Friday, May 30, 2014

Little Fat Guy

            During my boyhood, my brother Marc liked to amuse us smaller brothers by telling us tales of Little Fat Guy, his buddy Big Strong Guy, and the twins Stupid/Intelligent and Intelligent/Stupid. Recently I and my daughter Hannah continued this tradition by composing this story:


            Once upon a time, Little Fat Guy and his friends had tickets to the amusement park. They needed a renta-car to drive there, and naturally they wanted to get to the parking lot first.

            So they went to the renta-car place, and the man there had only two cars; the Hare car and the Tortoise car. Little Fat Guy and Big Strong Guy didn't know what to do, so they asked Intelligent/Stupid which car to get. Intelligent/Stupid said, “Primary vehicular deposition at place of amusement requires maximum travel velocity.” After puzzling this over awhile, Little Fat Guy and Big Strong Guy figured that this meant they should get the Hare car, and they did.

            On the trip over to the park, the Hare car passed every single other car on the road, not once but several times; and yet they got to the parking lot last, and they got the worst spot, ten miles from the entrance.

            The next day they went to the same rentacar place, and got the same choice; the Hare car or the Tortoise car. This time they asked Stupid/Intelligent what do to, and he said, “Try da udda one,” so they rented the Tortoise car.

            On the way to the park, every other car on the road passed the Tortoise car, not once but several times; and yet they got to the parking lot first of all, and got the very best spot, right next to the entrance.

            When they returned the car to the rentacar place, they wondered how come it came out that way. Why did the fastest car get there last, and the slowest car get there first? After looking both cars over, they figured out why:

            The wheels were on backwards!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

On Seeker-Stress

       On Seeker-Stress

          One morning, my routine went awry when my watch and wedding ring went missing. They were linked together, that I was sure about, for I usually link them just before bedtime. But where were they? Not in my hat, along with keys and wallet and glasses, where I usually stow them. Not near my computer monitor, nor any of the shelves nearby. Getting desperate, I looked in my car. No luck, and I was sure anyhow that I’d brought them in.
          So they were in the house, but where? I dithered around a bit, then realized that I was getting nowhere, and had to forget about them to remember them. So I went about the rest of my morning routine. Breakfast, blogging, clean the cat-box. Then I noticed, lying on the ground near the washing machine… it was them. Watch and ring, time and eternity, found at last. Whew!
          I blame the cats. I must have left the watch and ring on my desk, they discovered them, and batted them about awhile.
          All that morning I experienced a strange sensation; I call it seeker-stress. A mind suffering seeker-stress repeatedly returns to thoughts of the missing item, feeling its loss over and over with an equal pang. Seeker-stress tends to cause obsessive repeated search of the same location. Therefore the need to suppress seeker-stress for the search to succeed.
          Yet I have also found that, even after the item is found, a residue of seeker-stress remains!
          I see in seeker-stress a lesson in Buddhism. Your possessions possess you; by your attachments you shall suffer; relief is possible only by detachment.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Realism and Unicorns

       Realism and Unicorns

Once Hannah and I went to Baycon, where she had a fangirl moment. We went to the Dealer’s Room, her in Zorro outfit, me in an Escher T-shirt. Since her tag read “Queen Gwink” - an old in-joke - I pretended that Her Majesty was going incognito, and I her loyal retainer. But as her knight or her jester? (I asked. Hah, hah, her majesty replied.)
          At the entrance was Peter S Beagle, signing books. Hannah was halfway through “The Last Unicorn”, and a fan. We didn’t have her copy of the book with us, so we retreated to our hotel room to retrieve it; thus armed, we returned.
          At the sight of the author, she shied. Fangirl moment; speechless, wanting to stay, wanting to flee. I introduced her. Peter Beagle calmed her by telling a tale of his fanboy moment in front of one of his favorite writers. Then he signed her copy of “The Last Unicorn”.
          I bought two other books of his. I gave money to his business partner, and a $0 bill to him. I quoted a Zen master; if you meet a warrior on the road, give him your sword; if you meet a poet, give him your poem. “This is my poem for you,” I told Beagle.
          Then I told him about when I met Lancelot, the one-horned goat. I was visiting Marion Zimmer Bradley’s house; I stepped into her backyard; it was night; there was a moon; and there was the unicorn, and it was eating Marion Zimmer Bradley’s rosebushes.
“That’s just like in a Thurber story,” said Beagle.
“That’s exactly what I thought at the time,” I said. “And that was the danger of visiting Marion Zimmer Bradley’s house; you might find yourself in the middle of a Thurber story.”
I also told him that unicorn droppings are about so long (holding my fingers about 3/4 inch apart) and so wide (holding my fingers 1/2 inch apart).
It was my way of making a stand for my style of literature.