Monday, May 24, 2010

They Really Got Lost

As I was assembling the next episode of Puddles of My Podcast (which features Cyrus Lubin as my guest and will go up tomorrow evening) and I listened to the theme song, "Must've Got Lost" by J. Geils Band, I couldn't help but comment on the  night of Lost, which was last night. Four and a half hours. That's right ladies and gentleman (Puddlers or not) Lost did it once again last night by making itself the extreme spectacle on TV. After watching the two hour special, which did an insane job of exhibiting how wild the show was over the past six years and really pumped you up for the final epsidoe, I sat, drank a tall beer and watched the end of Lost unfurl over two and a half hours.

I got hooked on Lost while I was looking for work in the summer of 2006, and I tried to follow it closely since then.  I could never become a fanatic, but I appreciated it as a saga and a sprawling fantasy story.  The plot twists were so ridiculous and absurd that you had to laugh and just enjoy it. However, it wasn't until last night that I really understood why I liked the show.  There was one hungover weekend when I returned to my collge after graduating when I noticed friends of mine had the Lost card game. I proceeded to open the game up, take out the cards and explain who each character was to my friend who hadn't seen the show. I explained Sawyer, Michael, Locke, Walt, Kate, Claire, Shannon, Sayid, Hurley and the rest with a sarcasm and goofiness that made light of the show.  However, as I watched the show end and watched each character that was ever on the show be paraded out for the predictable and somewhat disappointing ending, I realized that I had always liked Lost just for the characters.  Much of the reviews of the final episodes have covered this (you can read Alan Sepinwall's great review here) and it may seem a bit obvious, but it had never occurred to me before.  Below my smirking mockery of all of the characters and the absurdity of the show itself, was a real appreciation and attachment to the characters.  That damn Desmond  and the stupid Daniel Farraday had their hooks in.  And what the Lost finale did, in all of its hokiness, was do right by each of the characters.  There were tremendously moving moments and they almost touched on a Joycean idea in the sideways world (encountering yourself in different roles and different paths) before it was revealed that it was Purgatory.

In the end, all of the theories about what Purgatory is, what the the Purgatory of each character is, how relgion actually does fit into the whole thing, whose story the show actually was, and why the hell they didn't explain all of the crazy stuff won't matter - we just cared about those characters, those Ben Linuses and John Lockes. And I find it funny that after my Beatles post from Friday about not wanting a story to end, I find myself feeling that same familiar sensation at the end of Lost - as ridiculous and stupid as the whole thing was.

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In other blog news, the band Forest City, which features Nick Mencia (leading podcast downloads at 31) will be releasing their album on this blog. We will be releasing tracks right up here, so stayed tuned for the details and the timeline as for a week or so, this blog will be devoted to Forest City.

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Finally, here is the next installment of From Here to the Last Mound of Dirt. We continue on with Part II, Section 3. Remember that you can read the entire manuscript as it is posted on its own From Here to the Last Mound of Dirt Section.

Stay with me, Puddlers.

Jack waved the match out.  They were close to the crowd now.  Jack stopped and stuck his shovel into the grass.  Ed did the same.  Jack sucked in on his cigarette and dropped his hand to his side.  The crowd for the funeral was a good size.  He’d seen large funerals and samll two-person burials of urns.  There were women in hats and dresses.  The suits of the men were neat – there were no misplaced colors, no blues or purples where there should simply be blacks.

Jack focused on the girl with the crimson hair.  She was prettier than she’d seemed from further away.  Her hair was hanging down over her shoulders.  It was sheen and it shone white and then red.  Jack was tempted to think of blood, but instead his mind brought him to the harbor at dusk.  The Pepsi machine and the white paint of the harbor house. The sky was pink-red like worn fingertips and the waves moved in diamond shapes against the sailboats and pylons. An off white mutt with lab in it trotted on the small sand beach, it’s chain collar rattling.  The salt came strongly to his nose and the water was red-brown – a liquid brick.  He watched it all turn to purple and then black. His heart felt light then, as the plovers picked at snails, as it did now, even while he was hot, itchy and his ears filled with wax.

The woman with the brown hair stopped speaking and moved over to the crowd of mourners.  The girl with auburn hair watched her move.  Jack wondered what she saw when she saw something move.  Did she see the color brown? The skin of the woman? Most likely, she saw the woman as a relative – as someone in relation to her family and her life and the meaning and color she contained sprung out of that. Jack Simmons felt the heat of his cigarette between his fingers.  He brought it to his mouth, inhaled and threw it onto the grass.  Slowly, the spring of turf undertoe.

Ed Verlaine threw his cigarette down and stomped it with the toe of his boot.  He exhaled the smoke of his last drag and nodded his head toward the crowd.

“This one was a mother, right?”

Jack raised his right eyebrow and nodded.

Ed nodded.  He tilted his head back and looked at the blue sky.  There were puffs of white clouds passing slowly.  “Fuck,” he said. “Smoking on a hot day like this makes me want to quit.  What’s the point, you know? I mean, look at the grass at this place, they always keep it in such great shape.  We should be running, you know?”

