Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Father Virgil's Seven Random Facts

That's what I get for catching up with your blog, son. Tagged. I was preparing for bed here in Glee Fiddler's Onion, having spent the day in the shadow of my mountain (such a gratifying way to prevent sun burn - I much prefer it to smelly sunblock) when I thought I'd just peek at your blog. And lo, I've been tagged and bedtime is postponed.

1. This is my fact to share, but it's actually about you. When you were still small enough to ride in the big front pocket of my knickersnock sweaters (the ones with the tourmaline buttons and the professorial looking elbow patches made of flexbeetle elytra), you loved to arrange all the pencils on my desk. You'd climb up on the back of our pet hrumph, who waited by my desk in hopes of pencil shavings, and sort the pencils by length, then by color, then by smell, and finally by taste. So I can't say I'm surprised that pencils are still among your favorite things, and that you're still putting strange things in your mouth (how many kinds of slugs? Escargot is one thing - slugs are another.)

2. At lunch today I had the great pleasure of being hooked to an apparatus that mapped my sinuses and brain as I flashed them with deliciously painful bursts of gas from the wonderful green paste served with smooshi and sashaymi at the local froongian raw bar. A lovely girl in native dress used her top two hands to hold the large rush paper sheet and her lower two hands to paint the map as revealed in the device. Her dexterity with all four hands at once, and her ability to capture all the assymetry of my brain, amazed me almost as much as my pleasure at the intense pain. Or maybe it's the tearful relief as the pain subsides after each mouthful. Anyway, I now have a diagram on my study wall that looks like one of those psychiatric blotch patterns, but I know it's really all in my head.

3. Before breakfast many mornings I look at myself reflected in my spoon. Then I flip the spoon over and look at myself upside down. While staying on the concave side, I slowly revolve the spoon handle upward, then, as if this would right my image, and I never get tired of the sensation I feel when it does not.

4. The first time I ever rode a kilopede I was a rebellious teenager. My parents were quite angry at me for climbing up on top and running towards the tail, trying to stay abreast of the station as we embarked. At first I was able to gain a little on the downhill side of each segment, but I lost more and more on the uphill sides, especially as the creature gained speed. I gave up after thirty or forty segments and, too tired to return to the segment where my parents were, I slid down and rode with a pair of drunk teleekian octopi, who had exchanged the water in their travel globes for gin toddies. They kept giggling, blowing bubbles, and belching gin fizz, but it was better than the lecture I knew my father would deliver about travel etiquette and manners to creatures large enough to be mapped geographic features (if there were any maps in Hamjamser, which is, of course, impossible).

5. Speaking of the impossibility of maps, and thinking of your fact about places not existing after you visit... I once visited a place of such wonder and beauty that I have never been able to describe it to others without passing out. I cannot find it again, and no one else seems able to tell me anything about it after they bring me to with a dash of cold water in my face.

6. I get words stuck in my brain. They go round and round like a hard candy in my mind's mouth. Words like integument, or adumbration, or circumambulation (which is sort of a round and round word in its own right). This is all OK until the words start popping out of my real mouth at inopportune moments, like when going through toll booths, or when ordering coffee. I worry sometimes that I will get punched in the nose for blurting, "proboscis," or that I will offend a waitress with "obovate."

7. Finally I have this weird recurring dream that you and I are in math class and our heads are shown overlapped in a diagram on the chalk board. The teacher is asking all of us about the sets represented by the different sections of our heads, like the portions of some bizarre venn diagram. "Now class, what is represented by the set of the conjuntion of Virgil Tangelo and Nigel Tangelo." Every time I raise my hand, the teacher calls on me, and I wake just as I answer, "Hamjamser!"

I am even more lazy than you, my dear boy, and I will not tag even those who read this. They have, perhaps, been punished enough already. Travel safely, and do continue to write.

Your loving father, VT.


Blogger Nigel Tangelo said...

What's wrong with slugs? Really, the only difference is that snails are better dressed.

I remember those sweaters, though! I used to dive for lint and eraser stubs in the depths of the pockets, like a chucklefish diving for pearls. I still have a few of them in my pencil case.

11:07 PM  
Blogger Steve Emery said...

I wish I still had the sweaters! But the elbow patches were the only things that didn't wear out. I used to use one patch as an ashtray for my pipe, but when the pipe finished its metamorphosis one night and flew out the window towards the full moon, I stopped smoking and have since misplaced the elytra.

And I've probably told you a thousand times that dressing well really does matter - for mollusks as well as for job interviews.

12:50 AM  

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