I have to admit something here, and it’s . . .
Well, some of you will nod and say “of course. Makes sense. In fact it’s a perfect fit, when you think of it. As I’ve said for years, David Lynch’s movies consist of unsparing examinations of the surfaces of American life, but they have weight because there is, in the end, a genuine love for the surfaces, both as a lid to the boiling horrors that lurk in the human heart, and a capstone for the essential decency and innocence of our fundamental national narratives.
Others will say: dude you are old now
Both are true, but neither is the whole story. As I have noted recently, I have been itching for change and purpose. Oh, I have purpose, but I want additional purpose outside of the standard rote parameters of the day. I want change, but not too much, but more than “I’m going to switch to the yogurt that has the fruit on the bottom instead of the stuff that’s mixed in already,” because that’s not enough, and I really don’t like the stir-it-yourself stuff because there are usually seeds.
I want to do good works, but where do you start? Turns out there are plenty of places if you just look, and a few weeks ago I did a story on a guy for our paper’s Minnspiration feature. He was a lawyer who collected cast-off glasses for people in developing countries, and he described an organization that had a variety of charitable purposes, all sorts of boards, districts, divisions, chairpersons, and so on. During my dark-night-of-the-soul fortnight when my neck was killing me and I was confronting the ossified nature of my general routines, I thought:
Why not that?
And so I applied to join . . . the Lions.
You know how you’re driving back roads off the highway, and you enter a small town that has the town’s name with the year the high school team took the hockey tourney and has plaques for the Rotary and the Lions and the Elks and so on? They’ve always been a mystery and a comfort - the former because you don’t know what they do, exactly, and the latter because you want to know that folks get together and perpetuate the old concept of service organizations.
Why? Because things need doing.
There’s a downtown branch, relatively new. Went to my first monthly meeting over lunch last week. The banner was put up on an easel; we recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Minutes were read; a motion was made to accept them, and it was seconded. Two new members were sworn in; they took the oath and got pins. We discussed the food drive and two upcoming homeless-shelter volunteer options. We played the Joker Game, which I may or may not be permitted to share with outsiders; I’ll let you know.
I loved it all and I loved it all unironically. Decent people doing good things. I hope they’ll have me.
They used to meet in the Oak Room at the old Dayton’s department store, but that closed, so we met at . . . Lyon’s Pub! Hah. At the end of the meeting the President asked what we all thought of it as a new location, and there were some remarks about the noise.
“I know I’m not a member yet,” I said, mindful of my supplicant status, “but there was a hair in my French Fries.”
“There was a hair in my hamburger,” said another Lion.
New item on the agenda, entrusted to one of the newly sworn-in members: find a new place that’s not so food hairy.
I walked back to the office, grinning, feeling good. Crossing the ruins of Nicollet Mall, a fellow looked at me and called my name. Recognized me from here and there and said he’d read me since the Daily days in college. Well, thank you, fine fellow; let’s walk. And so I said “I just did the most Midwestern and middle-aged thing ever,” and discussed the Lions. Poor fellow: it’s like he got the raw Bleat download before it had the chance to mature in the cask. So Bert, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I went on about the font choice on the convention pamphlet, but on the other hand, I suppose if someone does read the Bleat regularly and runs into me on the street, an unsolicited font analysis is pretty much what you’d expect.
Next step: work my way into redesigning graphics for the club’s internal documents. Already researching old logos.
I have . . . purpose!
More of the work of C. H. Wellington, cartoonist mislaid by history. More countryside hijinx:
The fellow needs to learn to prioritize. Sure, it was annoying when the dog took the glove, but surely he must have noticed the large animal sticking its head into the window.
The window has no glass, apparently. No sashes. Just a bit hole in the side of the house.
We are at present studying the criminal strategies of the man known only as . . .
What have we this week? Oh, it's off to Kuwait:
He would, wouldn't he? Remember, he needs Tungite to make remote controls for his robot army. He doesn't know how to make remote controls. He's constantly thwarted by Batman's little-known brother . . .
We saw the shelf of chemicals fall on top of the Copperhead, and figured, well, he’s dead! Or horribly disfigured.
But you might be surprised. I was.
So - hold on - what?
There’s a ROBOT under there. (Or a Robert, as Dr. Satan calls him.) Copperhead gets away. Back to Doc Satan’s place, where he is repairing the Robert. But wouldn’t you know it, the Remote Control circuit is ruined. This means they have to make another one. This requires more Unobtanium, though - Tunginite, in this case. And they’re allll out of Tungenite! But there’s a mine that might have some.
Here’s where the rest of the crew might think oh man, this seemed so easy when we signed on. This is getting ridiculous.
Hey, by some coincidence, here’s what the morning papers say:
The gals (Spunky Doctor-Daughter and Cowgirl Secretary) go down to talk to Colorful Panamint Pete, who presumably is named after a Death Valley ghost town. We meet Pete - and he’s cranky and colorful in the old style of the Grizzled Prospector! He even offers to give the gals horses to ride down to the mine. Alas, we hardly knew ye:
Always nice to see a guy who enjoys his work. So they go off to the mine, because all serials must have a mine sequence. Then a surprise:
It turns straight away into a WESTERN. Behold, the most awesome secretary ever:
Gal Doctor-Daughter goes back to warn Speed about the mine; they go off to find the DA. We get a little inadvertent documentary:
By the way, we learn that Speed is a newspaper reporter. Hence the name. Even though that’s usually applied to photographers, because, well, you know.
Of course there’s a fistfight, this time on a moving truck. Alas:
The clearance looks pretty high on those old cars. I think he’ll be okay. OR WILL HE?
That'll do! See you around.