Me & My Conscience

Will the noises never stop?

When Hunter S. Thompson ended his life prematurely, he had written on his typewriter the rather cryptic suicide note: “Counselor[1]?” Perhaps it wasn’t a suicide note, but it is the last thing he typed, and it could indicate what he was thinking just before he decided it was time to close the curtain. Counselor, what would your advice be now – we are in a bit of a pickle, are we not, right now, with the way things are and my prospects for salvation/recovery/rehabilitation, seem less than good – do you agree? That sort of thing. But “Counselor?” does the same job better because it is pithy. I like it. I like almost everything HST wrote.

But this isn’t about that. It’s about the voices that are not in my head. Or perhaps the voices that sometimes are. It’s true that I, and I’m sure I’m not alone here, occasionally detect auditory stimuli which have not been actually received by my auditory apparatus, but instead have been ‘heard’ by my brain for some reason or in some fashion. The real, and constant, voice that I hear is my conscience – and that goody-two-shoes motherfucker just about never shuts up.

It might sound irritating to carry around a companion whose sole function is to warn before and criticise after, but I’ve got to know my conscience rather well over the years. Let’s not say we’re pals; in fact, let’s not say we’re matey at all; and this is unusual for me, as I name pretty much everything and I am guilty of the sin of anthropomorphising to a possibly unhealthy extent – I don’t give plants a name, but I have been known to talk to them (on rare occasions), just to communicate the right vibes, man; if you talk in the right tone of voice and volume then hopefully the correct amplitude is received by fronds and leaves and petals (“I just want you to be happy here. If you aren’t, give me a sign”) and the bond is created … but perhaps I’ve said too much, and this may have only happened about three times anyway. But if I had a car – I am semi-skilled in the art of driving – another way of putting that is learning, very slowly; but if I had a car, which was my car, it would have a name, no question. I can almost see and hear something like the John Pertwee Dr. Who’s Bessie as a name I might give an automobile. Not sure why. Just seems cute. I can’t abide owning animals and not naming them, and I refer to pets here – if you had to name hundreds of thousands of sheep in a flock, that would be silly – but in pets those individuals who think “dog” is a good enough name for a dog are not trying hard enough, and frankly demonstrating that they don’t care enough about the animal to truly care for it if circumstances take a downwards turn. (On one occasion I was asked to look after a team-mate’s little son when dad took the field during a soccer match, and I attempted a few diverting things, in the attempt to entertain, with mixed success, making sure the little bloke – 3 going on 4 years-old, from memory – didn’t want a drink or a biscuit – many things were in his little backpack – and then selecting toys from the bag and asking about them. Now this little chap was an intelligent little chap, and after I had asked about maybe the second animal figure, and been told, in no uncertain terms, that they did not have names – that, in fact, names for things is a silly concept, and by the way, how immature was I … not that little Tommy was impolite: he was too well brought up for that, I pulled out a grey, horsey looking thing, and said, automatically: “And what’s his name?” “That’s a donkey,” was the stern reply. I was in my place.)

That was a long aside. Apologies. I like to have a voice in my head. Although I’ve had a religious upbringing it doesn’t seem that it’s God talking to me or that it’s God making the good part of me talk to me. It feels instead like when a person genuinely doesn’t want to do wrong, some part of that person will constantly remind the rest of them what might happen and what shouldn’t be attempted in a range of circumstances.

And my unnamed buddy doesn’t freak me out.


[1] Seems to be an American spelling of Counsellor. Maybe.

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Published in: on November 23, 2010 at 7:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

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