Inner Space

On January 10, 2011 by Eden M. Kennedy

Jackson and I were looking for some entertaining bedtime reading so we picked up a copy of Dav Pilkey’s The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-fu Cavemen from the Future. It’s fun and it’s silly, as time-traveling cave boys with missing teeth and afros often are. But you know that phrase, When the student is ready the teacher appears? Apparently, if you give me a kids’ book full of Kung-fu Panda-style wisdom* I’m halfway to Buddha consciousness.

I had been trundling along for 76 pages, tra-la tra-la, but when we got to this page I stopped. I probably read it five or six times until Jackson was like, Mom, turn the page, PLEASE, but I couldn’t because all the atoms in my body had lifted apart from one another and I found myself floating between them, grounded in groundlessness, space, and light. It was like Fantastic Voyage combined that other thing with Martin Short when he played a grocery clerk who got accidentally injected into and then sneezed out of Dennis Quaid. Clearly, a decade-plus of yoga has made me susceptible to meditative suggestion (I will relax my teeth, breathe into my forehead, and lift my cervix at the drop of a mat) but it was one of those moments when something I read just fit. There is so much space within me! Ahh. I am more than an inflexible spine or a clenched heart; I have a universe inside that’s big enough for me and Raquel Welch to tease each other’s hair zero-gravity style.

*Did I tell you I once saw David Carradine? I was pulling into the parking lot of the old Vons on Victoria Street, looking for a spot, and these two pedestrians, a man and a woman, were walking reeeeaally slowly in front of me, not over to the side so cars could pass, but right in the middle of the, whatever, car lane. So because I was young and impatient and the world wasn’t responding to my needs quickly enough, I did the old passive-aggressive parking lot move, I drove reeeeaally slowly ten feet behind them, not close enough to run them down but close enough to be all HI, YOU’RE WALKING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LANE AND I NEED HOT DOG BUNS. Then the man turned around with his stringy hair and rangy physique and I was all, “Oh, shit, it’s David Carradine,” and that was my last thought on this planet because then he bored a hole into my skull with the intensity of his stare. And then I stopped my car and he turned away and he and his lady friend went into the store. At that point I may or may not have driven away and gone to another grocery store, I can’t be sure of what happened because Kwai Chang Caine erased my mind.

But you know who I really loved in that family was the dad, John Carradine. If you haven’t seen it, you should rent The Grapes of Wrath right now, it’s so fucking good.



31 Responses to “Inner Space”

  • Now that is a good story.

  • That movie pissed me off because it just stopped halfway through the book.

    And that is a pretty great page.

  • This … is just fantastic. It just made my day.

    Got thrown out of that Vons once – involved late nite munchies after a viewing of Gothic from the balcony of Victoria Hall across the street (you know, the old church), when my wife-to-be shouted “DON’T DO IT” when Natasha Richardson was reaching for a certain door knob and started everyone giggling and we did not stop and the store manager thought we were all drunk. He may not have been mistaken.

  • John Carradine was an Oxnard resident in his later years; he lived across the hall from my mom. When I was a tween (and would visit mom in the summertime) I wanted NOTHING to do with Mr. Caradine because of his role in the Scariest Movie Ever, “The Sentinel”.

  • Your brand of nerdery blows my mind. I have much to learn.

  • “I will relax my teeth, breathe into my forehead, and lift my cervix at the drop of a mat” is an excellent line.

  • I hate to nitpick, but it was actually Dennis Quaid inside Martin Short. Your way sounds like a funnier movie, though.

  • I love the way you write. That stream of consciousness stuff cracks me up. Each thought strand is funnier than the one before. And that whole “relax your teeth’ thing is just how my yoga teacher talks. She likes to tell us to relax the tiniest bone inside your ear, and to breath into your hip joint, and such.

  • OK so 2 things I don’t get about the David Carradine vs car thing.
    1. Why is is bad that you drove 10 feet behind him really slow? Were you supposed to stop and wait and then pull up and then stop and wait and pull up some more? Or were you supposed to back all the way out and find another way to get to your destination. -this reminds me of how some teens crossing in front of your car like to slow down just to prove they have control over you.
    2. That whole bore-a-hole stare thing is kind of freaky too. He looked at you like he was angry? Because you made him aware that he was holding other people hostage to his self indulgent slow-walking-in-the-middle-of-the-road thing? I don’t get it. You are making yourself out to be the rude self-centered one in this exchange and It just doesn’t read right. He’s the one that is coming across looking like a jerk. *shrugs*

    • He was totally doing the teenager thing! He didn’t want to be pressured, obviously, and that stare of his told me to back the fuck off. Sometimes even when people are in the wrong, you back the fuck off. Or I do, anyway. I’ve got nothing to prove and I’m not much good in a fist fight. Also, he erased my mind.

