JEFF BELL  VOCALIST, Writer, Artist, Actor    Austin, TX / Los Angeles   SAG-AFTRA                                                                                                                                                         
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Writings

Being part of something larger than yourself    

Hi, I used to drink motor oil.  Yes, I know what you’re thinking.  Well, actually I don’t, but that’s not the point.  I’ve quit, but really, it wasn’t easy.  I started out with just small sips in the garage to doing up pints until I either couldn’t see straight or it was too late to make a run to Jiffy Lube, telling the wife I was out of cigarettes.  She probably caught on, because I don’t smoke, but my theory is she actually got turned on when I got all lubed up.   That didn’t come out right.  I’m talking my personality.  When I wasn’t on the stuff, I was pretending I had a migraine or wasn’t in the mood, just so I could get her to disappear to find me an Advil or a Cialis while I downed the last bit of 20-50W stashed under the bed.  (Occasionally, she'd find it there, to which I could always just say “that’s strange..” Since she didn’t partake as I did, she was easily fooled.)

It all goes back, I think, to my given name.  Engine.  Engine Trimble.  Yes, that’s right. Sure, I don’t use the name Engine anymore.  Just “Gin” now.  Gin Trimble.  But I had to use “Engine”  when I was a kid.  My father was a psychotic.  And I mean that in the kindest sense.  He was of the hippie generation - at least I think he was, his age was always shrouded in secrecy - and he became obsessed with an assortment of things that had one common trait.  Metal.  As a result, he made it his life work to begin the process of having all things, everything, described in terms of their relationship to their steel or titanium or molybdenum, or ferrous cousin.  Ironic, huh?  His crowning achievement was naming me after a car part, only to have me legally scrub “Engine” from my name the day I turned 16 years old, the very same day I could, by law, drive.  Ironic too I guess, because by that time my father had moved on, to a connection of all subjects and things to plant matter, and all I could think was, sure glad my father wasn’t the lead singer in Led Zeppelin, because then I’d have probably just stuck with the name Engine Plant, convinced it was kinda rock and roll.

But getting back to the motor oil.   I consumed it from a young age.  I don’t recall when I started.  Probably when I was really young, because I thought that it was something I should do, given my name.  Or perhaps it was a way of showing the kids at school that made fun of me that my name was more than a car part (jeering ran from “Hey, Motor, how’s it running today?” to “You on just one cylinder today, Engine?”).  I was gonna show them just why I was who I was.  This at a time when most kids identified themselves with characters like Superman and Matt Damon, I already knew I could crush them all.  Ain’t they got badass engines in everything from F-16s to fork lifts?  

I could go into the specifics of what I consider to be a good 30W and just what sort of lube goes best with steak, but it’s all kinda academic because the main point is that a man can get addicted to even the mildest grade of the stuff.  Let’s face it, if you live near a Wal-Mart or even your average Chevron station, you have access 24hr a day, 7 days a week.   Of course, you probably don’t believe me.  You think you’d take one sip, and say, “Ew, this tastes awful, why would anybody what to drink this?”  Yeah, that’s what they all say.  Well, all is relative, because although mostly people don’t sip motor oil I realize, that’s what they lead you to believe in all the propaganda put out by your major oil company ads and all.  And in a fashion that I just find so predictable, I can’t recall a single movie where they’ve portrayed even a minor character “getting crude” as it is called.  And this is while the movies have an obsession with wise guys and heroin addicts!  Who ever runs into a heroin addict?   Forget about it.  You’d be surprised at how much worse it is to get stuck on a viscous tarry drink.   Believe me, one cap full of petroleum additive, and you’ll be doing up quarts just to get you through the day.

But to wrap up this instructive tale of a life spent burning up something intended only to help get you from point A to point B, I have to say that, you learn something from the stupid things your parents do, and you can only just make the best of it.   My take away from all the Engine trouble I’ve had, is that my father was right.  Psychotic, yes, but right. I’m not gonna go so far as, say, clairvoyant, but he was onto something.  

