"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Robot Post Week: G&S Loves Museums

I don't understand why we drag kids to museums and art galleries and even zoos when they're in the 4th grade. It always seems to be raining, and your coat is hot and steamy (but you have to wear it or else you'll lose it), and you're sort of afraid that you'll get lost, at the same time getting lost seems like it might not be such a bad idea. The worst is the worksheet that Mrs. Cipriano gave to you – the one that forces you to write something about the Plains Indians exhibit, and the mastodon, and the creepy Eskimo diorama. And you have to keep up with the class -- heaven forbid you actually get interested in something and hang back to look at it longer.

[The only up side to such outings is the bus trip to and from school. If things work out and you're lucky, you'd be sitting on the bus near that cute girl you were afraid to talk to. If God was truly smiling, she might even be assigned as your line partner, so you'd sit together both to and from the museum. If she’s just nearby, then the opportunity to impress her and make your true feelings known by hitting her with something was presented. If you sat with her, of course, the possibility of discorporation was quite real. It would be bad enough if she spent the whole trip talking to her best friend in the seat in front of you, or across the aisle. How to show your intense feelings? How stupid and obnoxious and jerky can you possibly act, anyway? (Girls really like stupid and obnoxious and jerky, you know.) But what if you tried to say something, and she said you smelled bad? What if you DO smell bad?]

It's as if the purpose was to be part of a long-term solution to the problem of museum overcrowding, since the effect was certainly to associate museums and galleries with (at best) life-threatening boredom.

It was many years before it occurred to me that if I left my office, and walked down the street, and went into a museum or gallery, I didn't have to wear my heavy coat (or boots), didn't have to pack a lunch in a paper bag, didn't have to write anything for Mrs. Cipriano, didn't have to keep up with the class, and could stay for 5 minutes or 5 hours, and nobody would say a word. I learned that I was even allowed to walk right by some paintings without looking, while I was permitted to stand in front of others for as long as I wanted. I was allowed to decide that something was stupid and ugly, while something else was pretty cool, and I didn't have to know why I thought that, nor explain it to anybody. Not only that, but I could even get close to the painting without getting yelled at.

Who knew?

And there’s even been progress with that cute girl: I can now talk to her, so long as (while doing so) I keep my eyes fixed firmly on the toes of my shoes.

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