Goodbye disgusting string: I AM HEALED!

Posted in blog post on January 5th, 2010 by Merrill Markoe
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The string of which I speak.

The string of which I speak.

It appeared that I was apparently stuck wearing a piece of smelly filthy string around my wrist for the rest of my life.
The way it happened was that I arranged to have myself  blessed-and- healed by Buddhist Monks in 1996.  I did it for a couple of reasons, some of them ironic.  For instance , the fact that the healing was to take place in the upstairs loft of  a trendy  Malibu clothing boutique was a detail that really made me laugh. Especially because at the time I had a magazine column and was almost always seeking a topic I could write about for at least 1500 words.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t also own up to the fascination I had for new age frippery back then.  I was never sure how much of what I attended I also  sorta believed . All I knew was that I liked to hear about  a  variety of strange, vaguely spiritual, occasionally spooky, metaphysical type things.    So that  Saturday morning, about a week after I signed up and paid a fee,  I climbed a staircase just behind a table that was piled high with animal print Capri pants on sale  and was directed to a room where I met with my own personal healer monk.  He was dressed in a traditional saffron colored robe, although I remember being kind of amused by his standard issue scuffed up western footwear. Diaphonous robes just don’t look right with Bass Weejuns.

He was also sporting some rather stylish wireframe glasses.

For about half an hour he chanted, or we chanted together. Sometimes he described vivid  tableaus upon which I was supposed to meditate. I seem to remember one that involved a thousand flying swordsmen because I also remember fretting that perhaps I wasn’t visualizing them well enough, and would inadvertently compromise my results.
I do remember how the whole thing ended;  I was splashed with some very special water and then my monk (if I might be so bold as to call him that) tied a red string around my left wrist.

“When the string falls off, you will be healed.” were his famous last words.
On my way out of the store, I felt so good I bought some Capri pants and a purse.

Cut to: Now.

The string was moldly, and kind of stinky. The red color been replaced by gray, which was good in a way because I didn’t like the idea of people assuming I had taken up the kaballah.  But, it had also acquired a patina of yellow paint from the last time I redid my bedroom. It was one truly disgusting looking piece of string.  But after a lifetime of watching horror movies and episodes of Twilight Zone that involved someone who had received and then ignored an ominous warning, I didn’t feel  I could simply  cut it off and throw it away.  And anyway, it had to fall off on its own.  The monks promised.  But it was wrapped around my wrist in three unbroken strands that showed no signs of fraying. If they had said “This will fall off sometime around 2010” I think I might have run out of there screaming.

Then last night it fell off! It actually fell off, all on its own. I was so relieved and happy that it was almost worth the long wait. After fourteen fucking years of ugly wrist syndrome, I am finally  free at last. And I guess I am  finally also HEALED, though its not clear from what. At the very least I am healed from the ever present irritation of having to wear a decrepit string bracelet.  And since I bothered to spend 14 years regarding the removal of this string as a bad omen, I think its only fair that I go ahead and take the falling off of the string as a good one.

I think 2010 is going to be the best year ever. At least in matters related to wrists and string and healing.

13 Responses to “Goodbye disgusting string: I AM HEALED!”

  1. SusanM says:

    I can’t imagine string lasting that long!
    What were you healed of, or from? Did you notice any strange feelings in the following days?

    Some of those guided meditations don’t work for me at all. I get so distracted or over stimulated by the images that I go into overdrive. Some are amazing, though. That sure was a weird place to have a private audience with a monk!
    Your description reminded me of a wonderful book. I think its title was Breakfast with Buddha.
    Picture a chubby monk in a skimpy Speedo.

    • Merrill Markoe says:

      I was healed from needing a topic for a magazine column. And the only strange feelings I experienced were the ones that came when my beloved started pointing out to me, in moments of intimacy, that he thought the string was getting stinky. However no longer having to wear that thing is truly a healing unto itself.

  2. Beth the copy editor says:

    Very happy for you (if kind of grossed out). Happy 2010!

  3. BarbV says:

    When I was in my 20s and going through a particularly trying time, I visited a Psychic Dorothy, who told me I was depressed – the incessant weeping I think was a clue – and that I would not be depressed if I gave her $300.00 to bury in her backyard, which she would “stand over, ponder, and send hope out for you child.” I almost went for it, but came to my senses in that my mommy refused to lend me the money. Psychic Dorothy showed up in the Toronto Star the very next week, after authorities swept her backyard and recovered thousands of dollars worth of jewels, plus cash. And on that pathetic excuse for evidence, she was indicted!

    Thanks for making me laugh, Merrill. I needed this very much today. And Happy New Year to you and swift recovery to your brother.


  4. Laurie says:

    Merrill, I really think you should buy yourself a Hermes bracelet or something. You deserve it.

  5. SusanM says:

    I just remembered that my nine- year- old mentee/little sister wears a dingy, raggedy string necklace. I made her a pretty (I thought) bead necklace for a gift and I’ve never seen her wear it. The dingy one remains on her neck. It probably has real significance. Her father died suddenly 5 years ago, so maybe there’s a connection. I usually wait for her to bring up sensitive topics.
    Thanks for the space to ramble on.

  6. Susan says:

    Cartier just happens to have a very stringy love bracelet With (teeny) Diamond for a meesley $700. With Various colored strings to select from! ( I made the mistake of walking by the Cartier store in Boston last Fall and was seduced by it — love! after all, with $200 going to one of a bunch of celebrity charities. You asked if Hermes had a greyish yellowish string; well Cartier has a yellow that would grey very nicely….(no, I don’t work there.) And they will Change your string at your command since you made such a charitable donation. Chez Cartier, you’re left not with a disgusting string but with an overpriced bauble ~

    • Merrill Markoe says:

      Wowee. You always seem to know where there is SOMETHING weird for sale. Thanks for the suggestion. It looks incredibly long lasting. All it needs is a little splash of yellow paint,and I can probably start wearing this one now straight through to the hereafter. Just as soon as I find seven hundred dollars I dont need for anything else, I am back in business!

    • Merrill Markoe says:

      I really enjoyed that Ricky Gervais/ Book Of Genesis clip…and all the more for the fact that we have been reading the R. Crumb illustrated Book Of Genesis around here the past few weeks which I highly recommend as well. The drawings are, as expected, fantastic but they are also a literal representation of the written text…which is pretty brilliant.