Monday, June 23, 2008

"Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true."

Demosthenes

Future Explanations

Belief in the supernatural
is a condition in which
causes are attributed
to the unperceived.

I'm not raising my daughter to believe in supernatural causes,
instead I hope to impart the wonder of the natural, and
an abiding affection for humans;
maybe even dreams for what
we can make of ourselves.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I briefly smell smoke

10:40am, knee deep in work
Antiseptic style of a
High tech office park
all around me, surrounded.

10:40am, I briefly smell smoke
then nothing, only coffee
and plastic.
I get up and walk around,
nothing.

10:45am, back at desk
smelling smoke again
realizing its all in my head
listening to tracks about
sticky smoke, and delayed exhales.

10:50am finished this
and the attention broke the spell
no more imaginary smells
just coffee and plastic.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Goldilocks Spot

Coffee too strong this morning,
yesterday too weak.I need the goldilocks spot.
Waiting for the day
when coffee brews up
just right.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I'm your dad (picture enclosed)

Dear Baby,

I'm your dad (picture enclosed).

Love
Dad.


---

My father was not an eloquent man, nor was he dependable, both illustrated well by this letter received by my mother four weeks after my birth. He was not altogether useless to me though. He was a genius. Specifically he was a mathmatical genius. So the nature variable of the equation was much stronger than the nuture.

I did not meet him in person until I was in late elementary school, middle school in some places. He had heard from my mother, she gave him monthly updates in response to his checks, that I had started learning algebra. At this, he immediately took sabatical and came to meet me. He stayed with us for the next three months doing nothing but, in his words, "properly introducing you to the numerical". My mother pulled me out of school for the duration. She did this without hesitation which at the time I did not notice, but now that I'm older with grown children, I marvel at her. How did she know?

I remember those three months as intense and exciting. I met my dad for the first time. He spent every day with me, and never bored or tired of it. We talked about numbers all the time. Not always directly, but in some way my father used every moment we had to awaken me to the numerical. We took field trips. We camped out during rush hour on the side of the road with hot dogs and Dr. Pepper, counting traffic and patterns, then went home and analyized our findings. Everything felt like discovery and the world around me seemed understandable for the first time. I came out of that three month visit a different person. I loved having a father even for just three months.

He left as suddenly as he had come. One day his mind seemed to wonder and he spent an unusual amount of time by himself. The next day he shook my hand, hugged me, and quickly walked to the waiting car. He had a breakthrough idea and had called the University. They sent a car. I didn't see him again until I presented my doctoral thesis.

After his visit, I went back to school and found everything to be suddenly slow and obvious. The math teacher made me a tutor for the other children. This is how I remember math classes in school, teaching the other kids for four years what my father had shown me in three months.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Remember Tommy

Tommy was killed by debris. He was hit just after getting off shift at Dreamers, the adult video store off the interstate near campus. It was June first, hot as hell, and he had two hours to get home, eat, smoke-out, masturbate, get to his second job, and clock in. IHOP management is very time sensitive. So he was in a hurry.

Tommy was hit on the top of his head midway from the video store door to his car. His friend and dealer, Jeremy, says it was the same spot JFK was hit, but it wasn't, plus one was a bullet and one was a huge metal tank. Tommy was crushed to a pulp, smoothie grade. No large chunks, nothing for his mother to cry over but a wet sticky mess in an adult video store parking lot. She was always so happy that he hadn't gone to Iraq, but he was killed by debris, space debris no less. The formal NASA spokesperson sent Tommy’s mom a letter indicating that a holding tank jettisoned from one of the final shuttle launches got thrown off course by a freak series of atmospheric disturbances. That is how the report read, "disturbances." You clearly don't investigate "a freak series of atmospheric disturbances"; you just send flowers and lawyers and move on. Unless you are Tommy, pathetic yes, but that was his right and he was enjoying his freedom to be a looser. He will not be moving on, unless we count the parts of his soup that stuck to the tank and were hauled away to government locations undisclosed.

We shouldn't mourn him less because his definition of "moving on" was always in the opposite direction from the majority. We shouldn't care less, because he ended up a dirty spot in a porn store parking lot. Don't trivialize what he lost, what his family lost, otherwise you are valuing life based on how it adheres to your personal vision of "should" and "aught", and once we start doing this, minority groups beware, and I don’t mean ethnic here; I mean ideological. We can all find ourselves on the outside of the prevailing list of "should" items collectively drafted in the mind of the current majority. I will not forget Tommy soon. His death was so pathetic and memorable that I probably won't ever forget it. Tommy’s peculiar demise will remain a counter balance for my personal decision making and for how I vote from now on. I say, Remember Tommy.