oh my head

06/15/2021 2 By BuddyCushman

Here’s the second dictionary definition of “labile” – “Of or characterized by emotions that are easily aroused or freely expressed, and that tend to alter quickly and spontaneously; emotionally unstable.”

Someone’s been reading my mail.

But first, let me take a stroll down memory lane all the way back to 1984, 1985, some of ’86. I was working for a small outfit called the ‘Drug and Alcohol Resource Program’ based in Stoneham, Massachusetts, like eight miles north of Boston. We worked out of a reclaimed small tool factory, and while I was in the office a fair amount I was also assigned as an “in-school outreach counselor” for two schools a little north – Reading and North Reading High Schools. The powers that be gave me a room down a little-used corridor at Reading High School and I was grateful and have a few good and distinct memories from there. But it was way different at North Reading where the Principal, Dr. William Butler, welcomed me with open arms saying “We’ll take any help we can get” and I was in and out of classrooms sharing my meager wisdom and hanging around corridors and actually began an official don’t-drink-today (in the book and everything) meeting Friday mornings in the basement. But, the big deal was my own office in the guidance area, I mean me and whoever rolled in which were actually a bunch of different kids who I sat with for a couple of years and listened to rants and howls and goofy giggles, and looking back I was so blessed with that opportunity to be of some weird kind of help. And there were these two girls who always dropped in together and one of them told me she liked to walk down the middle of the road because she felt alive then, and that same girl would always say her favorite expression, which was this: “Oh my head.”

And “Oh my head” meant oh my life and oh the craziness and hopelessness and my wild chances to shine and I love my friend and I hate everyone else and life’s wicked hard and I walk down the middle of the road, and “Oh my head” was quiet and hallucinatory and all-inclusive, and without asking I decided to borrow it for some of those reasons and more of my own and – swear to God – I’ve been saying “Oh my head” out loud into the bright of day and the dark of night ever since. Let me say it right here, right now, because it fits.

“Oh my head.”

Remarkable, and not surprising in the least, this isn’t what I meant to blog about today. Nah. Go back to the first two paragraphs. Way earlier I was sitting in the Kate chair which has become a substitute for my morning recliner and I’d asked for help and guidance and – please – understanding of what’s the will for me? – what’s the plan?, and I received two clear messages shortly thereafter and I realized I had changed my mind about where I wanted to live the rest of my life again, six times since last Saturday morning, three times alone on Sunday. Where I want, where I should, where I’m supposed to, what’s the Great Spirit’s plan, all of it. And the word “labile” came to mind and I googled the definition and it’s up there in the first paragraph. That is exactly me these last two months, especially these last two weeks. Altering quickly…….emotionally unstable…….

And while typing the line “Someone’s been reading my mail” the girls from NRHS came walking into the borrowed guidance office in my mind and one said “Oh my head” and it made and makes perfect sense, here now today, and the signs to me this morning – crystal clear – said you need to move here, Brah, get with the program, and I ate some brekkie and went for a second walk and mailed a copy of “Milky Dent” to an old high school classmate who never said the “oh my head” thing but is one of that book’s heroes, then I came back to Kate’s patio and my email and an entirely different life direction said “Hello.” (OMH). And as a postscript of sorts for anyone who likes to find their way through and out of mazes, the last person who donated fifty bucks to me in the “Gofundme” account another high school classmate set up was a name I did not recognize but his note along with the contribution said I’d helped him out at Reading High School. And a couple of weeks before that a girl from North Reading High School – not one of the walk down the middle of the road girls – said she wanted to buy two of the paintings I’d pictured on Facebook for $25 each and then I found a PayPal payment for $1000 and a written explanation that I’d helped her more than I would ever know.

Which, again, doesn’t have much to do with “labile” except being tangibly more of wild emotional experiences I’ve been experiencing these last eight weeks, and I don’t know if it’s what goes around comes around or simply more of the Universe grinning at me or karma or just there’s really nice people looking for the chance to share their niceness. I do know, here today Tuesday the 15th, I don’t have a definitive answer where to live and no address at all July 1 and for sure a crazy fucking amazing life right now and labile is the kid’s calling card today.

And the best I’ve got – other than a wealth of unending gratitude for grown-up children – is I’m all ears.

I’m serious. I’m all ears.