The Return of the King
G'evening to you all. Letters are something that is rapidly dying. You have no idea how it used to be. Once upon a time, everything connected with the postal system: pens, paper, stamps, writing (the verb), desks, mailmen (and now women), post offices, post marks, envelopes, stationary, and the art of the mail box: all things were highly iconic and therefore fair game (and a rich source at that) as topics to include in all the arts (visual, written, and audio).
I see people, going day after day to their mailbox, hoping to find a letter from their true love, or word from a beloved one who was far away, or heartbreaking news, all such things and more contained in a letter box. Every letter was special. Now? We have cheap and instantly disposable email. It arrives and vanishes without leaving a trace (well, let us not get into the NSA), like empty, nutritionless calories.
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought that death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
Flowed up hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
(From "The Waste Land" (1922)
What shall future generations read when they want to know something of the past, and of those who lived it? Letters are the richest source of material for biographers seeking to understand the life and times of those who came before today. Tomorrow, there will be nothing for them, or for anyone to read. Today the mail box is reduced to being a box for bills and junk circulars. I have 1000’s of memories of everything related to this topic going back to earliest childhood. The anticipation and the excitement, the heartbreak and the tears. Cards from Grandparents, an older sister, from a favorite Aunt, and from my mother when I got older and moved out onto my own.
If the masses of people of today actually had to make the effort to compose, ponder, write, review, revise and rewrite. And then print, put into an envelope, select a stamp (ohmygod: selecting a stamp is a topic in itself) and waddle to the nearest mail box and mail it, 99.9999% of messages would not be sent.
Take my surviving family as an example. Not a one of them who are younger than I have ever mailed me a card: birthday, Christmas, Easter, Halloween. Not a one. They are all too fat, too lazy; too uncaring of anything that is not fast food for the soul. Human lard bucketresses (they are all lazy females) who cannot compose a few simple sentences, put them to paper, seal it into an envelope, address the envelope, put a stamp on it, and walk to a mail box. Those older than I, and those departed all knew the fine art of letter writing. I am the surviving person in my family to retain this capacity. Those who are younger than I, are all marooned permanently on the living room sofa of death, watching TV.
I shed tears for those generations not yet born, for in their perceived richness of 24/7 digital distractions, there shall be concealed a deafening silence, and an abject and terrible poverty. I know (well, I do not “know”, I can only assume and believe, rightly or wrongly that I “know”) that some of you understand this topic. After all, you are still old school, and send real cards, complete with hand chosen stickers and appliqués, and hand made touches. I keep one such three dimensional “smiley face candy” envelope jewel from one of you on my monitor. If you are reading this, know that I treasure it.
People have remarked to me that I leave “content rich” messages on other people’s blogs. I do try earnestly to practice what I preach, and to put my heart and soul into my words and actions, in all things. It is this very trait that renders Facebook an exercise in futility for me. Facebook is all quick and easy cheap ass candy sprinkles (sugar and chemical dye). It is also a devious scam for your entire life to be monitored, tallied, and then sold to corporate and political crap sacks. and to like-minded sleazy diseased c*nts. Ann Coulter, for example (though rumor has it she is a twisted self hating Tranny). Facebook is not conducive to people such as me. By the reality of FB, I need to die and to go away. This I shall do someday.
And when I am gone (by “I”, I do not literally mean me, I am speaking of my generation, the last people who remember how life was once lived on earth) you (ditto, not “you” who is reading this, but instead all people who have never experienced anything analog and real, that you can hold in your hand, or make from scratch) will find yourself unexpectedly missing me terribly. You shall find yourselves experiencing an awful and crippling disconnectedness one day.
Now let us trot back to the topic of the analog postal system. I have seen photographic essays on mailboxes - both B&W and colour. Such studies in image go back many decades (some even predating my latest half century incarnation here).
Last night as I was walking I saw a scene that my mind captured as a photographic essay. Picture this:
And there, in the middle of this scene, sat three extremely hot teenage boys. Very handsome and varied in hair color and skin complexion. Sort of looking like three Abercrombie & F. models.
And the three friends were each glued to their phones starring into them, not talking to one another, or reacting to anything around them. I took a mental photograph, wishing instead that I had had a camera. I would have had no problem asking them their permission to shoot a pic, telling them to just keep doing what they were doing. I like finding the truth in all things. And therein was truth on display. The truth about the age in which we live.
On my next two laps around the mall (it is a .6 mile circular ring) the three remained unchanged – still glued to the phones, in silence. Finally on lap three they were walking, two still glued to their phones. The third one was looking at me, noticing that I was looking at them. He had the oddest, almost sad expression. He was the blond one, with blue eyes. And his slightly detached sadness was haunting to me. Again, I wish I had the moment forever captured on film.
1. Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36 (Movement two) Melancholic inclinations. Obviously there is a strong current of melancholia in this soup. I therefore have chosen one of my favorite melancholic pieces of music. Russian, by dear Tchaikovsky, and is the second movement of the only official "Homosexual" symphony (his fourth symphony). His coded letters refer to "it", and the secret cypher discovered after he died tell us what "it" is. I featured the first movement in a different soup that you can find HERE.
I am off to take a bath. Thank you all who read this, for your being you. For those who do not read this, I offer Matthew 7:6. Me.
You can get your bowl of Saturday Night Soul for the Soul by clicking the jukebox.