"These here ain't crickets, son; they's cockroaches."

"Cockroaches, paw?"

"La cucaracha! La cucaracha!"

"You dance funny, paw."

"We best get washed up for dinner, son."

—Whoa! Easy, big fella! You want to slow down a minute and try taking a stab at the etiology of some of this latest drivel?

—How about years of cauterizing my brain in front of daytime TV?

—Aw. And how, pray tell, came thy poor brain to be in such a state, my pet?

—Pray shut the fuck up and knock it the fuck off and I'll get to how is how. Now, have we ended this parenthesis yet or not?

—Haven't the foggiest, old sport. You worry too much about little things like punctuation.

—You worry too much about little things like your dick.

—Oh! Ho, ho; touchy, touchy—but, while we're at it, you want to know something that pisses me off? J. D. Salinger, that's what.

—That certainly seems germane. Now, about this parenthesis we seem to have found ourselves in...

—Well, that's sort of the point. I'd just as soon we'd never started the thing.

—Well, we have.

—Well, we shouldn't have.

—Well, since we have, I suggest we figure out a way to end it.

—Don't you still sort of miss him, though?


—J. D. Salinger.

—Holy Moly!

—Doesn't the thought still cross your mind sometimes that when he finally dies we're all going to be in for A BIG SURPRISE?

—I think he already did.

—Did what?


—Really? When?

—I don't know. Maybe he didn't.

—Have we gotten A BIG SURPRISE?


—Then he probably didn't.

—Hey, did we get any BIG SURPRISES from anyone? Ever? What about Houdini? Weren't we supposed to be in for A BIG SURPRISE when he dropped dead? Houdini, Houdini, he's our man. If he can't do it nobody can. And didn't he drop dead and nothing happened? But no, the answer is no, the thought doesn't cross my mind, and even when it does, what could he possibly say that wouldn't be anticlimactic?


—J. D. Salinger. Who have we been talking about? You can wait only so long for the other shoe to drop. It's a nice feeling though. It's akin to the sound of one hand clapping—which, if you can believe the guy, and he certainly went to considerable lengths to sound as if he was the sort of guy who could be believed, was what he said was what he was after.

—Is that what he said he was after?

—I guess. Wasn't it?

—Hey, who knows? Who cares? Is what I say.

—Yeah? Well, you want to know what I say? I say we really ought to start entertaining some notions on the subject of ending this parenthesis, is what I say.

—How about we just blow up the whole chapter?

—We've blown up enough chapters.

—Okay. How about from now on we keep the parenthetical stuff to a minimum, forget about the Internet, and just end the son of a bitch any old where?

—Well, we probably ought to go back and see how it started.

—Why? Let's just whack it off). There. Like that.

—Well, we're still in the middle of a sentence, is one reason. You can't end a parenthesis without finishing the sentence it's in.

—Why not?

—J. D. Salinger never did.

—All the more reason.

—Well, it might have been important, too.

—I don't see how it could have been.

—Let's go back and see.

—You go back and see. Personally, I'm for blowing up the whole chapter.

—Let's just blow up the whole book, then.

—No, no, I'll go back.


—I don't know. It's hard to say. It might have been important. There's no way of telling without seeing how the sentence would've ended.

—Just end the parenthesis and start the sentence all over in a new paragraph)

If fishing's a fair metaphor for falling in love, and it's been around so long it must be (but let's just say it's not and get on with it).

—Oh, I feel so much better!

—Think it was worth all that?

—Hey, who knows?

—The Shadow knows. Remember the time they had that guy with the broken arm on "The Shadow"? The guy who gave people heart attacks from a scientific heart attack device he had hidden in the cast? He looked like the man in the moon. He killed doctors and lawyers and sophisticated ladies. Nobody knew where the heart attacks were coming from. The guy was laughing up his sleeve. I figured it out before Lamont Cranston did. The guy put a fake cast on his arm in order to have a place to hide the scientific heart attack device he'd invented to kill the people who thought they were better than him.

—Yeah? So?

—So, I had a dream about him when I was a kid.


