Today I got new glasses. My optometrist resembled William H. Macy in Fargo. His age was undefinable. Older, but energetic, and pleasantly brisk in that generic, Midwestern way. His hair had tight waves like it had been marceled, but I think the waves were natural. What wasn't natural was his comb-over. His low part was the tip-off. But his red-gold, marceled hair was so dense, it almost concealed the scalp underneath.
I sat in the chair in the optometrist's office envisioning how the man had fought his feelings of sorrow over the loss of youth with a brave tonsorial stratagem. I empathized. We don't all grow old gracefully. Like Dylan Thomas, I believe in raging against the dying of the light.
I mentioned I was walking back to campus, and we talked about hiking. The optometrist enjoyed hiking around California, and had vacationed in Hawaii with his sister, whom he referred to as Sis. We discovered that we both had been Boy Scouts. Like mine, his troop (in L.A.) had gone camping once a month. In his troop-- whose number he quoted-- the scouts planned all the year's events themselves. In my troop we were all misfits and burnouts. I was troop secretary, which brought me a surprising amount of prestige.
The optometrist told me he made Eagle at 13, which is pretty amazing. More amazing was his ability to rattle off the names of all the badges he had earned. The only badges I remember are Orienteering and Reptiles. I was not ambitious; I just liked the camping and camaraderie. I thought the whole rank system was manipulative and absurd. The optometrist named a bunch of knots he could tie, some behind his back. I could tie a square knot.
The optometrist had had two uncanny experiences while hiking. Both involved rocks, which to me suggests that he is a natural animist, like the character Nakata in Kafka on the Shore. I believe this man, in a different time and place, could be a Shinto priest.
The first uncanny experience involved him putting his hand on a boulder in the wilderness and hearing classical music. He said it sounded like a crystal set, which is an old-time term for a radio. My grandmother used it when talking about her childhood. Her father worked at RCA. The optometrist said he knew what station the boulder was playing by the symphony that was on. He even quoted the call letters of the station to me. That he thought he could identify a specific station by the symphony that was playing is more bizarre to me than a boulder that plays classical music in the middle of a forest.
In the second experience the optometrist rested on a rock, put his hands on it, and received a powerful electric charge.
I am sure this man is a natural shaman.
I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West
- "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
- "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
- "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
- "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
- "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
- "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
- "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
- "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest
Thursday, July 26, 2007
- karen joy fowler
- jerome stueart
- gregory frost
- george macdonald
- hal duncan
- shweta narayan
- cory doctorow
- desirina boskovich
- picture books review
- helen mallon
- open up, flower!
- ben francisco
- daniel gracely
- justin whitney
- kater cheek's art
- keyan bowes
- ecstatic days
- glass maze
- paper fruit
conservation and ecology
grow your own
- ► 2011 (25)
- ► 2010 (32)
- giant justin with tiny keyan and shweta
- Pat Tillman, new information
- shaman optometrist fights age, recalls scouting da...
- Caravaggio painting; Goethe quote
- Ultimate Question, Nietzsche Family Circus, distur...
- San Diego Mormon Temple
- Tintin, and Moorcock's open source character
- Rossetti's Mnemosene and my favorite Yeats poem.
- Jim Boggia cover of "Somebody to Love"
- niki de saint phalle dragon and my birthday
- Beck - Nobody's Fault But My Own
- UC Men's Octet - Bohemian Rhapsody
- ▼ July (12)