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Excerpt from The Miranda Complex Volume 1: Munchkinland

posted: 2/8/2016

The following is an excerpt from The Miranda Complex Volume 1.



***


I wasn't sure where to wipe the blood from my hand. I thought maybe my shirt at first.

But I ended up using the grass instead.

A pink stain remained on my fingers.

Rabbi Meshuggeneh approached me slowly.

Rabbi Meshuggeneh was this old uber-Jew who always davened at Gardner Park, a scruffy Orthodox guy who'd either be muttering to himself or else chanting prayers out loud with cantorial authority on the little shady patch of grass between the basketball court and the makeshift hamster graveyard.

My dad is the one who called him Rabbi Meshuggeneh.

I'd heard the name long before I knew what meshuggeneh meant.

I'd seen Rabbi Meshuggeneh all my life around Gardner Park, but there was this one time in particular, the time I learned his name, I saw him as my dad and I drove down Beverly Boulevard near the Pan Pacific Auditorium, and I asked who is that guy we always see and my dad said oh that's Rabbi Meshuggeneh, he's been around forever.

I have no idea what his real name was, and I don't really care either. He was just always Rabbi Meshuggeneh. It fit him.

He was definitely borderline homeless.

Usually Rabbi Meshuggeneh didn't move around in the park.

He'd just sit in his chosen spot for as long as it took him to complete his day's liturgy. Then he would pack up his reading utensils and wander out into the day or evening elsewhere in the Beverly-Fairfax area.

But at that moment he was shuffling in my direction, labored and stooped over with the weight of centuries and his ragged old-world briefcase full of scripture.

He stopped in front of me, letting his bag drop, wiping his forehead with a phlegmy handkerchief as I continued to wipe my rosy fingers on the grass.

He gestured at the world around us and looked just past me.

"Is this what God intended?" he asked in reference to something deep within his own head.

I sat in disbelief at first that Rabbi Meshuggeneh was interacting with me, asking me a direct question.

It felt like the sort of thing that happens right before someone gets murdered.

"You mean like did God intend for me to finger-fuck a girl on her period?" I wanted to say but instead just shrugged, "an Orthodox girl yet?"

He stared at some imaginary star-child in the sky for a lagging minute. "Every night God prays, did you know this?" he said.

"I did not," I answered.

I just wanted him to say what he meant and go away.

That's how I feel about most conversations, actually.

"And do you know what God prays when he prays every night? Do you know? Can you guess?" he gestured to the heavens again.

It was a lightly smoggy April evening around sunset. My birthday as a matter of fact.

"I give up," I said.

"I will tell you what God prays when he prays every night," Rabbi Meshuggeneh said.

He looked at me the way an executioner looks at his children when he kisses them goodnight after a hard day's work.

I let him talk.

"He prays, 'May my love of mercy outweigh my need for judgment.'" His stare was unbreakable. A living Sphinx.

"Do you hear it?" he testified, "'May my love of mercy outweigh my need for judgment.' Isn't that perfect? That's the Lord our God praying to himself," Rabbi Meshuggeneh smiled like Uncle Fester, "You should be thankful for God's own nightly prayer. In any given moment he is in the process of saving your life."

He was a loony fruitbat, but I was now listening because that last thing about judgment and mercy was assaultingly beautiful, like something I'd heard before, something Talmudic, the sort of sentence that makes you forget where you are because you are so caught up in the rightness of it, the sort of sentence you keep quoting to other people until they're fucking sick of it.

I felt a little spooked, though, at the same time, by Rabbi Meshuggeneh. I rose to signal my departure.

"Perhaps you will live to daven in the 3rd Temple," he said as I strolled away. "Vayikra twenty eighteen!" I thought I heard him shout afterward, though perhaps not to me.

May my love of mercy outweigh my need for judgment

Dang, dude, what a fucked up birthday. School all day.

The unfortunate finger-fucking incident with Naomi Richter at Gardner Park.

The freaky encounter with Rabbi Meshuggeneh.

May my love of mercy outweigh my need for judgment

I had tons of homework to do so I couldn't go out to dinner or anything.

It all ruined the birthday sensation, that magic atmosphere, that fragile sanctity, the unabashed aura, the subtle penumbra, undeniably different from all other days.

That night I was so sad lying in bed I almost couldn't masturbate.

I'd gotten my homework done, though, 'cause, you know, that's what people like me do.

No matter what shit goes down, no matter what emotional hassle or social malfunction tears a hole in the cosmos, no matter what obsessive crush intoxicates the conscience, we always somehow get our homework done.

Dang, dude.