"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." Macbeth (V, v, 19)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Tragedies occur all around us. They wash over us like the hot air pushed ahead of a bus or subway. We lean into them, let them rush through us, and off they go. Drifting in their wake, bits of trash wash by us without much notice.

The universe turns around those pieces of deitrus. Somewhere, somehow, those pieces of trash were once important - someone's lunch, list, history, life. Seperated and forgotten from what made them relevant.

A solitary shoe - missing its partner, its alter-ego, whatever - how does that happen? Millions of possibilites. Hamsters would be my guess. They are plotting something in those cages. Vigiliantly training for their day. But that is just one possibility. The simplest is that someone lost it. Once a tool for making headway in the teaming river of life, now cast upon the shore with old cans and driftwood.

Why should the solution be simple? The hot gust pushes on, and people dismiss the shoe - like it never existed. We live in the here and now and forget our past; despite the stern lectures of our teachers, we throw away the shoe and forget it once had purpose. Maybe it knows something - maybe that's why it was let go? Too much memory in a piece of rubber and leather. Maybe the shoe chose to stay behind - caught up in its own thoughts. A testiment to surrender.

The stale wind blows again - the end of the subway comes for all of us - when the wind catches you off your guard, tie your shoes tight.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Irrational Exuberance

I'd like to start by saying "When I was a kid, I used to draw spaceships on paper". However, that would be a lie. Not your regular type of lie - like why we should bomb so and so, or that the tooth-fairy and Santa Claus are not real. No, this would be a lie of omission.

You see, it is a lie of omission, because I still draw spaceships on paper. I'm doing it right now while writing this. A better statement would be to say that I started drawing spaceships when I was a kid, but that I continue to do so today.

I started drawing spaceships in grade 3. I was bored by my lessons, so I started doodling little planes and tanks and people. They weren't very good - I could never draw thumbs right - I blame my thumbs - I think they are undercover - perhaps hiding from the law. I don't think they want to be recognized by anyone - luckily they aren't too involved in typing this - I don't think they have cottoned on yet - I'll keep you posted.

Anyways, I quickly grew bored of planes - for one thing, you always had to draw the ground - It kind of cramped your drawing space. You also had to spend time putting in houses, trees, ponds, etc. - It just took too long. I hit upon spaceships - If you want to draw a spaceship in deep space, you can save on all the unnecessary bits of the doodle. To fancy up the drawing (say, to get it posted on the art board - I hated that board - very few of my pictures ended up there - damn thumbs), I could quickly tap my pen (I have always liked ink for doodling - it gives a crisp line) and create stars. So you see, I was economizing my doodle time. One could say that I was being efficient. Sadly, my teachers did not see it this way - I think my thumbs had tipped them off.

As I grew older, my doodles became more complex. Hey - why not throw up a space station, or a planet for the ships to orbit? I shared my drawings with my friends. A pattern emerged. I would start drawing a single ship, then add a ship for it to attack (This may be an important psycho-social discovery -clearly of our society's value structure - why couldn't the ships be exploring?). However, I would then add a third ship that would attack the first. A fourth ship would attack both, then a fifth, sixth and seventh ship would join the broadening conflict. Soon, an entire war would be fought on my poor scrap of paper. Ships would burst into flames, bits of wreckage would impact nearby ships - chain reactions of destruction launched from the myriad of vessels engaged in mortal combat. At this point, no possible resolution was available, except total destruction. Inevitably, a massive explosion would rip from one of the damaged ships; none could escape the burning conflagration.

My friends pointed out that the battles lacked logic- "Why would they attack one after the other like that?". I lacked the vocabulary to explain it at the time. Now that I think about it more, I think the pilots of those brave but foolhardy craft were just too excited to get into the battle - It gave them purpose, they were so focused on the battle, they forgot to check their sixes. Their excitement got the better of them.

Think of that picture of the little fish eating a worm, but behind it is a series of larger fishes poised to eat the next in line. None of those fish are thinking they are the target - each thinks they have the game in the bag. Their irrational exuberance drives them forward as it also harkens them to their doom.

Food for thought?