Sunday, July 21, 2019

July 21: Ultimate Question, Chasing Dreams, Fishing

And now a few words from the stupendous super computer, Deep Thought . . .

"Might I make an observation at this point?" inquired Deep Thought.

"We'll go on strike!" yelled Vroomfondel.

"That's right!" agreed Majikthise.  "You'll have a national Philosophers' strike on your hands!"

The hum level in the room suddenly increased as several ancillary bass driver units, mounted in sedately carved and varnished cabinet speakers around the room, cut in to give Deep Thought's voice a little more power.

"All I wanted to say," bellowed the computer, "is that my circuits are now irrevocably committed to calculating the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything."  He paused and satisfied himself that he now had everyone's attention, before continuing more quietly.  "But the program will take me a little while to run."

Fook glanced impatiently at his watch.  

"How long?" he said.

"Seven and a half million years," said Deep Thought.

Lunkwill and Fook blinked at each other.

"Seven and a half million years!" they cried in chorus.

Seven and a half million years for a stupendous super computer to figure out the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.  I don't feel quite so bad that I'm still working out what I'm going to be when I grow up.

When I was my son's age, I was sure I was going to be a full-time writer/movie director.  That was my dream.  I read biographies of famous writers all the time.  Robert Frost,  Charles Dickens.  Ernest Hemingway.  William Faulkner.  I studied the work of directors I admires.  Steven Spielberg.  George Lucas, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford.  I was committed to this dream.

Of course, as so often happens with dreams, reality intervened.  I graduated from high school and found myself majoring in computer science at college, while stealthily stacking up credits from the English Department.  Eventually, I realized that I didn't want to spend my life communicating with computers (even if they were stupendous super computers).  Then I went to graduate school and stacked up some advanced degrees in English and creative writing.

And here I sit now.  Poet Laureate of the Upper Peninsula.  Contingent English professor at a university.  Full-time medical office worker.  I am NOT Robert Frost or Alfred Hitchcock.  I can barely cobble together enough time to write a little, 500-word blog post every day.  I struggle with depression on a daily basis.  My wife struggles with mental illness and sexual addiction.

Hardly the happily ever after I envisioned as a ten-year-old boy armed with a library card and a boatload of dreams. 

I miss those times when anything seemed possible.  I know that I will probably never direct a Hollywood film like Jaws or Vertigo.  I'm not going to be the next Stephen King or J. K. Rowling.  I still have those writerly aspirations, but they are mostly relegated to daydreams driving home from work.  That's right.  I have become Walter Mitty, imagining myself as a world-famous writer, winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, owning a mansion with a swimming pool and library. 

Last night, my kids went fishing.  They landed a couple big ones.  My kids are full of dreams right now.  The future is a wide sea, and they have the fishing rods in their hands.  I hope they never give up or settle.  I hope they keep chasing their dreams until they come true, whatever they are.  I hope they continue to land the big ones.

Saint Marty will be happy if he lands a nap sometime this week. 

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