Positively 4th St: Rubber Soul
By Tim Bowden
Aug 21, 2020
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A loose thread along the seam meant the ball was doomed anyway so I took it apart. There was a dense twine of yarn and then at the center a hard rubber spheroid. A golf ball was similar.

A writer sets out to write everyone’s autobiography. Their bottom nature she described as either fighting-winning or resistance-winning.

I began to learn my own bottom nature in a flowering plum just five weeks ago from now. I had made a near-fatal error of judgment. The environment immediately about me was still, but that does not mean static; a bow though very serene has much lethal kinetic energy.

I should have remembered my Faulkner, who taught us about a stoic and dutiful mule which will work your fields diligently and well for 38 years just for the chance of kicking you once.

In short, the bough I meant to trim had a nuclear energy behind the 38-year-old bend in wind and branch, and it responded naturally when I released it with a handsaw.

My next conscious memory was inside the ambulance. An ER attendant was asking my name, then if I knew where I was, then where I was going, and why.

Luminous angels in pure white drifted towards me all the night long, bringing meds and questions. What’s your name? Do you know where you are? Why are you here?

Press my hands. Push them down. Bring them up.  Raise your leg.

Imagine Humpty Dumpty as an onion. He falls, and his overlays peel away like soft eggshells.

I am fascinated by everyone who comes by my ICU bed. I engage with them. There are at one time three nurses arrayed in my field of view. They seem fascinated, and so am I, being three years old.

“Where are you from?”

My drawl is radical, as it was in the era I’m recalled into. (Accents were thicker back then, unabated by actual citizens among us - artificial voices from radio and tv could no more modify a deep-seated country patois than the influence of Siri or Alexa today.) It is somewhere between 1943 and 1949, the time when  my uncle Bush occasionally came to take me downtown, to Trav Curin’s Plaza Drugs, where I was given a Dr Pepper and invited to chat with the crew. They are all adults. I liked them all, and they me.

Yet I have been unconscious sufficiently in my day to realize that questions should be answered actually, not factually.

“Do you know where you are?”

Not, “Somewhere between 719 East 4th Street and the East side of the Square” -that’s your Hard Rubber Soul, implacable, yet inapplicable - but, “In an ambulance, heading to Valley Med ICU.”

“Do you know why?”

“Because I’m a 77-year-old fool who still climbs trees.”

There you have it, both factual and actual.

A certain southern writer, whose topic was his actual neighbors, seemed for all his comprehension not to have understood that most folk have a more unrealistic opinion of themselves than might be generally accepted, and further they resent evidence of that fact. One novel by this writer was called You Can’t Go Home Again, and I would agree, if only because, you can never truly leave that hard rubber bottom nature.

It happened like that ... in the 4th St era. 

Tim Bowden