Monday, July 11, 2005

Steal This Blog (Oooops. My Paradigm is Showing)

Big Pat Daugherty and I caught a Giants game at La Nouvelle Candlestick yesterday. We did not actually catch it. It came at us in the way a soiled Depends might come at you when you are downwind of a hurricane tragedy, some oldster up-ended and then bare-ended in Force Three winds. The game came at us, and we let it pass, the Giants clowning it up just enough to lose.

Of course, speaking of up-ended oldsters, Big Pat Daugherty and I are somewhat hobbled by time, ourselves somewhat constrained in gait, somewhat entangled by the tangles in our DNA. Of course, the young girls can see what fine men we were once, but they are tourists in our ruins and pinch our cheeks and tell us milk toast isn't on the menu but All We Have to Do is Ask.

Oh we remember when All We Had to Do Was Ask, oh yeah, I mean All We Had to Do was Ask.

But we have forgotten the question.

Anyway after the game we stopped for beer -- which our prostates which if externalized would resemble W.C. Fields nose bade us surrender almost immediately. We stopped for beer and talked about our novels in progress, and we agreed -- we agreed -- that even in the unlikely event that our novels were published, praised and robustly successful, that is, if in short in the shadow of our dotage we suddenly became a bit of a name with a bit of a bank account....

My god it's too late it wouldn't matter. We have our simple lives. We have our complicated women. Small to moderate fame and fortune would change nothing. We would go on as we have, being too close to the end to point our nose in a new direction. And huge fame and fortune would only confuse us and make us play the fool since that capacity is a thing that only increases with age more's the pity more's the wisdom.

I thought to myself: here's a little plot for a story. Someone like me at my age being given the opportunity to inhabit the last years in the life of a famous writer, you know, a jump a transference into the middle of someone else's life, keeping one's own sense of self, too, being given the ability to be two in one. Oh we've seen this little story before, of course. You become someone else and discover it's not so wonderful after all. Suddenly you're trapped in the life of the genius and learn he is filled with despair that he can't do what he once did. He remembers being really good but has forgotten how to do it. Or perhaps he still can do it but is dying and doesn't have time to do it. The variations are endless. The lesson always has to be the same: The grass isn't greener. I had a Wonderful Life, didn't I Clarence. How do I get back to Kansas?

It would be just too subversive, wouldn't it, if you jumped into the skin of someone supposedly better wiser smarter happier and discovered they were in fact better wiser smarter happier. And you got to stay in their skin and reaped every benefit of being Not You at last there's your happy ending. That would be avant garde, wouldn't it?

Avant garde. Nobody uses that expression any more, do they?

So having run through this little mind game, rolling seven when eight was the point, I open my New Yorker today and read that the late Roald Dahl -- taken from us at 74; only a baby -- in his writing cottage kept:

on a side table, a jar containing gristly bits of his own spine, which had been removed during an operation on his lower back. Next to the jar was a waxy-looking knob that turned out to be Dahl’s hip bone, along with a titanium replacement.

Me and Big Pat: I'm okay he's okay. We still right now at this point in time only show our gristly bits to those we love.


Anonymous said...

Well, an RSS feed. Thanks for making it easier for us to find your deep thoughts. We think.

Cassandra & Steve

Anonymous said...

Jayzus, I thought you were dead. This explains why you always carry that thimbleful of dirt with you.