Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The First Day Of School

**Editor's Note** This is going to be a mildly confusing post, so don't be ashamed if you need to lay down and have an aspirin later.

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."

Mark Twain.

People like to say "Clothes make the man," but nobody smart honestly believes this to be true.

Chuck Klosterman; "IV."

The above quotes have nothing whatsoever to do with this post, I just wanted to start out with nudity.

Working in the local bakery has it's perks. I have met a large selection of people from three counties and some have been nice, not to mention I get fresh baked goods at half price. The gentleman who brought me a bottle of wine on Tuesday came in today and delivered a "Saint James Collection Riesling", as well as a bottle of impressive looking Zinfandel. Bless his heart, I thought Saint James was a fisherman, I didn't know he made wine too.

My buddy, the art teacher, stopped in this evening. It is always grand to see her as she is one of the most facinating people I have ever met, bar none. She teaches art at a near by school for nine months out of the year, and on her three months off, she travels the globe visiting other teacher friends of hers. She stopped in for a slice of peanutbutter cheesecake and some smiley-faced cookies before she caught her plane to Brazil in the morning. She has only been home from Europe for less than twelve hours, after a months stay, but she needed a change of clothes and she is off in the morning. She taught me more about art history in twenty minutes than I ever learned from eight years of reading books. She mentioned that school would be starting soon, and oddly enough, that reminded me of a minute and a half conversation that I had twenty years ago.

I spent the rest of my day recalling this conversation, over and over again.

Memory is supposed to cloud with age, and a lot of people rely on that fact. I know I'm one, but I continue to be amazed at the amount of minute and a half conversations that my brain is able to recall. Typically these are conversations I've had that produced a new wrinkle in my brain. For all the beer I've consumed these should have been washed away years ago, but I digress.

When I was a sophmore in high school David Tanner was a senior. He was an artist of the first order. If Da Vinci was born in the trailer park down the road, he would have been David Tanner. He was artisticaly gifted, he expressed himself well in print and conversation, and could have done a smashing job on the Sistine Chapel, if they had asked that it was was done with Eddie, the corpse-like mascot of Iron Maiden.

I can't recollect what our conversation was that brought him to say this statement, but he interjected it with vigor.

"That's just like the first day of school," he said.

"How so?"

"I was sitting next to John Smith in first period English class on my first day as a freshman in high school. I've been going to school with John since kindergarten. We had to write a paragraph about what we did over the summer, and we looked at each other. I said to him, 'This is going to sound stupid, but how do you spell "with"?', and he is like, 'W-I-T-H, and that doesn't sound stupid. I was just going to ask you how to spell "the".' We cracked up 'cause neither one of us could spell even the simplest of words after three months off. It was hilarious!"

I can't count how many times in my life I've felt that way. When I have reached for some simple piece of knowledge such as a word, or directions, or even, God help me, the difference between left and right, and stumbled.

In the immortal words of Flannery, "I would have thought that I would have had all my shit in one sock by now!"



  1. as I embark today on my first day as a humble servant to the public (you, good sir, deal in baked goods and I shall be dealing in animal feeds, soaps and toys, but are we so very different??), I have decided that I'm going to try drinking the Kool-Aid and believe that Wallie-World is a wonderful place to work. I have decided that I shall embrace the "10-foot rule" (which states that thou shalt acknolwdge any customer w/in 10' of yourself) and I shall witty and Doc-like in my repartee.

    Who knows, maybe some old man with a teeny lil' dog will someday bring ME a bottle of wine??

  2. What a brilliant way to cover a brain fart! I was afraid it's because I'm getting old.

    Love Flannery's saying.

  3. I once sat ...pre computer days......for 10 min trying to spell...of...all I could come up with was ove.
    you know like
    Ok you get the point
    Not a shining moment
    Love the Mark Twain quote!!!

  4. I know the feeling Doc. Most people stare at me with the look of a dog with it's head tilted to the side.

  5. I did that once with the word "took" in the second grade. There's been a lot of alcohol and drugs since then, but it's not happened again, which makes me think you have a problem.

  6. I laughed, snorted, and marveled at this. And then I checked my spelling. Twice. Thank you Doc!


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