A few years ago, my brother and I wrote a little book that was mostly a lot of ranting and raving. (Shocking, I know!) In it, however, I mentioned an interesting occurrence that went back many decades. Okay, three decades. Like, to the early 70's. At the time, I was hoping that some reader would be able to shed some light on its meaning. No one ever responded to it. Perhaps the six copies we sold wasn't enough to get the word out?

In any event, I was recently reminded of the strange occurrence and decided to share it again, to see if it evokes any response after all these years.

Here's the story.

It was the early '70's. I had quit my job working as a chemical engineer and was basically, let's see, what should I call it? I was... a bum. I had no job. I was living on my unemployment check, which, at the time, was about $25 dollars a week. I lived in an apartment near Harvard Square.

Life was good. If you've never been a bum, I'd suggest you give it a try It's a very interesting life. For one thing, you very soon forget about money. And, you get very clever about earning the few dollars that you need to pay the rent and to eat. And the rest of the time, you just sit around and do... uh, squat.

Coming up with the money for rent and food was a bit of a challenge, though. Here's how I solved those problems.

Obviously, the 25 bucks a week wasn't enough to pay the rent. But something interesting happened. I met a woman who had just moved into my building. She happened to mention that her apartment needed to be painted. But, the owner wouldn't paint it. But he would supply the paint. A ha! Perfect! I told her to get the paint and I would paint her apartment for her. She was thrilled.

She got the paint. I got a roller, a brush, and a few rags. And a few days later, her apartment was painted. She insisted on paying me for my efforts. She offered me $100. I accepted $50. After all, we were friends.

The next day, I was in business. I realized that she was but one of maybe 40 or 50 women who lived in the building, all of whom used the laundry in the basement.

My ad was in the laundry room. All it said was,

In one fell swoop, I had a source of income and an opportunity to meet 40 or 50 women. Oh, life was sooooo good!

Painting an apartment took one day and got me plenty of money to pay the rent and eat. Painting also left me with plenty of time to explore Harvard Square. And, "The Square" was definitely a place to explore - as it is today. So much to see; so much to do.

Coincidently, I once again live in Harvard Square as a bum. I've discovered that '70's were a far more tolerant decade for bums. But I digress.

Anyway, among my explorations was an interesting building. I walked past it every day on my way to the Square. I noticed it, because it was a beautiful building that, apparently, served as a residence.

However, on the lawn was a small sign that read, Transcendental Meditation. Now what could that be? I had seen people going in and out of the building. So, one day, I decided to explore. I walked in.

I was told that Transcendental Meditation, also known as "T.M.," was a meditation technique introduced by Krishnamurti, an Indian wise man. And if I returned with a flower or a piece of fruit, they would teach me his technique of meditation. Also, they would bestow upon me a "mantra," a word, or sound, that was just mine. By sitting cross-legged, eyes closed, thinking only of my mantra, I would reach Nirvana.

I signed up and began to meditate daily. (And I've continued to do so, lo these many years, by the way.)

In any event, I meditated for about three days. I did not leave my apartment. I just meditated, did some reading, and ate a meal or two. I found that I became very calm. I meditated some more.

Then, on the fourth day, something rather interesting happened.

I decided to go to The Square. When I was almost there, I noticed a woman walking toward me. Her eyes met mine and she stopped. She was quite a distance away. I kept walking and she kept looking at me. When I reached her, I stopped. Her eyes were staring at me intensely.

She said, "You should come out more often."

And she walked away.

I never saw her again. But. I've never forgotten her.

Very interesting.

Two weeks later, something far more curious happened.

I remember it so vividly, that it could have happened yesterday. I was sitting on my bed, legs crossed, hands in my lap, eyes closed. I was thinking my mantra. I had been sitting like this for quite some time-- long enough that I had either fallen asleep, or had been in a trance of some kind.

Suddenly, I either woke up or came out of the trance. I opened my eyes, and said aloud, "O me an As pi a vo dos."

Then, I said, "Who the hell is Omean Aspiavodos?"

I had no idea.

To this day, I have no idea who Omean Aspiavodos is. I have no idea what language I was speaking. But, I do believe strongly that it is a person's name.

I have wondered about this for 36 years.

So, on to my question for you, dear reader.

I ask all of you who read this:

Do you have any idea who Omean Aspiavodos might be? Or, what language I might have been speaking?

If you have any clue that might be helpful, please drop me a note.


Tom Magliozzi