Tuesday, March 21, 2017

From Here On In Your Life Begins

I'm inching my way towards Closing Time, a step more each day. I've defined who I am by what I do for so many years, I'm not sure who I shall become when I'm no longer working but I've concluded that while that song is nearly over, I'm unsure of the next. Going through things, important and so much less than, collected in the course of over a quarter of a century, gives you pause. And more, or less I guess.

Tucked in the back of a lower left-hand desk drawer I found a bag of finger puppets Sigrid bought me many, many years ago at the Ikea in New Haven, CT. Many people think of Ikea as the Swedish furniture store, though I'm not sure in the Twilight's Next To Last Gleaming, much of it is actually made at or near Trondheim.

I'm thinking more likely it's a half a world away from where labor, materials and energy prices help keep costs low and shareholder's returns high. Anyway, Ikea has a great cafeteria with excellent, and cheap, eats and, when you know where to look, a killer assortment of finger puppets. I bought a set of ten animals, that actually look like the genuine article, though much smaller to fit on your finger.

I recall the first thing I did after we bought them was put them on, in preparation for the drive home. A word of advice on finger puppets, from Ikea or anywhere for that matter-you need to have someone with you. You need her to put the second set of five on your other hand-it's really hard to put finger puppets on when you already have finger puppets on.

But the real reason you need someone is there has to be a person to shrink down in her seat and stare without blinking out the front window as traffic slows to a crawl on 95 North because it was built in 1957 when the rate of flow was 20,000 cars a day and now it's more like 20,000 cars an hour while you amuse yourself and other motorists (you hope) by leading the finger puppets in song. 

Actually, the other drivers smile at you the way they'd look at Ted Bundy hitchhiking as they frantically try to switch lanes. Almost all sing-along songs succeed with finger puppets except rounds, such as Row, Row, Row Your Boat, unless your shotgun is willing to help out on the bridge and she's usually too busy hissing 'everyone is watching us!' in a tone of exasperation that could only mean a frosty evening when we return to the house.

And after all that the finger puppets end up in the bottom of a desk drawer where now having been rediscovered, they'll enjoy a brief renaissance before being brought home to disappear into the basement forever.

I've developed a belief in an afterlife that has room for a Heaven and Hell, as well as Limbo, and a basement. A basement? Yes. While many of my tribe of Sixties Kiddies would argue as to the final eternal destination of Richard Milhouse Nixon, I believe (this is religion, after all) basement is the most logical place.

All my designs, simplified/And all of my plans, compromised. I wouldn't be amazed to find the reason for why I've been doing for a living what I do for a living buried in another desk drawer I'll open later in the week, and even less so when I don't recognize it.
-bill Kenny

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