It’s a day for interruptions — after seemingly unending days of rain and chill (by Mondoville standards, anyway; I closed my office window), I see sunshine out the back door. I’m ten Shakespeare papers away from having an empty grading basket (until Thursday’s midterms). And the dog interrupted that last sentence by wanting to be let back in. So why not spend a little time getting caught up?
On Wednesday, I was on my way to work when the drum hauler decided it wasn’t, stalling on a side street near the college. After a few attempts at getting it restarted, I abandoned the vehicle and made it to the office, where I arranged a tow. My phone rang at lunch. The mechanic said that he couldn’t find a problem. The car was starting and running just fine. I mentioned that the Check Engine light had flickered on a few seconds before the stall, and upon further review (as the referees say), it turned out I had a bad cam sensor, so a day and not quite three bills later (including the tow), I once again had wheels.
At lunch, I was talking with friends about the whole business, concluding with my credo that a repair bill might be unpleasant, but it was still cheaper than a car note — especially as we are only five months from paying off Mrs. M’s ride. Besides, we’ll probably need to invest in more reliable transport for the Spawn when she departs for A Grad School to be Named Later come autumn.
“Sure,” one of my friends said. “But what are you gonna do when the bill is more like $1600?”
“I imagine I’ll pay $1600. It’s still cheaper than six years of car payments.” And of course, at this point the Drum Hauler is, well,
a rolling landfill recognizable. But the stereo still works, I can fit my drums and a bass amp in the back, and well… I’ve driven worse.
One of my favorite daily comics these days is Pearls Before Swine. I’ve enjoyed Stephan Pastis’s strip for years — I think I discovered it around the time I moved to South Carolina. But in the last couple of years, I’ve noticed Mr. Pastis noticing a lot of the same cultural aspects that I’ve noticed. Which brings us to today’s strip:
I’m beginning to think that The Ox-Bow Incident should run on a continuous loop on every social medium. As I’ve said in the past, our current environment not only encourages the dark pleasures of cruelty, but anesthetizes us against remorse by giving us a false sense of righteousness. Lynch mobs never admit that they are lynch mobs — they’re only “doing justice.”
Meanwhile, over at Mr. Block’s place, he’s sharing teaser excerpts from some of the stories in the forthcoming At Home in the Dark anthology. Thus far, you’ll find previews of stories by Elaine Kagan and Wallace Stroby. As always, I’m thrilled to be in such good company, and hope you’ll give the book a read when it comes out. The limited hardbound edition from Subterranean Press has sold out, but LB will be releasing the paperback version quite soon, and you can place a pre-release order for the e-dition already.
On an upbeat note, I finished my second gallon of blood donation on Tuesday, and would like to remind you that while I’m ineligible for the next seven-plus weeks, you could be just what the doctor ordered (see what I did there?) in the meantime. Why not look into it?
And here’s a bit of music to wrap things up. Carl Groves and Mike Dearing have been friends of mine for almost 50 years now — I met them both when Carl and I were in first grade, and Mike was in second. We’ve grown up together, listening to and making music and turning each other on to books, music, and the other niceties of life. In any case, Carl’s birthday was on the 19th, and I thought it might be nice to share a song from Salem Hill, Carl and Mike’s band. Carl wrote this one, but Mike sings it, and it’s one I’ve always liked a lot. From their 1998 album The Robbery of Murder, this is “To the Hill.”
See you soon!