Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Recycle Diaries

The following is recycled from the fine weblog (warning: contains bad words, sex, youth, and intelligence) written by my son, Mini Mouse, also known as The Prisoner of Zembla. It's from a reply I wrote to a post of his, centering on environmental waste products, and certain illusions appertaining thereto. I'm reprinting it because I like it, and because I'm too busy posting nonsense at other sites to compose anything new here.

Relevance will become clear anon. When I was a child (c.f., “Annabel Lee” for floral swirls), I loved the little girl across the street in the faithful, selfless way that only a five-year old can. I believe that her name was “Jewel,” even if this is a few decades short of the seventies mania for cripplingly cute names; I thought it was beautiful. One fine morning I bought myself a Three Musketeers candy bar (five cents!), whose slogan at that time was “So big you can share it with a friend!” (Shush yo mouf. These were innocent days.) Even if, technically, a Three Musketeers didn’t have a net weight significantly greater than any other candy, I took the statement as literal, and as a moral injunction at that. Candy bar in hand, I planted myself on the front lawn to await Jewel’s appearance, which occurred every morning without fail: she lived across the street; she always came out to play; and she loved me in return, as demonstrated by her quick pecks on my cheek, her hand slipped softly into mine. I waited. The sun ascended further in the sky. The minutes accumulated into hours, or so it seemed. I grew hungry. No, I did not break faith, nor did I yield to temptation. I knew even then that temptation was but an inevitable test of true love. But I did remove the candy wrapper. I shifted the bar from my tiny right hand to my left and then back again. The day grew warm. At last, I broke the bar in half and ate MY half. But I held onto Jewel’s and waited patiently. At some point I even attempted to secret it in a pants pocket but this proved impracticable. At last, the psychological strain being too much, I crossed the street and knocked on the door of Jewel’s house. Her mother answered. I shyly inquired if Jewel was coming out to play. Her mother, kindly I thought, replied that Jewel would not be out to play until later. I returned home, seeking counsel from my own mother, who as ever was possessed of a transcendent wisdom. She suggested that I wrap the half bar in a piece of waxed paper, refrigerate it, and give it to Jewel at a later time. I found the high level of her reasoning miraculous. She also advised me to wash my hands and be quick and thorough about it. I don’t remember any more about this day, or about Jewel, except that she and her family later moved away, and that I then died inside in that hideously tormented yet purely temporary way of the pre-schooler. To the point, such as it is. Your “brown stain” story makes me look at this story in another manner. You are Jewel’s mother. The 36-inch ragamuffin from across the street stands at the door asking if your daughter can play. On both of his little hands is a thick, brown goo. Clutched in one is a dark, amorphous mass of some unknown, but evidently organic, substance. Even his dungarees are smeared with this…stuff. You say, with a tight smile, No, um, I, ah, don’t think that Jewel will be out until, uh, LATER. You close the door firmly. You turn to Jewel, by now standing eagerly behind you, looking up expectantly. Jewel, you say, go back to your room. Jewel’s face breaks into a look of disbelief mingled with wet sadness, but she obeys without question, as children did in those days. You then turn to your husband, announcing, Well, this is it, Herbert, we must move to a new neighborhood, and at once! Herbert sighs, Yes, dear, shrugs briefly, turns the page of his paper and, his pipe nestled in the crook of his hand, raises it to his mouth and takes a puff.