What I Want

You know screaming goats? I want one of those. I went on the Internet and apparently they aren’t any specific type of goat, just some goats do it, some don’t. I want one that does.

The fainting, or Myotonic goat, is a specific type of goat. They don’t really faint, though. Owing to a hereditary genetic disorder, when startled they stiffen up and fall over. They remain conscious, but it’s still pretty funny. I want one of those, too. I bet you can see where I’m going with this.

I want a screaming goat so when it screams, the fainting goat gets startled and ‘faints’.

I also want a helper monkey, mostly so it can skitter up on my shoulder while I’m watching my goats and hand feed me popcorn. I’m perfectly capable of feeding myself popcorn, I in no way need a monkey to do it for me, it’s just what I want. I want it’s hairy little unhygienic monkey hand to place popcorn in my open mouth while I watch my screaming goat scream and my fainting goat get startled and fall over.

And I want a Narwhal. I mean, I don’t want to have one, how could I? No one has a tank that big, it would be an engineering nightmare, ‘Star Trek IV: The Journey Home’ notwithstanding. I just want to be friends with one. Who wouldn’t? Narwhals are the shit. Unicorn of the sea, right? No way should they exist, but they do. I want a specific, individual Narwhal that sometimes I swim with and it knows me, it acknowledges me, it values our friendship. I’d walk down the street and people would say ‘There goes that dude that’s friends with a Narwhal.’

You know that expression, ‘What if monkeys flew out of my butt?’ I want that. Literally. I want the power to make monkeys fly out of my butt at will. I don’t want to walk around pantsless all the time, though, which is a problem, so I guess I also want special monkey permeable pants.

In that expression, are the monkeys supposed to be Wizard of Oz type flying moneys, or is the flying part just them being propelled out of one’s butt, and they just fly until, like, gravity inevitably takes over? The flying monkeys in the movie are pretty big, plus the wingspan, so I don’t think I want that kind of monkey. The Internet tells me that at just under 100 grams, the pygmy marmoset is the world’s smallest species of monkey, so I guess that’s the best kind of monkey for me. ‘The dude that’s friends with a Narwhal? He can make, like, a flock of pygmy marmosets fly right out of his monkey permeable pants. I shit you not.’

In Pulitzer and Nobel prize winning author Saul Bellow’s 1959 novel “Henderson the Rain King”, Eugene Henderson is plagued by an inner voice that cries out ‘I want, I want’. Henderson’s life is dominated by the need to placate this voice, to discover what it is he wants, what he’s missing. So I guess this ‘blog entry’ is my Homage to a great novel. No, wait, not an homage, what’s that thing where you take a famous theme as a starting point, and, like, riff on it? A fantasia? I don’t know. I’ve seen Fantasia and it doesn’t seem anything like that. We both know the only reason I brought up Saul Bellow was so you’d think I was smarter than I actually am and worry that this piece was beyond you instead of just stupid.

I mean, do I really want any of this stuff? Two goats, that’s a lot of responsibility, they need space, you have to feed them, neighbors call the cops when the screaming goat screams too often which is pretty much just once, and the cops are sick of coming to my house already. I need smaller, quieter goats. Pygmy goats are small-er, but not as small as pygmy marmosets. So I guess what I want is a genius genetic scientist to breed me up some screaming goats and fainting goats that weighed in at just under 100 grams. And the screaming goats would have these wee little helium voices that when they screamed and made the tiny fainting goats fall over would be hilarious. Between them and the Narwhal, I don’t think I’d even need the pygmy marmosets flying out of the butt my monkey permeable pants. I mean, I’d want to maintain the ability. I just don’t think I’d lean on it as heavily if I had goats the size of gerbils some of which did these tiny screams and some of which fainted. So if anyone reading this right now is a genius genetic scientist, if you’d whip me up some miniscule specialized goats, I’d be forever in your debt. Literally, because I imagine that kind of endeavor would require an amount of money I’m unlikely to see in my lifetime.

Unless this piece was published in ‘The New Yorker’, becoming the springboard to international fame, which is what I want. Not just published, celebrated. I want Eustace friggin’ Tilly to laugh so hard his monocle pops out. Eustace Tilley? Saul Bellow? Come on, you have to take me seriously at this point. I mean, names like that get dropped, if your reading this going ‘I just don’t find it funny’ you have to at least consider the possibility you’re wrong, right?

I mean, I don’t know what I want. I think that’s pretty clear, except it seems to mostly involve animals, something I don’t want to examine too closely. Why do I want anything? My life is good. I have a loving wife, two beautiful children, I work at a comic book shop. Seriously. Paradise, right? Yes, one or two of my regular customers might benefit from a regular and rigorous course of electro shock, but I’m surrounded by comic books! Come on! So what is this thing I lack, this emptiness, this hole that could, maybe, in some way be filled by hanging out with my Narwhal pal Dave (yes, Dave, shut up, it’s his name), being hand fed popcorn by a helper monkey while we are entertained by scientifically miniaturized goats, all the while knowing that should the need arise I can call on a certain unique ability which my pants have been specifically designed to handle. Would it be enough? Or would I be hiding a certain unanswerable wistfulness from Dave, who I am worried is maybe just a little bit done with me already?

Maybe wanting things without really knowing what you want is all that keeps us going, maybe it’s essential to the human condition, maybe questions like that aren’t enough to convince you my work is New Yorker worthy and I need to drop another name tout suite so you’ll worry that you don’t ‘get’ this as opposed to simply disliking it. Or maybe the French was enough to string you along for another paragraph, which is just about all I’ve got in me in any case.

Maybe it’s all about continuing to look for what you want. You know, the journey, not the destination, all that happy crappy. Or maybe it’s about learning to let go of wanting. It’s one of those two diametrically opposed things, which means you have a fifty-fifty chance, solid true/false quiz odds. Better than multiple choice, right? Statistically? That has to be satisfying.

Except what I think I really want? Is not to have to take the test. And that was one more paragraph than you signed on for. Damn.

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