Barry Smith: Irrelativity
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado
When I was a kid I buried a dead goldfish in the back yard just so I could dig it up later.
I was really into fossils at the time, and even though I understood that it USUALLY takes millions of years for fossils to form, I didn’t see why that excluded the possibility that one could form in my back yard over the course of a summer.
When I dig up the goldfish a few weeks later I’m shocked. What? A tiny, partially decomposed fish carcass? But … but …
I could have learned a powerful lesson that summer: Fossils are created over years and years of consistent and deliberate “work” ” heat and pressure and whatnot ” and if you want anything in life, you’ll have to go about it in the same way. Focus, deliberation, consistency and time.
As it happened, though, that was the same summer that my grandfather made me a rubber-band gun, so rather than learn anything I merely tossed the fish aside and set about the task of shooting my brother in the eye.
As I galumph through my life, I’m obsessive about scribbling ideas for this column. And part of me thinks that, like fossils, these scribblings will eventually form themselves into little masterpieces.
Every now and then I like to sort through these little pre-fossils. And, like so many slimy dead fish, I often toss them aside, reluctantly admitting that they haven’t, and probably never will, become the gems I once imagined. It’s an embarrassingly long-running feature I call …
“Things Not Overheard In Aspen”
Back in March I had a killer idea ” to write about things that you NEVER hear people say in Aspen! This morning when I opened this file I assumed it would be bustin’ with hilarity ” not only the stuff I’d written, but all the other ideas that had literally written themselves while the file simmered.
It contained exactly one sentence: “Let me step outside to take this call.”
Not exactly bustin’. Or hilarious. Or complete.
“Health Club Breakup”
For unimportant reasons, back in April of 2007 I thought I was going to be expelled from my health club. Because I clearly have no real problems, I found this traumatic. I wrote a column about it. Or so I thought. Upon further inspection, I’ve actually only written “Meeeeee….I call this vocal Pilates.”
In February of ’06 I decided that I should try my hand at creating a stand-up comedy routine. I created this file, “Stand Up,” to use as a repository for all of my great stand-up gags and ideas. Nearly three years later I have only this:
– “Why is it that, despite having the exact same legal ramifications, ‘Who’s your Daddy?’ and ‘Who’s your court-appointed legal guardian’ are so very different?”
– “It would be a drag to live in a culture where artificial air circulation isn’t common, because I think ‘s**t hits the fan’ is one of the best sayings ever.”
Thanks. You guys have been great.
A focus group commissioned by God! Ha! God hires a PR firm to organize one of those quality management seminars. Only a dozen people show up, and only because they’ve been promised 50 bucks and snacks. Ha! They have a chance to shape the evolution of humanity, but they only care about free chips and salsa! Ha!
Oh, I had such hopes for this one. I created this file in October 2005. As of this morning, three years later, this is how far I’ve gotten:
“MODERATOR: Hello, and welcome to our meeting. You’ve been randomly selected to take part in this quality management seminar.
Damn. Evolution takes forever.
Ah, now THIS is the place to look when writing a column about clearing out old columns, right? A file from January ’07 actually CALLED “Column Clearout.”
Obviously leftovers that didn’t make it into previous “column clearout” columns. I’ll just grab some of these and use them for THIS column! Good thinking!
When I opened it, the entire contents of the file read, “column clearout.”
Yes, a file called “Column Clearout” containing only the words “column clearout!”
I may have to hang on to this one a bit longer …
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