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Divining Echolalia

Island Life

I have this thing that happens on a random and semi-regular basis. When it occurs it stimulates in my brain a pause and reflect moment, or series of moments, in my general flow of things. Unlike astrology or the Tarot, which at times speak directly and a bit eerily to my personal current event notables, my occasional recognition of the coincidence of words has yet to reveal anything of significance other than the basic fact that it has happened at all. Generally this occurs through two separate actions which usually involve reading the printed word while simultaneously hearing it spoken from a source not connected with the material being read. This does not happen while reading books, as I find pretty much any noise during that exercise to be a distraction from the page and I try to keep that to a minimum. Reading magazines or unsolicited advertisements from the American Association of Retired People can be accompanied by radio, stereo or television noise without problems in perception. Actually a portion of that last sentence is not true. Any piece of mail with any indication on the outside of having anything to do with the AARP gets crumpled, burned and run over in the parking lot with my truck, but only if the dogs haven’t torn it to shreds when I hand it to them while insisting they find the mouse that is inside. Again, I will have to apologize for making some of that last sentence partially out of utter fabrication. You can use your imagination to decipher where the truth lies, or where the lies masqueraded as the truth.

I wasn’t going to write about this phenomenon prior to getting almost all the way through the second stage of the Tour de France this morning, when it happened again. The convergence this time was self contained in the audio and video coming from the television set. Veteran cycling commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen were having one of their many back-and-forths about one of the sprinters making waves in the day’s stage. The object of their discussion was one Matthew Goss, an Australian cyclist on the newly formed, Australian based pro team, Orica- Green Edge. I can’t remember which one it was- Phil or Paul- who spoke the name "Matt Goss", but as they did the camera following the race from the helicopter/bird’s eye view panned onto a building along the race route in the Belgian town of Seraing and briefly passed by what was apparently the name of the business housed inside. What appeared on the building in block letters on a small part of the TV screen was MAT OSS, which caused both Wendy and myself to pause and look at each other and say almost in unison- that was interesting. But as with all of these convergences, it didn’t really seem to go beyond being something curious. Mr. Goss did not win the stage, or do anything else of extraordinary significance that day. Perhaps this was because his TG was missing, but I don’t want to speculate on what that might have been.

Sometimes this happens across a broader range of media platforms and longer periods of time. I am thinking most recently of a day that contained its own weird theme. It all began with what has become one of my favorite protest pictures which I came across posted on the Facebooks. It was a guy and a placard on a stick, and the words on it read:

What do we want?

Time Travel!

When do we want it?

That’s irrelevant!

Later in the day after hours of editing I switched on the television to maybe catch the local Weather Channel predictions. Instead, it was on Comedy Central and "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia" was playing. Those unaware of this show should probably remain that way as it presents a mostly sad and pathetic view of at least a small portion of the human race- I tend to watch it in both awe and disbelief. This particular episode I had not seen, and it involved the three main guy characters trying to decide whose story was more important, the girl character’s or the fourth guy character’s- I won’t get into their relationships. It was decided that the guy’s was way more important- he had just bought a foreclosed house at a cut rate and was waiting to flip it for a profit. To show their approval the other three guys started chanting "house, house, house" which was the same chant that I and the two sons of one of my mother’s college buddies used to chime in on as charter members of the House Club. We had formed this exclusive threesome somewhere more than forty years ago when told that instead of being mean to our sisters we should play house with them. We of course had devised our own way of playing house as an ongoing reminder and protest. The house chant- the same house chant from It’s Always Sunny…- was what we did when they came up to New York to visit us or when we went to visit them, in Philadelphia. The older of my two house buddies was named Dennis, as is the eldest of the Always Sunny trio. It made me wonder if we had actually started something forty years ago that had infected the youth of Philly. I opted for just an odd coincidence.

Even later in the day I spun through the cable offerings of mostly nothing to find in the higher numbered channels a film I hadn’t seen in a long time- Twelve Monkeys. Not remembering much about it I stayed and watched. It is, of course, about time travel, and in fact the main point it seems to make is that the "when" in the traveling through of time is anything but irrelevant. The main scenes of importance in this film take place in Philadelphia, and one of the not so main actors in Twelve Monkeys is named Matt Ross. I still have no idea what any of this means, but I did really need something to write about.