Inspection- Figuring Out My Flypaper Mind
Mostly this edition is a break from the ever intense Something Wicked This Way Comes daily political circus. Enjoy!
I recently reconnected with one of my best friends from the late 60s: Alana, and her new husband, Jack. Well, he’s “new” to me. They’ve been married not quite as long as Millie and I have been, and that goes back to the 60s when T Rex used to chew off the tires of Fred Flintstone’s marble rock tire Norton motorcycle. Like most Brit vehicles built at their Stonehenge factory it was fun to drive but Fred constantly had to have it towed to Pebble Boys for repairs. Fred’s daughter kept threatening to sue them for stealing her name. Lucky for them she never did. Her husband-lawyer would have Bam Bam-ed them out of business.
Yes, the mechanic’s name was “Rocky,” and “yes” I will stop with the admittedly stupid rock puns. I’m actually not a big fan of The Flintstones. Point being that sometimes the oddest memories gather in our minds as we age… as well as husbands, wives, debts, regrets and, hopefully not all completely interrelated.
Alana was standing and talking to me when; to emphasize her point, with a big smile and a slight tilt she nodded her head just a little. A memory fly suddenly fell off of the flypaper in my mind. I examined it for a split second then pointed at her and said, “It IS you!”
Not that I had doubted before, it’s just that a quick flashback to conversations we’d had back in the late 60s reminded me of her tendency to do that, and for some reason that quirk was still stuck to my flypaper mind. Like something she remembered; me asking her if she had been adopted because I thought she didn’t look like her mother. When she mentioned it my mind flashed back to that moment. (In front of Gail’s camp, maybe?) I would consider the question to be a little rude now and wouldn’t ask, but I could be a brash young man back then, occasionally. Not now. Never. Ever. Shut up Millie. I know what you’d say if you were here right now.
OK. I give up. Maybe not just when I was young?
Did you noticed how the seemingly endless Kavanaugh proceedings basically involved a giant bucket load of old flies stuck to mental flypaper? Not that unusual: problematic events tend to stick in our minds. Events and people we don’t consider all that important don’t: one of the reasons the guys might not have remembered; as callous as that would be. Events we shrug off tend not to cling to that flypaper as much as ones that disgust, horrify, frighten or shock us. What we do to others maybe not as much as what’s done to us. That’s why bullies sometimes feel they have no need for forgiveness.
Yet, while sometimes I savor some of the oddest memories, why some of those flies stick, well, I have no idea. Remembering the exact colors of the vinyl on the tables that came down from the cafeteria wall in my elementary school… why? The dark brown deep wood grain of a library table on the 3rd floor, during 3rd grade, where Claire Adams used to look up and smile at me 55 years ago… why? Alana’s tilt head nod with a big smile… why?
When Bill Clinton was impeached in the 90s that was basically a huge dump truck load of flies going back to The Arkansas Project. Often Donald Trump is like a swarm of repeating old narratives going back, back, back from his unreal reality show, to being a New York City landlord, to when he was in school. Perhaps we are all on some Groundhog Day loop and, like Bill Murray, we keep trying to change the results and instead a fly is born. Sometimes we make it better, but more often it’s more like Butterfly Effect where maybe we don’t quite understand that paths not taken won’t necessarily take us to a better destination.
Robert Frost’s delightful two paths in the wood poem was such an over simplification, wasn’t it? Maybe there are an infinite number of paths. Hopefully we at least have some pleasing and fun groundhogs who share the journey. And, NO, Millie, NO, Jack, I am not calling you “hogs.” Like Alana, and the adopted question, I would never be so rude to make such cracks. Never. Ever. Cross my fingers and hope to… oops, at my age guess I best avoid such cliché’s.
I suppose all this must have something to do with how neurons find such odd, unique, paths through the grey matter in my Abby Normal brain. But apparently the same is true of Alana: maybe all of us. Are we all playing out the same patterns, caught in this maze called life; patterns that act like tiny pieces of flypaper caught between our mental toes, on our tar coated heels, stuck to ever sticky hands?
The Zoroastrians believed our deeds gather as they stick to us in life, much like flypaper, I suppose. The bad ones are what might make us sink into the Zoroastrian version of Hell. Of course that faith became extinct long before the network told Zoro to go take a hike back in 60s: last seen on a walkabout with The Hulk and The Smothers’ Brothers. They’re still trying to find Tommy’s termite infested Lincoln logs.
See what I mean? Old, seemingly useless, odd memories stick and then come back out reorganized; hopefully in interesting ways. Old patterns repeat, but rarely exactly. And sometimes I amuse myself by plucking a few flies off my personal flypaper so I can examine those tasty tiny winged beasts and then share them with my readers.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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