Knowing the extent to which your life is governed by entries in the calendar, I’m going to be very interested in seeing how my death interferes with your plans. What vacation were you scheduled to take? Which child is graduating from 4th grade that week?
“He would have wanted us to continue guys’ weekend. Also, he’d want Bob to make his stuffed, rolled pork roast.” And then, during the tipsy guys’ weekend keynote address on the last night, Mook raises a toast to me and everything I’ve ever stood for. “And Syracuse Orange basketball! Hiccup.”
Overheard at various water bubblers across town:
“He really would have wanted us to participate in the golf scramble during the memorial service.”
“The last thing he’d want is for us not to bowl in the league championship just because he’s getting lowered into the earth.”
“Of course he wants me to go to this meaningless late spring mid-week Sox game instead of consoling his family.”
I’ll be watching from up there in the clouds with my bowl of heavenly popcorn, getting knuckles from Jesus every time you complain about how inconvenient it was for you that I had to go and croak that week. Guess what? There’s another year in Purgatory for you, buddy. How ya like me now!
“He would have wanted us to drink the rest of his homebrew before it goes stale.”
I’m the sort of fellow who doesn’t necessarily trust you. Despite your strict adherence to current religious practice, which requires skyward acknowledgment of God whenever you clear the bases or sell a used car, I still suspect you to have moral failings. Is that you eyeing my bike with lust in your heart?
If I trusted you, I wouldn’t lock up my two-wheeler before popping into the CVS to grab a fresh styptic pencil. I’d just let it sit unfettered, as I’m told they do with their bikes in Japan.
You counter that you’re really not stealing my bike. You just want to steal parts of my bike. And what is left for me to take home, as I sniff back tears, is not just the remains of my trusty cycle, which has ferried me to and fro Harvard Square since circa 2008, but “art.” Art that needs to be explained, sure, but art nevertheless.
Like any piece of art worth the price of a headset, handlebars, front fork, and integrated shifter and brake levers, the remnant you’ve left locked to an iron rail outside the French Cultural Center forces me to think: have I been taking this machine for granted all these years?; have I ever really considered the beauty of my bicycle sans its front end parts?; while I was busy making sure the wheels wouldn’t disappear, did I not consider that those were easily replaceable and probably on their last legs anyway, while a replacement front fork will be not only difficult to find, but will just make this bike look silly?
No I haven’t and no I didn’t.
One question: If you’re looking to sell the bike parts formerly known as mine, would you mind terribly giving me a small discount?
The New York Times reminded me just last week that the days of calling other human beings “feebleminded” have ended. Just because an obnoxious driver doesn’t use the directional signal until midway through a quick right turn doesn’t mean you can scream “moron” at him, even if he almost puts a quick and painful end to your bicycle commute.
Alas, not everyone is aware of the changing norms. Not so long ago I went to buy a used car and mused aloud about the financing, wondering how much I might put down and other such questions, and the business manager of that particular dealership called my mental calculations “retahded.” For those of you reading this from your manse somewhere outside of New England, I was being called “retarded” by someone with a thick Boston accent.
One needn’t travel all the way back to the Middle Ages to find even more ungentle name-calling. Back in the 20th century, my hometown of Syracuse, NY contained a facility for kids with cognitive disabilities that was called “The Syracuse State School for Mental Defectives,” which was meant to be an improvement upon its 19th-century moniker, “The New York State Asylum for Idiots.”
It’s nice that kids these days don’t end up with such harsh labels. On the other hand, I’ve met several idiots in my day who I wouldn’t mind seeing housed in an asylum.
Whenever I look for a new place to move into, which I do pretty much every day, I always make sure there’s some extra space – a loft above the garage, an old barn, an observatory from which I can view the worlds beyond – that I might convert to a guest house.
Or an ale factory. Let’s be realistic: I know much more about beer than I know about guests. Shouldn’t I have room in my new place to spend time on something I’m intimately familiar with, like ale, instead of something I know little about, such as guests? Your answer, I suppose, depends on whether you would rather to be a guest of mine or drink my beer.
I know what you’re thinking: don’t you serve your beer to your guests? Yes I do. But frankly, I’d rather make them pay for it.
You see where I’m going with this. I need to schedule a smackdown between the marketing arms of my beer and guest operations to see which can create a more lucrative-sounding business plan. Once I take stock of that information, the rest will be easy. It’s not like properties with private observatories that can be converted to brew houses are so hard to find.
Come Observe Me Making Ale