Once at an Allman Brothers concert, Greg Allman kept saying "Thank you, good night!" and would proceed to play another guitar solo. This, of course, makes for the ultimate Allman Brothers experience except that Hank and I were exhausted and kept wanting the wrap-up to be a real one. But it was as real as a Baptist preacher ending his sermon (Old joke -- what are the sweetest words to a Baptist? In conclusion . . . ), and we went home saying Thank you, good night! over and over, laughing about it. The phrase became the code for it's time to go, something we could use in crowds when it was time to wrap it up. Still use it when necessary although the actual night is forgotten by everyone but me. But that's how language is -- it morphs way past its origin into something else, the most living and versatile thing there is. I think about how much I speak in code, much of it derived from The Sopranos -- ie, Pine Barrens (for a situation in which one bad idea leads to another leads to a huge mess where communication is impossible) or FICA (how Tony was busted about his Russian mistress by a jealous employee who fights with her over a tiny bit of money -- one small stupid detail that reveals your deception), or this from Carver's story "Gazebo" -- "They can do their dirt at the Travelodge." (meaning a situation where your personal life has taken such a bad turn that you can't do your job and people will have to go elsewhere for help).
My favorite two terms, though, come from the military. I often speak of snafus (situation normal all fucked up) and fubars (situation fucked up beyond all recognition). I find myself in both all the time, as do we all. Or maybe there's people who never do -- I don't know them, of course. Sometimes I wish I did, but I suspect they would, how to say this delicately, annoy the fucking shit out of me. Love depends on speaking the same language. I recently had a dream where I was watching Sidney Poitier play Virgil Tibbs where he yells, "They call me Mr. Tibbs." I'm going to adopt this into my lexicon, a way of demanding a respect of sorts and also calling upon an entire mythology that will keep me away from people too young to remember important things, things like In The Heat Of The Night. If they don't, they can do their dirt at the Travelodge. Because God knows, I'm probably busy in the Pine Barrens, worrying about someone reporting some FICA-like detail that will bust my ass before I can whisper into the ears of my companions, Thank you, good night.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Silence is just so accurate." Mark Rothko
Drinking music suggestion: Ghost In The Machine The Police
Benedictions and Maledictions