Deep Thoughts On Major Gunns: by Denny "The Pro" Etchison

Some of us know an intellectual when we see one. She reminds you of Tylene-something-or-other, the girl in first grade who wrote poems in crayon about fluffy white clouds scudding across a robin’s-egg-blue sky, the same one who walked her little lamb home everyday, wagging her tail behind it. By junior high, she had to lose the spike heels because they left black marks on the gym floor, but the form-fitting red leather jumpsuit more than made up for that. In high school you found the courage to speak to her during detention, and she admitted Sartre was her favorite writer, too, especially NAUSEA, which expresses so well the existential condition of modern man in postindustrial society, and you knew you had found a soulmate, if only for a fleeting moment. By 12th grade she used the crayon to write in her journal while hanging out with the artistic types, blind to your presence, or was that because she had not yet been fitted for contact lenses? And then one day during second lunch you left the stoner wall and wandered over, trying not to stare at her proud, sculpted working-class legs in those avant-garde camouflage short-shorts, not to mention the tank top with the ironic antiwar motto and those big, round, fake dangling dog tags. “Ugh,” you stammered, “I’ll bet y-you could really show a guy how to slap on a figure-four leg lock.” “Yes!” she cried, and she took you down and all the time she was looking into your eyes because at least you were close enough to see and a quick go behind turned into a hammerlock, a side-release, and a head-scissors and yes, she said, oh yes and it was you who submitted, not she, not ever, and she told you later that she was afraid you would never ask. No one but you knew those were not real Canadian maple leafs on the front of her jumpsuit, but the marks left by your own trembling hands, dusty with chalk after writing I will not pitch tents in class on the blackboard all through study hall. And now that jumpsuit hangs empty, deflated as a snakeskin left behind by the fugitive kind in a postindustrial locker at a video company in some bleak place like Spanish Fork, Utah, or the San Fernando Valley where she grinds out extra incom to buy more books, that must be it, posing for backyard wrestling tapes, a droll comment on the condition of modern man whose spirit has gone AWOL along with some other parts of him. And every Saturday night you sit up in your trailer watching those tapes between Howard Stern and commercials for “Girls Gone Wild” and reruns of XPW, wondering what became of the little intellectual who lived down the lane, because it takes one to know one, n’est pas?