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Squid #186
(published July 15, 2004)
Notes from the Giant Squid: Art, the Leviathan, and Murphy's Bed
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
dear GS,

i need some advice. i'm going to have a party at my apartment soon and want to create some kind of art installation/performance art space in an alcove in the living room. something for people to look at, participate in, talk about etc. during the party. any ideas? the "alcove" is the size of a small closet. it is where a murphy bed used to reside in past times so it is big enough for a human to stand up in. (a bed is a horizontal, flat apparatus upon which we simians lie at night when we sleep.)

i went to your almanac(k) but did not find a place to ask this question. please advise.

clueless simian and friendster,


Already, in this matter, there is promise. Where as many might visit our dear Almanac(k) but briefly, and not finding of the answer desired, leave in shame and despair, you have persevered, and struggled ever-forward both for your art, and for the greater goal of impressing much your fellow species mates. I do penta-applaud this, Haejung, with all my eight arms and, and each of my tentacles as well. This applauses causes great susseration and cavitation within my water tank home, but I persist. The kudos, they are to you.

As in escaping a trap laid by the clever and skillful, it is tenacity which truly determines the success or failure of any endeavor artistic. It is for want of tenacity that mediocre art fails, and owing to its sufficient abundance that great art succeeds.

Indeed, it strikes me as passing strange that you should ask of an outsider—even one so ennobled and superlative as Your Humble Interlocutor—to aid you in constructing what, doubtless, must be an expression true and sound of those inner most harmonies and cacophonies which within the bell of your person to ring and reverberate. Nonetheless, like any gauntlet thrown, I do take this one up.

By way of preparatory research, I did ask of my lab assistant, Rob, for further details concerning these apartment domiciles and their "beds," murphy and otherwise.

"What the fuck?" Rob did query.

"A murphied bed," I repeated, "within her domicile apartmental she does have a space, like unto which once stood a murphied bed, and in that space she wishes to do diverse arts to impress and terrify her partygoers."

"A guy named Murphy? Is that the thing? That she knows a dude named Murphy Bed? What the fuck are you getting at."

I shook of my great and mighty headsac, pressing tentacle and arm tips about my ocular orbits, "Look upon the printed letter—" I said unto Rob, pressing to the glass the much waterloggéd paper, "I am quite certain from the wordings that this is a type of a bed, for which to lay upon during the nightly interval of sleep and dreams . . . terrible, terrible dreams."

Only silence responded, for Rob's eyes had gone much of the glassy and far staring with what I presume could only be his feeble—if well-intentioned—mental ruminations. And then, with a startling abruptness, he shuddered to life lurchingly, not unlike the jarring techtonic shift of a great and stubbornly immobile plate of the ocean's floor.

"O.K., Lord A., listen," he spoke overquickly, animated with excitement, "This whole beds and apartments and murphied shit, what it reminds me of . . . I knew this guy, right—God, what a fucking pussy this guy was. This fucker totally drove me up a wall, you know? Like, always, always, if their was some shit that was totally gonna be a pain in the ass, it was this guy to ask you to do it, right? We went in together, this one time, on, like, 8 onces of grass, 'cause he was totally tits up for, like, the capital to get that moving, and it was like the old Chinese Curse: I'd saved his life, and so now I owned him.

"Shit, and come to think about it, even that weed ended up being a pain in the ass, supposed to be cleaned and pressed into, like, a block, but turned up all twiggy and loose and shit—goddam! That fucker's pissing me off right now, just thinking about his shit.

"But, anyway, like, he rented this house over in Hamtramck with his girlfriend, and she finally wised up and booted his lame ass out—which gets even better, that part, because, like, a year later, I swear to fucking God I was watching this porno online, and there she was doing the Bangbus shit with those dirty mutherfuckers who, like, offer to pay chicks on the street for raunch-ass sex and then drive off after without giving 'em the dough, and when they ditched her without giving her the money, she didn't shout and carry on like the chicks do on that shit, but just, like, shrugged in sorta this, "you know, whatEver," way. Fucking killed me, Lord A.! You know what I'm sayin'?

