Surreal moments can still access universal truths.
We were really young, and really stoned. Perceptions were distorted, situations were funny, words were insufficient. We sought truths, but they were warped, stretched. “You can only catch a unicorn with virgin dental floss,” one of us said. It was partly true: only virgins could tame unicorns. But, they didn’t catch them with dental floss.
It became an inside joke, between the two of us. Code words for something silly but true, wrong but right, righteous intentions misinterpreted or distorted, sanity in an insane world, absurd things being true at the core, irony, the ridiculous become sublime. A private joke between friends, a shared meaning. “You had to have been there.”
Since then our friendship has waxed and waned. Right now it has waned, and I am sorry for that. “Virgin dental floss” reminds me of shared, unique experiences we never forget, of the ties that bind us. Of deep and abiding affection despite the ravages of time and circumstance. How we can say, “I know you,” after decades apart. Of loss, and grief, and how relationships can run their course.
“Virgin dental floss” also reminds me of youth, humor, and fun. It reminds me of irony, of silliness, of how a loss of control that can lead to strange and amazing insights and creativity. It reminds me to loosen up, let go, let my mind wander. Unique and cool things happen when I do.