Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Eavesdropping on Your Inner Felix Unger

The surest sign some squatters have invaded the protective perimeters of your personality, thereupon claiming a spot for bedrolls and assorted sundries, is when you discover in one of your notebooks or piles of random note taking a few vagrant paragraphs you don't recall having written much less having thought.

Such notes reveal a general awareness of you as a being who, for instance, prefers red to white in everything from wines to jam and vegetables. In other words, these notes were not written by complete strangers. Instead, they most likely represented some aspect of yourself other than the one most often in charge, indeed the aspect of yourself writing these words now.

The surest sign of your own Self being host to a number of selves of varying preferences, biases, and inclinations comes while you are in the act of composition and one of the cadre speaks forth in a loud enough stage whisper for you to hear. "Surely," it says, "you don't really believe [what you have just written]."

"As a matter of fact," you tell the air about you, "those sentiments are accurate reflections of my inner feelings."

"Too bad," the disembodied voice says. "I was just beginning to grow interested in what you were doing here."

The conversations are not always so civil, giving way to the occasional shouting match. If these take place when you are out and about in public, you risk being grabbed into a vision of yourself best illustrated by the 1930s movie Topper, featuring an actor you much admire, Roland Young, engaging with George and Miriam Kirby, who, by nature of their being ghostly apparitions of their mortal selves, are invisible to anyone but Roland Young in his portrait of Cosmo Topper.

To add spice to this vision of yourself at the wrong end of a conventional prospect, you are also pestered by the notion of at least one of your surrogate selves, your cadre persona, being no less than he who leaves notes on the fridge door to his roommate, signed with his initials, FU.

You refer, of course, to Felix Unger, one half of the archetypal Odd Couple, which Neil Simon either stole from C.J. Jung or C.J. Jung, in an incredible act of prescience, stole from Neil Simon.

Of course there is Unger's polar opposite and, thus, the true spine of these speculative paragraphs, one Oscar Madison, whom you present here avec cigar because of the relative impossibility of catching your father anywhere sans cigar.

These paragraphs are a lift of the champagne flute to the tangible presence of Felix and Oscar within the condominium of your own psyche, along with the broader implication that each of us of the species Homo Sapiens sapiens, has a similar duality, at the very least.

The hidden agenda of the outer, dramatic Reality Felix and Oscar is the way each has come to feel the kind of regard for one another we think of as love. Neither would admit to this, which enhances their continuous potential for story. 

Thinking about this inevitability makes it all the easier for you to see the presence of a Felix and Oscar within you, the surface rancor of their behavior, one to the other, and the deeper awareness of your own Felix-for-Oscar love and the Oscar-for-Felix counter volley.

Not sufficient for you to recognize the presence of others, squatting right now within your psyche; you must also learn to look for the additional pairs of opposites within you. In the process of doing so, you are yanked back, by the collar as it were, into your favorite radio programs, for you are a child of the radio program, left to wander through television and motion pictures.

Beyond any doubt, your favorite weekly influx of the dynamic opposites was Nathan Birnbaum, also known as George Burns, and his wife, Gracie Allen. This was followed by Fred Allen, the wry, sometimes acerbic commentator, and his wife, Portland Hoffa, and rounded out with yet another pair of opposites, Jim and Marian Jordan, who set forth from the prescient counterpart of Lake Woebegone, Wistful Vista. These two worthies presented themselves as Fibber McGee and Molly, he always prone to exaggeration, she with her return-to-Reality observation, "Taint funny, McGee."

You come hardwired with a few significant pairs of opposing inner voices. Others still, you download. But they are all dwelling within, and sometimes at night, as you await that lurch signifying the shift into the sleep mode, you hear them, talking, perhaps to you.

Only this morning, when you strolled to the kitchen to prepare coffee, you saw a note under one of the refrigerator magnets, and you for a moment could have sworn it was a reminder you were running low on milk, with Felix Unger's initials, FU.

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