5/22/2003

Things were better back then, they always say, the people who were around back then, and you’ve always been afraid to admit you believe them.

You hear these stories. Men coming over to the new world, getting a job doing something hot or dangerous or both, sending his meager checks back to his family, dreaming of bringing them over too, but not ‘till he can guarantee they won’t be coming over just to do the hot or dangerous stuff. And then he does. And maybe later he owns the place. And one of those kids that comes over, years later he takes another boat, but not back to the home country, to some foreign land to fight for the only somewhat less foreign land that he just left, and he does it with bravery, grit, and determination, concepts such as irony and adolescent cynicism shaken out of him by seasickness and later by mortar fire. Because anything less than steel nerves and blind faith would get him killed, his buddy killed, his unit killed. He makes it. He comes back, he has a kid. Years later, that kid has a kid, and years after that, that kid has you.

All you can do is read books about their time, the sooty-faced man in the hellish factory, his mud-drenched son crouched in a hole in distant Europe. The great men of their times, the Abe Lincolns, the Churchills, and the no less brave but certainly less renowned legions at their command, they knew what time it was. They knew right from wrong. Light from dark. And if there was ever a question, they’d go to a wise old man from an era where the clarity of good and evil was even crisper, and he’d point the way. They’d look down it, see it was perilous and rough, but they wouldn’t deliberate. They’d pack a knapsack, breathe in, breathe out, and start walking.

You know where your car is. Where your school is. Where your girlfriend is. The locations of all the things that are supposed to matter, you have a pretty good grasp of. But what you really want to know is where, over the years, where they hid the really important stuff. Where they hid Truth. Where they put Sincerity so you couldn’t find it. If Trust sank with the Titanic, if Loyalty was hidden under a canvas tarp in the tiny cargo hold on the Hindenberg. Why we let someone paint everything shades of grey while we were asleep. Why we let our grandparents die and take all the wisdom with them before we can take it all down and put it someplace safe.

You want to have somebody point the way but even then you’re not sure you’d follow the wrinkly, trembling finger off into the woods.

5/21/2003

I think a good epitaph for my grave, well, not like I'm considering dying, hells no, this not-having-school thing is way too much fun, but in case the unthinkable happens I want the following carved on my tombstone:

He always had some sort of crumbs on his face but he seemed nice enough.

I think that'd be appropriate.

I read a whole book today. Cover to cover. Stephen King's "On Writing." Not bad. His advice? Read a lot, write a lot. And don't use adverbs. I've already read two of the eleven books I picked up at the library yesterday. I wish this summer would never end, even though it's barely started.

5/20/2003

I'm this week's Madpony of the week and you're not so sit on it, G.

Happy housewarming, Kristin.
Well, it's over.

Let's wrap this up front page USA Today color-graph style. Now presenting:

DC's HIGH SCHOOL CAREER by the numbers



Pounds weighed, Freshman year: 180
Pounds weighed, end of Senior year: 157
Months waited after legally able to get drivers license to actually get driver's license: 8
Stop signs run resulting in T-boning by Acura weeks after receiving license: 1
Number of times favorite band changed: 3 (KMFDM freshman year, Radiohead sophomore, Creeper Lagoon Junior, realized having a "favorite band" was kind of a waste Senior)
Plays acted in, mainstage: 12
Plays acted in, one-act: 12
Hairstyles rocked: 3
Years of Spanish taken: 4
Spanish words retained: 24
Obscenely hot English teachers had: 2
Crushes had on redheads Freshman year: 1
Internet answer-sharing scandals avoided by cheating old fashioned way (girlfriend's study guide): 1
Plays written, one-act and mainstage: 5
Freestyle competitions won: 1
Friends named Chelsea had: 5
Friends who play guitar had: 6
Friends named Chelsea who play guitar had: 2
Years spent in Marching Band playing sax: 1/2
Times awkwardly shot out of the saddle in front of some girl's locker: 1
Times girl didn't even realize she was being asked out, subject changed: 1
Years Prom attended: 4
Girls kissed: 5
Virginities lost: 1
Times I wondered why people thought high school was so bad: innumerable
People I wish I had gotten to know better: see above
Years I wouldn't trade for anything: 4

5/19/2003