I CAN’T REMEMBER
Just a line to say l’m living,
that l’m not among the dead,
though I’m getting more forgetful
and mixed up in the head.
I got used to my arthritis,
to my dentures I’m resigned.
I can manage my bifocals,
but God I miss my mind.
For sometimes I can’t remember
when I stand at the foot of the stairs,
if I must go up for something,
or have I just come down from there.
And before the fridge so often,
my poor mind is filled with doubt,
have I just put food away, or
have I come to take some out.
And there’s time when it is dark
with my nightcap on my head,
I don’t know if I’m retiring, or
just getting out of bed.
So, if it’s my turn to write you
there’s no need for getting sore,
I may think that I have written,
and don’t want to be a bore.
So, remember that I love you,
and wish that you were near,
but now it’s nearly mail time
so must say goodbye dear.
Well, here I stand beside the mail box,
with a face of cherry red.
Instead of mailing you my letter,
I have opened it instead.
I wish I knew who wrote that. It was a favorite of my father, and his older brothers. They would mail empty envelopes to each other from time to time, just to see what would happen. Often, the other would send another copy of this well-copied poem back to get a laugh.
A friend of mine has located the entire set of The Harvard Classics which for those of you who are saying “Wha?” is a collection, printed and bound, which one could use as a basis of a very substantial personal library–back in time, when books were on paper–and which in fact my own father had in his den. I was saddened when the volumes were damaged beyond salvage in a flood at his Florida home some years ago. BUT they are on the web, so I have access to them after all. The “Five foot shelf of books” is not lost; it resides at Bartleby. How cool is that.
There are of course, other sources for literature, on and off the web. One that makes me a penny or two when you visit is a well-managed source of literature designed (or re-designed) for electronic consumption, with the rather catchy title as I’ve posted below. You could do worse. After all, free is still free, and they have a good search engine.
A few weeks ago we had an exercise on Facebook, recalling our whereabouts on 9/11. Many of us can recall vividly where we were and what we were doing when the planes hit the WTC, live on TV.
I wasn't in a location where TV was available 50 years ago, but I can recall where I was and what I was doing.
The weather was cold and damp in northern Ohio. We had been busy all day at a high-school speech tournament. My friend Charlie and a bunch of us guys were basking in the limelight of recognition. We did well. Charlie won an award for Oratorical Declamation, as I recall. He had done a cutting (an excerpt) from a play. It was A Raisin in The Sun. Damn, he was good, too. “What happens to a dream deferred?” I think he probably got the trophy. I remember I got a ribbon or something for my effort. I did a cutting from Inherit the Wind. “This man wants to be given the same privilege as a sponge. He wishes to think!”
As we came out of the school late that afternoon, we were full of ourselves, telling each other how good we Men From Chaminade were, how the boys from the other schools couldn't even remember their lines. When we returned to the bus which would take us home to Dayton, the bus driver was playing the radio.
But there was no music.
Hmmm… Now why is this news? Is it unusual? Actually, it’s normal in this country where we have the rule by law, not the rule of law. On this side of the world, it’s not viewed as corruption of honest business practices, this is exactly and precisely how business is conducted.
Nothing gets done (above a one-to-one exchange in the marketplace) without some extra consideration being worked into the deal somewhere. It’s called guanxi 关系 and it means relationship. But it goes far beyond friends doing good things for friends for the sake of the relationship. Where guanxi does not exist it can be purchased, as it looks like it was done here. Sometimes it’s very blatant, but most of the time it’s just under the table. Welcome to China.