I am now sitting at my laptop in my little study. And just from my desk chair (which, by the way, belonged to my grandfather--is that pack-rattery? or veneration?) I can see ...
- a tiny note from Joyce (from last summer) about what I need to do to move some money from savings to checking
- a business card for Isom's Clock Repair
- a printout of a notice in the New York Times about the funeral service for John O'Hara, published 13 April 1970
- a container of blank CD-ROMs
- a cardboard mailing tube containing a USGS map of Enid, Oklahoma, my home town
- a pack of Authors playing cards
- a bookmark from Between the Covers Rare Books
- a refrigerator magnet showing Billy the Kid--but this one's affixed to one of my metal file cabinets
- a sign that says Mental Ward; I used to hang it on the wall in my Harmon Middle School classroom
- part of a brick from a demolished school in Elmira, NY (too long a story--maybe another day)
- a cassette tape of Ramsey Lewis' Christmas album
- a signed photograph of James Garner in his Rockford Files character
- a rock from 49 Gulch, Dawson City, Yukon--site of my great-grandfather's gold claim
- a green cap from a bottle of lime-flavored soda water
- a Russ Berry dog ("Snoops) that I bought because it reminds me of Sooner, my boyhood wonder dog
- At a Glance--the Hiram college "facebook" from 1964-1965
- a letter-opener whose tip Joyce's father broke about thirty years ago trying to pry open a lid
- a rock painted by student Skip French in 1968 in honor of our middle school play production that year: Our War for Independence; or 101 Ways to Be Revolting
- a reproduction of Shakespeare's First Folio
- two VHS tapes of episodes from Have Gun, Will Travel (a show that was on from 1957-1963)
- a Frankenstein mouse pad
- some CDs bearing recordings of the voice of John O'Hara
- a large paper-cutter
- WRA's Student Directory & Faces of WRA from seven different years
- a page from a tear-off daily calendar, 9 July 2012, showing a mourning dove
- the ID badge I wore to the Cleveland Clinic every day for seven weeks during my radiation treatments in January-February 2009
- a little container holding, oh, about a dozen flash drives, none of which I use
- a little model of the Globe Theater (from the Bard's day)
- my first teaching contract, framed, which I signed in Aurora on 18 May 1966
- a box full of ZIP disks
- a piece of orange carpet, mounted, from Harmon School
And we've only just begun ...
Let me end with some weirdness. All these thoughts about pack-rattery affected my dream world. Last night I dreamed about the very rat pictured at the top of this page. I had seen a young rat on the floor near me, and I'd smacked it with a book (is Freud smiling somewhere?). Put out its lights. And down from an opening in the ceiling (which isn't really there) came the very rat pictured at the top of this page. I watched as it walked over to its fallen child, picked it up with one "hand," cradled it closely, and climbed back through the hole in the ceiling.
Meanwhile, I had somehow exchanged my book for a baseball bat (the two most formidable weapons in my career, I now realize!) and was looking for a way to smack the big rat. But couldn't see a way. It reached back through the hole and fastened a little door, which had somehow appeared.
And I woke up, simultaneously frustrated and disgusted that I had pack rats living in the ceiling and somewhat regretful that I'd taken a life ...
I am, you must agree--in more ways than one--messed up.