Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Don't Panic


It’s only noon and I’m thoroughly confused.  That in and of itself may be a new record, but probably only if you don’t count the days in which I sleep until noon.  Although I think there may possibly be one or two days during which I slept until well past noon and somehow still managed to be thoroughly confused before noon, but I think all three of them had something to do with cross-Atlantic cloud skipping and time zones and stuff.  And it doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re traveling supersonic, sub-sonic, ¼ impulse or peddling frantically to steer your two-person peddle-boat just fast enough to stay ahead of a forty-six story tsunami surge.

You somehow know it’s not going to get any better, just because.
I like words.  Use them all the time.  Wine them, dine them, stroke them, pamper them, gently massage them to see what hidden secrets they reveal.  When I’m finished with them, I slide them back into the file I keep for lonely, misunderstood, abused words.  I polish them up if I can, and only when they sparkle like the glitter of a cloudless  equatorial midnight sky do I dare release them back into the wild.  It’s my compulsion.  Given the choice of a five cent word or a twenty five cent word – I’ll take the two dollar word every time.  I’ve been accused of intellectual snobbery, arrogance and pomposity because of this.  Not true!  I just like the way words like supercilious roll off the tongue…or keyboard, as the case may be.
With that in mind, imagine my horror when I Googled “synonym for two seated manually powered fiberglass aquatic pleasure craft” and the best I could come up with  was ‘peddle-boat’.  Seriously, Google?  Peddle-boat is the best you can do?  Surely there must be something more sesquipedalian in nature in your expansive database!
Where was I.  Oh yes – confused.
A Facebook friend (is that now becoming an oxymoron?) posted a photograph of a sign-post in a construction zone.  Perched proudly at its pinnacle was the white bordered, bold lettered, red-faced octagonal command that all who arrive at this place must comply with the demand that they bring their vehicle to a complete STOP!  The problem with the sign is neither its placement, its erudite certainty, nor its resolute and apparent profundity, but rather the subset of instructions securely fastened in orderly precision beneath the big red lollipop.
Having successfully achieved the required cessation of motion, the vehicle operator is then directed, in order, one presumes, to not turn left, not turn right, not pull forward, and not back up.  The last two could also mean, assuming the Department of Transportation in cooperation with the Department of Redundancy Department has elected to incorporate duel meaning to the severely affixed signage, that the compliant vehicle operator may neither ascend into the stratosphere, nor descend into perdition, or a subterranean light rail transit tube, whichever comes first.  To avoid both confusion, and the potential problem of clutter resulting from multiple postings of bilingual signage, easy to understand, not to mention highly fashionable as well as universally implicit graphic symbolism was employed in the place of mere words, which can cause both confusion and duplication, not to mention redundancy.
I saw a similarly adorned signpost once outside the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, ostentatiously apprising travelers that the particular length of rebar reinforced concrete over which they traversed, involved the infinitely improbable passage along at least four different roads ( I-96, US 31 and two separate but equal county roads the names of which have not been released due to an ongoing federal investigation) while migrating simultaneously toward four diametrically opposed points of the compass.
As this sighting occurred back in the days when you used cameras to snap photographs and cellular phones (then called either car-phones because they were hard-wired into the automobile’s electrical system) or mobile phones because they were hard-wired to a steamer trunk full of batteries, semi-conductors, wires, and at least one small, collapsible cell tower partnered with a booster chip to increased antennae performance, and require the enslavement of three men and a boy to actually be mobile, there is no photographic evidence to verify the details of my story. 
In addition to all that, because my factory installed OEM flux capacitor was uncharged, the cloaking device inoperative, and the impulse drive offline ( having something to do with negative ion radiation interacting duplicitously with the dilithium crystals while idling precipitously close to a tear in the space-time continuum), it is also possible that what I encountered was in fact a parallel dimension brought about by a collapsing temporal rift, and none of what we witnessed that morning was actually related in any way to our slice of reality.  Then again, it was Grand Rapids, so who really knows?
To further complicate things, and in no small way add to my confusion, my Blackberry is buzzing, a frantic array of red and green lights are flashing in the upper right hand corner just above a small speck of something similar to but not exactly like salty beer residue, and the message screen display says “Don’t Panic”.  As if!
So there you have it.  I’ve explained it as best I could, and I am still confused!
Perhaps I’ll panic after all. 
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