I’ve identified the significant trigger, which, if pulled, catapults my otherwise sensible, responsible, and respectful self into a derivative of me, but one which possesses out-of-this-world dynamism akin to superhero’s or mutants. The physical me doesn’t change, just the degree of acumen and acuity I’d refined in furtherance of a twenty-year career playing The Fool to a cadre of Somebody’s. These heavyweight’s attained their ascendency via marriage; owning an avaricious, pugnacious and predatory law firm; partnership with an iconic architectural firm; ruthless attorney for corporate raiders. Not one cared about procedure; they simply expected what they’d requested. Failure was my burden to bear and under which I would suffer.
Only once did I return empty-handed: “I flew to Florida; drove to the grove; oranges are out of season; no juice.” She pushed her Eames chair away from her desk and stood in front of me, “Do I look like an idiot to you? I mean, when you think “idiot,” is it this face you see? Because that’s precisely what you so deftly hand-delivered. But I didn’t ask for an example of an idiot, did I? I mean, if I did, which I didn’t, but if I did then you could get a mirror from one of the secretaries. You wouldn’t simply fire-up the Ol’ Gulf stream and coast to Florida (at $2,350.00 per flight hour plus pilot time, hotel, fuel,, and food). No, no explanations: I asked for orange juice from “Lily’s Grove,” of which I own by the way: Oh! Didn’t you know that? What? No investigation before you saddle-up and zoom to Miami? When I’d heard from Jorge that a “chiquito desmandares” demanded that he sell him orange juice for his “gillpollas cacia” the only conclusion I could draw was, “Mulligan must think I’m an idiot!” Since you’re absolutely certain there’s no orange juice from Lily’s Grove, just for fun, let’s see if I might know someone who could help. . .Buenos dias, Jorge. . .”
That lesson (failure) provided an essential insight: if a heavyweight asks for something that has the appearance of impossibility, they already know where and how to get it. They simply aren’t interested in doing it for themselves. Self-effacing, tenacious, and propriety could be helpful behaviors in discovering a source for this item.
Only when forethought (plan B, escape route) is absent and I discover that I’m in a wholly defensive position with no options does this derivative of self appear. This derivative is my super-hero or, as I now recognize, my manic-self (who I will name “Heartless”). “Heartless” has a single purpose: self-preservation amidst unyielding stress, confusion, and fatigue, the by-products of an extremely complicated problem or series of problems which causes inescapable mental burden and my organic belief that failure cannot be considered because of its dire consequences and the real-life ramifications to everyone involved.
“Heartless‘s” appearance goes unnoticed and the logjam that promoted his incantation begins to loosen and the stalled efforts discover renewed vigor, and less and less sleep is needed, and more and more and more organization and meticulous paperwork are demanded. “Heartless” remains present for varying lengths of time: Sometimes 3 months, sometimes a year. But his denunciation follows the same pattern: “Heartless” turns his attention away from the situation of which he was borne, and on to me, which he sees as the real victim of the entire circumstance. And then he uses every weapon in his arsenal to create as much collateral damage as possible: spending huge amounts of money on items which I’ve wanted, yet dare not buy (dog, tattoo, Rolex GMT II, 55″ TV, fully outfitted wood shop, custom-made Japanese fountain pen); ingesting too little or too much of my medication; abhorrent social behavior; and the worst and most pointed, vehement, and hateful: accusations and ceaseless arguments with my spouse.
The moment someone, anyone really, recognizes that I’m in the midst of a manic crisis, “Heartless” disappears. And all that’s left behind is a meandering trail of damage, some salvageable, some not. Destruction is definitely his foot print. But I’ve considered too, that perhaps “Heartless”buys and says and behaves in ways some tightly-tucked-away part of me wants to behave or say or buy. But I, like so many of us, have toed the civil line and buried our uncensored selves in a nook no one will find. Wouldn’t it be tragic if we’ve been taught that decorum dictates that superhero’s remain in comic books and not shopping at Prada.