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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution

The Essay
Show #262
Ontological Wellness
David Gunn

Beano Bengaze sat patiently in a freon chair in the Saskatoon Ontological Wellness Clinic and stared at a metaphysical splotch on the wall that capriciously wavered between being and nothingness. He had decided to come here after several of his clients had complained about his inattentiveness during their own epistemological deductive sessions. In reality, such as it was, during those moments his mind had wandered, and he had followed it, to a completely different parcel of space-time, but that was no way to garner customer confidence. Thus, he simply agreed to let himself be harmlessly wellnessed. A nurse, flaunting the eleventh law of gravity, briefly hovered over him, brandishing a sixth and, she assured him, last duplicative examination form for him to fill out. While grateful that his health plan was inclusive enough to cover astrology readings under a mental health rider, the amount of ancillary paperwork involved made Beano wince like a post hoc positron in a feedback loop. The questions, he further groused to himself, were befuddling, illegible and obfuscatory. Take "Occupation," for example. When he wrote down "musical shaman," a fogdog keened from somewhere off in a semi-collateral universe and an administrative attendant promptly swooped down, ripped the hands out of his form, gave him a look that thoroughly shivered his timbres, then thrust at him a new one. He tried "detective-divinator," and that seemed to be acceptable. Under "Allergies," he penicillined in "certain broad-spectrum antibiotic drugs used in the treatment of various dysinfections." But the question that most got his hollow-horned, bearded ruminant raised for wool, milk and meat was "Which word in the sentence My dog has fleece is misspeled?" A draft of weaselwind tickled the hairs on his necknape and he knew the correct answer was the second word, "sheep." He also observed that the word "misspeled" was itself misspelled, and that set him off on an a priori ontological polemic with himself. He had nearly convinced himself that neither position was tenable when the door to the nearest examination room popped open and out strode Weasel Slayer, his ancestral warrior, fresh from an astrally projected consultation with Dr. Tarotta. The doctor, who followed, was a Martin Heidegger doppelgänger, all the way down to his Anbesol-shaped mukluks. Weasel Slayer, on the other hand, looked like an ambulatory arena in which the natures of existence and nonexistence were arm-wrestling to the depth and that he might evanesce right on the spot.

An orderly, practiced in the artifice of illusion, came for Beano then and ushered him into the clinic's operating theater. His skin temperature rose slightly as the chimerical audience greeted him warmly. His attention was thereupon directed towards a shadowy figure in the front row who tended to wander in and out of focus and whose mannerisms fluctuated between order and chaos. At one point of focal clarity he noticed the powdered wig made of chihuahua fur and the Universal Nihilist warm-up jacket, and regretfully recognized Trowler the Trencherman. If anyone had a shaman-client bone to pickax, it was Trowler. Beano'd had five visitations from the out-of-kilter Sphagnum Parson and at no time had they gotten past incomprehensibly existential pleasantries. The Trencherman stood up, inhaled a lungful of helium and commenced to howl. The orderly who, like Trowler, was anything but, held up an astrological chart -- hmm, the moon in the 30th house with Mars in Ascension Island and Virgo fading like a tatty plastic slipcover; why, that was Beano's chart! A bouquet of a tax refund imbued with rust presaged Weasel Slayer's sudden materialization, but bi-nosal warrior ancestors, even of Otto Lummer, are not especially keen on aleatoric ululations, and he promptly vanished to the safety of a more intelligible cosmos. Dr. Tarotta entered the theater and immediately launched into a frigate-sized discourse on the chart's rampant idiosyncrasies, particularly harping on the fact that he was discussing it.

Just as everything around him was straining the shaman's ability to make sense of the universe, any universe, a clear vision suddenly cocktailed to fruition six centimeters below Beano's adobe hat. Couched in Algonquin High Doggerel and festooned with Fibonacci sequins, the vision was simply this: am-scray.

Which he did -- much to the delight of the inhabitants of a small bubble of Algonquin Hole that simultaneously existed in an amorphous fissure in a non-structural rafter high above the operating theater stage, and in a small, waterproof box lashed to the topmost branch of a baobab tree on the outskirts of the village of Timboulaga in southern Niger. For 12,796 years the sole inhabitant of that container had been a very large, gently snoring nose. But now it had been joined by an easel of ears (over 250!) who were looking for trouble ... or at least listening for it.

And what they heard is simply too contradictory to continue the story with on this 262nd episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, but we pledge to sic our Research Junta on it, like ravenous bloodhounds onto kibble-flavored Jello mold, and hope to have the plot, any plot, sorted out before our first caller, any caller, can say the word "Kalvos."