Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Word Concerning Neurological Abnormalities

     Immediately after Yelmac Tobias was born, he and his mother were extradited back to the United States. It was in the gnarled and sooted city of Chicago that the boy spent his formative years. Of course, he spent his first several American hours being shuttled about the linoleum arcades of the Chicago-O'Hare food court, where his mother, a devotée to her inextinguishable fetish for semi-consumed comestibles, momentarily forgot about the new swaddled life wedged into the crook of her arm.

     At an early age, the young Tobias showed signs of a deep-rooted neurosis which affected every moment of his waking existence. In an interview taken shortly after his death, Delilah describes his periodic nervous episodes:

Yelmie was always given to bizarre fits. I'd come into his wee
room at night, scouting for a loose bra I might've left lying 
about - maybe hanging from a bedknob, or the ceiling fan -
     and he'd just be sitting there, staring, all cramped up and kno-
   -tted in the nook by his bed, just by the window. He never re-
 -ally slept much, so I'd just go about my business, scouting
my things. Then he would work himself up into a tremble;
   only a little bit at first, you would hardly notice it until you 
  were right beside him. Then he would belt out this moan. It
   was a very specific sound, you know, always the same thing
     It was a sort of word, really. 'Pwäng.' Yes, with the dots over
        the 'a' and everything... yes, I'm sure. Don't forget to print that
         Anyway, the poor lamb would repeat the word again and again,
      and the word got longer every time he said it. He only ever st-
        -opped once his little lungs had reached their limit and his eyes
      were popping like a toad's. I always just figured to leave well-
    -enough alone, so long as we weren't in public. That's just it,
  he was well enough. Well enough to avoid the hospital bills.
     For the most part, the fits seemed to work themselves out. In 
      any case, call me whatever you think tills the the turnip patch,
        so long as you call me a mom

     I think we can all agree that Delilah was his biological mother. But it would seem to all appearances that Yelmac Tobias's neurosis was to some degree exacerbated by her presence. It was often the case that the boy would launch into one of his paroxysms while sitting with his mother on the bus, closed off from the aisle by her massive figure, her excessive stomach resisting the strain of her clinging floral dress as it dangled into the chasm between her hammy, widespread knees. His voice would mount the registers from one octave to the next at an alarming and, quite frankly, terrifying clip as he uttered his now iconic 'Pwäng.' It was not until Yelmac would step out into the open street, immediately securing a wide berth between himself and that incessantly flushed and choleric woman (with her ham hock of superfluous flaische [sic] nesting at the top of her spine under that grotesque steel wool knot of hair) that his heaving outbursts would funnel down into a simmering gurgle in his throat. (See Amos Moggi's tremendous historical-fiction novel, Dishwater: Dispatches from a Groever Tomb, for a prime depiction of this sort of bus scene).

     As few would dream to deny, this neurotic tendency in the young Yelmac belongs to the more inscrutable details of his early life. But what is one to do when faced with such a mystifying facet of a child's developmental years? Even if one were to string each moment of the life of Yelmac Tobias onto a film reel of Olympian proportions, what insight might we really gain, with the distracting contortions of his face, the grain of his flaische, and the trampled wads of fast food containers planted at the mouth of a storm drain by the toes of his sneakers to devour our scouring gaze?

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