My VW’s muffler clean rusted off last month. I pulled over and examined it before putting it in my trunk: probably hadn’t functioned for months. Meanwhile warning indicators say I have no coolant, so I keep dumping it in, which you shouldn’t have to do. Over 60 mph, the car fills with an odor I call “ozone” but it could be smoldering engine wires. I don’t want to detect more problems, so I keep my windows open and the tape deck all the way cranked, a strategy I call “mystical ignorance.” I pray it will cover my ass until winter.
We squander our potential waiting for worthiness. Find a concept, however narrow or tedious, whatever dumb thing is your thing, and be faithful to it. Content has a shelf life of a nano-second. Recognition is all bought or self-awarded. Make it, flog it, take your couple Likes and move on. Even if you’re onto something, what the world wants will change while you’re sleeping. There’s only one sensible stance: “I don’t fucking care if you like it.”
Contemplating a project on the Mississippi River next month—a public panoramic drawing to be made on the riverboat Padelford as it moves downstream. Like so much, it comes out of an invitation. Not a burning desire or even an Idea. Who needs those? Someone says they are making a mini golf documentary. And they want to interview the artists behind “Move Your Hole.” Who would come see that? I’ll be at the Walker at 3 Sunday to demo. Caring much will require some effort on both sides of the camera.
I like rap that originates in outer space, via Detroit and mental illness.
I started drafting my will this week. The lawyer’s appointment has been set for months, but it felt like a premonition when a week or so back I had back spasms that brought me to my knees. I laid on the side of the road whimpering until Sarah (literally) picked me up. Only now am I coming to the end of the indignity: shuffling slowly, teeth gritted, clumsily grasping walls and chairs. I worked from the floor for days, searching for positions free of pain. I feel too young to have a heart attack or a stroke, but I was recently wheelchaired to my car because I couldn’t stand up. When did Building Mode stop and Breaking Down start?
20 more years and the problems change from profounding annoying to terminal. My dad told me in June that he’s got Alzheimer’s—at 64, the Early Onset kind. He won’t spend the next 25 years growing old, gracefully or ungracefully, however he might have pictured it. He gets maybe 10, quite possibly fewer, without his memories to soothe him. Of all the ways to wind down a life, no one would pick this one.
Here’s him in ’73, before bad backs and bad brains.
40 years is no time at all. I’m learning this sooner than expected.