Jack smiled at him. “You’re right.”

Ed stuck his hands into his pockets and stepped up next to Jack.  “Who do you think the kids were? I’ve seen you checking out that redhead.  You think she was a daughter?”

“Maybe,” Jack nodded.  “I think so.”

Ed looked at the side of Jack’s face. “You don’t have a wife do you, Jack?”

The girl with auburn hair kept her gaze straightforward toward the casket.  The sun made her hair turn bright red, then deep brown like syrup.  An edge of light changed the whole complexion of the color.  Jack tried to see her eyes so that he could know exactly what she saw.  She stood straight with her right arm bent and her hand and fingers slightly behind her back.  He wanted that to be enough.

“No,” he said. “No, I don’t.”

Ed nodded and Jack stayed fixed on the redhead.  He had never tried to directly ask Jack a question about himself like that.  If he was going to work at this job in the heat and the cold, he might as well know something about his partner – his co-worker.  What else was there to do while they watched women, children and husbands cry? They had to talk about the lives they were living, the amount of beer they could drink, the times they got laid, a story or two about their mothers, maybe even the funerals they had been to before for their grandparents or friends.  Ed felt himself getting angry at Jack.  Why was he stuck here with this guy who would barely speak, but who seemed to have a lot to say if he would open his mouth?  Ed could see the way he studied the redhead; he knew he wasn’t just thinking about how good she could fuck.  There was something Jack was getting from the scene in front of them and Ed could not follow what it was.  He saw the legs of a girl in tights, the sun shining and ice dripping off of pine trees in slow fat drops onto pavement.  He felt short of breath, his brow became flushed and he could touch the sweat around his neck.  The mourners by the casket and their sharp clothes, especially the redhead and her dark green dress, seemed to be imposing themselves on him, while the green of the grass and the blue of the sky further off behind it reminded him, once again of some feeling or some memory that he should know or remember immediately and be able to call out to.  However, he could not.  Ed Verlaine dug his shovel into the dirt and listened to the crunch of grass roots.  He shook another cigarette out of his pocket and cradled it in the “V” of his  middle and index fingers.

“Smoke?” Ed asked.

Jack shook his head.

Ed cradled the cigarette and slid it back into his pocket outside of the cellophane of the pack.
A man with a nice haircut walked up in front of the casket.  The priest shook the man’s hand  as he approached.  The man turned to the mourners.  His hair was parted evenly on the right side of his head.  Ed thought that he looked like a World War II soldier.  It seemed to him that the man was looking at the red head as well.  The man adjusted his legs and feet.  He tilted his head up away from the red head and up to the sky, taking one hand out of his pocket to rub his nose.  Ed cradled the worn wooden end of his shovel. 

“My mother,” the man began. “was a good woman. All of you here knew her and so you all must have known that.”  Ed clicked his tongue.  This man was a son.  The red head could be his sister.  If they were, they surely didn’t look it.  Ed wondered which one had the red hair: the father or the dead mother?

“But to simply call her a good woman would be too easy – something too maudlin or out of a movie.  What does that even mean? Certainly, my sister, Maggie wouldn’t let me get away with that.”

The red head shifted and the crowd murmered.  She was the sister.

“Anyway.  She was a good woman.  She was smart and she taught all of us-well she taught me to live with a sense of pride and a sense of duty.  Not to say that I was as noble as that, but mom knew how important life was…even the mundane tasks we have to do, which are often the right things to do.  She was never above anything and I feel like she taught much of that to me, to me and to my brothers and sisters.

“I will miss her cooking. I know that.  Although I have been away from it for a long time now since I’ve moved to Washington which, was another great thing about mom – the way she welcomed Eve into our family.  You sort of always want it to end up that your wife and your mom get along, and for me it happened without any fighting or anything.”

The man frowned and his mouth rose in a half-grin.  He looked over to the crowd somewhere.  Ed couldn’t see who he was looking toward and craned his neck slightly.  The man put both of his hands in his pockets.

“She’s gone though now and,” the man paused.  He was choking up. “She will never see my grandkids and they won’t get to call her grandma.  But it’s OK because she lived her life with beauty and grace and that is what I believe she is going to return to.  And, mom, I love you.  Dad, I love  you.”

The man walked away from the casket and over to the crowd.  There was always an instinct to get emotional when hearing someone speak about their dead loved one, especially a parent.  Ed Verlaine found himself crying at one burial where a young girl had died and her older brother went up to speak. “She won’t be there to talk to,” he had said.  The boy was about fourteen or fifteen.  The whole thing just made Ed cry.  He’d thought about his own little sister who was still in college and the fight he’d gotten into with her about her boyfriend who he didn’t like – the one with the red car and the Italian sounding first name.  He couldn’t imagine his life without his sister, though. Without her there, he  would have no ally, no one to share in the fact that he was the child of his parents; no one who knew his parents like him.  No matter if they spoke or didn’t speak, fought or didn’t fight – that was there.  The fact that they shared the same last name and the same parents and even the same room at one point.  Ed pushed down on the rounded shovel end.  The head crushed more sod and dirt.

1 comment:

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