self portrait with giant frozen margarita
IUI-Incarnating under the Influence in the Polywater World
photo and text © 2007 by Jonathan Zap
I’m sitting in a circle with other nervous-looking people, Styrofoam cup of coffee with non-dairy creamer in my sweaty hand, Why is it so damn hot in here! Is anyone else in here as hot as I am? It’s like a freakin’ sweat house! The heat is making me feel agro, hot and bothered, and sitting next to me is an incredibly annoying person, even the way he breathes is loud and obnoxious, everything he does is noisy, and fidgety, a mass of irritating neurotic tics, the kind of person that likes to crinkle plastic, and he is always in some kind of frenzy of crinkling plastic, his hands constantly reaching into a plastic shopping bag, hands that scurry like frenzied rats, and now he has found it, a bag of smelly, generic brand cough drops, and the bag of cough drops in his hands is an engine of crinkling plastic, his hands are tearing into the crinkling plastic exoskeleton of the all-important cough drops, cough drops that couldn’t possibly be freed from this tough hide of plastic without the frenzied tearing motions of starving rats encountering a jumbo bag of cheddar-flavored potato chips, and when he finally rips open the plastic hide, and uncrinkles the individual wrapper, and gets one of his cheap, smelly, generic-brand cough drops, he manages to suck on it audibly and intensely, ethers of synthetic menthol invading my airspace, he sucks on the cough drop loudly, like there was hard work involved in sucking on a cough drop, work to be proud of, work that the whole world should know about, and I want to reach into the crinkling shopping bag and grab a whole handful of the cheap, generic cough drops in their crinkley individual wrappers and shove them down his throat. Why can’t someone open a freakin’ window in here, I can’t breath in here, I can’t suck down any more synthetic menthol generic cough drop air that’s been breathed by a billion other noisy, obnoxious people. And why the hell am I drinking this generic institutional coffee? It’s only making me hotter and more agro, I know I shouldn’t drink coffee so why the hell do I keep doing it? And who are these annoying, neurotic people, they look like they live to go to twelve step groups, they suck down the institutional coffee with non-dairy creamer like it was eighty-dollar-a-bottle champagne, they’re into this cluster-fuck circle jerk like pigs in shit, they’ve probably got folding chair marks permanently imprinted on their fat asses and goddamn it! Now they are looking at me with their beady, little eyes, now it’s my turn to have to talk—embarrassing, humiliating, that’s what it is, but if I don’t say something they’ll just keep staring at me forever.
“Hello, I’m Jonathan, I’m an incarnataholic, it’s been about twelve hours since my last IUI, I am guilty of incarnating under the influence, and I know that when I incarnate under the influence I harm myself and others.”
OK, I said it, it’s true and I said it, now their eyes are on cough drop boy and he’s got to speak, but how long is this damn circle going to take? This heat is killing me. I open my eyes and look around at the circle and it is huge. I do a rough head count. There are approximately seven billion people in the circle…. This is going to take forever! Fuck this shit! I’m out of here! I levitate myself out of my metaphorical twelve-step group, rise above the ethers of synthetic, mentholated, cough drop air, and the twelve-step group is now spinning there bellow me, a spiraling mass of people in folding chairs, as I pull away into space and into the velvet darkness out of which all metaphorical situations arise, and now I’m back, my head spinning a bit, but I’m back, back in front of the key board, it is 4 AM now. No, I wasn’t up all night, I went to sleep at 11PM something and woke up from intense dreams at 3:06 AM there was no alarm clock, and it doesn’t work every day, but I’m addicted to the early hours of the morning, the time before sunrise, and I just learned the day before yesterday that three o’clock in the morning is when solar wind peaks, there are intense electro-magnetic effects happening in those predawn hours, and so I’m under the influence of solar wind right now, solar wind filling my sails and impelling this rant, which is also a confessional, and it’s not just solar wind filling my sails, that was the influence of my narcissism trying to put a cosmic spin on it. But narcissism is just one of the array of forces I incarnate under the influence of, and presently it is mostly guilt and shame filling my sails—-three o’clock in the morning is also the witching hour, the hour to be awakened by things that haunt you, and I’m haunted by the IUI that happened to me yesterday, and that IUI resonates with all the other IUIs that have haunted my entire incarnation and this whole IUI- haunted world of ours.
