[lit-ideas] Sunday Something

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2015 11:07:20 -0800

The chickens and their gods have been keeping sharp eyes on one another this 
week, for quite different reasons.  The chickens were disturbed by the Oregon 
governor's slowness to resign, a slowness which caused the media to gather 
outside his private house (which is in the neighborhood) and overhead in very 
noisy helicopters.  When one is attempting to avoid birds of prey helicopters 
are what Mimo aptly called, "An impediment."  A nuisance.  We gods, on the 
other hand, have been watching Mimo in particular (also the others in case the 
idea is spreading) because she has decided that an inaccessible spot behind the 
air conditioning unit is ideal spot for egg-laying purposes.  She and I had a 
chat on both subjects.
"The reason we've been leaving at least one egg in the nesting box is to give 
the right idea."
Mimo, "I don't think it's right at all."
"Why, pray?"
"Far too noisy.  Shouldn't be allowed."
"It isn't allowed, that's what I'm saying."
"Well then, why do they do it?"
"The helicopters..."
"Obdurate" seems like a good word to describe that particular chicken.  Also, 
"willful" and occasionally "obtuse."

To become attached to an inanimate object suggests a lack of perspective.  
Humans and animals we're supposed to cosy up to; cameras and boats, not so 
much.  But I owned a Pentax since 1973 and it had become an extension of my 
body.  I never had to look to find where a button or control should be.  And I 
had owned a boat through three renewals of the tags, so six years anyway.  Now 
both are gone.  The camera...I don't know its fate; it and a passel of lenses 
are simply no longer in the cupboard where they ought to be.  The boat and its 
role in art are easier to explain.  It was nothing much, a crap crab boat, but 
there was so much joy within.  So when I signed the papers to condemn the 
"Quite Vincible" to the marine equivalent of the knackers yard there was a bit 
of a hole...in my heart.  This can be remedied.  A while back I asked a painter 
friend if he'd like to try a highland landscape with hairy cows.  He thought he 
might.  The project has dragged on without a lick of paint yet having been 
applied to board or canvas.  At Christmas I offered to release him from any 
pledge, real or implied.  But no.  He wanted to carry on.  Now I think he 
should take on a more urgent commission, a re-interpretation of "The Fighting 
Téméraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up," Turner's study of the last 
of Lord Nelson's fleet being overtaken by time and technology.  The "Quite 
Vincible" is patiently waiting, like a cow, for someone to turn her up.

Yeah, I don't like puns either.

The chickens this week have been charging full speed ahead on their education 
in capitalism.  Which is to say there has been much discussion of job titles.
"What," asked Mimo, "does an administrative assistant do?"
"Never had one," I said.
"Wouldn't you think," she offered, "that it would be pretty important?  Someone 
who sat at the right hand of god?"
"Could be," I agreed, "but this would also describe a disciple."
Appenzeller wanted to know if there was a job description handy for the 
position of disciple.
I patted my pockets.  "Not got one," I said, "about my person."
Cheddar said she fancied being an ambassador.  I asked, "Of what sort?  To 
"To food," she said, with unusual firmness.
"To food?"
"Yeeees.  A food ambassador.  The other god said that was a position she had 
been invited to apply for.  I think you'll find we're generally in favor of 
good diplomatic relations with food."
I suggested that one of them might like to take on the title of vice president 
of something.  We have several of those at work.
Peccorino said "vice" didn't sound very nice.  They all nodded in agreement and 
took an immediate vote.  Unanimous motion: no to vice.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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