i had three typically Elberry dreams last night. In the first, i was killing people; even in the dream i felt sickened by the detailed carnage, more so when i awoke in the night. The second was an erotic dream of one of the nice MILF i teach – a humorous, friendly encounter. All i recall of the third was that it was very very funny.

On the walk home from work just now, i was reflecting on the importance of humour in my psyche, to maintain a kind of gyroscopic balance. i am occasionally accused of frivolity by po-faced scolds; they are disappointed that while i can write “serious” literary/pseudo-philosophical pieces, i choose to write light-hearted ramblings about nothing in particular. Only those with a sense of humour realise how profound a matter it is, how deep irony and humour can go – so only those with a sense of humour can see past the clown’s smiling mask. The rest just dismiss humour as adolescent nonsense. Their seriousness does not go very deep.

If i had to define how Elberry differs from Elberry-1 (the person i was in my last life), i would say that between his death and Elberry’s birth, i decided i didn’t want to daunt or crush people any more – that the kind of power i had, in that life, was empty power, Saruman power. Even in that life, i knew this, and fought it – but it seems easier to change direction between lives, than amidst the hurly-burly of physical life. i can see much of this life, my various weaknesses, disadvantages, curses, as a headstrong attempt not to go down that grim path again.

The crucial thing is not to regard myself as somehow superior to other people – while i am undeniably extremely strange, extremely different, i am still human. It only makes sense to say i am a strange human being if i am a human being – one could not say that a dog is a strange human being. The Elberry persona – goofy, absurd, homicidal, cackling – is a way of approaching my extreme difference, of making it just about human (just about).

As a teacher my main priority is not to bore or daunt my students; if i felt they dreaded my classes – either because i am boring or terrifying – i would reform myself or quit for good. i devote a great deal of thought and energy to finding ways to teach the language without being tedious or terrifying. It is possible. Most of all, one must abjure fear, because once you have established fear as the form of a relationship – whether it is outright terror, subordination, or simply awestruck reverence, homage – no real friendship, no real human contact, is possible. You end your life alone in an illusory grandeur, immured in your imagined greatness like some deranged tyrant in a bunker, beyond all ordinary human touch – till you die – and perhaps decide to try to live a better life.

When i remarked to my class this morning, “a nice day today” one of the MILF said: “a nice day, a nice teacher” to which i responded with a humorous “let’s not get carried away” look, remembering suddenly the dream lover she had been, a few hours ago. Before lunch, she and another MILF invited me to go to a pizzeria with them for lunch, adding ominously “but outside it is German lesson time, German grammar”. So during lunch we walked together to the pizzeria, talking in a mixture of English and German. i loathe favouritism, so try to conceal my fondness for certain students, but women are often much more sensitive to desire than men, so over our 3 lessons (each lasting at least 6 hours), perhaps they had become aware of my heightened interest, the pleasure i take in their being. Pleasure tends to communicate itself, and to arouse reciprocal pleasure.

This kind of simple human encounter would have been very difficult for me in my last life, though (pleasingly) i was moving in this direction just before my death, away from my long isolation, and towards a common account.

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