Iesus iterum salvat

That's Latin for "Jesus saves again". For some reason the concept of Latin headlines of the form "<noun> iterum <verb>" is appealing to me at the moment. I've just made a followup to a post of mine on the Rat Bike Zone entitled "The columbine touch", using the headline "columbus iterum tactat" ("Pigeon touches again"). Also, I thought that the headline "Jesus saves again" in English might make people think it was a boring religious page and put them off. It's not supposed to be boring, and I don't want to give a false impression of it. Or they might think it's some kind of Jesus-based football joke, or possibly a football-based Jesus joke. Well, it's not one of them either. It's a story about a bloke who has a heart attack and doesn't call an ambulance, plus a bunch of other stuff.

So why would I be choosing such a title in the first place? Well, I was sitting down to breakfast yesterday when I experienced a peculiar sensation in my ribs similar to the effects of Coxsackie B virus. Er, that's probably not a very helpful description... As I understand it, Coxsackie B is one of those things that everyone has - I think that's "has all the time but it doesn't do anything" as opposed to "catches at some point in their life", but I could be wrong there - and never notices, or maybe gets a bit of gutsache but only the once and it's just an ordinary gutsache. However, on one or two people it does something quite different. You get these attacks of pain in your chest wall which come on out of the blue and the slightest movement of your rib cage hurts like fuck, so you can't breathe. It's quite frightening. I had it as a kid and my mum didn't believe my weird symptoms were real and sent me to school anyway, where I proceeded to freak the fuck out of the teachers by not breathing at them and got sent home again. Being a virus there's no treatment, but fortunately it doesn't last very long and just stops happening after a bit, which it duly did.

So, that's what I felt as I sat down to breakfast today. Not quite the same as Coxsackie B, didn't stop me breathing, not so widespread and not so symmetrical - more on the right side, but still unpleasant. And I felt a bit dizzy. I checked my pulse - oops, once every two seconds perhaps and barely detectable. Oh, fuck. So I called out "Help, Jesus" and legged it for the bed. As I lay there I heard the crash as a brand new dual-core AMD64 PC and a Hewlett Packard LaserJet II with no paper tray and a dud fuser lamp, disturbed by my hasty passage, finally lost their stability and hit the deck. But I didn't care. I was seeking refuge in Jesus and in the horizontal position.

Then I checked my pulse again. It was back to normal.

Far out.

Thankyou Lord.

(And, as noted in the first paragraph, no ambulance. What's the point? The thought of grabbing the phone did occur to me, but my response was "fuck the phone, I don't need it". Where's the ambulance that can provide a complete cure in five seconds? Clue: not in the NHS and you don't get it by dialling 999.)

So, that explains half of it. What's with the "again"? Well, to explain that we have to go back several years, to the time when I had a certain partiality for amphetamines. I was somewhat fucked up at the time in various ways, and it would still be some years yet before I would acknowledge, let alone worship, the reality of Jesus - a point of importance, as you will see. Don't touch the whiz now, not for years - can't stand the thought of it, indeed - but I used to be rather fond of it, and one day I took too much. This had what one might suppose to be the disconcerting result that my heart stopped beating. But I was not disconcerted, being so fucked up that I thought it was going to be interesting. So I just collapsed on the floor and waited to see what was going to happen.

What happened was that a voice, which I failed to identify correctly at the time, told me quite clearly and distinctly that I couldn't go yet because I still had stuff to do here. My heart started beating again and my normal functioning returned. I laid off the whiz for a bit, but not very long, and then proceeded to act on my incorrect identification of the source of the voice with the effect of increasing my upfuckedness index by at least an order of magnitude. Once this became apparent, a process which was woefully slow, I fucked the whiz off for good but then entered a peculiar state in which for about eight years I completely avoided anything remotely sexual. No women, obviously; no women just as friends either, which is a bit odd given that I did have quite a lot of women friends and had previously got on with them a bit better and felt slightly more comfortable hanging out with them than with my male friends - not so many major differences in outlook, I guess, given that an awful lot of blokes make me feel embarrassed to be a bloke myself. No masturbation, not even any looking at Page 3 (not that I read the Sun - or any newspaper, come to that - but the front pages displayed on newspaper racks are pretty much like Page 3 these days anyway...) - yoost fock notting. Looking back on it now it does feel pretty strange, but it didn't at the time.

