The camouflaged shorts are not worn for the camo effect. Wearing them does not result in a militant stance. Adorn me in camo and I’ll think nothing of it. I can still pull lettuce from my head.
Drive a silver car and it blends in with other cars. It draws less attention than the coats that stand out. As long as the coat is not common, it stands out. Such people need an audience even if onlookers assume some form of desperation at play.
Everyday camouflage is not as much about hiding as it is about being forgotten.
Everybody knows we dress whoever we see as they dress us in turn. We cannot help it. It’s automatic to think certain things about what people wear. No matter what clothes a person chooses, others automatically dress that person in a way that cannot be reflected in any mirror. And if they determine a person is wearing everyday camouflage, then one will be forgotten to some extent or completely. This means that certain freedoms are afforded that do not exist for those dressed to stick out.
Once they dress one in something loud, desperation is assumed. It is expected to act accordingly and pretend to be a winner, though in this situation the only role left is that of a desperate winner who is always a wannabe existing in a private hell of endless costume changes. Such people tend to be desperate enthusiasts. The literal message is positivity but the tone betrays the message like a stampede for God.
Being in a crowd provides another sense of camouflage. Blending into a sea of bodies is both frightening and freeing. The body becomes everybody’s body. Getting lost in the aggregate body simulates being dead before you know it, while also multiplying the nodes by which others feel as one. But the aggregate also has a giant greedy vacuum that sucks up the stand outs. Like when the aggregate is summed up by a meatball parading around as a comedian who tells rancid jokes and calls you out for not laughing and says you’ve got the eyes of a liar. His aggregate of idiot eyes and ears laughs as one organism. And even though his comment is bullshit, the crowd turns on you as if it blew your cover. A real knee slapper.
Generally, we try to forget the times we are singled out.
“Play the god damn game. If it means nothing to you then you are nothing,” yells the coach.
“I bought the pads and all that gear and you’re gonna play the whole fucking season whether you like it or not,” yells dad.
During scrimmage, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of staying in bounds. It’s like some malicious football demon keeps moving the lines around. The strange power of the whistle freezes up my legs. A stiffening that makes it easier to get blown over. Stare dead in the face of a frenzied mess of raging testosterone. And there is pain. Plenty of pain. Thirst and hunger. Nausea. The unspoken rule of all rules: if the ref doesn’t see it, it’s permitted. You can yell and scream about fairness all you want but it does no good.
The heavy push pull of the aggregate body on the field can fling the flesh aside like roadkill. It’s no wonder why the one with the ball runs for the hills with a meat grinder at its heels, mashing and shredding all that angry retaliatory meat not sucked up yet by the dogpile’s vacuum.
Another body in my same position threatens to vaporize me like a wicked doppelgänger. A stranger whose eyes burn a hole right through me. Someone I don’t know from Adam who hates my guts. And there’s no time to remind him that he doesn’t know me. Wants my position as if his life depends on it whereas I’m looking forward to getting yanked off the field by the coach. He takes my position. I take his. Over and over. We clobber each other under the supervision of responsible adults. Guiding us into some weird rite toward a sensation of loony oblivion.
Moving into nowhere-land without a clue of what to do, I feel the territory shift underfoot, as if fields of gravity are swinging wildly out of control. Some eerie sensation of crossing a dangerous threshold overcomes me and I feel the dread of punishment to come. The disgruntled coach froths at the mouth from the sidelines. Fearing his wrath, I lunge into the fray. Throwing my body like an awkward floppy torpedo. Mid-air a hammer comes from nowhere and drops me like a dead bird. Face smear in the turf. Grass teeth. Heavy knees crack my back. Cleats spike my right hand.
By the time, I peel myself off the ground decades later, the team is gone. The coach is missing. A fog has rolled in. And I’m standing on a plane, no longer a specific field of torture. My memory of split-decisions and reactions that seemed important a moment ago has gone blank. I see some forms in the distance and walk closer to find endless racks of clothes hanging there. I notice the clothes of my mother. My dad’s uniform. Grandpa’s overalls. Aunt’s slim fitting polyester. The panty hose of my first grade teacher. A pea coat I never wore. The girlfriend’s tight jeans I could never get a hand into. Hemp pants my step-brother wore while Hacky Sacking. All the disposable fleece wear. The smelly vintage shirts. Countless racks of bad casual wear belonging to coworkers.
All the fabric without bodies disappears. Left alone on the plane again. Light falls from above and splatters at my feet. The ground feels more like a cushion now than the hard slick surface it was before. I must’ve stepped onto another plane without knowing it. The light changes. A watery orb appears. A luminous eye. It travels to a beach far away from here. A wide beach. The shoreline as long as the horizon. Waves breaking in closeouts holding back the oceanic chasm.
A white horse gallops along that wide long shoreline. Its hooves press into the forgiving cushion of white sand. The nostrils flare and exhale sea mist. The white tufts of hair flow from the mane as breakers at sea. The tails whip and snap back and forth. The powerful hind muscles twitch and ripple as they thrust and gush like the ocean itself. The immense chasm held by this white beach wraps its reflection around the crystallized eye. This orb is held still by the great thrusting movement. The horse flesh a mere vehicle for this orb that encompasses everything slipping around it.
