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Time for a champion | by Memos From The Universe
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Time for a champion

Follow the bouncing ball on this one - it gets weird, and in the end, it

is probably not clear. However, it's too Memo-ish to dismiss. It is

the most epically Memo-packed incident since I began to record such



My friend K - who was best friends with "that boy", back in the day - had this little joke

with me on Facebook about pokes. He would refrain from poking back,

which meant I could not poke him again until he had done so. In this

manner, he was sort of keeping the poke hostage, and joked about

"releasing" it from captivity whenever he did decide to poke back.


I think this was in retaliation for my practice of not poking back until

I had amassed 50 or more pokes. I would then go on an overnight

poke-a-thon, sort of a sneak attack. All very silly, I admit, but good,

clean fun.


Last Christmas, I took a cue from K and granted a general poke amnesty

in honor of the holiday. Several weeks ago, I decided that the next

amnesty would be in honor of Independence Day. I wrote a haiku that I

would publish as I liberated the pokes.


Freed, the blinking pokes

stumble into exodus

Independence Day :)


Note the use of the word "exodus".


Perhaps a week ago, my young friend Annie posted a new Matisyahu video

for his song "Sunshine". Yeah, my keyword. I decided to ignore it.


Today is the day - I posted my haiku, and freed the pokes. And another

friend posted about Matisyahu, which reminded me to take another look at

the video for "Sunshine".


The song kicks ass. The singer, who had adopted the life and customs of

hasidism some 10 years ago, has recently shed is yarmulke and facial

hair. As a result, he suddenly and rather painfully resembles the

1979-ish version of "that boy", so much so that it has become almost

painful to look at him.


And yet, I look.


I think the video prompted me to dream about "that boy" a few days

later, but I do not recall the details of the dream. I did not write it

down, or tell it to myself like a story several times, as I normally

do. I did not want to remember it. Well, not so much "remember" as

"dwell". And anyway, we've long-since established that none of this is

about him, at all, at all. It's all about me, me, me. He's just the

thing that gets my attention. Dammit.


The video is brilliantly beautiful. It opens on a shot of a black

scorpion moving about on a rock. Yeah, if memory serves (and I bet it

does), "that boy" was born under the sign of Scorpio. After that, there

is a biblical quotation - "I am sending an angel ahead of you to bring

you to the place I have prepared". That's Exodus 23:20, by the way.

Yeah, I said "exodus".


Truthfully, I have issues with this part of Exodus. It's all about the

promises God allegedly made to the Hebrews as they took delivery of the

commandments and prepared to wander in search of the promised land. God

allegedly said (paraphrase), "if you obey my angel unquestioningly, I

will have your back. I will smite your enemies, groups of people with

names like Caananite and Hitite and other ite-ending names, people whose

land you want. I'll help you take what's theirs."


Really, God? Really. Really?


I honestly do not blame God. I think this is just more evidence that

the Bible was written by people. Male people, with an agenda. In fact,

it's sort of the same attitude that Big Business and Too Big To Fail

have toward the common people these days. They are the shit, and God is

on their side. They will take whatever they want, to do with what they

will. If you don't play by their rules, you might as well have "-ite"

on the end of your name.


There is some other imagery involved in the video which a Jew might not

immediately recognize, but is quite obvious to one raised in a Catholic

home. The "angel" appears in the form of a young girl, perhaps 10-12

years old, and he leads her around in several shots on the back of a

donkey. This reminds me of a porcelain statue that is probably still

sitting in my mother's china cabinet - a study in white, blue, and gold,

it portrays Joseph leading Mary and their swaddled Son, who are seated

on the back of a donkey. I'm betting mine is not the only Catholic

mother whose china cabinet bears such a figure. It's pretty iconic to

us. I am not saying Matisyahu is converting to Catholicism. But it

definitely appears as though he is exploring, expanding his worldview.

"I am reclaiming myself," he said on his blog. "Trusting my goodness and

my divine mission."


In the song, he sings, "It's time for a champion..." and I recall that

this is what Jesus was supposed to be for the world. In fact, we've had

a few champions. The others were called Abraham, Martin, and John.

Maybe, throw Arthur in there as well. We always end up killing our

champions. But what I think he's really saying is that HE is his own

champion. He sings of letting himself down, before inviting himself to

grow up.


The song lyrics make reference to Peter Pan. Of Peter Pan, I have always

said "he's every man I ever dated and/or married". I also answer to

"Tink" in certain circles. The irony of the reference comes in it's

duality - "Time to grow and be a man, want to fly high like Peter Pan,

no more never never land". Well, make up your mind - you can't be a

grown up AND Peter Pan at the same time.


Or can you? The thing is, while living under strict religious

governance, it's sort of like you abdicate responsibility for making

decisions about your behavior. It's all been decided for you. This is

the way, follow it. Take away the rules, and you've got to fly solo.

It's all up to you. Choose your course. Be a champion.


There's an evolution that occurs, a progression from donkey to bicycle

to motorcycle. We shed the old, and in doing so, we free ourselves to

advance to the next level. You know what happens when you peel away the

rules, remove how it's always been, and let the people wander in the

desert? A new definition of "normal" emerges.


Like a poke, I've been liberated, led from the dungeons to blink in the

unobstructed light of the sun. I've been wandering in the desert for

nearly two years. None of the constraints I'd been living under prior

to my years in the desert appear to apply any longer. On some level, I

knew that, and started to shift my direction, about a year ago. I don't

see anything happening though, other than what I myself have shaped into



It's time for a champion. That champion has always been me. Rescue

seems to be meant only for others. This is not the first time I've had

to bear the disappointment that there will be no rescue, nor is it the

first time that I will have to push aside Fear, brother to Ambiguity,

and keep a clear head.


Though rescue be absent, guidance is generally available to those with

ears that hear and eyes that see. It's a constant struggle to fend off

the propensity to be deaf and blind. I just need to be on the lookout

for that angel. Who, for me, may or may not bear a striking resemblance

to Matisyahu on a motorcycle. "God On A Harley", anyone? ;)

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Taken on July 4, 2012