Fly Me to the Moon


Today hasn’t been a good day for me. Without going into a great amount of detail, there are stormclouds both literally and figuratively on my horizon. Rejection is a tough, bitter pill to swallow. No one likes it, with the exception of masochists, and I doubt even their sincerity.

But, getting around that, it leads into my topic for today: escapism.

Some people only daydream. For me, and maybe many others on the spectrum, this word is inadequate to describe what’s really taking place inside our minds. It is not just an escape for us. It is a lifeline, a source of great wisdom and inspiration. It helps us to cope with the bombardment on our senses.

You may see the blank expressions on our faces and assume nothing is going on in there. That’s like saying there’s nothing going on in the still waters right above the Great Barrier Reef. Meditation can also be a channeled version of “daydreaming.” If I didn’t meditate, I’d be bouncing off rubber walls. Then there’s the world of dreams. Dreams often feel more real than the “real” world to me (didn’t mean to go all Matrix-y there, sorry.)

Throughout my life, I’ve had many small obsessions but three large ones. Turns out they all have something specific in common. What is it, you ask?

Curse you, Red Baron!

 My first hero: Snoopy!

Mom says a lot that Snoopy was my original obsession. I watched all the Charlie Brown TV specials, had the vinyl records (remember those?), Snoopy PJs, you name it. It is said within our family that I refused to answer to anything but “Snoopy” for a short period of time.

This was all before I turned two.

Looking back now, I see so much truth in Charles Schulz’ wonderful works of art. The line art is deceptively simple, the characters archetypes for people we all know in our lives. Snoopy, as a dog, is caught between the definitions of human and animal. He writes novels, aspires to be an attorney, plays baseball for Charlie Brown’s team. He is anthropomorphic but does not speak in the manner of, say, Garfield. His thoughts are played out for the benefit of the audience alone in the form of speech bubbles that Charlie Brown, Linus, and their friends cannot hear or see.

And, having this particular frustration, Snoopy turns to the world of fantasy as an outlet. He has many personas, the best-known of which is the World War I Flying Ace, going to an aerial dogfight against the Red Baron. He thinks, and practically acts, the way a normal human might, but is unable to communicate his thoughts.

This is a perfect illustration for AS. The gears are turning inside our minds. We are not mentally deficient (in most cases, far from it.) I have heard it said that AS is a heightened sixth sense, a bridge between mankind and the world of animals. Charlie Brown, none the wiser, lets his faithful beagle live in a doghouse and eat dog food, completely unaware of the presence of a brilliant mind.

Lots of sighs here (Snoopy does that often, Peanuts being one of the more melancholy comic strips out there.) Which brings me to…

"And that's how I deal with pushy salesmen!"

 My second hero: Calvin/Spaceman Spiff

Bill Watterson is AS. I’m convinced of it. He’s a recluse, a guy who makes J.D. Salinger look like Regis Philbin by comparison. God love him. He’s also Charles Schulz’ spiritual heir.

Calvin is a unique sort of 6-year-old. He’s bored stiff in first grade and asks existential questions during addition practice. His parents think he’s deranged and a menace to society. He tosses around iambic pentameter and references to philosophers the way most kids toss around beanbags. His best friend is a tiger who may or may not even be “real.”

Is any of this sounding familiar? Surely it is, if you have an AS child or know someone who does. The kid can debate minutiae of quantum physics or time-space travel with you…but forgets to take his muddy shoes off in the house.

Calvin, like Snoopy, is also an escapist with multiple personae. The one used most is “Spaceman Spiff,” a sort of parody version of the campy space comics of the 30s and 40s. Calvin-sized, this little space traveler flies around the universe “in search of weirdness,” often encountering hideous aliens. The aliens are, when we see them, in fact Calvin’s parents, or his teacher, or the neighbor girl. Watterson’s unique take on the subject is to intercut Calvin’s vision of outer space vistas with those of reality. And who’s to say where the two do or don’t overlap?

"We have clearance, Clarence, but I think you're looking for another Captain Murdock..."

 

My third hero: Captain H.M. (Howling Mad) Murdock

I did get to him, didn’t I?

Consider it a natural progression. I go from dog to little boy to grown man with an overactive fantasy life and multiple personas.

Murdock is, as anyone who knows me will tell you, my current hero. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks of his off-the-wall antics. He just is. No apologies needed. I wish I could in fact be more like him.

He’s also proof that given the right situation, someone who’s “just a little different” can be an active, important part of a team. If you’re willing to look past the stuff on the surface. That stuff is pretty superficial anyway.

So yeah…over the course of 30+ years, my three major fixations have been creative spirits who don’t quite fit in, but who keep active fantasy lives on the side. I wouldn’t call them role models necessarily, but they give me hope that there is a place for everyone in this world. Even those who aren’t typical.

I’d like to thank those who helped me get through this day. They know who they are, and they are special indeed. Thank you so much.

Socki doesn't bite, but he does like to jibber-jabber

 

Questions? Comments? Think I’m totally nuts? Drop me a line at wikusandmurdock@yahoo.com.

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on August 18, 2010.

One Response to “Fly Me to the Moon”

  1. Hi Heather, fantastic idea writin’ blog – you are in my thoughts, here are some of them!
    Even through the darkest clouds the hidden sun is always present. The storm will pass and afterwards the air feels refreshed, the sun comes out and everything seems brighter. Flowers appear more vibrant, there is the sound of birdsong and chirping crickets and all is calm.
    “There is no ‘bad’ weather, only inappropriate clothing” Ranulph Fiennes – remember to wear Murdock’s yellow sou’wester and keep singing the song from Gilligan’s Island! I’ll sing with you and accompany on guitar! – Catch ya’ll on the flip side! E.

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