But before I rant about the IUI-haunted world I should introduce myself, my name is Jonathan, I’m an incarnataholic, it’s been about twelve hours since my last IUI, I am guilty of incarnating under the influence, and when I incarnate under the influence I harm myself and others.
I’m ranting under the influence right now. I rant, therefore I am. I am, therefore I am incarnating under the influence right now— another IUI, which leads to still more IUIs, and every IUI I fall into only binds me ever more closely to this whole IUI-haunted world of ours. Yesterday was a major IUI, a day where there was a three-way battle with my two closest friends and I kicked it off, there was a real issue, a mundane issue, and when I raised it there was anger, we were all under the influence of being testosterone-driven aggressive hominids, and if I feel attacked I don’t back down. I am innately aggressive, astrologers say there is a lot of Mars and fire and electricity in my chart, my name is Zap and I’m from the Bronx, and there’s the narcissistic influence again, I’m taking pride in being aggressive which helps to perpetuate the influence, is part of the addiction, and sometimes I love the innate aggressiveness, it isn’t usually directed against anything it’s just fiery, electrical energy, energy that can get me up writing at three o’clock in the morning, a genetic predisposition visible in my father and in his father, though they also both lived in the Bronx so the nature was nurtured as well, so it’s an ancestral, genetic, environmental and astrological influence, and sometimes it empowers me, sometimes a confrontationist is needed, I did well as dean of a high school in the South Bronx in my early twenties, but sometimes I am like a Red Bull swilling proverbial bull in the china shop, I want to confront people with what I think is the truth, and I don’t have the feeling-toned sensibility to recognize what they are ready to hear, but that won’t stop me from getting in their face, and that led to a three-way battle with my two closest friends, and very quickly we all apologized to each other and reached a peaceful resolution, but the damage was done, and all of us walked away from the work we were doing together, and that all of us needed to do, and that needed to be done for a cause, and I was very definitely the one who set things off, and after the peaceful resolution I felt ashamed and guilty, and although I’m not much of a drinker I went to a bar and sucked down a couple of margaritas to self-medicate, and when I got home I decided to watch an episode of Star Trek Next Generation on DVD. But I wasn’t watching the DVD because I anticipated any sort of thematic connection with what I was feeling, I was watching it because the DVD now had five days worth of late fees, and by watching it I could work off a bit of guilt, accruing-late-fees-on-a-DVD guilt, and that would bring an infinitesimal reduction in the total mass of guilt I was feeling—but unexpectedly it would do much more than that, it was the bearer of revelatory synchronicity, it was thematically related, it was all about IUI.
The Next Generation episode was one from back in the day, born out of the darkness of the eighties, a darkly-themed episode called The Naked Now, and it is the first episode of the first season after the pilot, a Next Generation antique—I think the Enterprise was made out of canvass and leather back in the day when this clunker was made, and the plot was a retread of an even more ancient episode from the original Star Trek—- hang on for a second I’m going to scan the episode in question with the Google tricorder, stand by—- ( electronic whirring sounds as the episode is Google tricorder scanned) —– The Naked Now aired on October 5, 1987 , and today happens to be September 5, 2007 so that makes it is exactly one month short of being twenty years old, which means a generation has passed since the episode was made, so now it’s not the next generation anymore, it is now this generation, which makes it even more about the naked now, the naked now of the IUI.
According to the Google tricorder, Trekkies consider The Naked Now one of the worst episodes ever made. Here’s some excerpts from a plot summary on the TV Squad website written by Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher, a character reviled by many Trekkies as the Jar Jar Binks of the Star Trek universe. (http://www.tvsquad.com/2006/09/08/star-trek-the-next-generation-the-naked-now/):
The Enterprise is on her way to rendezvous with a science vessel called Tsiolkovsky. Tsiolkovsky is collecting data from a supergiant star, which is about to collapse into a white dwarf….
