Take Only What You Need

Johnny, Poor Impulse Control’s Southwest Bureau Chief, sends back this detailed communiqué from Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico. Yes, there is such a place. Do I know there was a television show by the same name? I do, but it’s just a coincidence, like Intercourse, Pennsylvania and that North Brunswick is south of South Brunswick, New Jersey. No one is that casual about place names. That’s why you go to arenas that share the same names as ginormous corporations: because names come from God. I read that somewhere. So here we are in Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico. It’s a coincidence. Shut up.

Plainly, it’s not all glamor. I was thinking the other day about the gaps between what we see and what it might be possible to see. At the height of my artistic rampagery, a photographer and I combed the rusting ramparts of shipyards and power plants for industrial stalagmites and stalactites of great scale we could use in what graduate students refer to as body art. Finding the rusted cityscapes became a hunger for us. In retrospect, it’s kind of a miracle we never got arrested, which would have been an excellent career move.

You see the sign. You may see what it was supposed to be. Perhaps you make signs or grew up in a forge. If you did, I’m glad you got out, those are hot. You have insight into what was, perhaps not just at the beginning but also over time. You see the pride someone felt the first time he flipped the switch on a new sign. You see the fatigue of late nights, beer sweat and unpaid bills. You see someone turning off the sign for the last time and locking a greasy door. You feel the wind blow. All that’s left is a picture of love, of this place. Once upon a time, happily ever after.

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