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A dear friend of mine describes me to others: “Oh, James is all about shock and awe, but he’s harmless.”

Is that what I want as my epitaph? I think not. But, she’s right. I am, to some great extent, about shock and awe. What kind of reaction can I get? How can I make the labyrinth so twisted that people with have almost no choice but to follow it to it’s ridiculous end? To me, part of the shock and awe is the mental process that people have to endure to get to the pointless point. It’s rather like a roller coaster that accelerates, decelerates, climbs, plummets AND goes through dark tunnels before the carnie pulls the lever that puts you right back where you started. There’s really nothing tangible, but he probably gets a huge bang out of making people gag and puke just by initially throwing that switch that sends you into the labyrinth. Shock and awe.

My little bits of shock and awe performance art are seemingly dependent upon my level of ennui at the moment; my need to fire a certain neuron grouping that’s lying dormant. I need to have someone see, take and swallow the bait only to find an empty hook. It’s like writing a pop song. There’s a hook, but there’s no meaning.

Why does this fascinate me so? It’s a good question that’s been under consideration lately. Am I that bored? Or am I just a pest? A gnat that needs to be swatted to put my own butt on a more tangible track.

I put it under the boredom column, indeed. But there really is more to it than that. It’s also about how far I can push someone. How deep of an imaginary hole can I dig them into. The deeper into the labyrinth, the more intricate the deception, the greater the result. So, it’s also a mental game. Wit matching. Daring. Challenging. Shock and awe. And bullshit.

Thankfully, unlike some other shock and awe types who do this for a living and legally cross so many borders that even the feebs throw their hands up in the air, I never cross the line into illegality or actual harm. I keep it on the joke level, face to face, in person and usually culminating with all of us laughing. And in that moment the deception is on me, because I’ve now created a relationship that cannot be trusted. My next encounter with the same person is going be like a resonant pealing in their mind: Is he being up front, or is he pulling my leg again?

And that’s the indication that shock and awe, while fun in the moment, is actually self-destructive behavior. If I’m actively and consciously creating a situation that will put me in the shitheap of someone’s trust bucket, then the shock is all on me. Ultimately it’s like winning the battle and losing the war.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m best off not even starting the war, because the world has enough losing battles to face without me stirring the emotional pot. Shine on, folks … and don’t pay too much attention to anything that even has a twinkle of pure foolishness.


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