A contagious confluence, metaphorical hydraulics in chronofluidity, multiple rippling effects.

Location: Lawrence, Kansas

Monday, August 30, 2004

Goats, Yaks, and the Cyclops Blues

Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, lived within hiking distance of the Scapegoat Eatery before he finally was apprehended. No one recalled if he’d ever stopped in for a yakburger or a healing cookie (probably not for the latter, given the phobic cosmos that seemed to throb around him), but at least one Web site thought the proximity of the Goat no coincidence. Kaczynski clearly had been a fall guy.

Originally, Jason had been content to harvest his Golden Fleece of yak fibers and watch life flow around him. But he hadn’t anticipated the fecundity of his herd. As the yak population began to overgraze his modest acreage, he contemplated other yak uses. He knew yak meat brought up to ten dollars a pound and was in demand in some circles as a flavorful, almost fat-free alternative to beef.

It all came together when he was driving through Montana and stopped for lunch at the Scapegoat Eatery. The house specialty was, of course, goat—the Billy Burger, Nanny and Noodles, the Capricorn Barbecue Platter—and several varieties of goat cheese. Old photos of Dr. Brinkley lined the walls, as well as reproductions of handbills touting the health benefits of Dr. B’s goat gland surgical implant. Jason sat down at the lunch counter, ordered a Billy Burger, and complimented the owner on the creativity of his cuisine and decor. The conversation turned to Jason’s occupation and quickly the two were brainstorming yak-informed menu items. The burger could be the Big Yak. Meals would come with yeasty rolls and yak butter. Yak Stroganoff sounded good. How about Yakkity-Yak Snak Strips for the kids’ menu? By the time he’d finished his Billy Burger, Jason and the owner had struck a deal. “What a great coincidence,” Jason thought, as he climbed into his pickup, turned on his satellite radio, and resumed his long drive home.

As far as Jason was concerned, satellite radio was as essential as an emergency gas can and a couple gallons of drinking water when driving through Western Spaces. Of late, he’d become enchanted with KBMR, Blind Music Radio, a satellite station that played only music of blind artists. Sure, there was plenty of the expected Ray Charles, Jose Feliciano and Stevie Wonder, and it was amazing how many musicians named themselves after their infirmity: Blind Lemon Jefferson, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Blake, Blind John Davis. But there were also Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Doc Watson, Diane Schuur, Rev. Gary Davis, Amadou and Mariam, and Moondog. Although the play list tipped towards blues—why would that be surprising?—Jason was captivated by the eclectic musical coincidence occasioned by a common lack of sight. The music of the blind seemed particularly insightful during long drives on the open highway. He wondered what blues blinded Polyphemus had sung as Odysseus set out on the wine dark sea.