When the Enterprise arrives, the crew discovers that something isn’t right on board the Tsiolkovsky, as a woman’s voice broadcasts from the ship, “Well, hello, Enterprise, welcome. I hope you have a lot of pretty boys on board, because I’m willing and waiting. In fact, we’re having a real blowout here.”
Geordi, Tasha, Riker and Data make a quick trip to the Tsiolkovsky, where they confirm that the crew had a sexy party which ended with all of them in various stages of undress and death. Geordi examines a sonic shower, and a frozen woman falls into his arms. Geordi doesn’t know it, but he’s just been infected with the Tsiolokovsky disease.
While Riker and Data try to figure out where they’ve heard of a disease like this before, Trekkies all across America scream “EPISODE NUMBER SEVEN THE NAKED TIME!” at their TVs…
Some excerpts from the Wikipedia entry on this episode:
Geordi… is sweating profusely and complaining the room is too hot…Geordi places an encouraging hand on Wesley’s shoulder, but suddenly he complains the room is too hot and leaves once again.
Eventually, Lt. Tasha Yar finds Geordi on an observation deck staring off into space. After he grabs her arms and begs for her to help rid his mind of the “wild thoughts”, Geordi is returned to sickbay where Crusher remains at a loss to explain his condition. Her only conclusion is that he is showing signs of intoxication. Later, it is discovered a similar medical condition is mentioned in the logs of the old USS Enterprise commanded by Captain Kirk where the crew suffered impaired judgment and wild behavior after investigating a planet in the midst of a gravitational break up. It was theorized the gravity distortions created polywater, a complex water molecule that caused a chemical imbalance in the minds of the crew.
Later, a clearly-affected Lt. Yar is walking through a corridor, her usually straightforward stride replaced with a sexy saunter. Other personnel run through the hallways laughing and acting childish. Tasha grabs a crewman as he passes and plants a passionate kiss upon him. It is obvious that the boisterous behavior is spreading rapidly through the ship.
More odd reports come in and Picard realizes the crew is losing their minds. …Data arrives at Yar’s quarters where she has changed to a revealing gown and throws her arms around him. She pulls the bewildered android into her bedroom telling him she wants “gentleness and love.”
Data finally returns to the bridge looking disheveled and incoherent from his encounter with Yar. His biomechanical functions have likewise been impaired from exposure to the polywater agent…
I watched the Naked Now slightly buzzed from the two margaritas and under the influence of guilt at the emotional upset I had caused earlier in the day. I felt that I too was under the influence of the polywater agent that had warped my judgment and caused me to spread the contagion to my two friends. The polywater agent made me do it.
In dreams, water often represents the unconscious, and in the I Ching and elsewhere water symbolizes unruly emotions and desires. We are incarnated in bodies that are mostly water, bodies that are prone to unruly emotions and desires, that is the naked now we are born into, we incarnate under the influence of a planet whose surface is mostly water, so we live in a polywater world where we all stumble around drunkenly doing crazy things individually and as a species, we make love and war, wars against our species and other species, and feverishly work at heating up the polywater planet with green house gases. In 1987, when The Naked Now was born, no one was talking about global warming except Al Gore, and he was too busy inventing the internet to say much about it. The Naked Now was bad Star Trek, but prophetic of the next generation, the generation that would wake up to the global warming hangover while still guzzling oil out of the crust of the polywater world like there was no tomorrow.
The first symptom of polywater infection is getting hot, and this is the paradoxical effect of symbolic water, it leads to heat, to the heat of anger, to the delusory heat of hotties and of sexual obsessions, to the heat of alcohol, a flammable substance, the caloric heat of gluttony and the fires of greed and envy. The polywater world is an overheated world, a world that is drunkenly persisting in global warming. This is a world where we incarnate under the influence of polywater intoxication. Our mothers broke water to signal our approach and we are born wet and naked and crying, already under the influence, and as we develop we become even more under the influence as the intoxicating hormones kick in and that’s when we become real polywater heads and we wreck cars and have accidental pregnancies and accidental incarnations stoned on polywater.