This romantic menace maps its order. Patterns all into place with an automatic camouflage. Adorns so quickly that the adorning slips under the radar. An instant totality of how everything must look. Gouging eyes will not remove it. It’s function is a vacuum beyond reach. Losing its host in a dogpile of sensations hovering on a surface without boundaries. Neither inside nor outside.
Hometown terrain appears on the twenty yard line. Adorning a destination can turn a person into a skeleton on a hanger. Wear the place, erode the flesh. Become another corpse in destination town. When a hometown is a destination, the home is lost. The destination tells locals to look at it like a tourist or find some other place to call home. Once adorned with paradise, whatever you think you are wearing doesn’t matter. It’s always some tropical shirt of bullshit. You are nothing more than a tube of spam they decorate to fit their dream destination. The insistence on paradise allows for grosser negligence. The locals can only gasp for air and say that it is what it is and other circular laments.
Boosters love destinations as much as city councils love developers. Precisely because the locals are sidelined. Every home offers a business opportunity. Any resistant folk are reduced to bum status. What’s wrong with that grumpy asshole? We’re flipping houses here. This has unlimited potential if only the locals would fuck off. There’s nothing like getting a weekly brochure on your doorstep telling you to take a hike. Don’t be so bitter. Everybody migrates. It’s natural. So pack up your shit and go.
Even the dead suffer adornment. Take the skeletal remains of martyrs from Roman times imported to Germany. No authentication didn’t stop the devout from pivoting to use them as symbols of martyrdom. The essence could not be found so the essence was imposed. And they bound the bones in silk gauze and encrusted the skeletons in jewels and replaced missing parts with plaster, wood, and papier-mâché. In desperation, they dressed the void and called it essence by way of symbolism. Ignore the accidentally enlarged toes and fingers reconstructed. The metaphor chopped and hidden so that the literal remains of a forced salad could be worshipped as the thing itself.
The flesh is a meaningless adornment. Only a weirdo has never felt the need to crawl out of one’s own skin. The size of my nose or the shape of my ear lobes or the patterns of my wrinkles amount to no essence. The flesh is no more than a hollow costume suffering from the camouflage of evaluations. It only makes the suffering worse to stuff the hollow with an essence that never was.
The old adorn the young and when the young get old enough they return the favor and adorn the old with the same cruel costumes. The old and the young know not what they do. One forgets that it was young once, and the other cannot remember what hasn’t happened to them yet. They keep dressing each other to contrast with the assumption that their generation wears the better clothes. The structural haunt of fads bludgeons them into believing what they see by hammering repetition. The passé fashions become death sentences. Might as well wear the iron maiden. Learn to love pressing the spikes in. Soon enough you’ll be certain that anyone else who isn’t wearing one must be insane. My father wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing the clothes that I’ll be buried in.
Like it or not, you will be adorned by others automatically or intentionally even if you dismiss or reject whatever automatic adornments dress others in your mind. Is that not the story of Jesus? Look at how he got adorned with the crucifix. Look at how worshippers wear the instrument of torture as an object of beauty instead of the flower. How the organized cults of suffering prize sacrifice as a mechanism of serving wealth and power over others. Did not the epiphany-organ called Jesus Christ bloom with the white flowers of fractal miracles? Clothed in magnificence without any labor?
Hierarchies upon hierarchies. Endless iterations of culture dress the void in desperation. From British wig wearers to the mishmash of freemasonry, they adorn themselves to impose the look of an essence since nobody can actually catch that elusive beast called purity. No amount of papers, bricks, or guns can make it so. Uniforms of order quickly slip into uniforms of death. Boots and belts. Costumes decorated with medals and pins. Dressing the void. Just another militant fashion show destined to become last year’s fad.
Perhaps, it’s better that I forget myself so that I stop adorning others. Tell me who I am. Use me for your decoration. Whatever you choose, adorn me for your sake. For your peace of mind. Keep dressing the void. Tell me who I am. Fit me into your plan.
What a luxury it would be if you hadn’t forgotten that you adorned me. But have I not forgotten as well? Why are we adorning each other with clothes that keep coming off? Nothing sticks. Perhaps, it’s because I’m adorning you adorning me adorning you. It’s all in your head. And in mine. But the wardrobes don’t match. The clothes I think you put on me are not the same as the clothes you think you put on me. That is, if we remember we dressed each other at all. Much easier to ignore all this nonsense and assume you dressed yourself and I myself so that I see your costume exactly as you do and vice versa. Even if it isn’t necessarily true, it’s easier. But then how could we agree to dress each other in the kindest and most forgiving of clothes? In “benefit of the doubt” gossamers for you and me?
Could we agree to wear the lightest shrouds and still find a way to dine? When the feast comes, everyone gorges. Mounds to ingest. We go beyond the point of satiation. Until our bodies break away from desire. Gorging until the appetite is forgotten. None will be saved for later. Tomorrow will forget today anyways. When the abundance arrives, the starvation cannot be restrained. The hunger overcomes memory. Reacts from endless interlocking competitions of suffering. But could this be the last feast? Could the skin’s pores not produce full leafy lettuce again? Could we pull it out like a rope that never ends? Side by side, could we sprout so profusely that the hunger no longer matters so we can let the automatic adornment slack once and for all?