Friday, September 12, 2008
“Don’t mesmerize yourself with words,” said my father, Mr. Radiant-Effulgent. I’m being ironic when I call him that. He worked in the Department of Justice and smoked Lucky Strikes. “I’ve been reading about emptiness-awareness-bliss,” I told him. “Damn those hyphens,” he said, “ever since your mother kept her maiden name, that’s been my feeling.” He stoked the fire with a stick. “Are we going fishing?” I asked. “In the morning,” he said, gazing up through the dark woods at the dark sky. “I’m afraid of big words,” I admitted. “You should be,” he said, “you should be petrified.” He poked at the fire, causing great red-orange sparks to leap about. “My English teacher, Mr. Polyphiloprogenitive, says that the sesquipedalians are dead.” My father pulled out his penknife and said, “This is how you whittle a stick.” Watching, I grew anxious, like an unevolved existentialist. “Am I stuck in a metaphor?” I asked him, “Are we both?” “What’d you say?” my father piped. I said: "What are we fishing for exactly?” He said: “For fish, my boy, for goddam sea bass.” We turned to stone and sat there for an eternity-moment.