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SCOT BELLAVIA: Is It Just Me Or . . .

Did you too think the world itself was black and white until color photography?

Have you ever thought about what it takes to become a train conductor? I did, for the first time recently, but without a conclusion. It’s one of those careers you talk to toddlers about, like farmers or astronauts, because its components make for a cute birthday party theme. But we don’t really expect them to become train conductors, in part because we don’t really know how to.

Do you, like me, detest doors? Doesn’t it seem an outsized inconvenience to wait hours to pay someone $100 to pop the door like a thief or to disrupt the schedule of your spouse who has the spare when, had you left anything else on the wrong side of the door, you could retrieve it with the effortless press of a fab or simple turn of a lock?

And on locks, who else thinks it irresponsible that we leave our most expensive possessions (our houses and cars) totally unattended for hours at a time?

Have you ever considered that you have known some songs and movies and books for longer than you have your closest friends or spouse? I’m not even talking about the songs and movies and books that have profoundly shaped us; I’m commenting on the fact that we have allotted headspace to trivial items.

Have you ever pictured the contents of your mind like organized folders on the computer, neatly compartmentalized by topic? I do, yearning for the delete button when I’ve seen something I wish I could forget, like a scene from a gruesome movie or a plumber’s crack. Then, I realized how many files would have to have duplicates in other folders because our minds are much more complex than alphabetized topics. Rather than neat compartments, a Venn diagram with hyperlinks would probably be the most efficient way to catalog the things in our brains.

Was Solomon’s surpassing wisdom not really proved when he recommended slicing a baby to determine the true mother? I think this story says more about the mom of the living baby than it does about Solomon. In mulling this, I’ve flipped my sympathy to the woman who agreed to Solomon’s proposal, the mother whose baby died, because only a mother in great grief would think so irrationally as to swap babies in the middle of the night and then agree to the death of another baby. In any case, I’ve always thought Solomon’s wisdom isn’t very astonishing in this court case and wanted to hear of another. Have you?

Is the concept of eternity totally incapacitating? This is my greatest fear, in all honesty. Yet in the frequency I’ve brought it up to friends and strangers alike, my apprehension hasn’t lessened. It doesn’t thrill me that I’ll be somewhere and doing things without an end, which is why I must end here.

Scot Bellavia

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