Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Argo Who?

The sales tech person at The Mac Mechanic offered to supervise the transfer of data from your about-to-be old Mac Book to my about-to-become default Mac Book Pro.  His suggestion was to bring in the "old" computer or the Time Machine backup, a suggestion followed by a long pause which he broke by asking, "Are you all right?"

You were indeed all right.  You were also in another time frame or, as Star Trek fans might suggest, a time warp.  The sales tech had said the magic words, "time machine," which elbowed you out of the present moment and into that delicious limbo you've known most of your life and from which you often  appeared to your mother to be in suspended animation in the midst of being seated on the edge of your bed, halfway through the act of putting on a sock.

There is the (R) trademark of Mac computers, the Time Machine, there is the novel of that name by H. G. wells, and such ancillary aspects as time travel, mind wandering, and Latin as well as English language versions of the trope "time flies."  There is the poetic, "But at my back I always head/Time's wing'ed chariot drawing near..."  There is an iconic short story from Ray Bradbury in which an individual travels back in time, whereupon he irrevocably changes it by inadvertently stepping on a butterfly.

In addition, there is your own observation about writing and real life being analogous to driving a car with rear view and side mirrors, with looking straight through the windshield representing the present, the rear mirror signifying a peek into the past, and the side mirrors standing in for distractions of one sort or another.

Easy to conclude how no one, not even those afflicted from dementia, are able to remain in one time frame for long.  The slightest memory sends you reeling or dancing back to the past, as you indeed were on lower Gutierrez Street in the premises of The Mac Mechanic.  Experiences, connections, and associations also distract you into side issues, in Reality and within your fiction and nonfiction.  You join brother and sister humans in the sense of coming hardwired with a time machine.

The reaches of such "machinery" are everywhere.  With certain of your friends and acquaintances, you are no longer at your present state of chronology, rather your social chemistry with certain friends sends you back in time to your high school years of sensitivity, where you, in particular, were a curious blend of exuberant, rebellious, a lover of words and wordplay, and more than a little bit of a smartass.

The standard humor of your time was a reprise of the old knock-knock joke.  "Knock, knock."  "Who's there?"  "Felix."  "Felix who?"  "Feel excited?  Har, har."  .There was also Warren, as in Warren Peace, and Amsterdam, with the resounding payoff, "Amsterdam tired of these knock, knock jokes."  All this was Argo, waiting to happen.  "Knock, knock."  "Who's there?"  "Argo."  "Argo, who?"  "Argo fuck yourself."  Which led its way to such excesses as, "Stravinsky."  "Stravinsky, who?"  "Igor fuck yourself."  You not only had to be there, you were there.

You went back there a few weeks ago, when a motion picture, Argo, was released, sending you back to 7850 Melrose Avenue, the campus of Fairfax High School, venue for any number of rites of passage, including, "Knock, knock."

You told no one of these associations when you ventured to the movie, which you'd have gone to on the strength of John Goodmn and Alan Arkin being in it.  Imagine your transportation via your own time machine, when both John Goodman and Alan Arkin had lines in that movie, "Argo fuck yourself."  The first time was a surge of the unthinkable having come to pass.  You exploded in gales of laughter, feeling yet a closer identification with the Arkin and Goodman characters but your own past.  The second time was a superb, personal moment.  The universe was not nearly so random as it seems from time to time.  There are, to be sure, moments of loss and grief in life, moments of frustration and disappointment.  But there are moments of a discovery of something golden and exciting and wonderful in your past, something as small and of relative triviality as high school humor.

From the last "Argo fuck yourself," in the movie, through the over-the-title credits narration by President Jimmy Carter, you were understanding your transformation from the more or less smartass champion of the pratfall, the slipping on the banana peel, and the pie on the face to the explosive and transformative power of words and situations and the deeper reaches of humor over comedy.

You could say--and you do--that Argo fuck yourself was that milestone time in your life where you not only paid lip service to the power of words, but began trying to get them down on paper.  Not merely any word, but more like Nabokov, chasing after the rarer butterflies, trying to capture the ones of the most value.

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