Intros in order
The Right Rev. Gus Wagster has asked me to fill in for him while he’s away. Wagster is, for the nonce, willingly confined to a secret mountaintop retreat in the Adirondacks, in upstate New York. It is there that he hopes to glimpse the elusive oneness of the universe via breath-control-based kazoo lessons and alcohol-induced vision-sowing epiphanies of hopefully the non-hangover-resulting variety. Will he succeed? Only time, circumstance, and the grade of liquor will determine.
Meantime, introductions are in order.
Some of you may be wondering about the first-glance absurdity of my name. I assure you, it is all perfectly understandable. You see, my mother Ilsa was Scandinavian. She ran away to America in the ‘60s so she could follow The Beatles, who had just visited her native Sweden and were now on a tour of the States. Unfortunately, poor little Ilsa got mysteriously knocked up in Hoboken and fortunately wound up married to a kind-hearted New York disc jockey named Isaac Rubinowitz. Six months later, the resulting offspring turned out to be li’l ol’ me.
Isaac was a lapsed Jew. Consequently, I grew up in a home where religious concepts were tossed back and forth across the room constantly, like summertime backyard barbecue Frisbees. Things seldom got too heated during these conversations, as all my father’s friends were lapsed something-or-others as well: Christians, Hindus, Shintoists, Buddhists, Muslims, and so on. One of our more amiable guests was named Ali. He said he had served as an Iman in an Islamic temple once. “Iman” is simply the Arabic word for “in front.” That’s where the Iman stands.
I decided that’s where I wanted to be, too. I didn’t want to be Islamic anymore than I wanted to be anything else religious. But I was pretty sure, in a very literal sense, I wanted to be an Iman. I wanted to be in front.
It seemed to me, even then, that the way to be “in front” was to trust your instincts. That isn’t such an easy thing to do in this day and age. To clarify, I’m not talking about business instincts, or survival instincts, or investment instincts, or even artistic instincts. I refer particularly to the slightly more ethereal and somewhat esoteric instincts of the spirit. For while eschewing the religions of the world, I do not deny that there are profound spiritual truths existing just a wee bit beyond our grasps. But the attainment of these truths must be arrived at individually.
Next time, I’ll tell you about the brunch I went to with Mohammed, Jesus, Buddha and Moses. You won’t believe who welched on the waitress’ tip!
1) Peter Jackson’s OK “attempt” at a cinematic Lord of the Rings.
2) The final “Boat Drags” extravaganza last weekend.
3) Blue Room re-modeling proceeding.