When I was in the Navy I lived, in squalid splendor, with a young woman and her three year old son, TJ. TJ was as adorable as he was insane and underdeveloped, though he did pretty well considering the miserable existence he had to endure. We lived in a run down trailer, parked in the asshole of Florida, that served as a sort of opium den for white trash and sailors like myself. He would be conveniently parked in a spare room by his mother most nights while the rest of the little shack served as a laboratory in which the limits of decadence were earnestly explored. Often enough he would become excited by the noise and wander out into the vortex, becoming an interesting attraction and plaything, an interactive new twist to whatever dimension of reality the party had tumbled into.
     One summer I took a few weeks of leave and the three of us made a journey to Santa Rosa, Ca, to visit my parents. That TJ was not a normal child was immediately obvious to my parents, who lived in a quiet and sober reality, but his strangeness was endearing for the most part. One evening we were having dinner at Mary's Pizza and my mother noticed that TJ had taken an intense interest in a cute little girl, roughly his age, a few tables away from us. "Who is that TJ?" my mother asked, "Do you want to meet that little girl?" TJ gazed into my mothers eyes and said in his breathy, faltering dialect, "I want to get her, and cut her up, so she will be mine!" I was the only one who laughed.

Although this may, to some, show the beginnings of a disturbed psyche, it has been approved in literature to be merely a "pure" and heartfelt childish sentiment. I am referring, of course, to Romeo and Juliet! Juliet, who is said by many a critic to be the paragon of simplistic chastity (even though she lusts madly after Romeo (for, what is, after all, "love at first sight?")), cries longingly while waiting for Romeo, "give me my Romeo; and...take him and cut him out in little stars,/ And he will make the face of heaven so fine /That all the world will be in love with night /And pay no worship to the garish sun." My former English professor, who I secretly thought was a numbskull, proclaimed that Juliet was acting as a child would with pieces of Ken/Barbie dolls--delighted with the toy(s) and determined to make something of them. He convenientely forgot to mention that placing people in the stars was an old Greek/Roman honor and the source of the names of our constellations; Juliet was intending to honor Romeo, as well as preserve him as immortal.

So perhaps TJ, insane and underdeveloped though he might be, was subconsciously expressing his puerile desire to keep that cute little girl with him forever. You never know: insanity takes strange forms.

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