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Monday, July 22, 2013

Bubble Trouble by John von Daler

               We did not notice it happening, but our society switched over a period of about seventy years from words to pictures. We do not listen any more; we see, even when we use words. Some places of work have even asked their employees to refrain from talking and to express themselves with speech scrolls.

                The bad thing about not talking out loud is that you have to decide in the morning which speech bubbles you want to pocket for the rest of the day. Since most people would rather see you than hear you anyway, it's not a bad idea to carry your life sentences on you, preferably in a pocket or a bag, so that you can display them at a moment's notice.
                Now quite a few people travel "lite" with ready-made bubbles bought at Wall Smart with short bytes like LOL or OMG or even SMS (sell my stocks). I, however, prefer the handmade, leather-embellished Versage bubbles called "Deep Muse", slow food for thought.
                So in the morning I have to wade through a lot of Shakespeare (heavy to carry about, but absolutely paralyzing in a subway) or Beckett (very light and deceptively deep; good at lunches with businessmen who once wanted to be poets) or on especially threatening days I take along some Clint Eastwood (the deringers of quotations: single slugs to the brain and you're out'a there).
                The big problem is to find the correct bubble. You cannot go into a meeting about an overdrawn account at the bank with "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" banging around by your head. My gas station attendant hates "Fire and Ice" and when I flew "Silken Tent" in its entirety at a fashion show the people behind me just popped their boo bubbles for an eternity.
                When we were on vacation in Greece, on a balcony overlooking the Ionian Sea I unfurled Shelley:
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another's being mingle—
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain'd its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea—
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?”
and nobody approached me all night. Several of the husbands even gave me dirty looks. And the damn bubble caused callusses on my left hand.
                I suppose I will have to stoop to the Wall Smart abbreviations or the occasional Merrymekko Cliché Bubble if I want to make myself understood. Words are just not what they used to be; like small children they have been told to be seen but not to be heard. But I've always been a little naughty; I guess I'll just keep blogging along.


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