Thursday, December 07, 2006

A day of infamy.

Today is December 7th, 2006.

As of this moment, this day appears quiet. I can only hear the faintest traces of the outside world leaking into this in, without even the generally prevalent sound of HeliCoppers on the prowl for…whatever it is that they tend to be on the prowl for. No true light aside from the piercing stare of a yellow moon. But it was not always so. Way of the world.

December 7th. You know, I know. A date that’s managed to actually take hold within the collective unconscious, a byproduct of history classes and television commercials; good movies and terrible movies; wizened old men sitting on porches, speaking as well as they can manage from the depths of their memory -- sadness in their tones.

A day that will live in infamy.

Locked into the history books, chiseled deep into the face of time; a day that will live in infamy. A day that we’re supposed to remember. These days, it seems like we get more and more. Days meant to be known for terrible, terrible, terrible things.
But that’s not all that it is. Nor all that it can be.

So, in the interest of perspective…These days, I drive around a lot.

I’d never planned to do such a thing, and it hadn’t been particularly desired. I’ve never been the sort of man who cares much about vehicles, aside from their general handling and functionality; nor have I done much more than turn my foolish nose up at the people who desire useless behemoths with petrol-gullets that reach depths as terrible as that memorable Sarlacc pit. I’ve never lain awake at night as an impressionable youth, utterly transfixed by the sounds of automobiles that roar down the asphalt under harshly orange light. I have a car. I drive it.

A lot.

So it was, that I was driving on the 405 Southbound. Common enough. I glanced in my rearview mirror. Common as well. But what I saw in that narrow space, that slimline of an image was something that wasn’t particularly common at all. It was an off-white Ford Taurus, one that had its lights shining, perhaps as an act of defiance against the light of the burning sun. Within this car, there sat an immense man, his clay-like face molded into an expression generally reserved for bill-paying and unprecedented flatulence. He manhandled the wheel with a set of enormous knuckles that gave his seemingly normal action an odd sort of comedic viciousness -- similar to the spectacle of Mighty Joe Young suddenly deciding to strangle a Garter Snake to death. And beside him sat a teenage girl. Smiling. While wearing a snappy Fedora.

In the world of the rearview, you never get enough.

Not enough information, not enough scope. A kind of all-too-specific tunnel vision that provides no real insight into the lives of countless Fedora-Girls and Dourpusses, no matter how much I might want to delve deeper. And there are surely things to behold, things to learn, things to comprehend, things to laugh at, and yes, things to be intimidated by. But I will never know. And that is just too damn sad. Losing history, simply by being unable to see enough. Seeing the past through that rearview mirror.

It’s a shame, really.

Because other things happen. Everyday, all day, rightthefucknow day. December 7th.
December 7th, 1949. Eight years after that time of infamy, where an act of bloodshed led to more bloodshed, where that led to death and dismemberment and dismay, all of it culminating in a burning moment; a moment that lived on after the fact with spattered cases of hot sand, and bad rain. On December 7th, 1949: A child was born in California. A child who would grow up to find himself transfixed by the thoughtful glow of the moon, so much so that he would sing back to it, doing all he could to not be drowned out by the sounds of industry around him.

On that day of infamy, we were given a man who could croon.

December 7th, 1995: We, not merely in the capacity of a nation, but instead as humans…we managed to find ourselves just the slightest bit closer to the stars.

On that very same day, 20 people died when a plane collided with a mountain. And that’s the way it goes, isn’t it? Humanity and tragedy coexisting peacefully, because if they ever manage to turn onto each others throats, the world is then the loser. All of it.

Sometimes, it’s what we need. A lot.

We need to move away from the world of the rearview, a world built on small visual planes and instance after instance of hearsay, countless cases of different viewpoints either belittling or embiggening (the smallest man) the stage of history. And so the world is changed, if only by that perspective, if only in a persons mind. But to that person, the truth is lost. The truth of the day, the truth of the world, the truth of perspective.

Only seeing the past in that tiny shimmering rectangle; the place where I once thought I saw Gary Busey driving in a car behind me. Except upon closer inspection? It was a woman. Yeah.

So look at the day. Look at all that has come to pass. Look at who was born, who died, what happened, where it happened, try to see it all.

Let the world explode across the space of your vision in the grandest symphony of Cinemascope™, colors mingling with images, striking your every part of you, working your mind/body/soul over until they cannot possibly take anymore, take any more, accept any more, understand any more…

And it will be a new day.

On this new day of infamy, as on any day of the week month or year…the infamy earned it’s name. Except that for the most part, we never really saw it. Just another case of the world running its course, gain and loss, that epic tug-of-war that -- hopefully -- will never see an end.

Today is December 7th. On this day, many a year ago, yet another musician was born: an Irishman, who floats like a cannonball. I for one, am glad he came to be.
And more, and more. Writers and artists, poets and porn stars. People coming to be, tearing their way through the caul of the world; people ceasing to function, closing their eyes and drifting away.

Happy Birthday, to those for whom it applies. A happy consideration of any-day to all those Fedora-Girls and Dourpusses out there, who may or may not ever glance upon this, and probably wouldn’t think twice about it even if they did. And yes, a Happy Deathday to the others, who I suppose cannot be bothered with such a salutations, all things considered. But that’s fine. It was said. And it will not be taken back, even if I look towards it in the rearview, and wonder what the hell was I thinking on December 7th, 2006. Just another day of infamy.

There’s a person that I know, one that has reason to look at this day with a tilted head, considering it slightly different than all those days that precede and follow it. She’s the type of person who doesn’t wear a Fedora, not on casual days, or even days when the rain falls down from the sky. But she could -- she could wear one, and no one would bat an eye. December 7th. It’s the day from whence her history began.

So both to that Fedora-Girl, as well as that person who screams out a question, asking us all if we can feel…I wish the both of you, separately and at the same time, the happiest of Birthdays.

And to the rest of you?
I hope you see something worth remembering.

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