—The guy who gave people heart attacks. He wanted to be my friend. I didn't want any friends. He had a German Lugar. He was wearing suspenders. I could fly. He couldn't. That made him mad. He shot me, but I was transparent. The bullets went right through me. They tickled. I was playing football in midair. I was Elroy Hirsh. The guy kept getting madder and madder. He didn't see how he could keep missing. He lunged at me. I straight-armed him in the face. He tried to climb the wall. His suspenders slipped off his shoulders and tangled up his arms. I cut toward the top of the curtains. Bullets tickled through me. The more I laughed the more he shot me, the more it tickled, the more I laughed. I thought I was going to die...

—You are going to die if you keep this up. I am personally going to kill you.


—With a fucking bazooka, that's how. I'm going to shoot it into your fucking face.

—You don't have a bazooka.

—I'll get a bazooka! And I'll shoot it in your face!

—Okay, okay. Where were we?


Men stand on street corners from Singapore to Baltimore with their pants around their knees asking questions without answers. The magnolia bush has spilled brown petals onto the ground and the branches of the willow tree sweep magnolia petals into piles day and night and day and night I absolutely hate your fucking guts and always have and always will you darling sweet angel for whom my purest love will never end. Some dark morning when the moon is in Brazil and Uranus is uninhabited, unbeknownst to either of us, I'm going to climb down your throat and eat your adenoids—creepy, crawly across Chianti teeth, small as a spider spore, I'll play me a tune with a spoon on the silver fillings in your teeth, prop myself against your tongue and rape your snotty sinuses one by one, then slide down your windpipe, swing on slick vines through the smoke black jungle of your lungs, singing ape songs out your nose and when you stir in your slumbers I'll hop an artery to the bustling terminal of your brain, pick a bunch of purple dendrites to feed the starving synapses, take a leak behind a dying axon and dive headlong into the sweet stream of your consciousness to see what swims there, to watch when slimy seven-headed envy hidden in philodendron shadows springs at pity in a pink dress gathering fallen sparrows' eggs, to be there when rage with its tongue cut out, waiting among dead mimosa blossoms tears at sorrow with steel claws walking weeping untouched and unmoved head down in her white gown, to float there myself on an inner tube with pink patches, playing a ukulele and singing merrily merrily merrily merrily, life is but a dream to show you I love you but in the meantime I never want to see your shitty face again and want you to know from the bottom of my soul that I wouldn't puke on your head if your life depended on it and find it inconceivable that the God who fashioned tarantulas and toads could have made a creature so ugly and cold-blooded as you, sweet thing, shining jewel in the crown of creation, whose breath is lilacs whose love lights the world.


Wendy found Blue. He followed her home one day and wouldn't go away. She and her mother were in Sacramento. I wasn't. When we got back together, Blue came too, the way Wendy had come with her mother. I looked him up in The Encyclopedia of Dogs. He wasn't there. He was a big, strong, handsome breed unto himself, with thick coppery blond fur tufted white inside his hind legs, a massive white-tipped tail that curled over his back and eyes you could read his mind in. His mind wasn't all that inscrutable. When you opened his dog food he drooled. When you looked at his leash he barked and pranced and jumped on the couch and back onto the floor again and bit the handle of the La-Z-Boy. He howled along with far away fire trucks and dreamed of sheep. He went nuts at the mere thought of a sheep, and the one time out in the country when he actually saw a few stray lambs by the side of the road, oh boy. He tore the car apart. He bit the glass and chewed holes in the seat belts. It had to be genetic. But you don't see many sheep, even in Sacramento. He had to make do with rabbits and squirrels. Wendy took advantage of his instincts. She called everything a sheep. She'd see a rabbit and say, "Go get the sheep," and Blue would take off rocking like a rocking horse with his tail bounding above the fields of dry oats by the Sacramento River...or she'd see a squirrel and tell him, "Get the sheep! Get the sheep!" and poor Blue would tear off through flocks of flapping geese on the lawn at Sutter's Fort. When the three of them came with me back to San Francisco, Wendy was bummed. There weren't any rabbits or squirrels. She had him chasing cockroaches and imaginary mice.


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Gerard Jones
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