Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sitting down

Just finished a piece by John McPhee on structure, from the New Yorker exactly 11 months ago, now that I look at the cover.  I found it by Mary's side of the bed, where the magazines often pile up mightily, and it is one of my spousal roles to cut the piles down to size and to sneak them into the recycling.  It is an ongoing battle against one of the elemental forces of nature, much like those McPhee himself liked to chronicle.

Of late Graham has been slowing this process, as he has shown considerable enthusiasm for the cartoons in the New Yorker.  Somewhat hastily, I offered to start explaining them to him.  It would be, I thought, a rather restful process, when compared to the somewhat primal wrestling matches I have described here.  Problem is, the cartoons can be a little complicated, so I end up needing to do a lot of translating to make them comprehensible to the 10-year mind. For example, the magazine has certain set gags it likes, like a person coming into or already into a shrink's office.  Or the man crawling through the burning sand of the desert. Situations that are perfectly easy to understand for those of us who have been imbibing media all our lives, but less clear to those who survive, as Graham does, on a pretty steady diet of the Military Channel, comic books, and Wikipedia articles about tanks. 

Just as often there are cartoons about sex, often with a couple getting into or already in bed and some elaborate sight gag about the man trying to convince his mate to have sex, which is a concept we haven't gotten around to yet with Graham.  So I just describe it as "kissing and snuggling under the covers." He gets that.

So, anyway, the McPhee piece reminded me to write.

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