“To give them a name”

I had this dream last night that I bought a Telecaster for $15. I got it from a pawn shop I visited last week in New Orleans, where I bough t a suit jacket and lusted after a banjo hanging on the wall. The owner talked about how I could do a trade for it, and I thought of my s ound equipment from a birthday that I’d never really used. I guess that’s where the dream came from, that is if dreams come from anywh ere in particular. They always say that they do – and that makes sense – but I like to imagi ne that maybe dreams just make themselves out of nothing, or the collected change and dust and fluff from under the couch cushions of our brains. But that’s the same as coming from somewhere – the law of conservation of matter and all being what it is. Of course it’d be the same with ideas and thoughts and dreams.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. Do I have to go anywhere? One of my favorite quotes is Vonnegut talking about life’s purpose:

I work at home, and if I wanted to, I could have a computer right by my b ed, and I’d never have to leave it. But I use a typewriter, and afterward I mark up the pages with a pencil. Then I call up this woman named Carol out in Woodstock and say, “Are you still doing typing?” Sure she is, and her h usband is trying to track bluebirds out there and not having much luck, and so we chitchat back and forth, and I say, “Okay, I’ll send you the pages.”

Then I go down the steps and my wife calls, “Where are you going?” “Well,” I say, “I’m going to buy an envelope.” And she says, “You’re not a poor m an. Why don’t you buy a thousand envelopes? They’ll deliver them, and you c an put them in the closet.” And I say, “Hush.”

So I go to this newsstand across the street where they sell magazines and lottery tickets and stationery. I have to get in line because there are pe ople buying candy and all that sort of thing, and I talk to them. The woman behind the counter has a jewel between her eyes, and when it’s my turn, I ask her if there have been any big winners lately.

I get my envelope and seal it up and go to the postal convenience center down the block at the corner of Forty-seventh Street and Second Avenue, whe re I’m secretly in love with the woman behind the counter. I keep absolutel y poker-faced; I never let her know how I feel about her. One time I had my pocket picked in there and got to meet a cop and tell him about it.

Anyway, I address the envelope to Carol in Woodstock. I stamp the envelop e and mail it in a mailbox in front of the post office, and I go home.

And I’ve had a hell of a good time. I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you any different.1

I actually really hate it when people use percentages greater than 100, but I 1000% agree with Kurt here. I almost think you could build a religion around the importance of farting around, something like Zen but more … I don’t know. Western? Flaky? Probably nothing particularly good, at least in terms of ripping off Zen. I’d not even really want to associate it with Zen, just in case.

There’s this article going around where a guy named Ryan Langdon who freaks out that not everyone has an internal monologue, and I’m not sure ho w I feel about it. Part of me thinks that it’s making a big deal out of nothing really: people are all different, so of course the way we think about things will be diff erent; it follows from the fact that there are different learning styles an d neurotypes and all. On the other hand, just because I’ve never really thought about it or thoug ht it was a big deal doesn’t mean it isn’t, just that it never occurred t o me. And besides, he’s just farting around, right? We’re allowed to be excited about little weird things in life, like the sur prising differences we still find in each other, again and again and again? I feel like saying something pithy, like Life is so short, remembering so long. Or maybe forgetting so long.

Irregardless, so much of our time is spent finding the right names for thin gs, placing them carefully in their little boxes we’ve built, to make sense of them. What else need we make time for?

  1. Emphasis mine. I got this full story from a guy called, apparently, Richard Smith, but I’ve seen it b efore elsewhere. Incidentally, I read the comments on the linked blog post and Dr. Enk in’s has made me a little sad. The only information I can find for him online is his biographer’s we bsite, so I think I might email them to see how he’s doing.↩︎