THE WONDER YEARS (1988-1993) is an american television comedy about a junior-high boy named Kevin Arnold.
03/08/10 | Television

The Wonder Years

by Ken Sparling

My experiences are broken down and examined in the form of questions in each issue of the Wonder Newsletter, which I publish monthly. These experiences look very different, one from the other, in how I’ve characterized them in my imagination of me, in my assemblage of moments of me that I’ve tried to make you aware of in the various issues of the Wonder Newsletter.

After all, I was up there. I was up to something. I was up there, and there was no one to tell me what I was up to up there. There was no one to tell me about what it was like to be up there. And there was no one I could share the experience of being up there with, because everyone else I knew was still down there, below where I was, trying to find a way to get up to where I was, so they could come back down later and tell me what it was like to be up there.

I like the fall off the precipice of organization. I like running headlong into the lack of control my life seems organized around. I like reaching out to grab the wind and pull it toward me like I can make of it something that looks like I made something of it.

I’ve had all the love sucked out of me before. I finally remembered I was here to try to find my way to Wonder.

With Wonder, it didn’t feel like having a cigarette together. It didn’t feel like touching the tip of something to your tongue and lips, getting it wet, and then handing it over to Wonder to touch the tip of the same something to her tongue and lips and getting it wet and then getting the wet I got it wet with mixed with the wet she got it wet with. It didn’t feel like handing over the organization of my life, either. It felt more like getting tutored in a new form of organization, one that hadn’t ever occurred to me. It felt like being asked to organize myself around my own system, the way Wonder had organized her life around a system. It was something I was just about ready for.

Wonder’s system had to do with precipitous speed, I think, and self-discipline. Wonder was out there living large for me to see, and I watched and learned. By the time Wonder and I left the hallways of our childhood, I was slotted into the process of my life like the learning was totally over. It wasn’t so much that I felt out of control, it was more that I felt as though I wasn’t really a part of the process at all, not even enough a part of it to feel out of control. I was outside of control. I was outside of everything.

I ran the water in the sink. It made a kind of hissing sound coming out of the tap and hitting the stainless steel basin. I could see a distorted version of myself in the stainless steel basin. I looked tired and distorted. I needed to get some sleep. If I lived in Tibet, I thought, I could get more sleep. I went to the fridge. I pulled it open. I got out a tin of something. I consumed what was in the tin. In about five minutes, I was going to go to a meeting on a street about five minutes from where I lived. I had never been to a meeting before. This was going to be my first.

I went to the ridge. I pulled open my jacket. I got out my penis. I consumed a chocolate bar that was in my pocket with my penis dangling over the ridge. In about five minutes, I was going to go to a meeting on a street about five minutes from where I lived. I had never been to a meeting before. This was going to be my first.

An experience is an assemblage of moments that are gathered together in the imagination of a person having an experience.

In a way, this story is the story of some asshole. I’m that asshole. I’m the star of the story, even though it means I have to be an asshole, because the star of this story was always going to be an asshole, even before it was me who was going to be the star of the story.

Some questions about yourself assemble on the shore of your sainthood. Same piece of shit idea you always have. The boat sailing closer. Your eyes going squinty to try to see if there’s anyone on that boat, and, if so, who is it? Who is on that boat today, you ask yourself. Everyday it’s the same piece of shit idea about the same boat with someone on it. Every day you hope the someone on the boat is someone different. But it never is.

Same as a piece of writing is an assemblage of words gathered together on a piece of paper, your inane questions to yourself are proof that you do not know the name or the number of the entities that you might possibly assemble as you imagine, in discrete bouts of imagining, the moments that you could treat as experiences; and, yet, you want to break these assemblages down, disassemble them, and render in words these experiences that stand as impregnable entities for you. What is wrong with you?

Getting rejected by Wonder was devastating. It felt like: Maybe I’ll let you put yourself inside me, but not yet. The taste of that possibility made it hard for me to catch my breath, as though Wonder let me put my hand inside her shirt. It was not so much like having my hand inside Wonder’s shirt as it was imagining my hand inside Wonder’s shirt. Not this time, Mister, Wonder seemed to be saying. But, if you play your cards right, maybe I’ll allow you to violate me one day. I wanted so badly to violate Wonder. But, by the time I figured out what it was that was hurting so much inside, Wonder was gone.

The boy put his hand on the girl’s bum and kissed the girl on her lips. He kissed the girl goodnight with the soft half moon of her bum flooding some scary chemical up through the veins in his arm and into his entire body. This had never happened to the boy before. The boy didn’t know what it was that was flooding into his body, but it seemed to be flooding into his body straight from this girl’s bum. He felt that whatever it was that was flooding up his arm from the girl’s bum, it must be toxic. Yet he couldn’t take his hand away.