It was somewhere before the middle of this period that events moved such that I could no longer fail to acknowledge the reality of Jesus, and belief grew pretty fast once I'd made the first leap. Not, it has to be said, the flavour of belief that one would expect from one who makes such a leap through such as the Alpha course or the local church. I can't say I'm much of a churchgoer, my worship is private - and in any case I can't see myself as anything other than a total social misfit in any ordinary congregation. I don't find in my faith a projection of St Paul's sexual hangups, nor of the American government's hangups about psychoactive substances. What is left of my hair grows in a manner more reminiscent of Jesus Himself than the average churchgoer, and I don't seek to deny the Babylonian nature of the modern world. If you were going to call me anything I guess you'd have to call me a white Rastafarian. My beliefs are much more closely aligned with Rastafarian thinking than with mainstream Christianity.

Nothing wrong with that, of course. Jesus isn't bothered about the differences between people's faiths as long as they do have faith. The truth is different for every believer anyway, which is partly why the Bible is written the way it is - so it can mean the appropriate different things to its different readers. And it does explicitly tell us not to quibble over such differences. People tend to imagine that you're giving up a lot of freedom of thought and action, but that's not so at all. If anything, you gain more. The most you can say in the way of loss of freedom is that you are of your own volition giving up freedom to be a cunt, and it's a bit difficult to regard that as a problem.

So, having discovered Jesus, I was now able to correctly identify the source of the voice I had heard all those years ago. I must say it was good to know. On the other hand it did raise the question of what it was that I had to do that made it unworkable for me to have died at that point. My assumption at the time had been connected with my misidentification of the voice and the subsequent fuckup events; the nature of the fuckup had made it pretty clear that the assumption had been wrong, and I had put the matter to the back of my mind and ceased to consider it. Even after finding Jesus I still failed to consider it. I merely assumed that He would let me know at the appropriate time, probably by me suddenly coming to the realisation one day that I was now doing whatever it was.

As it turned out, Jesus appears to have thought "Ah, Pigeon believes now. We can start the next stage..." much earlier than my own assessment of myself would have led me to expect to be possible. Somewhere in the depths of my mind, a few crucial flag bits which had been firmly set during the aforementioned fuckup period were gently and inconspicuously reset. Unused neurons shook off the cobwebs and began to do the ion exchange dance once more. Old modules were dragged out of the recesses of the filesystem, dusted down, given the odd patch and quietly linked into the currently running kernel. Configuration files were updated with revised settings and certain hitherto almost entirely unused components were installed and activated.

Once my stage of belief had got out of the "exciting new" period I began to notice myself having certain dreams. Indeed, such dreams had happened once or twice before I was a believer, but with much less clarity and vividness. I rarely dream at all and these particular dreams were notable by being about the only ones I ever had, despite their relative infrequency, maybe once a month or even more widely spaced. Of course, Jesus being a great one for the cryptic unobvious stuff that you have to work out for yourself, I had no idea what was going on. I had not the slightest suspicion of Jesus being involved and evinced a distinct preference for my normal dreamless condition. I tended to wake up with thoughts along the lines of "oh for fuck's sake, not again", push it to the back of my mind and try and forget it had happened. With, it has to be said, considerable success... certainly sufficient success that for a long time it escaped my notice entirely that the dreams all had the same fundamentally important and highly noteworthy feature in common, or indeed in most cases as the only feature of any kind - a fact which would seem starkly incredible were I to transfer a representative example of such a dream to video and make it available for the reader to view (a concept which must remain hypothetical, since even were the technology available to perform such a feat its desirability would still be questionable to say the least - some revelations are for public consumption, like John's, and some are private, like me - depends on stuff like whether they would provide a useful message to anyone other than whoever it is who receives them). Indeed, it is only in retrospect that I have been able to remove the blinkers and make a true identification of the nature of these dreams.

