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#3719 - Thursday, November 19, 2009 - Editor: Jerry Katz

The Nonduality Highlights

Hot off the presses .... Gary Crowley has a new book out, Pass the Jelly: Tales of Ordinary Enlightenment, a rich and funny memoir. A portion of the first chapter is featured. I'll be posting more. I think you'll enjoy this. If you do, the whole book is like this. It's very good.    


Pass the Jelly

Tales of Ordinary Enlightenment


Gary Crowley

Note To Readers

This book is a memoir. Thus, everything in it is absolutely true, except
for the stuff that isn’t. Certain people and events are compilations, and
some names have been changed. Rest assured, the core and essence of
these laugh-out-loud wisdom tales are intact.

Pass the Jelly

A long chain of cause and effect had led to my being where I was,
and while this is true for everyone all the time, I knew it wasn’t personal.
It never is. And knowing this allowed me to soak in the entire

I happened to be sitting on the divider between the buzzing north and
southbound lanes of Interstate 5, California’s busiest freeway.
The first rain of the season had come the night before. It brings back
to life the dormant oil in the roads, and the freshly greased pavement
becomes akin to the black ice I grew up with in New england.
The water, the oil, and the hydroplaning cars had made me one of
the inevitable accident statistics of the day.

The sun hammered against the morning drizzle as I sat and
watched drivers race past me. It was inspiring. Despite the wrecks
of cars that lined their route, these drivers were still willing to flirt
with the razor-sharp edge of Newton’s unforgiving laws of motion. I
found myself impressed, as I often am, by the unflinching optimism
of the human spirit.

To my left, my freshly crumpled car was being raised into the air
by a tow truck. I’d already done the ritualistic exchange of insurance
information with the woman who had helped make my accident
possible. She was perfectly nice, but we both knew our time together
was fleeting. Although brief, our relationship was intense and memorable,
which is more than many people share. When she merged
back into her regular life, as I knew she must, it seemed predestined.
The requisite stocky-cop-with-a-mustache had already come and
gone. The first rain was his busiest day of the year, so my experiencing
of him as a stoic, heavily armed cliché was all he had time for. I’m
sure by the end of his work day I would no doubt be filed deep in his
memory banks as another forgettable motorist. All things considered,
our mutually uneventful experience was probably a good thing
when it comes to encounters with law enforcement.

With a wave of his hand, the tow truck driver signaled to me that
it was time for us to go. I walked over and stepped into the passenger
side of the truck.

“Where to?” asked the driver, with the name Jim on his light blue

“Well, Jim,” I said, “I’m not really sure.”

“Name’s not Jim. Jim quit. His shirt fit.”

His words were spoken in a kind but indifferent manner that I
found oddly refreshing. I waited for his true identity to be revealed,
but nothing came. He wasn’t giving me much to work with, and
technically he did say his name was not Jim, so Not Jim was what I
went with.

“I guess we should bring the car to an auto body shop. Then
the insurance company can decide what they want to do with it,” I

“Yep,” said Not Jim.

“Do you know any reputable shops in the area?”


I realized Not Jim required a bit more precision than your average
Not Joe.

“Do you have any friends who own auto body shops in the area?”
I asked.

“Dave’s Auto Body is about seven miles away. He’s as good as
any other.”

“That’d be great,” I confirmed.

Those were the last words Not Jim and I spoke on our ride. For
the next seven miles we sat in some of the most comfortable silence
I’ve ever experienced.

I must admit that I was intrigued by the way of Not Jim. Everybody
has a way, but Not Jim had that little something extra you don’t
run into every day. Once he caught my attention, I was fascinated.
I forgot all about my recently compacted vehicle destined for the
crusher. I was now fully present with my driver.

I noticed that Not Jim gripped the steering wheel in a way that
was relaxed, but also precise. You can tell a lot about a person from
their hands, and he had the hands of a poet. Don’t get me wrong—
they weren’t delicate by any means, but you could tell they had a
sensitivity that allowed him to meet each task with the exact amount
of tension or force required. No more, no less.

Not Jim was the type who shook your hand and matched the firmness
of your grip perfectly. He didn’t give you the dead fish handshake
of someone who is not going to be present with you, nor was he the
vice grip kind of guy who was there to impose himself on others. Not
Jim was my kind of guy. He was a modern-day wrangler out rescuing
humanity’s strays on their daily cattle drive to and from work. He
was over the drama of it all, and his calmness helped his passengers
realize the obvious fact that car accidents are just part of life.

During our drive I realized what a deep spiritual practice being
a tow truck driver could be. For someone so inclined, it would be
impossible not to gain a profound perspective on life. Day after day
you show up at scenes where, only moments earlier, fates of life
and death had been dealt. You would be intimately involved with
the sleek, new cars that had been crushed into accordion-like sculptures.

Even simple scenes of people leaning against a broken-down
vehicle would continually reinforce the futility of resisting what is.
For a man with the hands of a poet, driving a wrecker would probably
not be a bad way to go. Not Jim’s workday carried the repeating
lesson that life gives us each a full range of experiences, whether we
like it or not.

 Pass the Jelly

Tales of Ordinary Enlightenment


Gary Crowley

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