I try to come up with different ways to open here. Different ways to frame the stories and thoughts I want to share. As I pondered what I might try today an interesting thought came into my head, what if I wrote a piece...
Good God, get to the point.
... in the form of a list and illustrate each one with a silly image. I wouldn't number them, so then it's not really a list. Bullets maybe...
Listen to yourself.
Screw you other-one-me, I'm the one who has to get this all done. You sit over there in dreamland and tease me while you stare out the window weeping and thinking. You stay up late watching baseball or Disney movies or The American Experience, cavalierly drinking hard ciders oblivious to the fact that I have to get up a six in the morning.
Somebody's got to think about stuff. You're all uptight and worried about the next thing. This is supposed to be fun. Who the hell uses "cavalierly," anyway?
Think hard on this for a second: this goes unrewarded. My moral obligation is to do the job I need to do for my family, it is not to dream up lines of nonsense based on hours of quiet reflection, there's simply not time for that.
I suppose not...
See? Thank you.
But I'm not gonna stop.
I know... Now what?
You go on ahead, I'm sure your non-numbered listicle idea will be great.
You don't sound convinced.
What would you do?
I dunno, I haven't had time to think about it. Whaddya got so far?
It's all right there on the SanDisk you just watched me load from the camera. In a file called "3.23temp."
How very clever of you.
You don't give one measly single fuck, do you?
Surprisingly, I do. I'll take it from here...
You don't even know what the pictures are. You probably barely remember us taking them. I've given this some thought and I think I can make this work.
The "List," right. Cute...
You know what? Have at, dude.
Alright... where's the folder?
Oh for the love of God, on the memory stick.
I knew that. Let's see... Alright, I'll randomly load this one:
Oh, I remember this one, I was considering writing something about transitions and was going to use a toaster image, in fact this was a "before" of what was to be two images. I clean up the toaster, write a bit about taking care of your things and memories and stuff. That'd've been a good piece.
Yes, pulled this out of Z's pocket. He did not draw it, I know his style. It's sorta creepy, and why would someone hold up a placard with "ballon" on it with a balloon in the other hand? Weird. (I have evidence that this was given to him by a girl, I will not submit it.)
This is easy:
Aww, Snickers, our loaner dog. Keep them coming.
Um... excuse me.
What!? Don't sneak up like that.
Well, sorry... uh, it's just, well, is that all your going to say about the dog. I mean, at the very least you could tell the story of what a "loaner dog" actually is. Maybe a bit about friendship and mutual respect between people of different socio-...
Go away, the only reason you wanted this here is so you'd be sure there was a picture of the dog on your blog which is really a scrapbook which is really a memoir. That's what all this is, just a way to get some images in here that you don't want to forget but you don't feel like you have the time to write the whole story so you use me, a cheap device, to get through it all hoping they don't notice.
DON'T TELL THEM THAT!
Already did. What do you want me to gloss over next?
Nick made this in the fall, why are you just now getting to this? I mean you could google "fire prevention week" and do it then. Well, it is cute and he did spell extinquisher right.
No, no he didn't...
Stop pestering me, at least I'm getting something done.
What the hell is this? I've never seen this before in my life.
Well, that was sort of the point. Remember, we found it in among the stuff the boys keep up on the shelves downstairs.
Yes, nicely played. And this is the stuff that is usually up there on the ground forming the foundation of the fort they most recently made.
Yes, nicely played on your part. Let's see what's left...
What about the stories that go along with these pictures? You know, the shelves as a place where imaginations run wild - oh, remember, just the other day they were pretending they were...
Oh right, we decided that might be a little too personal. That it might be time to stop telling their secrets. Crap... But, at least you could tell how I wondered if that might be their last fort. You know, all wistful and pretty about "endings" and the inherent sadness in it all.
We've been all through that. Let's move on.
But what about the poster? How we figure it was Marci's and how she must have had it up in a lot of different places and how I'd guess it brought her comfort and happiness and...
Isn't that her story?
Right. I'm sorry, I keep interrupting, it's just that, well, I think we can keep telling them if we...
Well, that was rude.
Whatever, lets get through these. N made a "leprechun" trap. He baited it green yarn "pretending to be clover" and, get this, fake gold coins. Just a few more to go.
And, that's all your going to say about that. It's cute, all misspelled and haphazardly covered with foil and all hopeless and strange and... oh, right. I guess that could sound mean. Go ahead.
An oakleaf the boys thought looked like a dancing angel.
And... you took a picture of it.
What about angels and dancing and leaves and the book you, uh... we, wrote and the Christmas card and all of that?
I don't get it, you're the storyteller, you go on and on. You go deep. You tell the stories I can't... or won't. You know when to do it and...
... when not to?
This is a "when not to" isn't it?
It didn't use to be, I am afraid it might be now...
Wow, that's rough.
A note that says "read" and a 'no' sign over kindle. They boys are in a contest between their classes, whichever class reads the most total minutes gets a pizza party. The other class doesn't. We've not pointed out to them that if they read the same amount it sort of nulls their contribution. Nick's figured it out though. He's trying to outread his, well, oblivious brother.
Well, that's good. So, there's only one more. Throw it on here and we're golden. Nice job, dude, this would've taken me forever. I guess you are right, I need to think a bit more about what we are doing here.
Yeah, about that.
This is the one.
The one what?
The one that needs a story.
Naw, it's just an image of a boy with his hair pushed back, looking pretty cool, anyway the image is blurred and... oh. Go ahead.
Recently, I took a bunch of blurry pictures of the boys playing basketball. It got me to thinking about how our own perceptions of the past are fuzzy as well. I took these pictures basically so I could show Marci how cool N looked with his hair all pushed back, I mean he looked seventeen. I kept getting bad pics and I didn't have time to delete them on the spot so I kept them. I got a good one of him finally, but when I went to look at them, this one stood out.
There are many reasons why. I know I must start blurring the stories I tell about the boys here. The time for revelations and personal bits and pieces of them is coming to a sad end. It was easy at first, telling the stories of take-home folders and camping trips and vacations and simple hopes and dreams. Not so much anymore. I fear that something I say, although lovingly crafted and considered, might come back to haunt them. It is a struggle for me, us, bloggers in general, parents, memoirists, storytellers. Who does the story serve?
The coincidental blurriness is not the main reason this image sings to me. Truth is my immediate and gut reaction to this was 'why am I staring back at myself?' I can't look at it without feeling like I am at both ends of the lens. I am the boy, blurred and a bit confused, coming into my own as much as I am the archivist trying to look at the boy and hoping that I can understand what's good for him. It is the duality of fatherhood - for me at least - this feeling that I am both the son and the father, the future and the past, the what-I know-has-been and the what-I-hope-to-be. All at the same damn time.
It is tough. I'm glad you came by today other-one-me. Thanks. You usually annoy me more.
Hey, we're in this together and it's gonna take both of us to move it all forward, right?
Say goo'bye to the nice people and don't forget the backseat thingee. I gonna watch some trees grow.
Right, you do that. I'm gonna do some chores and run to the store. Hey, how 'bout a cider tonight?
From Marci's "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ..."
"Pants. They are one of the most important things."
Oh, you say that now, you don't really mean it...
I hope you didn't mind him coming around today, I think he was a particularly civil this time.
I'm standin' right here, man.
Sorry, you can see more of our exchanges in the label just below here called "other-one-me" if you'd care to. Nice of you to come around today and flip through some pictures with us, thanks.
Can I have the last word?
Of course you did.