Discombobulation is Sweeping the Nation


I thought about this for a second, I was mighty discombobulated, I said to myself
‘Discombobulation is sweeping the nation’!

Mojo Nixon
“I Don’t Want a Foo Foo Haircut,” 1986

It all started with those damn alfalfa sprouts. The bag of which I purchased at the fancy grocery store where everything costs twice what it ought to but where I shop anyway because it is frequented by a higher grade of soccer mom.

The sprouts were to be the perfect topping for my salad. And they would have been, had the bag not been inhabited by a vicious black bug. It was some kind of flying Peruvian messenger of pestilence that I’m certain is on a USDA list of critters to be kept out of the United States at all cost. The bug had quadriceps for Christ’s sake. It ruined both my bag of alfalfa sprouts and appetite.

Thus began my week of discombobulation and things just got stranger and stranger.

On Wednesday, I tried to flag down the Federal Express driver because he skipped my house and I was in need of the package that he did not deliver the day before because I was out buying bug-laden alfalfa sprouts.

I wish I had encountered the friendly FedEx guy, like on the commercials. But this son of a bitch was a sociopath. He wanted to fight me for asking about my package and showing him the notice he’d hung on my doorknob the day before. Resisting the urge to kick him in the nuts, I opted to call and complain and his “supervisor” told me she would investigate but that I could never be told the results of said investigation because it was a “personnel matter.” Meanwhile a second truck was dispatched to deliver my package because it was thought unwise to put me and the sociopath in one another’s company.

The next day the garbage men came to pick up the trash, as is the practice on Thursdays in my fashionable suburban town home community (you know it’s fashionable because it’s spelled “towne” home). Anyway, the scout garbage men ran ahead and gathered up all the trash and put it in a huge pile so that it would be in a centralized pick-up point. This is a highly efficient method of loading trash onto the truck, unless the driver loses track of where he’s been and drives off, leaving me to deal with Mount Trashmore.

That was three days ago and the mound of neighborhood trash sits outside my fashionable town (with an “e") home where it will fester until next Thursday when hopefully they’ll remember where they left it and haul it away.

But I didn’t have time to worry with the mound of garbage because by now I was being assaulted with phone calls from people that have not yet mastered the art of pushing numbered buttons and had to repeatedly run to the phone and explain to them (six in one day) that nobody by the name of who they were looking for was at this number.

The reality of what was happening came to me in a rush. Mojo Nixon’s 1986 prophecy of a nation swept by discombobulation was coming true. Everything is awry and I am the last rational man on Earth.

I become greatly concerned when the evidence points to me being the sanest person at the party. First of all, that’s a shamefully low bar to vault and I frankly don’t want the responsibility. I like my universes orderly and predictable. When it comes to bringing order from the chaos, I am far better suited to play the role of spectator. I cannot compel people to watch what they are doing and look where they are going and think about what they are saying. I am not the antidote for discombobulation; I am its pathetic victim. I surrender.

Go ahead, fuck it up. I can take it. What choice do I have?

The brain dead, stupid shit with a bad complexion and matching attitude is not going to “hold the mayo” anyway. Don’t even try. In fact, order it the wrong way. The odds of getting what I want are greater through the principle of “compensating error.”

We’ve come to accept incompetence like we tolerate the infernal baying of car alarms and the “Sophisticated, Energetic, Assertive, Sexy, Daring, Diverse, Urban, Feminine, Cutting-Edge, Distinctive, Innovative” Muzak we listen to on hold waiting for someone in India to explain why our computer is broken.

We’re going down the path toward a perfect state of perpetual malfunction. A world governed by the lowest common demoninator.

As my discombobulation turned to depression, I appeal to the Muse to try and make sense of it all. My disciples await an explanation for the bug in the sprouts, navigationally-challenged garbage truck and psycho FedEx driver. But the words would not come. Our world is choking in chaos and the Muse is barren.

Abandoning the keyboard and mouse, I shuffle out to check the mail.

And in my mailbox I find a letter mistakenly sent to me instead of the woman to whom it was addressed. An address whose only thing in common with mine was the house number. The addressee, street, city, state and zip code are all completely different. The letter was mailed by a person in Port Orchard, WA to someone at an art gallery in that fair city. It’s worth noting that Port Orchard, WA, is about 2,750 miles from here.

As a former Cub Scout, I would never open a letter addressed to anyone other than myself. But I was sufficiently intrigued to Google the name of the art gallery.

It turns out that this gallery specializes in stuff crafted from gourds. Further investigation revealed a newspaper article about the gallery and I learned that it’s becoming a Mecca for artists of all stripes. The excited proprietor told the paper that she believes their chosen location could even become a “Gig Harbor” or “Poulsbo.” That did it for me.

I know now that even though discombobulation has swept our nation, there is a pocket of resistance. A place where gourds rule and the movement’s growing and they won’t stop until they become a Gig Harbor or Poulsbo. Take that, dicombobulation.

I know this because of a fortuitous fuck-up by my friends at the Post Office. The docrine of compensating error.

Devine providence? Perhaps. But I’m not taking any chances. I’m gathering up my gourds and heading for Port Orchard to hand-deliver this letter.

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