So what’s the answer to being incarnated under the influence? We can only turn to Star Trek Next Generation to find out. At the end of The Naked Now Captain Picard says, “I think we’ll have a fine crew, if only we can avoid temptation.” This odd line seems more directed at us than the Enterprise crew since they succumbed to a contaminant, not temptation. The statement is true, but all too easily uttered by imaginary starship captains, for as Oscar Wilde put it, “I can resist anything but temptation.” And despite the imaginary starship captain platitude, I’m still under the influence, still an incarnataholic, still a polywater head, and every breath I take on this polywater world is moist with polywater intoxicants, and my judgment’s always going to be a bit wobbly and unreliable, the only really effective intervention, the only way to really dry out and get that damned polywater out of my cells is a fairly drastic step, and I’m not sure if I’m ready for that step, it’s no half measure, it’s a no holds barred, total commitment, no turning back sort of rehab, a lock the door and throw away the key sort of drying out process rehab known as cremation, but cremation is considered a pretty drastic intervention, a last resort, and I’m not sure I’m ready for it yet, and until I am ready for it I’ve got to learn to live with wobbly, wet and polywater-intoxicated judgment, because my brain, my wet ware, runs on polywater, and I live on a polywater world that is mostly polywater in a polywater body that is mostly polywater, and all the other polywater mammals I know are mostly polywater, and those tautly curvilinear polywater hotties still make my polywater blood boil— I’ll drink to that! —–and the obnoxious polywater antics of my fellow polywater heads still piss me off—- those fucking polywater fucks!—-they drive me to drink!—- and the more I drink the more my polywater head spins, and the more my polywater head spins the more my wobbly polywater judgment becomes blindly polywaterly drunkenly warped and I want to drive, I want to speed and swerve and slam into things—in other words I want to vote Republican, and I want to invade countries and suck all the dinosaur juice out of them, and I want to give myself a massive, massive tax cut, a tax cut so massive that the IRS ends up owing me trillions of dollars, and the European Union owes me trillions of euros, and I want to use my trillions of dollars and euros to launch a global polywater-fueled Jihad and crush all the disbelievers, want to hurl suicide bombers that explode like polywater blood balloons, want my seventy-two polywater virgins in the polywater afterlife, want to have my polywater and eat it too, want to get pissed on polywater, want polywater hot tubs full of polywater hotties drinking polywater margaritas, want to give George W. Polywater Bush the keys to my car, and I want my car to be an SUV the size of Texas, those fucking trees and telephone poles better get the fuck out of our way, fucking trees cause most of the damn pollution anyway, and I want to get rip roaringly polywaterly drunk, want to take a big polywater bite out of the polywater world, want my polywater and to eat it and drink it and smoke it and inject it and free base it and fuck it too, want the blood dimmed polywater tide to be loosed, want to be a rough polywater beast slouching toward Bethlehem to be born….
But that’s only what I want, it’s not what I need, not at all what I need, not what’s going to help me get through this polywater epic that stretches between breaking the water and cremation, the naked now, no, no, not at all, not what I need at all, what I need is all the fragile sobriety I can muster, that’s what I need, that’s what I need to get through this polywater incarnation and do the least damage I can to myself and others, but the price of polywater incarnation is eternal vigilance, and I must ask not what the polywater world can do for me, I must ask what I can do for the polywater world, for there is nothing to fear but the fear of polywater incarnation itself, and fulfilling my mission will take polywater blood, sweat and tears, but I’ve got to do it, got to keep my head above the polywater the best I can, got to go the polywater distance, got to see through the veils of polywater, got to see that there are other, drier worlds than these, got to help all my brothers and sisters who are drunk on polywater, got to respect the fish that swim in the polywater seas, the birds that fly in the polywater skies, got to keep the polywater world from over heating and creating polywater climate change, got to do so many, so many, many things during this long, dark night of the polywater soul and yet, and yet… the polywater woods, the polywater woods are so lovely, dark and deep, so lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep….
There are some slightly more sober resources on my website that can help if you are, like me, a recovering polywater head. A good place to start is Part III of a Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler