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

Location: Lawrence, Kansas

Friday, November 12, 2004

The Reagan Shirt

I was wearing the green Ronald Reagan print sport shirt my wife had given me. It was dotted with Reagan’s visage, intertwined with lariats and other cowboy motifs, like a kid’s lunchbox from the ‘50s. It made me feel both naïve and ironic at the same time. Guests milled around the living room, drinks in hand, awkward conversations stop-starting.

I said to the woman standing next to me, “Wordsworth’s ‘green shade’ typifies Romanticism, with its reference to nature without having a referent in nature.”

She replied, “When I typed the phrase ‘the last page of the Internet’ into Google, I got 406 results. They can’t all be last.”

“The first one is always the best match,” I answered. “The first shall be last.”

“So you’re telling me that Wordsworth wore one of those green eyeshades, like an accountant or a riverboat gambler?”

“I don’t know, but I like the image. It would cast a whole new light on Romanticism.”

“Yeah, with a green eyeshade, Coleridge might not have gotten into drugs.”

I didn’t know how much longer I could keep this going. I looked around the room for my wife to save me, but didn’t see her, and then excused myself.

I stepped to the fringes of a group of four—three women and a man. One of the women concluded her story by saying, in a drawn out, demonstrative way, “He’s such a Ne-an-derthal,” with the others laughing appreciatively. If I was going to jump in, now was the time. “Well, I’ve heard it said that Neanderthal is to homo sapiens as Abel was to Cain,” and gave the group a knowing wink.