Wednesday, July 26, 2006

8 May, 1955

Dear Folks

Excuse the wine-colored ink, but I just bought a new pen (the old one was left on the plane I took back from Shreveport), and filled it with ink at the drugstore.

I bought a new record today—one I’ve wanted for a long time; the music from The Robe. I got it for only $3.75 (the usual price is $6.00). My roommate Lee bought an album I’d like to get. It’s called "The Confederacy" and has many of the South’s marches and popular songs of the Civil War.

The poor South—how hard & bitterly they fought a war that was lost before it began. I’ve always admired their courage and deplored the North’s ruthlessness in destroying their finest cities and plantations. A simile could be dawn between the South and the early Christian martyrs—they were both doomed, yet met their respective deaths bravely, not afraid to die for a cause they considered right.

I’m afraid I admire people too much, & expect too much from them as a whole. That is why I still boil every time I hear an asinine commercial or song. Why we insist upon degrading ourselves by talking down to ourselves. We have capabilities far greater than we imagine.

I’ve finally decided on my "calling" in life—for some reason it is human nature to resist change. Yet, if there had been no change, we would still be living in trees & caves, & eating our meat raw. Ever hear of an ameba (aomeba, aemeba…?…one celled animal, anyhow)? It moves along by first projecting a little of itself out beyond the mass, & then flowing the rest of the body into it.

Well, to me, that is how Man moves—a little segment moves out from the whole—this is change—any new idea or invention. At first, everyone is against it ("Hmph! I wouldn’t have a TV set if you paid me!"—"I tell you, the automobile will never replace the horse", etc.); but very slowly it becomes more & more common, until its absence is more conspicuous than its presence. That is the way Man has always been, & no doubt the way he will always be. He must be prodded—he cannot be pushed. So that’s what I’m going to try to do—prod people here & there. It is a very unpopular thing to do, & at times quite dangerous, as in great religious reforms. But someone has to start people thinking, even at the risks that may be involved. Like Johnny Appleseed, I’ll go around sowing ideas that will become facts in the future.

As I’ve mentioned, perhaps the greatest and most dangerous field of change is in Religion.. You have noticed, no doubt, my seeming lack of interest in religion. I’ve always had the nasty habit of asking questions where none should be asked—the first sign of Change Advocate. I’ve reached the conclusion that about 2,000years ago, Man got off on the wrong track, & has remained stubbornly on it since that time.

For an analogy, let’s imagine Thomas Edison and his gift of light to the world. Let’s suppose, instead of applying his principles as we did, that we bowed before an unlit light bulb and worshipped this great man who invented it. Our cities would still be lit by gas light & candles, while great temples were erected to a burned-out light bulb.

Oh, well, Reverend Margason, the sermon is about over for this evening. Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast and to set me off on rampages.

However, if I don’t go off on an occasional "rampage", I have very little to say, as nothing much new happens around here.

Oh, yes—tonight, after coming home from the beach, I raised the top, locked it, & pressed the button to raise the windows—but they wouldn’t raise. The motors hummed, but nothing happened. Upon getting out of the car to investigate, I saw a stream of dark & sweet-smelling liquid running from the right door onto the ground. Let’s pray it doesn’t rain until I can get it fixed!

Well, enough for now. I’ll try & write more often & let you know how things are going. I wish you’d hurry on down here—it has already been five months since I’ve seen you; longer than before.

At this point, I leaned forward slightly on the edge of my bunk (where I’m using the stationary box as a desk); the wind blew the window shade, & the wooden bottom hit me in the forehead. I yanked the shade in anger & the whole thing came down & tore off the roller. I spent the following five minutes with a roll of scotch tape, up to my knees in green window shade, trying to tape it back together. I finally got it & put it back up. It’s sitting there now, billowing slightly, & just waiting for me to lean forward again.

And such is the life I lead.

Your Devoted Offspring

P.S. Telephone strikers have just dynamited the telephone relay station so that no calls can come in to or out of Pensacola. Bless them.


Eric said...

Filled a pen with ink? There's something from a by-gone age that was classic and civilized. The references to music throughout "explain" Dick's taste in music. And you actually mentioned a roommate by name!

Dorien/Roger said...

Ah, but one nice thing about time is that it's only looking back on it that we recognize the inconveniences. As we're travelling forward through it, we're only aware of what is at the moment,and generally don't/can't really miss what hasn't been invennted yet.