Stuck In The Sargasso

‘Enlightenment isn’t a goddamn modification of the ego you know,’ I barked angrily, ‘consciousness isn’t an attribute of the accursed self-concept…’ I stared around me fiercely, daring someone to answer me back, but then after this brief outburst I lost my way. Lost my way, lost my way. Lost in the morass of scurrilous self-deception. Up to my waist in it, up to my neck in it, up to my chin in it, up to my very eyebrows in it, trying not to breathe the dirty filthy stuff in. I was swimming in the polluted ocean of my own lies and my arms were growing more and more tired. I was doing the doggy paddle but I had got all snarled up in seaweed. I was stuck in the Sargasso Sea and the seaweed was so dense you could practically walk on it. You could very nearly walk on it but not quite. Above my head, strangely-shaped clouds took on human attributes and leered down at me up. They were mocking me for my intense stupidity. My bewilderingly intense stupidity, which I now had to admit was a brute fact of my existence. The defining characteristic of my existence, you might say. Sargassum fish were nibbling at my toes whilst above me the giant faces of my elders and betters glowered down at me in undisguised disgust. My time was running short – the sargassum fish were feverishly at work on my toes and it was only a matter of time before they worked their way up to the knees. I had to make progress I realised and I had to do it fast. Salty sweat was streaming down my face in fast-moving rivulets, whilst the top of my head was being scorched mercilessly by the relentless rays of the sun. I resumed my frenzied doggy paddling, outright panic only inches away.


Above my head strangely-shaped cloud-faces were regarding we me with interest. I had the feeling that I was a figure of fun, mocked by the gods. And when the gods had had enough of mocking me, what then? What would happen when they tired of their sport, as surely they must before very long? Would I have to pay for my sins, I wondered? Would they prove to be unreasonably expensive, and beyond my limited means? Maybe I couldn’t afford them? I was swimming in the toxic ocean of my own appalling lies and my arms were covered with a heavy burden of barnacles. That just went to show how long I had been out there, I suppose. Long enough to support a good-sized colony of barnacles, at any rate. Quantify that, if you will. My legs were all tied up in seaweed and I wasn’t making any real progress. No progress worth speaking of, anyway. No progress of any importance. Possibly no progress at all, for all I knew. Possibly zero progress…


I was met with anger and hostility wherever I went. Anger and hostility, anger and hostility. ‘Why is everything always so bloody difficult?’ I complained to myself with considerable bitterness. Friends came then but they were false friends. They were playing me false the whole time. Playing me false, playing me false. I had been moderately successful in my life up to this point, there was no denying that. I owned a considerable number of second-hand paperbacks; they were slowly yellowing with age and suffering somewhat from the perennial dampness but all the same the books were a rare collection by anyone’s reckoning and although they weren’t worth anything in monetary terms they had considerable sentimental value. I owned a 07 car, which was nearly paid for. I had an international reputation for prevarication and procrastination that I know very few could hope to rival. I had earned it honestly too, by dint of long application and dedication in the field. I had put in the necessary work and no one could argue with me on that score. I had shown grit and determination.


And yet I still felt that something was missing. ‘What could it be?’ I asked myself ironically. What could it be? What could it be? But despite all this heavy irony, there were times when I felt genuinely cheerful. Well, not exactly cheerful perhaps but at least not entirely morose. Not entirely morose. If you were there with me then you would have seen a cunning gleam returning to my bloodshot eyes. ‘I’m not done yet,’ I said to myself spiritedly, ‘I’ve still got a few tricks left up my sleeve!’ Damn straight I’ve still got a few tricks left up my sleeve! You see if I don’t, you see if I don’t… I talk like this out of sheer bravado of course. Whenever I hear myself talking like this I know for a fact that I’m lying! It’s a dead giveaway. I’m a compulsive liar, there can be no doubt about that, but that’s not necessarily to say that I’m a good one…








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