by Michael Kagan

P doesn't have a name yet. P is very lucky to have any referent at all.Even an initial. This is because P has to be called something. And an initialis a name which doesn't give clues. At least not alone. There are sexist,ethnic, and racist combinations of initials. Many of these acronyms arefamiliar (KKK NAZI NOW NAACP ERA LSD KGB USA SAM MIG ETC). Most inspirewhat might be called acronimical reactions, Pavlovian responses to combinationsof capitals. P's referent is not an acronym. P was not a popular girl'sname during the ascendance of Marilyn Monroe. P was not a popular lastinitial during the rise of the Black Muslims. P is never discovered masturbatingin a novel by Philip Roth.

P lives in a fairly large city with slums. P goes to a good (not excellent)university (herein called U). P is a Sophomore. P lives in an apartmentalone. Last year P lived in The Dorm with a roommate. The roommate didn'tlike P. P didn't like the roommate. This bothered the roommate who wasan open, loving, accepting human being with much sensitivity and a greatdepth of understanding. It didn't bother P. P, unlike the roommate, hadbeen in jail and knew that one does not have to like one's surroundings,animate or otherwise. P did not wish to be loved, accepted, or understoodby the roommate. P wanted the roommate to practice humanistic psychologyelsewhere. The roommate still lives in The Dorm.

P was in fights. When P was little, P got in fights for not acting little.When P was bigger, for not acting bigger. P didn't understand fightingthe way we understand it. P still thinks that violence is evil. P believesthat when one tries to use force on another to facilitate acquisition ofproperty, pleasure, power, etc. the other is being attacked by evil. Evil.P began as a pacifist. Then P realized that pacifism was contributing tothe use of force on P. Grade school is not a good breeding ground for pacifists.P fights now, and hates fighting. Don't mess with P. P hates fighting andis very good at it. When one is good at it, it doesn't take as long.

When P was in high school there was a problem with truancy. High schoolwas not (in this case) a good place for those that hate fighting. So Pdidn't go. This did not work out terribly well. The court put P on probationfor truancy, and then put P in detention for violating probation. P wasfifteen. One year later, P emerged from detention a better fighter. P thendropped (officially) out of high school. Tested into a GED, went to U.

Detention, which P refers to as Jail, is not a very good place for ayoung person to develop sexually. Things have an unpleasant tendency forsudden turns for the worse. Things have a tendency to be forced. We knowhow P feels about force. P got into many fights. P did not win them all.Because of this P left Jail (we will accept P's usage) a very distortedhuman being.

P sleeps from exhaustion and wakes from nightmares. P has no religion.

This is a slightly revised version of "P," originally publishedin Syzygy 4 (Cincinatti: Cincinnati Women's Press, Inc. 1979, p.6.)