All of us have two minds, a private one, which is usually strange, I guess and symbolic and a public one, a social one. Most of us stream back and forth between those two minds, drifting around in our private self and then coming forward into the public self whenever we need to. But sometimes you get a little slow making the transition, you drag out the private part of your life and people know you’re doing it. They almost always catch on, knowing that someone is standing before them thinking about things that can’t be shared, like the one monkey that knows where a freshwater pond is. And sometimes the public mind is such a total bummer and the private self is alive with beauty and danger and secrets and things that don’t make any sense but that repeat and repeat and demand to be listened to and you find it harder and harder to come forward. The pathway between those two states of mind suddenly seems very steep, a hell of a lot of work and not really worth it. Then I think it becomes a matter of what side of the great divide you get caught on. Some people get stuck on the public, approved side and they’re all right, for what it’s worth. And some people get stuck on the completely strange and private side of the divide and that’s what we call crazy and its not really completely wrong to call it that but it doesn’t say it as it truly is. It’s more like a lack of mobility, a transportation problem, getting stuck, being the us we are in private but not stopping…
Scott Spencer
Did you ever think much about jobs? I mean, some of the jobs people land in? You see a guy giving haircuts to dogs, or maybe going along the curb with a shovel, scooping up horse manure. And you think, now why is the silly bastard doing that? He looks fairly bright, about as bright as anyone else. Why the hell does he do that for living?You kind grin and look down your nose at him. You think he’s nuts, know what I mean, or he doesn’t have any ambition. And then you take a good look at yourself and you stop wondering about the other guy…You’ve got all your hands and feet. Your health is okay and you make a nice appearance and ambition-man! You’ve got it. You’re young, I guess: you’d call thirty young and you’re strong. You don’t have much education, but you’ve got more than plenty of other people who go to the top. And yet with all that, with all you’ve had to do with this is as far you’ve got And something tellys you, you’re not going much farther if any.And there is nothing to be done about it now, of course, but you can’t stop hoping. You can’t stop wondering……Maybe you had too much ambition. Maybe that was the trouble. You couldn’t see yourself spending forty years moving from office boy to president. So you signed on with a circulation crew; you worked the magazines from one coast to another. And then you ran across a little brush deal-it sounded nice, anyway. And you worked that until you found something better, something that looked better. And you moved from that something to another something. Coffee-and-tea premiums, dinnerware, penny-a-day insurance, photo coupons, cemetery lots, hosiery, extract and God knows what all. You begged for the charities, You bought the old gold. You went back to the magazines and the brushes and the coffee and tea. You made good money, a couple of hundred a week sometimes. But when you averaged it up, the good weeks with the bad, it wasn’t so good. Fifty or sixty a week, maybe seventy. More than you could make, probably, behind agas pump or a soda fountain. But you had to knock yourself out to do it and you were standing stil. You were still there at the starting place. And you weren’t a kid any more.So you come to this town and you see this ad. Man for outside sales and collections. Good deal for hard worker. And you think maybe this is it. This sounds like a right town. So you take the job and you settle down in the town. And, of course, neither one of ‘em is right, they’re just like all the others. The job stinks. The town stinks. You stink. And there’s not a goddamned thing you can do about it. All you can do is go on like this other guys go on. The guy giving haircuts to dogs and the guy sweeping up horse manute Hating it. Hating yourself.And hoping.
Jim Thompson