Thursday, August 08, 2013


You don’t know Jack.  Which is just as well, since Jack doesn’t want you to know him.  He’s not particularly interested in even knowing himself.  He’s the human version of all those Jack Russell terriers who never exhaust their energy, their curiosity, their allegiance to certain persons and principles.  They are death to rats, weasels, and even some cats.  (Their criteria for sparing certain cats are entirely unknown and Jack likes it that way.  The element of surprise is crucial for dealing with cats.)

All through Europe the Jack stories are something like the American Indian Napi stories or the Afro-American Brer Rabbit stories -- he gets into SUCH trouble, sometimes because it’s his own fault -- but then manages to make a brilliant save and even might do some good for someone, though that’s not always his purpose.  Most often he can escape because of knowing the underground, the briar patch, both figuratively and literally. 

Jack is a boy, pre-pubertal, in the years between six and ten or so, a period when he is of indeterminate but responsive sexuality (attractive to certain people if only because of their capacity to suffer) and developing intellect.  Body and mind are constantly reframing what is presented, good or bad, in order to find a way through the labyrinth we call life.  For him, life is not a trajectory or arc -- it does not depend on anything but his own wits and ability to read the cards of the game as they come down in front of him.  Twists and turns, jumps and digging.  Are these the beans that will grow into a beanstalk?  Is this the lantern that will produce a genii?  Given the opportunity to ask, what three questions are wise?  

Alliances with dogs are natural enough, since dogs occupy pretty much the same ecological niches: more willing to make alliances with humans than rats, raccoons or cats are, more capable of falling in love to the point of self-sacrifice.  Fighters when necessary.  Capable of surviving conditions that would kill.  Vectors who can cross borders, follow dim paths, learn esoteric codes, herd sheep, set up an alarm, carry a message, whore.  And die.  Are murdered.

Boys and dogs use certain principles:

1.  Avoid capture.  It will mean incarceration (vicious or well-meant), deportation, losing your pards.  It may keep you from getting medical drugs, but not street drugs.

2.  Do anything you can to avoid addiction.  Treatment for a chronic disease like HIV, Hep C, TB, and the like means addiction to the maintenance drugs as surely as a street drug.  There are no effective cures.  Addiction means you are tracked and not just by the marks on your arms (which are essentially numbers, as in “your number may be up”).  There is no motivation to find a cure because so much money is made in controlling the drug supply and managing incarceration.  If you HAVE to take drugs, follow protocols to get full value.  Face it:  street drugs sell with more dignity.  But real dignity rests with you.

3.  Stay in control of all relationships, even if that risks destroying it.

4.  There’s no free fuck.  (If I said lunch, you wouldn’t register.)  If you have to pay more than it’s worth, you’ll lose self-respect,.  Decide what it is worth.

5.  Information is your best defense, but not all information is reliable.

6.  Disguise is also a good defense.  Manners, grooming and clothes all count.  Learn as many languages as you can and that includes body language.

7.  Good mothers will instinctively try to protect boys and dogs, but there are many bad mothers.

Good fathers will also try to protect boys and dogs, but there are many fathers who are only mother-fuckers.   The best indicator of safety with these men is to observe their treatment of women.

8.  One boy/dog is not like the next one.

9.  Avoid all institutions.  Ally yourself with peers.

10.  Never give up the hope that somewhere out there is someone who will love you for what you are instead of how they can profit from you.  It is better to die with that hope than to live without it.

Jack is feral in the sense that he belongs to no family but the Jack I’m talking about did once belong to a family enough to survive as a human being.  The “wild child” who grows up not learning to talk or relate to others is a different problem, not fully human.  They are usually hidden.  They happen where the breakdown is not just family but tribe, because of overcrowding, bad housing and squatting, incompetent adults, and the community having no awareness of them or denying awareness.  Then they are trafficking fodder and nothing more.

Jack is clever, Jack is quick, Jack is the result of specific conditions like betrayal by adults, abandonment, and exploitation.  Threats by the larger community like government (school, police, social workers, medical people) mean nothing to him.  They have already proven themselves to be merely an arbitrary Matrix (Jack does know movies) that will delete him by shrugging and blaming.  Jack cannot be driven.  Entrapment will cause him to implode (suicide) or explode (attack).  Jack can be called, invited, but only by those who know Jacks.

If there are others of Jack's kind, his own mammalian instincts (like those of dogs) will help him to trust (all the time watching the others for signs of alarm) and perhaps join a “pack” of boys.  They need shelter from scrutiny. Self-defense is a good reason to stick together.

Technology is a good lure, but we may be in a window of opportunity that is beginning to close.  Jack with a smartphone can be formidable but the global infrastructure is harder to hack than jiggering a gizmo.  Public support for free access, as at libraries, is diminishing.  On the other hand, info is info and brains are brains and the more they interact the more both of them increase.

At bottom everything is economic, which is code for survival.  If there is economic support for mothers, they can be good mothers because they have time and resources for themselves and their children.  If economic support is only provided by a man, then the women and children are at his mercy.  The same goes for safety net agencies.  

If a man cannot support a family, he is likely not to be attached and will join a pestering cloud of idle men who can only survive by remaining children or through violent victimization.  Some will provide support but only at a high price:  violence and sexual abuse.  He will become addicted and politically manipulated.  The best protection for a man endangered by a bad father is a brave and competent mother (not a glamorous one) who knows how to find backup.  There is no protection from capitalism.  Follow the money.  Don’t let it own you.

When numbers grow beyond a certain level, they reconfigure into something new.  This is an emergent response and not always predictable or controllable.  The advent of computers has allowed a quantum leap in lists, everyone is on file.  The temptation to number everyone and control them is irresistible.  (Next time not tattoos but maybe microchips like the ones implanted on dogs, since DNA tests are expensive.)  We may get big surprises. 

There will always be Jacks and Dogs, because they are renewed constantly in almost every nation and non-nation on the planet.  They cannot be eliminated.  I am not Jack.  I know a few.  I like them.  Some of them I love.

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