You see, we are all part of something bigger than ourselves.  And just as you can’t build a car if you don’t have steering wheel parts or bumpers, (well, bumpers you might be able to do without, so that kinda undermines a point I wanted to make that each one of us invaluable to the whole), you see I learned early on that I’m just a part of a greater whole (strike that, “whole” sounds like “hole”), greater part of a thing, just like a engine is to a car, you know?  An important part I am to the thing, yes - well, greater than the others, yes, I’ve always granted myself that - and  I’ve always actually unconsciously said to people, “try doing that without me”, and in same breath I’d say, under my breath, “if you ain’t got the wheels, I ain’t moving from where I am.”  I meant it for many years maliciously, until I finally gave it up, and turned the intent about face, as a positive, in fact it was on the very day the State officially had both my parents committed.  (Neighbors complained about fertilizer smells and my father dressing in little more than a single [fig] leaf.)  

Not that I didn’t pay a price before learning.  I have to live with the fact that my gas by-product imbibing ended before all the price reductions we see today.  My bigger point is, I am put in my place daily, and in a way I’ve turned to a positive, because I now say bring it on, I’ll never not be able to drive up to the pump or pass by a sign with the words “automotive” and “service” in there without having to grapple with an urge to do a topper.  That will never go away.   

In the end, all I can say in terms of philosophy - because my metaphorical thoughts always drift to topics like pavement and drip pans and the like at times like this, especially at Christmas time - may your “engine” last you a metaphorical minimum of 100,000 miles, and major servicing be minimal.   Also, always keep up to date on your insurance premiums, and be motivated by the fact that there’s always more pavement than there is time to cover it.  I’m not gonna get into topics that have to do with exceeding the posted speed limit or towing charges and the like, except to point out, in the ying-yang nature of things, that while we are all part of something larger than ourselves, you better not forget that when it comes to breaking laws and things like financial stability, you ought to forget everything I’ve just said for a moment and get your head out of your ass.  Focus on getting your own stupid habits under control.  Chances are, you got your head in the clouds about how we’re all connected and help each other and instead ought to admit how that gives you license to be lazy and forces people like me to pick up your tab.  Christ, I can’t tell you how much that pisses me off.


                                               Reunion                


                                          Again, a mourning, special one

                                  Love of day and night, it’s hard and true.

                                   Today’s played game, except this time

                                  Whose faces, make their plans to leave

                                                   And say no more


                                              What a way, to not say

                                             So much, and quickly do

                                         Enough to keep on drying up

                                        Drops that eyes reveal insides

                                                   Now missing you


                                            Bottled up, lit longing light 

                           From tunnel’s end, comes dearest by surprise

                                     Felt so clearly, seeming only close

                                      For a moment ventures nearest

                                                  Then lightly spirits


                                    From taking over everyday in wait

                                               To seeing face to face

                                  From wish to want to what was then

                                     Swirling parts what will embrace

                                                Enough to wait again


                                                   Forever to the end

                                           Lives will so strong to mold

                                                 What unfolds brightly 

                                           Now steals form to memory

                                                 And to my home I go


A Jibber Caught a Fly

Ordinarily it isn’t strange to find two whistlers sitting abranch. Nature seems to whirbull at lot in twos, especially for reasons of specie eberbration. Fig only, it makes tents to parch people in which a way, but when the carst is jibbers, knock which rules nod need apply. 

In daddy, no jibber costs so strange a pitch. Aloot, a sabert might be finned in such a whichward lock, but it is two a jibber that is not in their niture. Factly, it might never be sarn. 

This wan-won jibber warst abit differ. E was a mister, at least one might belurve it if e hadn’t skippert. In troop, no femurt jibber had ehbert been subunt. In was a murstery enfact, how a jibber dibin came to werent. To etabrate, all jibbers surbrize by ehting bogwerts or zenurts.

This wontime a spetcher jibber made a factwich of a stab, and promist his which that he would art a fly if he cudwart, on the narchin that a fly and jibber might which jist towhat a fibber jibber. (Jibbers are narn to be smare.) Boot that whar no griver.

“Aloot, ne sabert kabertered no greeve,” he stibulled. “Salantly amurted, sabert sod abeast a fly or stibert. Kora, gahme a cotter wid fee?”. E watched a bort. “Barund”, e pot. “Amurt galuntaly!”

(This is a sample. Found in buckstarts and areparts, for mort.)

Grahtz!


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