Saturday, May 11, 2019

Grand Tour

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my (eventual) grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who don't, yet) -- the Stickies -- to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

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                                  Who the Hell is This Guy?

Irregularly Appearing Guest Stars 
Dana -- A Gentlereader
Iggy -- A Sticky (GT*)
Marie-Louise -- My Muse (GT*)
*Currently Grand Touring 

"We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey."  -John Hope Franklin

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

It occurs to me that although I've previously pointed out that if you pay attention you will learn something every day I haven't mentioned this for a bit. Consider yourselves reminded. 

I was reminded of this when Iggy, my imaginary grandsticky, popped into my consciousness recently. It's been a while. I'm ashamed to say that I've never informed you, or perhaps, more importantly, my gentlereaders, that he and Marie-Louise are in the midst of a Grand Tour.

Their Grand Tour has absolutely nothing to do with the Amazon television series of the same name. It's the sort of Grand Tour popular for a couple of hundred years or so, a couple of hundred years ago, by members of the Lucky Sperm Club. Think of is a practicum for aristocrats in training. This was prior to steamships and rail travel making it easier for the grubby little plebs to access culcha. Specifically, the culcha of the now slowly declining phenomenon called Western civilization.

[Unfortunately, it's top-heavy with old, mostly dead white dudes and as we all know, now that we're woke, old white men were, and are, responsible for nearly everything that's wrong with the world that we know of and probably all sorts of stuff that we don't.]       

See, Iggy and Marie-Louise...

[What the hell does any of this twaddle about Marie-Louise and Iggy's leave of absence have to do with learning something every day?]

Point taken, Dana. Long story short, Iggy wasn't fairing well at our local public school. Between The Gummit, the gummit, the teacher's unions... well, that's a whole other column, maybe a book. He and Marie-Louise, figments of the same imagination, have become quite close.   

She offered to personally take over his education, to become his personal tutor. Since she loves to travel she proposed a hands-on program of education; a sort of perpetual field trip. I miss them both terribly but since I would've happily given up a body part of lesser importance when I was a kid for such an adventure it was impossible to say no.

Besides, they promised to check in on all the major holidays, at a minimum, and...

[Twaddle, twaddle, twaddle!]

AND! when they checked in on Easter Sunday I was reminded of my pay attention and you'll learn something every day dictum because Iggy was overflowing with all sorts of fun facts effortlessly accumulated in the course of their travels.

Accumulated, I assume, because he was paying attention. I remember being so bored in Ms. Wrights third grade class that I attempted to count the number of bricks in the wall of the building across the way from my school. I never got very far because all in all, there are a lot of bricks in a wall.

For the record, I confess that I was worried that without effortless access to my muse I might run short of things to write about. However, Marie-Louise gave me the key to the Inspiration Pantry; she stocked all the shelves to the max before leaving. Not only that, all the inspirations are packed in labeled, waterproof storage boxes and arranged in alphabetical order.

Marie-Louise knows how I swing.

Now, with that out of the way, I'd like to expand on my dictum as regards...

[Giggling, Dana, really? Grow up!]

Harumph! I'd like to expand on my... maxim, that H. sapiens who pay attention will learn something every day. Trying not to drown in the Dizzinformation ocean while holding aloft our overpriced smartphones can make it possible to dramatically increase the knowledge derived from a given lesson. If you wish to maximize the learning that results from paying attention, follow up is required. Smartphones make it possible to follow up on the spot.

Big But
Unfortunately, I've observed that most H. sapiens, who can pull their smartphones faster than Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens can pull his Glock 17, would rather take pictures (often featuring themselves) than engage in some on the spot intellectual edification.

Back in the Black&White Ages, declaring that "You can look it up!" was an effective weapon to wield in a big, juicy, argument because unless you were arguing in a library, neither you or your opponent couldn't, not in the moment at least.

If we had had smartphones back then it would've been possible to offer up evidence of one's obviously correct stance on the spot. This, of course, could've been countered with evidence of the other guy's person's position and the big, juicy argument could continue till it wasn't fun anymore and everyone finished their beer and called it a night, and as hard as might be for you to believe, still be friends.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus... and once upon a time it was possible to have an enjoyable, good-natured, logic and intelligence testing argument without anyone being "triggered," or reaching for their Glock 17.

There's a lesson for ya. Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day. 
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©2019 Mark Mehlmauer As long as you agree to supply my name and URL (Creative Commons license at the top and bottom of my website) you may republish this anywhere that you please. You do NOT have to include any of the folderol before the greeting or after the closing except for the title of the column. 



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