Friday, September 23, 2005


Hello, little rabbits. Sincerest apologies for letting you alone this past week, leaving you to fend for yourself in the darkened thickets of the garden of Man. You may have asked yourself, "My lands, I wonder what happened to that nice fellow, Mr. American Mastodon?" You might have continued, "I do hope he is all right."

Well if it's worth anything to you, and I hope it is, I thank you for your possible concern. As it is, I am quite fine and happy as a clam. Now just how do you think that saying came about? Is it because clams smile? Or at the least appear to smile, what with the curvature of the opening of their respective shells? I would guess that's it, but I'm no malacologist (that's science-speak for a person who studies mollusks). Nor am I am an etymologist. In fact, I'm not really an ologist of any kind, save being an ologist of smoove, which makes me a smoove-ologist. However, I should note that smoove-ology is not considered by most universities a credible academic field, though gains have been made in recent years.

Gee, it's kind of hard to just jump back in to the tepid waters of the blogosphere. Actually, that's a lie. Blogging may be the easiest thing in the world. It's the shame of blogging that is hard to overcome, the nagging self-doubt and self-consciousness that whispers in your ear, "You know, asshole, if you didn't continue to live your life as though you imagined yourself to be a person that you are not then maybe we, meaning you and I, that is the person that you are and the person that you imagine yourself to be, wouldn't be here right now, or in other words, you would be doing something that your imagined self would find interesting and not, you see what I'm saying, blogging." But that voice is quickly quelled by the numbing drugs I've found myself addicted to and the soothing sounds of Sam Cook's greatest hits CD, a masterwork of an album and yet another valid justification of the Emancipation Proclamation. By my count, we're up to twelve; thirteen if you count Magic Johnson, which personally I don't. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

Do you remember that scene in Finding Forrester where Sean Connery has his misunderstood-because-he's a-cliched-poor-and-black student copy the beginning of one of Connery's character's works, so as to get the proverbial writing-ball rolling? And then the gambit works and the boy writes a fantastic piece of Revelatory Literature? Also, remember when Sean Connery says, "You're the man now, dawg?" That part was great. Anyway, seeing as how I don't have much more to write about and seeing as how I'd like to get into the groove of writing more in the upcoming weeks and months, I've decided to replicate a passage from the greatest American novel ever written, "The Moviegoer," by Walker Percy. I'm reading it again now for the fifth time, and it's true what they say: the good things in life only get better. Do they say that? I don't know. The only book I've ever read more times than "The Moviegoer" is "This Boy's Life" by Tobias Wolff. Now, at this point in my life, when I re-read "This Boy's Life," it is more of a personal mile marker than it is a revelatory experience, ie, reading certain passages of the book today at 25 invokes feelings and emotions I had at 16, 19, 23. It's like having a little bottle of the most memorable smells of your life and breathing again a girl's hair from when you were 18, the smell of the concrete when you fell and split open your head when you were 13, the smoldering flesh and exhaust fluid when you killed a deer with your car when you were 21. Ah, memories.

But re-reading "The Moviegoer" is still an exploration. I can still divine new truths from the writing; passages can still make me sit up and say, "Hey now Mr. Percy, this is a fine observation you've made and I'm thankful you've imparted it in such a fantastic way to me." For instance:

"There was a time when this was the last book on earth I'd have chosen to read. Until recent years, I read only 'fundamental' books, that is, key books on key subjects, such as War and Peace, the novel of novels; A Study of History, the solution of the problem of time; Schroedinger's What is Life?, Einstein's The Universe as I See It, and such. During those years I stood outside the universe and sought to understand it. I lived in my room as an Anyone living Anywhere and read fundamental books and only for diversion took walks around the neighborhood and saw an occasional movie. Certainly it did not matter to me where I was when I read such a book as The Expanding Universe. The greatest success of this enterprise, which I call my vertical search, came one night when I sat in a hotel room in Birmingham and read a book called The Chemistry of Life. When I finished it, it seemed to me that the main goals of my search were reached or were in principle reachable, whereupon I went out and saw a movie called It Happened One Night which was itself very good. A memorable night. The only difficulty was that though the universe had been disposed of, I myself was left over. There I lay in my hotel room with my search over yet still obliged to draw one breath and then the next. But now I have undertaken a different kind of search, a horizontal search. As a consequence, what takes place in my room is less important. What is important is what I shall find when I leave my room and wander in the neighborhood. Before, I wandered as a diversion. Now, I wander seriously and sit and read as a diversion."

It's like, wow, you know? The only difficulty was that though the universe had been disposed of, I myself was left over. There I lay in my hotel room with my search over yet still obliged to draw one breath and then the next. Walker, babe, I feel ya! Holla back!

Well, sorry to bore you, but if through this post I've led just one of you to a used copy of "The Moviegoer" and, in turn, a search of your own design, then I'll continue to be as happy as a clam. A couple of things before I give the 10-4: first, I wish Mr. T.J. Creekside the best of luck in whatever it is he's going to do now that's he's not "sponging", and I hope he'll come back and start writing soon. I've always enjoyed his site and his sensibilites. Keep on Truckin', Mr. Jackson! Drop the hammer!

And finally, because this post is over-long and tedious, I would like nothing more than to reward you all with this gift of mirth and joy. Toodles! And have a great weekend, little rabbits!


Danny Fisher said...

the soothing sounds of Sam Cook's greatest hits CD, a masterwork of an album and yet another valid justification of the Emancipation Proclamation

Yeah, I can tell you're a big fan by the way you misspelled Sam Cooke's name.

Mathis said...

What are you, a lawyer?

Danny Fisher said...

Maybe I am...and maybe I AM.