No Birds in America’s Breadbasket – Part I, The Tom

I know three guys named Tom and damned if they don’t all think alike although, on the surface, they appear to look, act and be as different as the ingredients of a succotash, which is another word that seems to have died with the 20th century and social security.

Tom number one in the order of their chronological appearance in my life is my ex-wife’s present and most likely, last, husband. Tom number two is the manager of the RV park in Santa Maria, where I’m currently hooked up, as they say. Tom number three is the schizophrenic brother of a originally Hungarian, retired portrait photographer I bought a car from, shortly after I arrived in the central coast from Mendocino.

Though number three has the distinction of professional diagnosis, they are all mad as hatters in similar ways. Literally, you could exchange their lives and physical appearances one for another endlessly and no one would notice the difference. There are good reasons why they can’t do this but the point is that it would make absolutely no difference to the world, or to them, if you did and that’s the amazing truth of it.

For the purposes of discussion, let’s say that Tom, the schizophenic is Delusional Tom abbreviated D Tom; Tom the RV park manager is Lazy Tom or L Tom and Tom the current spouse of my ex-wife is Clever Tom, C Tom. Note that since all three Toms are to some extent delusional, which is the source of their laziness and clever adaptations, we tend to distinguish them one from another based on predominant traits.

Tom D’s delusional persuasion actually masks the Tom traits but how they approach simple tasks, like repairing things is illustrative. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, is the foundational principle of the Tom and the logical extension of this is there is no room for improvement in anything, most importantly, in them. As an example, three weeks past, LTom was confronted with a plugged drain in one of the park showers. He locked the door to the shower. Yesterday, he says to me out of the blue, “that shower is fixed now”. His repair was to replace the shower head so it takes longer for the shower to overflow. In this, you can see the particular combination of self-delusion, cleverness and lassitude that characterizes Tomishness.

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