By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO
The introduction of William James’ “stream of consciousness” style of writing in this corner several weeks ago made quite an impression on several readers: “Not that impressive when broken down to individual components, but have to admit the varietal factor makes it possible for a casual reader to find something of interest,” observed a less than enthused (male) subscriber.
A much more enthusiastic (lady) follower: “To go from a Pasadena insurance man (I remember him) to New Chinatown’s Man Jen Low restaurant, which had a waiter named ‘Hitler,’ was hilarious! I remember it as the ‘in’ place for Nisei socialites in the ’60s and ’70s.”
And then there’s always the Smart One, who is much too observant: “You can fool others but not me. You didn’t have anything important to write about, did you?”
In case review is necessary, I had explained how reading James’ works in my youth had influenced CR2S’ ultimate manner of writing: rambling, sometimes disjointed prose.
One of America’s most influential writers, he developed a unique narrative style that gave the impression of an active mind at work, his words and thoughts often bouncing hither and yon without warning or pattern. You really had to pay attention or get lost.
To be totally (rather than half) honest, sometimes it’s not prudent to devote an entire column to a single topic or thought. It might not seem so at times, but I put column ideas into a mental piñata, whack it around and see what falls out. CR2S does have an obligation to Rafu readers; it’s not a one-way street to promote a cause or ego.
I mean, hey, you can read Ann Coulter, listen to Rush Limbaugh or watch Fox News if you prefer the unwashed and unabashed. I have my own niche corner, just like Little Jack Horner.
So the curtain is about to go up. Grab your popcorn and find a seat before the lights go dim. Catch you later at intermission.
The World According to Wimpy
I’ve just been informed of a way to prolong the refrigerator life of fresh strawberries: A (one cup) mixture of apple cider vinegar and water, then dip and wash fruit in the liquid concoction. Place in ziplock bag for future eating without worrying about becoming over-ripe too rapidly. I have yet to give it a whirl. If the result is satisfactory, I will give due credit.
We all reacted to the Patriot Day bombing in understandable shock and horror, then were riveted to television sets until the climactic end. Although a firm believer in the bravery and fortitude of America, I believe our single greatest shortcoming is inexperience with the devastation of war. The brothers Tsanaev had declared a war with stomach-churning impact, no matter its brevity.
Discounting the Civil War for argument’s sake (as well as 9/11), the contiguous 48 has never experienced a conflagration, a shooting war, enemies amongst us. We’re the only (major) nation in the world that can boast of never facing a foreign enemy on our homeland. So? So, other than overseas veterans, no one has had first-hand experience with the ravages of war and its harsh impact on civilian life.
No matter its gravity and shock, Boston was but a tragic, horrific blip. You want devastation, ruin and human suffering? You should’ve seen Japan after The War. Germany. Blitzkrieged countries. A final comment to further disrupt your patriotic thoughts: Can you imagine what it’s like to be an American Muslim today? [Yes, we can.]
Word for the week: Sanctimonious.
You know something? If I were a Mexican illegal, right about now I’d be throwing up [my arms in despair]. Just when things are looking real bueno for the passage of some sort of acceptable immigration reform, the Chechen boys screw everything up. Have you noticed the good ole (white) boys now piping up about the imminent dangers to national security if a wholesale amnesty program is passed? They suggest caution. Like, maybe, 50 more years.
Second word for the week: Piffle.
Remember that old song, way back when, “Blues in the Night”? There obviously was no such thing as Google then and why buy costly sheet music if you could simply play a wax 78 over and over again (called “jumping”), to scribble and memorize the lyrics (“From Natchez to Mobile, from Memphis to St. Joe, wherever the four winds blow”).
Well, for the longest time, maybe because of Tex Beneke’s Texas drawl, I always thought a plaintive line went, “A war is a thing, that’ll lead you to sing, the blues in the night.” It was years before I discovered the correct words were: “A worrisome thing…” Now ain’t that the funniest story you’ve heard in a long time? [If the above makes no sense to you, just remember somebody older than thou might be bent over in mirth. Time to be kind.]
You can’t fix stupid.
I’ve mentioned the writing pad I have handy on the night stand next to my bed. Actually two. On my sleeping right (when belly sleeping) alongside the clock/radio, whose alarm I still haven’t figured out how to set. So I live dangerously, having to rely on my internal clock whenever it’s time to get up in the morning. The other stand has a lamp, telephone and stack of reading material besides the writing pad; which is only 2”x2”, awfully small, which results in cramped writing, whether denoting the exact time of an “O” visitation or jotting down something worthy of remembering gleaned from a magazine piece, newspaper article or maybe a television comment.
A random sampling of some recent scribblings to give you an idea of their wide, wild range: Rod Stewart played a (outdoor) concert that lured 4.2 million rabid fans; Afterlife is rebirth to Buddhists; Lazarus and Phoenix; How come all the North Korean Kim Jongs are chubby?; Why doesn’t Kobe tweet Tiger and leave the Laker team to their own misery? [In all transparency, that last item wasn’t really a jotted down thought, more like an Ode to Goad. I should drive down to Newport, autograph his leg cast and then estimate the value of wife Vanessa’s jewelry.]
Thanks for the concern and asking. But, no, CR2S is still without a driver’s license.
And yes, I am planning a thorough, up-to-date report on the status of the recently absent “O-bah-keh-san.”
W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at williamhiroto[at]att.net. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.