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Alex Baer: We Could End Up Miles from Here

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highway to nowhereThe days unfold strangely for anyone puttering around gamely, if lamely, in life.  As an amateur human being a long way from pro status, it's possible to stroll among the headlines and footnotes, around the millstones and milestones, taking informal readings on this and that.

Even on a good day, with a stiff, sane breeze blowing across the news websites of the land, it's impossible to gauge the gradations of cultural degradation, to get accurate readings of any kind.  It's a gut-feeling sort of enterprise. There are no calibrated anything-ometers to slap into play.  There are no national and regional numbers pouring in to Tracking Central.  There are no land mine or shock wave or blast zone maps.

There are no compression gradients to be drawn.  No depressive ingredients to be withdrawn.  Everything unfolds like a mushroom cloud, new ones going off all day long.  Sometimes, they are far away and in slow motion.  Other times, the flash is sight-searing, and the blast is a sight meant for no eyes.

It's all in the mind, of course.  My doppelgangers tell me this is so.  One of them looks and sounds like the phys-ed teacher and coach I had from junior high, telling me to shake it off, even though I'd been knocked out cold.  The other one is a dead ringer for my boot camp sergeant, telling me to shake it off, and to knock out another 50 push-ups.  Talk about cold.

My mind's eye sometimes has a seriously grim, booby-trapped, trip-wire sense of humor -- you never know when something's going to set it off.  My Muse attempts to balance things off, sabotaging my serious side with the rope burns of gallows humor and sudden click-blam! of land-mine sensibilities.


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