Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Drunk in the Tempus Fugit.

“It’s often been said,” the bartender began without the usual niceties like ‘hello,’ or ‘long time, no see.’ “It’s often been said,” he repeated, “that when a great athlete gets in the groove, everything around him seems to slow down.”

He hustled, not unlike a great athlete, around the mahogany woodwork and placed a small bowl filled with cold, clear water for Whiskey. She was already resting at the foot of my barstool, her eyelids heavy with the weight of 3AM on them. In a trice, or even a jiffy, he was back behind the business-side of the bar, pulling me a Pike’s Ale (the ALE that won for YALE!)

“They say that when DiMaggio was in the middle of his 56-game hitting streak back in 1941, the ball came in as fat as a musk-melon.”

“It's been years since I had a good musk-melon,” I said, draining Pike’s number one.

He pulled me another glass of suds and slid over a bowl of salted Spanish peanuts and an over-sized jar filled with pickled hard-boiled eggs. I think the eggs dated from around the time of DiMaggio’s streak. As usual, I demurred.

“People come in here,” he said, wiping clean the bar with his well-worn white terry, “people come in here and I barely think they’re alive.”


“Yes,” he said emphatically, pulling me another amber. “Drunk on distraction. Like the Emperor Jones who succumbed to the incessant tom-tomming of distant drums, like Poe’s protagonist who fell to the tintinnabulations of the bells, bells, bells, they are subsumed by the pings, the bells, the chimes, the peals, the beeps, the whistles and the very vibrations of their devices.”

“I know the type,” I said.

“With everyone every minute connected to everything, ignorance poses as knowledge. The digital chaff is inseparable from the digital wheat.”

“Speaking of wheat,” I tapped my glass and he pulled me number three.

“From papyrus, to print, to petabyte, we are drowning in a sea, a miasma, if you will, of nonsense.”

“Perhaps,” I joshed, “I could bring around a digital strategist to re-orient you. There are plenty at my office.”

“We know more and more about less and less, until it winds up we know everything about nothing.”

I laughed and nodded. “I know whereof you speak.” I pulled two twenties from my wallet. “I work in advertising.”

I slid the bills across to him.

“I’ll tell you what Google glass should be,” he said, returning the tender. “Instead of making everything that’s irrelevant ever-present, they should make invisible everything that’s irrelevant.”

Whiskey and I found our way home through the darkness.

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