"So, he calls me up, Sunday night, and needs help moving, and I'm totally 'No fucking way!' and he's all whining and crying—I swear, fucking crying like a little bitch—and I'm still all 'No fucking way!' and finally he's just, like, 'All I need, all I need is help moving my goddam futon so I can sleep, OK?' and at that point, it's totally getting to be like, a threat to catching King of the Hill and The Simpsons and all that, so I agree and go and pick his futon-lugging ass up in this shitty old rust-ass pick-up I had then.

"The futon—and I hate futons, Lord A. I mean, what the fuck? It's the shitty couch that becomes a shitty bed, right? But this futon was pretty nice. Had this, like, tubular steel welded frame, brushed steel, square corners. Looked classy and shit. Heavy—you know, like, substantial—but not so bad. Folded between being a good-size couch—the kind you can totally stretch out on—to being a double bed, and with none of that folding over the futon shit. Classy. Definitely some classy shit for this lame-ass to be owning.

"But, so, we get to the place, and it's this upstairs, like the second story of a family's house. They've got floor one, and he has floor two. Old place, renovated into two apartments, with a narrow ass staircase with a sorta low ceiling. A little door. The futon itself, bein' a big burlap marshmallow thing, goes up, like, no problem, but then the stand—shit, that thing . . . see, the door and the hall were too narrow to bring it in folded like a couch, but the ceiling and doorway were too short to bring it in laying out flat like a bed. There was no angle you could do it at. So, we had to haul and cram it up holding it a sorta middle position, halfway unfolded. But, the catch, is that the thing was, like, spring loaded, so that it wouldn't just flop out unfolded when you sat on it in couch mode, and so it didn't want to be in no middle ground: it either wanted couch, or bed, no compromise. So we're going up these narrow-ass stairs, and it's like carrying a giant bear trap through a sideways well, bucking and kicking at us, snapping at our fingers. That lame-ass caught a hard one in the throat when the thing jerked one way, and I laughed so hard I lost my grip and the arm of the thing gave me a black-eye."

Finally, Rob had begun to run low of the proverbial steam.

"It was like hell, man, exactly like hell. Like a living bear trap through a sideways well. Shit, if you look at my left eye, it still a little crooked."

I looked, and it was true.

"So, I don't know about murphy's bed, and shit, but that's futons for you."

My silence at that time, I am ashamed not with this admission, was in the least bit stunned.

"Murphy's bed, Murphy's Law, Lord A.:Can go wrong, Will go wrong, right? So, I guess, that was totally about Murphy's Law and futons, which are beds. You get what I'm getting at? Can go wrong? Will go wrong."

There is a degree to which Rob's utterance are Oracular, and Delphic: he oft knows not the profundity of the wisdom he speaks. As such, he brought to the shallows of my mind a line from the Leviathan:

For the understanding is by the flame of the passions, never enlightened, but dazzled!

Think much upon those words, uttered by that same great Leviathan who did swallow up both Jonah and Hobbes, so that they might discourse at length on the many matters of abuse of powers absolute, both mundane and sidereal, natural and numinous. Although those words which passed between and among Jonah and Hobbes might themselves be of interest, especially in this current day of sullied and obfuscated national leadership in this great Land of Freedom Rings (Vote Squid!), the words of the Leviathan himself suffice in guiding us in this current matter of your request, and dazzle them.

I thusly imagine a work in your murphied-alcove that is at first dazzle-bright and enticing as diamonds and ice-bergs, and that drawing a viewer near draws them within to a space dark and night soothing in its dimnitude, a down-fluffiness as black and soft baby ducks, this concealing rust-licked strips of concertina and razorwire, spring-loaded and steal-backed, a web and a spring trap that entangles and ensnares. As such, this art will bendbackward and mirror in itself the tenacity that it took to create it, and reward in the viewer his or her ability to show the tenacity of its creator. Your art, thus, will be the truest art, making literal what all art is in figure: the mindtrap which captures and holds those of lesser build than the trapsmith, the bed which devours us in our repose, and rises up to attach us in the blindspots of our (or, really, your) imperfect eyes.

I Remain, Unsnared,
Your Giant Squid

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