So here’s my unsettling self-realization of the week. I feel so bad making a fuss about myself that if I were drowning, I would absolutely wait for the lifeguard to happen to look my way, and maybe ask if everything was quite all right, before I’d cry out for help. I wouldn’t want to demand their attention just for my petty issues like “breathing”. This could be a problem if I ever go into any water deeper than our goldfish pond again.
I do not know how it is I came to have a copy of the American Face Brick Association’s 1922 tome The Story Of Brick: The Permanence, Beauty, and Economy of the Face Brick House. The title alone, though, is so much the parody of the sort of thing that I would read that I had to go back and check whether I had made a joke about my getting a book like this. Of course I have. I have done this more than once. Within the last ten weeks.
I can only dimly imagine how ridiculous actually reading this is going to be. It starts well, though:
“If we possessed the story-telling magic of Sir Walter or of Dumas, the elder, we could write a best seller on the subject of brick, which most people think of as very commonplace. ”
I recognize when an “if” is pulling a load.
It has been over twenty years since I last believed I spelled “gauge” correctly, even with looking it up.
Me, from the middle of March through this past week: You know, it’s weird that the remote-login system I use to get in to the office computers has been this sluggish ever since the pandemic and everybody else having to work from home too. I wonder what’s changed.
Anyway we bought a new router for our house so I’m sure this will fix everything.
You know that thing where you think back to the way you used to think? And you just can’t understand something about yourself? Like, there’s something you would have absolutely figured you would have cared about, and you cannot find any evidence that you did at all? Yeah, so I’m having one of those moments. Like, 1983 was the 400th full year since Pope Gregory’s reform of the calendar, so it was the first time that the modern calendar had experienced its full 400-year cycle. There is no way this wouldn’t be interesting to the young me, someone who still remembers where he was the day he heard Pluto had passed within the orbit of Neptune for the first time in 230 years. And yet … I have not the faintest memory of thinking of this fact at all in 1983. What’s going on there, you know? Seriously.
So it’s not that I did not have problems with the premise of The Fly. I had exactly the problem anyone would think of regarding it: if the transporter pod will merge Seth Brundle with the fly that’s in there, why would it not also merge Brundle with the many microorganisms in the air and in his body? And microorganisms necessarily in his body, that couldn’t be handled by a sterile transporter pod environment? But no, the thing is that this movie came out the summer after I was done with middle school. Yes, I was as done with middle school as it is possible to be. But I escaped having this be a reason people treated me in middle school like that for the second-best of possible reasons.
I’ve had some time this week to sit in a room with no particular expectations or Wi-Fi and so that’s got me all introspective. So this is going to be hard. I’ve gotten around to thinking of my middle school experience. Here are some things that, on reflection, I think contributed to that whole scenario.
So you know there was a Pac-Man cartoon in the early 80s, where Pac-Man and Pac-Family hang around Pac-Land, occasionally eating ghosts and sometime getting chopmed by them. So, there was this episode where the Ghosts got their hands on the Pac-Space-Shuttle. Unless that was the Space-Pac-Shuttle. Honestly not sure at this remove. Anyway, they harvest all the Pac Pellets in the world from off the Pac-Trees. They flew this whole load to, I believe, the Pac-Moon. I know what you’re thinking and no, I was not bothered that the Pac-Space-Pac-Shuttle might land on the Pac-Moon. It would be a gross presumption of us to suppose that the design limits of our space shuttle necessarily apply to the Pac-Space-Pac-Shuttle-Pac in this fictional universe, however much they seem superficially similar. (Oh, this is helping me see why other bloggers treat me like that.) No, what bothered me is that in the face of this Pac-Pellet shortage caused by the world harvest being stolen, Pac-Man, in space, eats the entire contents of the Space-Shuttle-Pac, every power pellet in the world, all at once, when we’d seen in other episodes that one was enough for him to chomp ghosts. Two, if he needed to be really confident in his ghost-eating powers. And that is what bothered me: this unnecessary gluttony would make the power pellet shortage continue for at least a full growing season. And these Pac-Pellets are the fruits of Pac-Trees. This is going to screw up geenrations of trees to come. I was very cross with Pac-Man over this.
On the evening news they would always talk about what the New York Stock Exchange had done that day. And yet they never mentioned the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, which I supposed had to exist, or Los Angeles or San Francisco or anywhere else. Yes, I grew up in the New York metro area so of course the local stock market might be of interest but this injustice extended to the national news, and surely there must be some days that, like, the Saint Louis Stock Exchange had the most exciting stock-related exchanging going on.
[ I would like to emphasize that I am not reading my current weirdness back into the young me. These are as best as I am able reconstructions of thoughts I had in the mid-80s. ]
According to the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons manual if exactly the right things lined up you could just be a vapor, forever, and everyone would just have to let you play like that.
So in South River, New Jersey, there was this liquor store, and its sign was this representation of beloved drunk neighbor Thirsty from the beloved comic strip Hi and Lois. And I thought it was wild and belovable that in all the world we happened to be not too far off from the world’s only Hi and Lois-themed liquor store. And wondered at how much money must have changed hands for Thirsty’s Liquor to be set up in this really very average beloved Middlesex County town.
Also every power pellet in the Pac-World fit into one Space-Pac-Shuttle Cargo-Pac-Bay? Space shuttles aren’t that big.
Sure, we all have urged the rain rain to go away and come again some other day. But why was there no chant to urge the rain to come today, when nothing particularly needing dry conditions is going on, and thereby forestall rain coming some inconvenient later date? We need a certain amount of rain per year and there’s no good reason not to rush to get that done when the day’s already all wet.
While I do not think this very incomplete list justifies the whole of my middle school experience I am forced to admit that, yeah, everybody kind of had a point there.