Gaylord Guenin: Help! The Kobe Bryant circus is coming to town!
Yorick, an old friend of mine, stopped by my cabin in Lenado a few days ago and quickly spoiled a precious and, at my age, vital moment of repose.
As always, Yorick was silent, in his own surly way, when asked about his long absence and his current livelihood. But he had always exhibited a flair for the mysterious, so I really hadn’t anticipated much in the way of answers. A trip to the grocery store for Yorick even years ago took on all the trappings of a voyage into some dark dimension unknown to humankind.
The fact that he was wearing camouflage dungarees and a flak jacket didn’t seem all that peculiar, nor did the hefty sidearm he was carrying. He could stand out in a crowd as quickly as he could disappear into one. One minute he might be in a nice Italian suit and seconds later he would appear in a general’s outfit, a cross-dresser in military fashions who is as active as our very own president.
“You ol’ dawg,” he shouted as way of a greeting. “You must be excited as hell about the circus coming to your neighborhood!”
The look of blank intensity on my face and the uncomfortable silence probably made him realize I wasn’t quite clear about his reference to a circus – that and the fact that our valley became one giant three-ring show years ago, so a circus is nothing new.
“Pard,” Yorick said, “I’m talking about that Kobe Bryant affair that is taking place over in Eagle. Man, that’s going to be nothing less than a gigantic smorgasbord for the media and, like it or not, a lot of it will probably spill over into your valley. After all, there is only so much to do in a place like Eagle and those expense-account leeches in the big media won’t be scared away by Aspen prices. There may not be a parade with elephants, but you can bet on seeing hundreds of turkeys marching through the valley.”
I suppose Yorick is right. This has the makings of a Tonya Harding or JonBenet Ramsey type of story, one that is of importance to the principals but is inconsequential for the vast majority of citizens. One can have some compassion for Bryant and the lady he is accused of “sexually assaulting,” but beyond that I don’t care one way or another about the entire affair. It won’t increase my income or reduce my taxes, and I really am not all that curious about the sordid details.
But Yorick wasn’t about to let the subject drop.
“Hey, man,” he said, “you should go take a look at Eagle. Every television network you can imagine is there, from ESPN to the Home Shopping channel, and of course all the tabloids have reporters on the scene. You better be prepared because it appears that herds of people making lots of noise are going to spill over into your precious little community of Woody Creek.”
Yorick is well aware of my aversion to crowds and noise, and it seemed obvious he mentioned it just to torment me. Gently tormenting others is just one of his many skills. Another one is his ability to see sound – that’s correct, to actually see sound. Many of us experienced that phenomenon during those blurred days when it was popular to experiment with hallucinogenic drugs, but for Yorick the skill comes quite naturally. He does not need a stimulant to activate his sound-seeing system.
As he brought the subject up, I decided to give him a little test and asked if he could still see sounds. “Sure,” he replied. So I asked him if he could explain not only what noise looked like but also how quiet appeared to him.
“That’s kind of tough to do,” he explained, “because noise can appear in so many different kinds of images, but let me give you something of a general example. If we were thinking about paintings, noise probably would look something like Vincent van Gogh’s `Starry Night’ and quiet might be Edward Hopper’s `Automat.’ You get the idea?”
I thought I did but now my curiosity was really aroused. “What about all the political bellowing that comes out of Washington, D.C.?” I asked. “What images does all that conjure up for you?”
“Well, pard,” Yorick said, “if you are talking about the leaders of the current administration, most of the noise they make comes out looking a lot like a backed-up toilet, the kind you might find in some nasty service station.” I didn’t much care to concentrate on that image; however, I did have a couple more questions for Yorick, but, as always, he was off on some mysterious, new mission.
“Hey, ol’ buddy,” Yorick yelled just before slipping into the woods, “enjoy the Kobe Bryant circus. You could use a little excitement in Lenado.”
I suppose he is right. My idea of a big evening is to sit in the front yard and stare at the Milky Way, which really doesn’t do much of anything except stretch across the sky and twinkle. Sure, a shooting star here and there may kick it up a notch but, in truth, the scene is pretty laid-back, which is more or less the way I like things.
However, if things get insufferably serene, I can always grab the 10-gauge and fire a volley or two across the bow of a passing SUV! Lenado does have its own circus moments!
This is the 291st article in a two-part series devoted to the community of Woody Creek, a place where hallucinosis is believed to be endemic.
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