Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Right to Keep and Bear Memoirs

Yesterday was a darned good day, not to mention today. We huffed and puffed up the hill to Starbucks and got some coffee. We went to a store called Big Lots, the kind of store I really like. It sels stuff from stores that had trouble selling the stuff. How great is that?

Also, our son is home from college, and one of his professors, who is from Ethiopia, required homework be turned in on Friday--on Thanksgiving vacation. How great is that? It was helpful that the homework was online. Why should a professor from Ethiopia know about the rhythms of Thanksgiving break? He or she shouldn't. The rhythms of Ethiopian holidays are different, one assumes.

I picked up my son from an appointment, and I had some pop-radio station on, and he said, "Wow, you're really rocking out." Ah, the dry humor of youth. Then the station played (I suppose "stations" don't really "play" anything now) a song in which the word "glamorous" was spelled out, and I tried to tailor the lyrics to my 1995 Volvo. My son found this to be humorous.

I was able to watch one of my all-time favorite movies, Mildred Pierce, with Joan Crawford, Ann Blythe, Jack Carson, and Zachary Scott. If anyone wants to understand what makes the U.S.A. tick, he or she should watch Mildred Pierce.

I was also privileged to greet a small white dog of the Westie (?) species, watch college football on television in a most fragmentary way, watch commercials featuring stuff I will never buy, and read the following words in books: "eupeptic," "trope," and "dudgeon."

Another member of our family claimed that my Volvo was so messy that it made her sick, so we stopped off at a place that had a vacuum cleaner which you could rent for four quarters. So we vacuumed the heck out of that Volvo. I wondered whose job it was to empty the repository of the big vacuum cleaner, and I wondered what strange items ended up in there.

Tonight, on th e way back from having dinner at a venerable Tacoma restaurant, we started talking about writing, and I said that one good way to improve one's writing is to read a lot. My son opined that no one reads anymore because "all they want are screens," and, only half seriously, he predicted that book-burning would occur soon. Doing my best to imitate Charlton Heston on the subject of guns, I said, "Well, if they come for my books, they'll have to pry them out of my cold, dead hands." And he said, "Yes, everyone should have the right to keep and bear memoirs." Most amusing.

I really do think there should be a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to keep and bear books. The amendment should be written with greater care than the Second Amendment was. Someone was in a hurry with that one. It's basically a one-sentence amendment in which one kind of business is taken care of with an absolute phrase concerning militias, and another kind of business is taken care of in the clause stating that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged. Of course, the persons writing the sentence had no sense of the extent to which "arms" would evolve, and they didn't define "arms." If we go strictly by the Constitution, we should be able to keep nuclear arms in our basements.

So if we had an amendment guaranteeing the right to keep and bear books, we'd best define "books" carefully.

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