And so matters rested for some considerable time. Time during which I obtained an MZ TS250/1, pigeonised the electrical system, put it on the road, pigeonised other bits of it, and rode it to various ratbike events... time during which I made use of the internet to further my interest in Barclay James Harvest and posted regularly on the Pistonheads motoring forum, to which I had been introduced by another BJH fan. And my membership of this forum would prove to be highly significant.

The abovementioned common factor in my dreams, private though the revelation may be, does not pass entirely without mention in the news media, and it is possible, though I am unable to make a reliable estimate of the degree of possibility, that had my interaction with the media not been limited to watching Doctor Who by downloading it off P2P networks and the occasional glimpse of the news on someone else's telly then I would have identified said factor at an earlier date. But this did not happen. It was my motoring-related activities which were to provide the answer.

The Pistonheads forum is dedicated to the car and all things car-related, and has many sub-fora not only for enthusiasts of different makes of car but also for all kinds of other motoring-related chat. One may note that the sub-forum for classic cars is called "Yesterday's Heroes", due to the presence on the site of certain highly enthusiastic Barclay James Harvest fans. But even a website populated entirely by petrolheads can't keep everyone focussed on cars all the time and so there is another sub-forum by the name of "The Pie and Piston" which acts as a virtual pub in which members can yak about all kinds of non-motoring cack. And it was in the Pie and Piston that the revelation took place. Some random member, acting on who knows what impulse, posted a URL to a very specific subset of media output which had never before come to my attention. Pigeon, bimbling about the forum, clicks on the thread, then while waiting for the server to get its arse in gear and deliver the page, hits the "Page Down" button a few times through some apparently random impulse. The result of this keyboard interaction was that when the page finally loaded, it immediately scrolled itself down to the point where the common factor in my dreams was identified right before my eyes.

Turn the key and you'll open the door...

The reader might be forgiven for thinking that at this point I made some such utterance as "Fucking arseholes!" and proceeded to act on the information in some way. But such a thought would not be in accordance with reality. Remember that at this point I had not made the connection between Jesus and the dreams, and for years I had been suppressing the knowledge of their existence, indeed doing so with great effectiveness. My intended reaction was along the same lines as would have been expected had the information not been of such personal importance... brief look, "oh right", hit Page Down again, and carry on doing the same down the rest of the thread, like any other thread that I'm not particularly interested in and am only reading because I'm bored.

But my suppression capabilities were working against a force too great to be denied. I could not react like that. I looked at the significant thread for some considerable time. I poked through a few more threads, but my concentration was gone. I returned to the significant thread and read it again, this time in even less haste. Then I looked at the clock, swore, went out for unconnected reasons previously planned, came back a couple of hours later - and read the thread again. What was happening to me? I would not normally find such a thread of any particular interest. I started checking metadata and immediately found something which might be useful as a Google search term. It was - Google produced. Oh, far out, look at all this. <click>... <read>... <click>... <read>... Ah, I see, OK, so for every nugget of gold we have to wade through ten tons of shite written by the ignorant and the brain-dead, but Google's always like that... <refine search>... that's better, shit still present but at minimal levels, majority of search results good. <click>... <read>... <click>... <read>... Far... Out. And to think I never knew. But now I am a happy pigeon. Oh, am I a happy pigeon.

Oh... fuck me. I did know, and I pretended I didn't. Oh fuck, those dreams. Shit on a stick. Infrequent though they be, I have a fairly highly developed capability to determine which of my dreams are just dreams and which ones relate to the waking world. What was I at trying to pretend it wasn't happening? If only I'd taken notice before. And that media link on Pistonheads - seems to date back a few years, according to the metadata. I could have been aware all along but I wouldn't let myself be. Oh, Lord, what was I at?

