Sunday, September 19, 2010

…I have three new pieces up:
- "Facts About the Moon" @ The Smoking Poet
- "Press Rewind" @ Troubadour 21, and
- "Cyber" @ Unfold
They are all also here under "Words in Print."

…I just returned from taking my daughter to college. I would like to go back to college. I would make less mistakes if I did. Probably, though, I wouldn't have as much fun. College was an unwieldy, rowdy movie for me, sort of like "Animal House" come-to-life. "Animal House" but real, with consequences. It was also dangerous. Freedom + a 19 year old drinking age = Danger. Toss in other ingredients I won't mention here, and, well, you get danger to the 10th power. But, going to college again, I would probably learn a lot more. This time around, I'm certain I'd retain things for longer periods of times. I wouldn't skip class to watch "All My Children" or play RISK tournaments with a pony keg at the ready. This time I'd be attentive. Also, I wouldn't be so shy and demure around professors. I realize now they're just people, so I'd be complementary to the good ones. I'd write them thank you notes and encourage them. On the flip side, I'd be vocal about the bad professors, especially the ones that don't like kids. (It always gets me how some teachers hate kids. If you hate kids, go work in a convolescent center, or a glue factory.) Anyway, my girl is now officially a college freshman. I miss her, of course, and am a little bit envious, but she'll be fine and I'll be fine and life will swirl on as it most appropriately should.

…One of my brothers is a hero of mine. He went to Viet Nam at the age of twenty, saw a lot of action on the DMZ, and came back broken in ways no young man should. Last night I went with him to an auction that benefits War Vets. It was held at a lake on the edge of Idaho, in the boonies, with dirt roads, surrounded by scores of rusty-looking pine trees. By the time we arrived, there were in excess of one hundred Harley's in the make-shift parking lot. Acres of black leather--jackets and chaps. Pony-tailed men in doo rags. Lots of tats. The chicks were not too appealing. (Actually, you can scratch the "too" in that last sentence.) I felt a tad out of place in my skinny cardigan and oxford button down. My shoes were denim and orange with toggles for shoe laces. My jacket came from Ambercrombie. Plus, I wasn't carrying any weapons, not even mace or a BB gun… It was an odd experience, yet also pretty special--this netherworld culture all getting together to help somebody less fortunate. Ninety percent in attendance were vets themselves. Many were in wheelchairs or had a prosthesis. A sense of pride and loyalty floated below the surface, but it also spilled over in blantant, patriotic displays. I imagine, if you could get past the cigarette smoke and croaky voices, and sit down with most of these people, you'd probably hear stories that would break your heart a few times over. What I really saw there was love. And I came away again reminded that we all wear costumes, all different kinds, it's just that a lot of us, especially the ones in suits or skinny carigans--well, we don't usually realize it.

…I'm going to watch "Presumed Innocent" tonight. I hope it holds up. I don't really like Harrison Ford, but this film and three others --"Frantic," "The Fugitive" and "Witness"--are among my favorites, ones I think about at odd times for random reasons. I hope you are watching a great film. Sometimes there's nothing better.

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