Wednesday, August 10, 2016


My architecture has lost an enormous inch. It must be the beginning of my shrivelling years. Life is not Sanforized. We all shrink in the rinse cycle and this is me spinning.

Even dinosaurs got their comeuppance. As the earth spun they lost their dominion. Chickens are their last living descendant. My guess is the white meat from a single pterodactyl could have fed the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  

I Am big, said Gloria Swanson, it’s movies that got smaller. But that was then. When Mickey Rooney (5 ft. 2) was asked how he got such statuesque women (eight wives) he said he lied about his height.

Last year Pluto became a dwarf. Have we no decency? Robert Reich is my current favorite small guy at 4 ft. 11. He could tell James Madison (5 ft. 3) a thing or two about what went wrong with our experimental form of government. Picasso painted us into the 20th century with his 5 ft. 4 frame and Charlie Chaplin wasn’t much taller than his cane. Beethoven soared at 5 ft. 3 and so has Paul Simon. Was it over-compensation that drove Napoleon (5ft. 6)? Probably, but I would never have said that to his face. Nor was that a subject to mention to Genghis Khan (5 ft. 1). Either of these two would have less world to conquer today.

Our land mass is having a tough time keeping up with the lapping sea. By some measurements our planet has lost 31,000 sq. miles of dry land since 1940. Even my hometown borough of Queens gave up 1 sq. mile to Jamaica Bay. Gulp. These figures are not something Republicans want us to hear. If they had their way they would downsize the electorate, eliminate taxes altogether and defund scientific research. Attention spans are so much shorter we may not even notice. They’re counting on it.

The Olympics are too big, says Malcom Gladwell. Let them happen in 4 or 5 countries instead of the one. Why run races in polluted or equatorial air? No argument from little me. At the Olympics the difference between a medal and a ticket home is a mere wobble or bobble. It’s hard to watch one of those gymnastic munchkins losing her grip. Careers can be destroyed by the length of a smidge.

The pop song from the 50s had it right, Little Things Mean a Lot. Writers know how details breathe life into a poem or novel. That’s where the devil lives alongside our better angels. Perhaps it is a function of aging that our lives become more circumscribed. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, is another song from back in the day. In the move from macro to micro we get to know our four walls better and the minutia at our feet. As our eyes and ears recede we can always prowl along that jagged line of getting from there to here.

No comments:

Post a Comment