Tue Mar, 09 2004
How It Comes, Now & Then
While researching a point of economics last night, I remembered my father.
It's not as if I've forgotten him or anything about him. That is strictly impossible, of course. I'm talking about a love so ingrown in my existence -- all of it, always -- that it's sometimes wonderous that I could ever pay attention to anything else in my mind. There is a very tiny, extremely fine, selection among all the individuals who ever lived, who make it into this sacred vial of carriage worn always around my psychic neck on a priceless chain never to be taken off. The Old Man is a necessary seed-grain in that collection. That's how much of me comes from him, which can only die when I do.
I don't sit around keening and wailing about the fact that he's gone. I play his guitar, and in order to do that, I need to pay intense real-time attention to a lot more than the (to me) profound fact of history that it was his. In the week of this winter that we spent in temperatures more than ten degrees below zero, it did occur to me to think, "Wow, I wish Dad were here to see this," but I had to put the thought away in order to repair a couple of his water pipes blown out in the freeze. Of course, I had a place to safely put it. It's never very far away at all. Never.
The thing that's remarkable is how it sometimes jumps right up in my face, like a practical joke.
"Hey, guess what: you know that guy who was so crucial to so much of your life? You're never going to see him or hear his voice, ever again."
That's a page of Chris Sciabarra's 1995 book, "Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical". (I cannot recommend this book highly enough. And, BTW: yes, a pistol makes a fine page-holder, especially when one is transcribing from the page.)
I always annotate in black. (Parker Vector rollerballs.) Does anyone here recall when Papermate introduced their Flair felt-tip pens? I do. Instantly, Dad thought they were just sensational, and he used them all the rest of his life to annotate his books. He always did it in red. (In later years, I bought them for him by the case. That was a present always guaranteed to make him happy.)
On his visit to Atlanta one year, I handed him this book, and he went through it his usual way. And every time I open it (along with many others), now, I see a discussion that the three of us -- Sciabarra, Dad, and I -- had in this book, and which I will always have.
It's not what I would have if I could have things my way, but reality isn't concerned with that. It's an important element of All I've Got Remaining, however, and the task is to keep learning how to live with that.