I got ordained today. Somebody was talking about how she’s supposed to officiate at a friend’s wedding – apparently, you can be temporarily ordained by a Justice of the Peace to officiate at one wedding – and I mentioned that it’s actually really easy to be ordained. Anybody can do it. I pulled up a website and in a few minutes, I was ordained. I didn’t order my official certificate because, while the ordination is free, you have to pay for the paperwork. I would’ve but I blew my last paycheck on electricity and child support. But even without the paperwork, I am ordained and can perform weddings. And I will perform: if anybody is willing to cover travel, food and lodging, plus a nominal fee, I will officiate at their wedding and I’ll play at the reception free of charge. I’m totally serious. I don’t care if you’re straight or gay, just trying to get citizenship or anything. I’ll marry polyamorous covens on peyote in a nudist camp – actually, I’ll waive the fee for that.
Officiating at weddings is only one of the services I am willing and able to provide, only one of the many things I can do for you. As a deeply spiritual person, I am always looking for opportunities to contribute something positive to the world we live in.
Anyone reading this surely knows about the hours upon hours of noisy (not Noise), experimental, mostly improvisational and frequently difficult music that I have made available, much of it totally free, none of it priced at the ridiculously high rates charged by the mainstream music industry scum. You may also know that I have taken the Vow of the Bodhisattva and that I will, therefore, remain voluntarily in the cycle of death and rebirth, forsaking the incomprehensible bliss of Nirvana, until all sentient beings have achieved Enlightenment, at which point there will be no one left except a bunch of Bodhisattvas standing around saying “no, please, after you”. If you need a koan, I can provide you with one. If you are so close to attaining Enlightenment that all you need is someone to whack you with a stick or shout “katz!” at you, come on over. (Occasionally I pass a Wal-Mart or I see someone wearing an Insane Clown Posse shirt and I think about how many incarnations it’s going to take for all those assholes to be Awakened and I get kinda bummed out. I took the Vow – now I’m kinda stuck with it.)
If you’ve been following this thing for a while, you may recall that I once announced that I was starting a shamanic advice column. I got only one query from a snarky little barista, which I responded to with all due respect, but the advice column still stands. Send an email, letter or hand me a note and I will solve your life problem(s) right here in this space.
These are a few of the services I will provide. There are others. For example, if you ever need a B-side or a track to submit to a compilation – possibly a comp I am organizing – send me one of your songs and I’ll do a dub version. Actually, I don’t need the whole thing, just the drums and bass. If your song doesn’t have drums or bass, that’s fine. Just send what you have and I’ll do an alternative mix.
Need art? I got that. Need cover art? Well, by golly, let’s talk. I do a lot of the cover art for BDSR – if the label is willing to do it, I’m usually happy to let them – and I would be happy to provide cover art for you. Unless you are Insane Clown Posse, in which case I won’t.
Handpoke tattoos: $20/hr. I used to do them for free, but then I got tired of doing them. Another thing I used to do for free that I now charge $20/hr for: explaining why I don’t like your poetry.
Also, I’m a shaman. I shamanize. Usually, that takes the form of organizing and participating in performances, but I do other shamany shit too. For example, if your community is experiencing drought or if your usual food-animals have disappeared from the hunting grounds, I would happy to take care of that for you. I would, of course, require the complete cooperation of your community and payment in advance. Provide me with the details – estimates are free.
I admit that I am not as skilled as some at diagnosing and treating physical ailments. I have not focused much attention on this aspect of the shaman trade. I can witch your warts away, sure, that’s easy. If you have a lump on your testicle or bloody diarrhea, go to a fucking doctor. I will attend to some cases involving mental disorders, but I gotta tell ya, those can be tricky. Some things, situational depression for example, are relatively easy to cure; others can’t be cured at all. Certainly, a hearty helping of shamanic ritual can break through the psychological barriers that prevent an individual from locating their own hidden resources, which can completely eliminate some conditions and can make others much easier to deal with, but I would never advise anyone to substitute shamanic medicine for SSRIs or any other form of pharmacology. In general, I advocate psychiatric treatment, including medication as prescribed by the attending physician, as well as active spiritual development as the best possible treatment for mental disorders. As your Espresso Shaman, I would be happy to assist you in dealing with your fucked-up brain.
Obviously, I am able to facilitate vision quests. I prefer to host, as my spirit animals are happiest here in the oldest mountain range in the world. I can travel, but that’ll cost ya. A vision quest is not a camping trip. There will be no Iron John-style men’s movement New Age bullshit. You will not have fun and there is no guarantee that you will have any kind of vision. Basically, you will pay me to take you out into the woods, get you lost, tell you to sit someplace for a day or so with no food and almost no water, without sleeping, possibly enduring some additional hardships which I will make up on the spot, all in the hope of experiencing some sort of vision or hallucination or esoteric wet dream or whatthefuckever and if you don’t get what you’re after, tough shit. Also, you will have to sign a waiver so your family can’t sue me if you die. You could just do it yourself, though I would advise doing a bit of research first. If you do hire me to facilitate your vision quest, I will help you figure out what you experienced, if anything. That’s really the crux of the whole vision quest thing. Anybody can go sit in the woods and be uncomfortable for a few days and almost anybody who does so will have some sort of noteworthy experience, but if you don’t know how to separate the wheat from the chaff and make sense of it, it’s nigh impossible to put it to any good use.
Musical instruction is not part of the shamanic trade, but I don’t feel the need to be bound by tradition, so: shamanic guitar lessons. Whether you are an accomplished shredder or a rank amateur, I will teach you to slough off “the right way” to play guitar and access your own personal style of making sounds come out of a guitar with no regard whatsoever for how “good” or “bad” those sounds are. The whole (spirit) world of shamanolodics will open up before you, beckoning you to strum your way in.
Honestly, though, it really is easier to teach people who don’t know anything. If you’re one of those, I will teach some basics – you really do have to know a little bit before you can launch off into inner space. I don’t mean sight-reading or transposition or any of that useless shit; I mean I’ll explain standard tuning so you’ll know what to avoid, how to annoy the shit out of people with perfect pitch and what to feed your wolf tones. If you don’t have a guitar, you can use one of mine until I locate one to sell you.
If you do know how to play, I’ll still work with you, but I’ll be a lot more abusive. It’s for your own good.
What else? I can explain Finnegans Wake, extract teeth, paint fences… really, I’m wide open. As I said, I’m constantly looking for ways to make the world a better place, constantly looking for ways to be of service.
How may I help you?
Brown Hat the Espresso Shaman
The pun is always intended.