Sunday, March 20, 2011

By the Light of the Supermoon

If any great force from above could convince me to blog, it would have to be the Supermoon. I like its newsworthy title almost as much as Thundersnow. Though not quite as much as the Snowpocolypse in February. Or, as my friend Charlie called it: The Holofrost.

It's amazing it's gotten so much news coverage, given that I HAVE NEVER SEEN SO MUCH INSANITY HAPPENING ON PLANET EARTH EVER. Seriously. I'm glued to the news like a bad thriller and the world, for its part, is adhering to the classic page-turner mantra: "and then things get worse." Libya, Bahrain, Japan? It's blowing my mind. And all this --  after one of the greatest, most uplifting revolutions of ALL TIME just happened in Egypt. That, alone, would've been enough news for a decade.

The news is even more interesting to me now, having a son, since everything that's happening will be history to him. Vague, misty understandings that pop up in Old People conversations or are necessary to snag a piece of the pie in an outdated version of Trivial Pursuit his old man drags out when company comes over. It will be fascinating to see what sticks out for him. What he finds interesting, and alternately what becomes: "Well, wasn't it just ALWAYS like that?" or even "Ohmigod, Dad, who caaaaares?"

I wonder what he'll think about the events that have happened to me, personally. You know, like my ENTIRE LIFE minus the last six months. To him, before his cognitive brain and memory kick in, it will all just be The Time Before. A remote, hazy, hearsay stretch of time that (from his perspective) his Dad has likely inflated beyond all reasonable proportion to impress him/shock him/teach him a lesson.

I can already feel it coming.

So as a precaution to his eventual cynicism, I've actually started a Big Fish shoe box. It has old passports, photographs, ticket stubs, and other bits of proof to show that some of the B.S. stories I tell him are ACTUALLY true. My sense of drama, however, will likely make me want to squirrel the box away somewhere until the moment I am lying on my deathbed and he's telling me: "Why didn't you just tell me the truth, Dad!!???" Then, I can raise a shaky finger and gesture with all the strength I can divert from my death rattle:

"Theeeere," I'll moan. "There is the truth."

He'll see the box. He'll gasp. Then all will be still.

So as you can see, over the course of this blog I've already narrowed the scope of world events and celestial rarities to the narrow field of my own life and morbid deathbed fantasies. Thus is human nature. Or maybe just me . . . especially with the deathbed fantasies bit.

Either way, it does intrigue me how much self-interest tends to eclipse things. (Insert Supermoon joke here -- I just can't.) Like right now. The bulk of American concern, at least on the west coast, isn't centering on the war in Libya, or the tsunami, or the nuclear catastrophe in Japan -- only on how that catastrophe might impact THEM. All rushing out to buy their iodine tablets and refreshing like hamsters at a feeder bar to see what's coming to get them, and what they can do about it.

(TANGENT: Ah, the West Coast. Was there ever a more delicious part of the US to subject to endless conspiracy theorizing and government paranoia?  But I digress. Let's get back to talking about ME.)

So -- will Tobias care at all about the things that happened in my life before he came along? The things that, for all intents and purposes, will never impact him directly? Did I care about those events in my parents' lives? I'd like to think I did, but who knows? Probably not as much as I cared about where I was going that day or what I was eating for dinner than night. World events were the same way. When I grew up, WWII was something that had happened to old people, and that Hollywood made the occasional good movie about. Same with Vietnam. The stuff of grainy photographs and shaky filmstrips.

Maybe that's how the past always feels to those who didn't live it. Sepia tones or black and white. And all our global and personal Supermoons, so big and impressive now, will hardly look the same in the faded photographs we offer up to show how important it all felt. To the listener it will be a blip without context -- the dying light of an antique television before it fades to black.

So I'm stepping out to look at the moon again. To try and soak it into memory. Maybe I can weave a story around it to tell Tobias, or take another picture for the shoebox. 

Damn thing. My camera just doesn't do it justice.