Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Little shards of broken glass from when the house was still being rebuilt
10 worms, which, I recently learned, are more expensive by the pound than ground beef
A dead bird, rotted and decayed and headless
Three cigarette butts, none of them mine
A box of matches promoting a club that is "The Sexy Side of Nightlife"
A small metal pole with a hook on the end, embedded in the dirt
A lot of those little winged spores you used to call "helicopters" when you were a little kid
A 10-gallon bucket with a section of power vacuum tubing in
A three-tiered wooden rack full of dead potted plants
A concrete gutter beneath the storm drain
A plastic gutter next to the concrete one
My cat, alive, walking
An idea for a blog entry
And that's it. Thank you for your time.
Hello. I am The Man. I am not "the man" in that I am the best at something. Nor am I "the man" in that I am in some kind of position in which I would be able to oppress you, your co-workers, or your loved ones. No. Furthermore, just because the word "The" appears in front of my name (capitalized, no less), that doesn't mean I am the only man in existence. If that were the case, my name would be "The Only Man". If I were the only man in existence, I would be very unhappy indeed, and I would likely not have the spiritual fortitude to go on blogging as I do. Even if there were many, many women, and I were given free reign to sow my wild oats where'er I may pine (and sow I would, in accordance with the strictest of dutiful feelings), I would still feel ill at ease without the warm feelings of brotherhood that I derive specifically from my not being the only man in existence. That not being the case, my name is The Man.
Still, some of you may wonder why I would choose such a boastful-sounding name if I do not in fact think that I am the best or most god-like man there is. The answer to that question (if I may be so bold as to interpret your wondering as a question) is actually a pretty exciting story. The story goes like this: I was trying to think of a good name for a blog. Suddenly, Man of Many Words occurred to me as a thought-provoking possibility. I looked it up, and lo and also behold, the URL was, in fact, available. This was a sign from Zeus, probably. I had to get right down to the job. I started the blog, began writing and posting, and soon enough, I had a fully functional blog. I was elated. I submitted it to a random god for approval, and great Ra the sun god answered with his great rays of light, even though it was really cloudy out at the time, and I couldn't really see the rays, per se, but I could imagine them, above the clouds like that, me standing there in the rain catching pneumonia and thinking, "Wow", and realizing I was definitely right about what the gods think. It was a true epiphany, a sort of spiritual awakening, and I was filled with a great sense of being right about most things, like when I argue with people and they tell me I don't have a firm grip on reality. You can imagine my delight. This called for a celebration.
Alas, my work is never finished. I needed to come up with some kind of recurring theme, a motif if you will, for tying it all together. I don't know much about graphic design or HTML, so I couldn't use a logo or something like that. My spirits slouched. I paced nervously. My brow furrowed. A bead of sweat formed in my armpit. Then it hit me: I would use the same word in different contexts as the element titles in both sidebars. O Muse, I thank thee for thy bounty. But wait. What word would I use? I looked to Pooh for inspiration: Think, think. Think, think. Ah-ha! Man of Many Words..."Man"..."The Man"! As in, "The Man" who writes this blog! What elegance! What simplicity! But I was not keen to let hubris get the better of me and so again rolled up my sleeves and went to work, typing "The Man" in all my sidebar titles, preceding the words with verbs like "Meet" and "Quote" and "Brand" and "Raid". I had my motif. I was finished, at least for now, and a respite was deserved. I lay myself down for a long nap. I woke up a little later, had some macaroni, and called my boss to explain why I haven't been showing up for work. The happiest happiness of them all was the realization that, now, after all this time, "The Man" is not only my pen name, but it is also a short form of "Man of Many Words". Thus, I am both a man and an abstract object known as a blog.
That is the story of my name, and that is the miracle of Christmas. God bless us, everyone.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
"Everybody grab a ribbon! Okay, now pair up. You, you. You, you. Okay, if you're facing this way," he announced, pointing, "you are Sun. If you're facing the other way, you are Moon."
Things didn't go exactly to spec, because of all the little kids, but by everybody weaving in and out, "saying hello to the Maypole", and walking in circles, the phallus got wrapped up. I interpreted the ribbons to be the enveloping force that is female.
Ten feet away, a couple hundred people were forming a gigantic peace sign. A plane overhead was circling, taking pictures of the peace sign. Whoever was organizing the sign was shouting, "Everybody look to the sky!" There was something protruding from the bottom of the plane. I almost choked up as a morbid image came into my mind. What if a bomb dropped out of that plane? The protruding shape was obviously a camera or something.
Through all this, a musician was singing "Freedom!" onstage.
I picked up a dozen different flyers and pamphlets, including:
"Protest Bush, U.S. Out of Iraq Now! Wednesday May 23rd, 9 am, Williams Street and Mohegan Avenue, New London"Howard Zinn, the noted historian and icon of the political Left, spoke on the Green as well. I showed up just as he was ending his speech with something about a vision of "freedom and respect for all people, everywhere." I'm just reporting the facts here, people.
A flyer promoting a $45 dinner featuring Anthony Arnove, author of Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal
"The Economics of Capital Punishment" by the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
A 19-page story called Ending a War: Inventing a Movement: May Day 1971 by L.A. Kauffman
"Building a Mass Movement to Confront the Climate Crisis, Thursday May 10th, 7:30 pm, Marcus White Living Room, Central Connecticut State University, 1615 Stanley Street, New Britain
"A Friendly Note from Your Muslim Neighbor..."
"Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes", an extensively notated tract with a pie chart showing that 51% of the U.S. Federal Budget 2008 Fiscal Year is spent on current and past military bills, released by the War Resistors League
A flyer promoting a talk by Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times Correspondent Chris Hedges, who wrote a book called American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.
A booklet featuring all of the participating organizations and individuals for the 2007 New Haven International Workers' Day events
I spoke to someone who evangelized at me about voting. It was more accusatory and oratorical than any Jehovah's Witness I've ever met. I smiled and told her that voting is a form of prayer, that America is a religion, and that I'm an atheist in that respect. She lectured some more. I said nice to meet you and smiled. She smiled, we shook hands, I left. Phew!
Zinn spoke again at 6:30 pm at Center Church, at the same time as the International Workers' Day parade was touring through the streets, chanting in Spanish, "The people! United! Will never be defeated!"
Have a good month. Come back tomorrow.