      • I have no problem with backing the fuck off. I like it. I do it a lot. I just didn’t get the part where it sounded like you thought you were wrong and he was right. It’s clearly not worth fighting over or even making faces over (unless his back was turned, heehee!) The mind erasing powers thing is cool though. That one could come in handy.

  • Fabulous! Love your writing. Who’d of know from having seen you around that you have all that juice inside you. I have finally real a REAL blog!

  • I like your brand of humour – very entertaining, will read more!

  • My subway reading book is a collection of D.T. Suzuki’s writings on Zen Buddhism. I came across this section a while ago, and I thought about you’re post about a guilty Christmas, but it actually probably applies better here:
    “The time will come when your mind will suddenly come to a stop like an old rat who finds himself in a cul-de-sac. Then there will be a plunging into the unkown with the cry, ‘Ah, this!’ When this cry is uttered you have discovered yourself. You find at the same time that all the teachings of the ancient worthies expounded in the Buddhist Tripitaka, the Taoist Scriptures, and the Confucian Classics are no more than commentaries upon your own sudden cry, ‘Ah, this!’”
    Finding that place inside ourselves where all the knowledge in all the books in all the world already exists as some exalted cry of realization, maybe that requires of us a plunging into the abyss of suffering and the despair that fills our world and has since humans first began this crazy organizational project we like to call civilization (though there’s not much that’s actually very civilized about the whole thing when you really look), and it’s only through that abyss that we can come to truly know ourselves and our world and what are lives really are. Or some such.

    • Edwin, I have only read about such things, and any experience I describe that sounds similar to the big awakening has no more than scratched the surface. But I’ll take what I can get.

  • Ha, I just saw that movie with my children last night (thank you, Netflix)! Dennis Quaid was hot! Drooling….

  • This is why I keep coming back here…thank you!

  • I keep having moments like this where I’m all ‘the emptiness…and the inarticulatable something something something is really true and I must seek it…MAYA!’

    Then everything gets fuzzy and I’m back where I started all super unenlightened.

    But I take it as a sign I only have 48 or so horrible torturous incarnations to go before my soul is freed to non-existence. I’ll probably spend the next 10 or so eating corn chips for dinner and renting TV shows from Netflix before I buckle down and join a monastery or whatever I’m supposed to do.

    (And this a GREAT story. I love Kwai Chang Cain & I don’t care what anyone says. My 1970s dissolute actor story is when I saw Peter Fonda make some guy give him cuts in line at the Utah airport by the pure power of celebrity–but your story is way better.)

    • Ozma! You’ve seen it! You only have four or five incarnations to go. Maybe you can spend them in Hawaii. I will seek you there for spiritual instruction!

  • I like that you called David Carradine’s companion his “lady friend.” It reminds me of The Dude.

  • Okay…

    1. When David Carradine looked at you, I pictured you pulling a sword from under your seat and taking his ass down.

    2. Thank you very much for wrapping up why I have read your blog for years with this: “There is so much space within me! Ahh. I am more than an inflexible spine or a clenched heart; I have a universe inside that’s big enough for me and Raquel Welch to tease each other’s hair zero-gravity style.”

    3. I want to write like that when I grow up.

    4. Here? This place? It’s my Palmolive.

  • i keep grasping for those kind of awakenings. maybe grasping is an issue in them doing the spaghetti wiggle away from me.
    i had a few weeks of total zen “this is my life, bullshit and all, this is my life and that’s fine” about 4 years ago. felt it arrive and then, sadly, felt is slip away.
    great post.

  • Boy that made be crack-up! You are so funny! Thanks for sharing.

  • “Kwai Chang Caine erased my mind.” Okay I am going to admit that I actually don’t have any idea what that means, but it made me LOL so I felt like I had to leave a comment. If anyone wants to fill me in, cool. Plus you used a really great swear word at the end of the post which means you and I would probably get along… well really fucking good! Good luck with your book. Unfortunately I have a teen and a pre-teen… well, you know… I don’t mean unfortunately that I have them… but just that they’re probably too old for me to read and benefit from the book. But I wish you the best success anyhow! :-)

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