Thursday, April 12, 2012

Titanic

This Sunday, April 15th, is the 100th anniversary of the best story, ever, for a child. It was a come-to-life Greek myth, but real - and recent. My grandmother was born in 1912.

The story gained traction in my imagination, until I became not as bad as James Cameron, but certainly on the spectrum. As the oldest of seven cousins, I convinced them to put on plays about Titanic, we rewrote the ending and made - the night, the 'berg, the screams - all a dream. All a dream.

That's what fiction means. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: "the good end happily, and the bad unhappily. " Who at eleven could handle such a tragedy, even if the backdrop was a sheet we'd painted to look like portholes, and the setting was at the bottom of my grandparents' stairs?

I adored the words "watertight compartments." Also the words I learned later, "hubris," and, "The Gilded Age." I imagined Bob Ballard, and the submersible Alvin down there in the dark, finding the bow. It gave me shivers. Like elephants finding bones. They stand around the bones, touching them with their trunks like fingers, seeming to remember, thinking about how they might end.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Toothsome

Yesterday I had my #14 molar pulled, or, as they say, "extracted." I was upset about it. I've had that molar for more than 30 years, longer than I've known some of my closest friends, and I dined with it every night and never thought about it until it went bad. We went through a gummi bear phase together, in the 80s, and tapas, in the 90s, good old #14. Old shoe. Fit me like a glove.

The hole where it used to be is not a hole, it's a pit, basically. Something could be mined out of there. I have gigantic teeth, like all the Hawkins women. At family reunions I know from whence I came: flesh-tearers. Big smilers. Fat-ass molars. It's where we put our energy reserves, I guess.

The oral surgeon said, sure you can keep your tooth, whatever bits are left, I expect it will shatter. But it didn't, whatta pal #14, a trooper, an English peasant gal. It came out intact, thick as the pinky on an infant. Three-rooted, strong shouldered, but dead - it was nobody's fault, the oral surgeon said.