Not only that. If I look back over the years I can now spot occasional indications that one day this was going to happen. Not very many, and years apart. Of course they did not seem to relate to anything at the time, but nevertheless they seem to have lodged in my somewhat unconventional memory in such a way as to be recalled when later information allows for their correct interpretation. And I can't seem to find anything earlier than, durrr, Thatcher's second term or thereabouts... which the internet seems to indicate is what one should expect, though I can't myself see Thatcher having any more than the most tenuous, peripheral and non-causative connection.

Well, now I do know. So what to do...? I guess it is only to be expected that my current knowledge now indicates that we are presented with one of those conundrums which at first sight appears to be a straightforward everyday situation but once one looks into the details turns out to be a situation of major arseache in which the usual solutions are inapplicable or even counterproductive. Seems that my expertise in computers is of minimal assistance, in electronics of none, and in vehicle engineering only to the extent of ensuring that I have personal transport available in case of need. What else have I got? ...What's in my head... er, well, I can take photographs and I can write stuff. Is that any use? Dunno about the photographs. Possibly, I suppose, though not right now unless my existing collection is useful for advertising purposes of some kind. Writing is more the thing. I can yak on for ages, as you have probably noticed. And I can do it any time and anywhere, I don't have to be stood in a particular spot hoping it doesn't cloud up before the Sun comes round another degree and gives me a natural spotlight on that shepherd's hut, or whatever.

Update: Just over a year after the discovery on Pistonheads, and nine months after I first wrote this page, this assessment stands. Computers: show a distinct tendency to do my fucking head in. Electronics: irrelevant. Vehicles: well my Volvo 164 has proved its worth. Photographs: trying to think what I meant by "advertising" and have no idea what I was on about there... Writing: if you include hrefs and img tags, word count is about a tenth of a Bible's worth by now, and the next paragraph is amusingly outdated...

Only problem is I CAN'T THINK WHAT TO FUCKING WRITE. I've tried to write something already and it wasn't any good. I can burble on for ages about nothing much, but as soon as I try to write the important sort of thing that I apparently need to, the stuff I come out with doesn't work. And I can't think what to write that would be more comprehensible. So I'm not bloody going to. There's no point writing if all I can write is shit. I'm obviously trying to do it at the wrong time so I shall sit it out until I receive the appropriate inspiration and find myself capable of writing something important which doesn't come out as incomprehensible shit. Until then I shall stick to burbling on on my website, like this.

There is a bit in the Bible where Jesus says something to the effect of "If you're going to follow Me, you'd better be sure you can take it, because there's some heavy shit going to go down". He's right. Knowing all this and not being able to come up with anything useful to do about it is indeed some pretty heavy shit. Now that I know, I need to do something about it and I want to do it right now. If I could think of the right thing to write it might even be possible to take some major steps in the minimal time available before the Barclay James Harvest convention and gig in Wolverhampton tomorrow. I think the MZ would still be up to getting me there on time. But all I can come up with is a web page of wibble.

But a bit later on Jesus also says "...but don't worry about it, because My yoke is easy and My burden is light". Light and heavy at the same time... yeah, right. This is some peculiar gravitational anomaly, is it? So thinks the unbeliever... the unbeliever is wrong. Jesus is right. Light. Lots of it. Only heavy in the sense that light gas oil is slightly heavier than kerosene or paraffin... and it is of course well known that if you wanna run cool, you got to run on diesel fuel.

It's not perhaps the sort of thing one normally thinks of as a gift from Jesus. But when He saves my life twice in order to make sure I'm around for it there can't be much doubt. Not that there was anyway.

You're nobody's fool, it feels so right...

Thankyou Lord. Oh, Lord, thankyou Lord.

Don't look back, and don't you worry
You can't live for yesterday
Open door into tomorrow
You have to face it and break away

That was then, this is now...

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