[MD] Rest In Peace Mr Pirsig

Dan Glover daneglover at gmail.com
Thu Apr 27 00:29:43 PDT 2017

I'm thinking how in 1974 I found this book with a funny title clinging
to one of those metal racks they used to store books on. You know. The
kind that you could spin around to see all of the titles available. Do
they still have them? Maybe they do. I hope so. I haven't been in a
bookstore for like the next thing to forever what with Amazon and all.
If I remember right I found the book in a grocery store by the
checkout aisle. A store that closed a long long time ago. That was
back before they had Walmarts and box stores on every corner and you'd
go down to the local neighborhood grocery and buy your milk and bread
and sometimes a book or two if you had enough money. I think it cost a
buck ninety five but can't remember for sure. Thereabouts, anyhow. It
was by an author I'd never heard of before and yeah I thought I could
well be wasting my money but the book called to me.

I spent the next week maybe two reading the book mostly while sitting
at a picnic table that sorely needed paint down at the park (under
majestic oak trees that would be uprooted the following year when an
F-5 tornado plowed through) over numerous bottles of cheap but
exceedingly potent wine and to say I was taken aback is a bit of a
misnomer. I'd up till that time read lots of books by many different
writers but absolutely none like that. The author seemed to be saying
something important but I couldn't quite say exactly what. Hell. I'd
never been to college. Never even finished high school. I had no way
of relating to what the author was going on about what with Aristotle
and Chautauquas and dripping faucets and yet I understood on some
visceral level that hey maybe there might just be more to life than
hanging out in bars and partying until the moon said goodnight and
consorting with others of low repute like me.

I'd like to say the book completely changed my life. How I mended my
wayward ways, quit drinking and partying, went back to school, and
made something of myself. Only I didn't. It didn't. The book. Someone
saw it sitting on my shelf one day and asked to borrow it and I said
here knowing I'd never get it back and how they wouldn't read it
because they thought it was about motorcycle maintenance and I knew it
wasn't. Instead, the years drifted by each one moving a little faster
than the last like maybe I was falling head first into an unseen black
hole  and me getting stretched out a little more with every passing
moment and then one day I noticed whenever I started into reading the
obituaries, a morbid habit I do not recommend, about my old friends
one by one and how they ended their lives in pretty much the same
ignominious fashion. The obits always read how they lived their life
on their own terms and how they died doing what they loved. I wondered
if they really loved drowning in their own vomit all that much. I sort
of doubted it but hey. Who knows.

Then I wake up one morning with some biker-looking chick I never saw
before lying in bed beside me and I'm fairly sure if I lift the covers
and look she'll be naked because yep I am and there're empty gin and
whiskey and beer bottles strewn about the house interspersed with
cheap but potent and exceedingly empty wine bottles and me hung over
like a mofo as usual, head pounding stomach queasy eyes like
sandpaper, and it is 1995 and I'm forty-something instead of
twenty-something and when I stumble to the bathroom to puke and happen
to glance into the mirror to make sure I don't have any on me my beard
is no longer a crisp black but rapidly turning white and the same with
my hair. Just like that. It was like I blinked. And the people I used
to know are gone and I'm still living the same lame life only all the
people hanging in the bars are like my kids' age and I just don't fit
in any longer. So then the internet is just beginning to happen. Since
there isn't much else to do I get a provider and play around with the
web some but nothing really appeals all that much. Until a couple
years later when someone I meet in a chatroom suggests how I might
like the Lila Squad.

What is the Lila Squad? I asked. Just check it out, he said. Well,
okay. So I did. And lo. They're discussing a book called Lila written
by the same author I read way back in 1974. I didn't realize he'd
written a second novel. So I bought it. Mass-market paperback. One of
my first purchases on Amazon but not the last. O.M.G. I was hooked all
over again. Only those folks in the Lila Squad, well, they were like,
smart. Not anything like me. All I knew how to do was talk smack. But
that didn't stop me. I finished reading Lila and jumped into the fray.
Some of the Lila Squad members were downright mean to me. You could
even say rude. Not that I could blame them what with them being all
college-educated and intelligent and doubtlessly used to going around
looking and smelling and speaking lots better than I did. Most of the
members ignored me. Again. Not that I could blame them. I mean,
really. But a few were actually nice to me. Like they might even think
I had something to say, though I pretty much figured they were simply
placating me. Still. It was something to hang my battered hat upon.

So if I remember right, things started getting better after that. Oh,
not all at once. There were still the blackouts and mornings when I'd
wake and whenever I looked my car wouldn't be in the driveway and I'd
have no idea how I got home and my wallet would be empty and these
strange babes would be lying in bed next to me but those mornings
seemed to draw out with more days between them than before. And then a
miracle happened. Honestly. It's the only way I can describe it.
Bodvar Skutvik wrote to say how Robert Pirsig had discovered the book
that Bo insisted I put together which I named Lila's Child and how he
was making notes on it. I was pretty sure Bo was having me on. Only he
swore how he wasn't. All of a sudden, a realization came over me. How
I might be able to put together a  real book. Me. A low-life no count
loser. So I asked Bo if he'd ask Robert Pirsig if he might want to
share those notes. You know. With me. And Bo said oh no. No way, dude.
Ain't gonna happen. Absolutely not. But next thing I know. Bo is
writing me saying how okay whenever you finish redoing the Lila's
Child manuscript (which I realized sadly needed doing) to send a copy
to Robert Pirsig and he'd take a look.

All of a sudden, I had a purpose. Thank you, Robert Pirsig.

On Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 8:19 AM, Horse <horse at darkstar.uk.net> wrote:
> Hi All
> Many of you will have heard by now that Robert Pirsig passed away on Monday
> 24th April 2017.
> My apologies for not posting sooner.
> If you wish to leave any thoughts about Mr Pirsig then please feel free to
> post here.
> My own thoughts are that I am proud to have helped, even in a small way, to
> get Pirsig's message out to the world.
> I know that he used to read our discussions on these lists and was pleased
> that there were so many people involved over the years.
> Robert Pirsig made a difference to our world and made it a better world with
> his work and his presence.
> I will miss him greatly.
> Horse
> --
> "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments
> that take our breath away."
> — Bob Moorehead
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