Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Portrait of the Artist as an Erstwhile, Sentimental, Excruciatingly Young Man

In preparing to move, I have embarked on a magnificient purge of all manner of things, which has in turn led me to examine things I have not examined in some time. I have two things to share.

First, on a loose sheet of paper buried in the bottom of a paper drawer I never use (paper? how quaint!) I found on the top half a proposed paper outline, dating it as an undergraduate notation, and on the bottom half what appears to be a draft of a card I recall sending to my first love's parents on the occasion of her 21st birthday. I'll spare you the outline, because it's evidently responsive to Aristophanes (and haven't we all had enough of that), but the draft of the note to my ex-'s parents is just too rich to pass up.

It would seem improper to celebrate R___'s birthday without doing anything for you. It has taken only a fraction of our six months together for me to realize what wonderful parents you are and have been. And imagine: to have had her, watched her grow into the amazing person she is, for twenty one years! Thank you for having such a superlative daughter, and for welcoming me as you have.

I suppose it would be redundand to tell you that her parents thought I was the bees knees, even for a couple of years after we broke up. They were truly fantastic, and R___ still is (albeit in a decidedly married way, now), but still -- was I ever so credulous, so earnest?

To leaven the perception of me I fear this creates, I'll reach back even further, to another stationery drawer find, a series of leaves which plainly were typed, and thus betray their origin as sometime in high school, lo nearly fifteen years ago. Each fragment, each false start, appears on a separate leaf, and the effect of reading them is something like skimming a flipbook. Asterisks separate the leaves as arranged below, in the order in which I found them.

"Jack, you listening to me man?"
"What, Peter? I mean I got blood and gore on the box, a beer in my hand -- what could you possible have to tell me, pray tell."

[There is, to be fair, an indication that this page followed another, so who knows how the box got bloody and gorey and why beer is relevant. Note, however, Jack's use of Elizabethan language notwithstanding the blood, gore, box, and beer. That obviously was carefully constructed to signal poise and erudition in equal measure.]

* * *

A massive semi, highlighted in neon purple light, sped by at no less than ninety miles per house, kickingup a curtain of indifferent vitriol over the reinforced mylar shell of his aging jacket. He ducked his head, turtle-like, and paused to listen as the strange whine of the electric rig was pulled off into the rainy night, it's [sic] noiise so fine, so insistent as to avoid almpost any trasce opf doppler diostortion.

[Here we learn that I wasn't so craven as to shy away from setting stories in a remote future when hitchikers and the like wear mylar (Back to the Future II, anyone?) and electric propulsion has advanced to a point that it can propel tractor trailors to homicidal speeds. Also note the personifying attribution of "indifference" to "vitriol," all of which, I'm sure you can agree, adds up to "water." Needless to say, my optimism about alternative energy sources failed to anticipate the Bush 43 administration. Also, do turtles "duck?" Well, I guess they do when they're being pelted by the interstate wake of an environmentally friendly truck. I also suspect I wasn't then the 90 wpm typist I am now.]

* * *

Rthe night opught to be a time during which al;l are welcome.

[Because, as everyone knows, the night belongs to Michelob.]

* * *

["]Hey! You need a beer there buddy?" He was prayin, visibly prayi that his buddy wouldn't. He most wanted to tell, this was plai evident.

[So, think my teenage self was overly optimistic about what life would be like once he was legally able to drink in bars? I do.]

And that's all I got. So far. I can't wait to see what else this systematic purge unearths.


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