When I was a kid I would go with my dad to weekend flea markets. We’d load up his F150 on a Friday night and he’d wake me up the next morning for a trip to one of two local drive-in theaters. The South Drive-In is still in use, but the 3C was torn down years ago. This all might have been at the end of the 70s or the beginning of the 80s, I don’t rightly recall.

After I helped my dad set up his stall I’d run off to explore the grounds, the soles of my cheap tennis shoes stumbling across the oversized white gravel. I can tell you from experience that the sound of a rock striking the bottom of a drive-in movie screen not only sounds like laser fire, but if you do it hard enough, the kids gathered around the opposite screen across the grounds can hear you. SCIENCE.

We were pretty poor and I knew better than to ask my dad for money, so I looked through those stalls as though I were purchasing items with my eyes. I wanted to remember the stacks of Penthouse magazines, the Pink Floyd mirrors, the ninja throwing stars and the tables and tables of trading cards, the milk crates full of dog-eared books, vinyl records, velvet paintings, ornate lamps, enormous belt buckles, motorcycle and car parts, musical instruments, models of spaceships, giant bags of kettle corn — I mean the whole goddamned world was for sale in front of my eyes. It was something —

On Friday nights, we’d order pizza and watch Buster Keaton films on a projector in the back yard. Holy shit, I just remembered that…

Sometimes my dad would just give me stuff that he’d found in a dumpster, or picked up for five bucks at a garage sale. That’s how I got my first planner. When I opened it, I wanted to be able to fill the pages with interesting things and dates to remember and important cards for all the slots. But I was still a kid. I could have (would have, should have) filled those pages with entries like FUCK OFF ALL DAY TOMORROW – STILL ON SUMMER VACATION. I would have scribbled I DON’T KNOW ANYONE EXCEPT MY FAMILY in the address book and never even stopped to consider what it meant. Instead of observations on the human condition worthy of preserving, and lofty insights with which to inspire future generations in the notes section, I probably wrote “RODE BIKE ALL DAY.” I had no responsibilities. I was not yet in the data stream. What else was supposed to go on those pages?

The Navy has employed Smart Sailors as far back as World War II. One elite group of these trouble sniffers could tell how far off shore the German were hiding their U-boats by the flavor of the local fish. LT Chuck U. Farley picks up a chuck of sashimi with his chopsticks and takes a bite. “Thirty miles out… tastes like the crew might have picked up a flu virus in Spain.” He licks his lips, dabs at a morsel of wasabi on the corner of his mouth. “Now would be an ideal time to strike.” He licks his lips and slaps his hands together, barking and flexing his throat. The consultation is over.

Still remembers the first time he obsessed over the correct spelling of calculator,

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