An amazing invention, but who would ever use one?
–President Rutherford B. Hayes
The smell of Fourth of July fireworks is still wafting in the air, and the last black chunk of ice gunk in a Fridley parking lot has been vaporized by the heat. Bring on summer, the season of rampant hedonism, too loud music, coconut sunscreen, and burnt burgers. Winter is a time for introspection. In July if there is navel gazing to be done, it is other peoples’. Fall, around Thanksgiving, is a time for reflection. Sitting around a campfire with a bunch of wholesome, toothy, jocular people, that is when you count your blessings. Nestled in a woodsy cabin trying to figure out who these people in expensive sweaters are, and what they have done with my friends is the more typical time to be thankful.
My seasonal clock is off kilter. Despite the blur of fast cars, painful sunburn, and a record heat index, I feel grateful. I want to thank those of you who wade through my column regularly, and friends and family who put up with my tortured logic in person. If you know me in print, you may notice a certain circuitous line of reasoning that does not always find its way to the point. Even after skillful editing (thank you JoAnne) I can begin a column with the perils of skiing and end up on Rutherford B. Hayes, the first president to make a phone call.
In real life I begin too many conversations with obscure references and fractions of sentences posing as questions. I am likely to begin out of context with a question. “Who’s the guy? You know, the one in the film about the woman. She’s in love with her doctor, or her landlord. He may not be in that one, but you’ve seen him. He always plays a corporate type. He was in cahoots with a counterfeiter. You said you thought he was real scary… Come on you know it!”
Thank goodness for family and old friends who understand the thin connection I often have between disparate ideas. Someone (sane) not schooled (subjected) to my way of processing the world is likely to back away from my stream of (un)consciousness. Citing a forgotten heart surgery appointment they must run off to, an untied shoelace that may require considerable attention, or a sudden need to convey something to a passing squirrel, many strangers become very busy just when I am getting to the good part of an anecdote.
Ideas, information, and media (social and otherwise) are swirling around. We all continually have more to take in, and later attempt to recall. I remember fragments of things and my links are often tenuous. Thank you for continuing to make the effort.
Tom H. Cook is a law abiding citizen who still practices making up fake names for when he is stopped by the police. His latest is Hal Lester, a conveyor belt salesman from Ripple Creek, Illinois.