Our radiator. (photo by L. Rios)
It's 9 a.m. One of the across-the-hall neighbors is awake and heading downstairs with his indolent Rottweiler. I can hear the sound of the dog tags, the leash, the sleepy primary caregiver in flip-flops, and the big canine body tromping down the stairwell. It sounds to me like a gigantic squid wearing Mardi Gras beads is doing the hully gully outside my door.
My Doc Holliday story’s gone meta. It had to happen, I guess. If you treat a story like a quest for fire, and you run with the postmodernists, sooner or later your story will go meta on you. Oh well. Worse things have happened.
Last night I was able to see half of Modeski, Martin & Wood’s set at the Iowa City Jazz*Fest. Afterwards, there were fireworks. At one point two guys and a gal, jaded late twentysomethings, came and stood behind me. The guys were each hell-bent on impressing the gal with witty quips about the fireworks, which I would think of as sort of impossible (how many quips can a person come up with about fireworks?). But whatever. What was weird was that one of the guys stole all his material word-for-painful-word from David Cross comedy albums. I guess his posse had never heard of David Cross, because they ate it up like piping hot cheese grits.
It was sort of painful, hearing this “I’m an angry liberal” guy re-tread a comedy album that came out seven years ago in some weird courtship ritual on the lawn behind the old capital building, while pyrotechnics exploded like electric spiders spinning lightning-webs across the sky. He fake-riffed on pretty much everything he could tie into the present moment (fireworks, American flags, Lee Greenwood, patriotism, Fallujah, et-effing-cetera). “Man, I hope this cat gets laid tonight. He obviously needs to,” I kept thinking.
I once met a humanistic genius who said that all we really tend to do, as humans in relationship to other humans, is re-tread the same stories over and over. When you’ve known someone long enough, though, you have to start coming up with new material, because they’ve heard all your jokes and stories and lies and fantasies. At that time, he said, you might start to feel a little devastated/terrified and wonder who you are besides a collection of repeated past memories and association. “Don’t worry. You’re a lot more than that. And if you know that, you don’t have to do the painful, shit-shoveling work of maintaining some fake personality.”
I can see the Rottweiler from our living room window now. She’s peeing where Stella peed fourteen and a half minutes ago. She looks lean and evil, like a fiberglass gargoyle on top of a Bavarian-themed Best Western motel at the far-edge of town. She cd probably take your arm right off without the slightest provocation…and now she sniffs clover…and a dandelion explodes on her snout.