(Get Me Out of This) House of Mirrors
On Vacation Eve

An Open Letter About Why I Am Going Image-Free (or, Why I Wanted to be Like Wade Gillam)

Thanks for the kind comments about the writing, Andy.  I will add portions of what you have said to my "I love Steve" file which, seriously, does exist.  I know you love me.

You don't like the clipart, the images I use? Point well-taken.  Such thievery and picture poop must end. They are henceforth banished.  Of course they belong to someone, who I don't know, so it's like accepting "hot" property and passing it on.  Hadn't thought much about that until you spoke.  Don't wait "several years" next time.  For heaven's sake man! Show me the error of my ways sooner rather than later!  Only original artwork from now on.  Promise, in the sight of all these witnesses. Ah, where sin abounds, grace abound even more.

Wait'll you see my artwork, man.  Scribbles on a page.  Underwhelming.  Scary.  You've dredged up a thought-lost memory.  It's like this: In 9th grade we were asked to use oil paints to capture some aspect of nature, and I painted my paper black (all black) and handed it in.  Called it "dark matter."  Nowadays, I might be accused of being Goth.  Nothing so glamorous.  I was just stupid and intimidated by art and lazy. We were passing record albums around when Miss Myers wasn't looking.  Important stuff like that.  None of that sissy art.

That's the one class I skipped.  I got caught too, and sent to the principal, who chased me around his desk with a ping pong paddle.  They believed in Corporal Punishment back then.  (Who the heck is that guy anyway and who make him a corporal?  Or do they mean corporeal?  The latter is what a whuppin' felt like anyway, bodily that is.)

That little miscalculation nearly got me suspended and it was all because of Wade Gillam, a wannabe hippie kid with bellbottom jeans, a laconic style, slurred speech and a slender reed of a frame that was almost translucent, a kid who always seemed to be in the halls --- anywhere but class.  I admired Wade. He was reading Das Capital in 9th grade and I couldn't even spell it.  Under our desk we had a place to store books.  One day I see him kneeling beside his desk, bowed over, like he was praying.  I say "what's up Wade?" and he says "I'm expanding the cosmic consciousness of this box." He said intelligent stuff like that all the time.  Very cool.  Very, very cool.  I decided I wanted to be like Wade.  I nearly got suspended for my admiration.  I was an amateur at lying and playing hookey, and Wade was a pro.

And that, Andy, is why I am getting rid of images.  Who needs images anyway?  Let me count the ways I can rant about this image-laden culture.  Let me recite chapter and verse of Neil Postman.

Send me your images and I will use them, liberally and with full and flowing attribution.  Give me your Kodachromatic 4 x 6 multitudes and I will give them a Home.  I freely accept your offer. I will even make you a co-blogger: you make pictures, I make words.  New blog name: Outwalking with Archiandy.  No. . . Outwalking with Archiandy Outside the Last Homely House if we include someone with smarts like Andy J. Let's expand the cabel: I nominate Teri for book reviews 'cause she reads faster than anybody I know.  I nominate Jared for webmaster 'cause he likes html whatever that is and for food editor 'cause in twitter world he is always eating somewhere so it's like seven hobbit meals a day.  Besides, I'm gonna crash his little date party to see The New Pornographers which he didn't tell me they were going to be in town and which sound like some people Christians probably should not go see but he can explain all that in sunday school class and deacons meeting unless Andy J. goes and then we don't have to explain anything to nobody but just nod in his direction so they get the point.  Just nod and rock back in our chairs and cross our arms all smug-like and think "deal with that."  Leah, you can do anything you want to do, because I know you call the shots, anyway.

But now hold on a minute. . . aren't we supposed to be critiquing someone's blog?  Am I in the wrong place? Forgive me.  I'm looking for the High School in the Seventies Memories Newsgroup.  You know, for old people. I mean, they still have a newsgroup, don't they?

And you people out there --- my huge audience of fans -- who are reading this and wondering what the heck is going on here. . . well, this is a letter that works on many levels.  Like a parable. Find a level.  Make it your own.  Make pretty pictures in your head.  You'l like them better than mine.



P.S.  Thank you also, Andy, for giving me material for a blog post.  It's like one of those "found" poems. You can't make this stuff up, either.  Memoir.  I love it.