How often do you wander off lost in thought? You know, drifting off on a mental detour? Like at a traffic stop, both mind and motor idling, returning to reality only when the driver behind you honks his horn. Another common malady is humming a tune that won’t go away. Worst of all, caught deep in thought when someone is talking to you.
I’m in front of my computer waiting because it tells me to, the “do not turn off” notice revealing it’s being rebooted or some such nonsense. It only takes, what, thirty seconds? In that short period of time, my mind wanders off to Wonderland, Alice’s place. Lewis Carroll’s familiar opening line resonates: “The time has come, the Walrus said, “to talk of many things – of shoes – and ships – and sealing wax – of cabbages and kings.” [The seldom remembered last line is “And why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings,” in case you’re interested.]
You know CR2S reciting a piece of jabberwocky is nothing new. Though I often wonder why a bunch of dead old fogies should be quoted (yeah, always male and deceased.) Believe me, it’s not a matter of trying to be like a William F. Buckley III or Gore Vidal. I think it’s to prove my college years weren’t a complete waste of time. Maybe to justify studying olde English rather than anatomy, chemistry or mathematics; majoring in something with a future. But no, since I had no interest in bodies, beakers or fractions, I wound up reading about mad men and opium eaters.
If truth be told (which CR2S is much in favor of), college wasn’t a slam dunk. Firstly, higher education was primarily to satisfy my mother, something I wasn’t very good at. This meant years of service to gain *GI Bill benefits since there was no loan program (or family savings). What to do for a study major (salute)? Didn’t have the slightest idea of what liberal arts was, except it sounded intriguing. [*Would you believe a military career was considered at one time?]
Anyway folks, that’s why sometimes I wind up writing stuff like “in the eyes of the beholder” or fluff like “How much do I love thee? (Let me count the ways . . .”) All the while knowing I could be writing you a prescription, advising you on finances or keeping you out of jail. (Or in.)
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Thanks to an anonymous reader’s evaluation, CR2S just may have reached a lofty perch without knowing it. As a long-time observer of Niseidom, this corner has been there, done that, so to speak. And longevity counts because old-timers are a rarity today.
“[E]veryone has a grandfather, daddy, boisterous uncle,” the writer begins. And then points out how CR2S often reflects the male mentality (and openness) that many female-dominated families are not privy to. [She] points out how experiences and influences are often hobbled by Nisei reticence (enyo).
I don’t know if she’s a psychologist or tarot reader, but I gather she welcomes most of my efforts, “and this openness gives us a clearer insight of our (male figures), whether a (grand)father who never talks about camp life or an uncle whose wartime hardships remains a mystery.”
“No matter how outrageous or non-representative you personally might be, at least you give us a reflection, an open attitude,” she concludes. [It goes on, but space and modesty say enough.]
Where I fit is debatable. Maybe a sensitive misfit, a care(less)free family gray sheep? Whatever. Maybe there is a male figure in your clan who drinks too much, gambles, curses, dislikes mother-father-sister-brother-in-laws, snores, won’t go to church, shave or get a haircut. No matter his shortcomings, he’s yours, warts and liver spots included. So if CR2S helps you to better understand, good for me.
From a way back, probably when wetting the bed, I never thought about being rich. One of those convictions you develop early on without knowing why. Like being tall, dark and handsome. Never concerned, never dismayed. Now none of that irrelevance matters. While others are having conniptions over China (don’t overlook India) and Wall Street, CR2S goes merrily along unworried except for what to write about next week. [And if you don’t inform the FBI, I confess to being pleased Japan won the Little League World Series.]
Anyway, all is cool and copacetic. If you’re concerned about a reserved father, madcap uncle or grumpy Gramps, just remember to be understanding: He won’t be around too much longer.
* A Requiem *
In memory, a partial list of “Horse’s Mouth” favorites: The Cal Club – Paul Tanaka – McDonald’s – Mike Antonovich – Makino’s – George Wakiji – Li’l Tokio – Tak Hamano – cigars – Ed Fukumoto – Santa Anita – Bacon Sakatani – Kashu Mainichi – Em Kato Yamada – Rafu Shimpo – Maggie Ishino.
W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.