El Coyote Gordo (supergee) wrote,
El Coyote Gordo

October list, day 9

1. Julius H. Hlavaty
2. Fancille Hayman Hlavaty
3. Adrienne Fein
4. Rose and Theodore Du Bois
5. Robert J. Shea
6. John P. McClimans
7. Seth Goldberg
8. Marjii Ellers
9. Camden Benares

I think he's dead, but you can't tell with these Discordians.

As I've mentioned before, reading Illuminatus! and starting the Illuminatus! Nut Cult got me involved with the authors of the book and with many of those who remained in the Discordian movement. For instance, I corresponded with the late Kerry Thornley, who really was like that, nebech, at least from time to time.

Somewhere around 1980 I got in touch with Camden Benares, whose Zen without Zen Masters, a book of Discordian tales, had delighted me. There followed a long and enjoyable correspondence. He lived in LA, and I never met him. Once I was out there and we almost got together, but my own lack of order prevented it.

I never knew much about him. The unreliable narrator Thornley said he was born John Overton. Contemporary Writers knows him not. He wrote a second book, A Handful of Zen, almost as good.

In the mid-90s his beloved wife June sickened. At one point Camden asked me to send him any amusing stuff I had written, as he needed cheering. He survived her death and remained reasonably happy, but several years later, he wrote me to say that he had utterly lost his faith in medical science because it had told him he had six months to live, and that had been over a year ago. He indicated that he looked forward eagerly to the Next Big Adventure, and that when he did die, I would be on the list of those notified by his family.

I never was, but a while after that, a zine I sent him came back as unforwardable, so I guess medical science could finally say, "I told you so." (Or it's all a Huge Discordian Plot. How do we know that Thornley really...?)

Here is his most famous parable:

A serious young man found the conflicts of mid 20th Century America confusing. He went to many people seeking a way of resolving within himself the discords that troubled him, but he remained troubled.

One night in a coffee house, a self-ordained Zen Master said to him, "Go to the dilapidated mansion you will find at this address which I have written down for you. Do not speak to those who live there; you must remain silent until the moon rises tomorrow night. Go to the large room on the right of the main hallway, sit in the lotus position on top of the rubble in the northeast corner, face the corner, and meditate."

He did just as the Zen Master instructed. His meditation was frequently interrupted by worries. He worried whether or not the rest of the plumbing fixtures would fall from the second floor bathroom to join the pipes and other trash he was sitting on. He worried how would he know when the moon rose on the next night. He worried about what the people who walked through the room said about him.

His worrying and meditation were disturbed when, as if in a test of his faith, ordure fell from the second floor onto him. At that time two people walked into the room. The first asked the second who the man was sitting there was. The second replied "Some say he is a holy man. Others say he is a shithead."

Hearing this, the man was enlightened.

Tags: memorial

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