Monday, January 14, 2019

Better late than never?

Here's an anecdote about growing up with foreign-born parents some of you may find interesting, especially the science fiction fans among you.

When I was in 7th grade, I had an English teacher who saw "2001" on its initial release. She was so amazed and impressed by the film, she offered to take all her English students to see it, and pay for it herself!

Being a school field trip, we all needed to get parental permission. When I explained it, my mother refused. Being such an old world cynic, she couldn't believe anyone would do such a selfless deed.

"I don't know what it is," she said. "But she's up to something."

So I had to stay behind while everyone else went to see the film. My teacher was a bit startled that I couldn't come, but she accepted it and the subject never came up again.

Years later I bought a DVD and watched "2001".

In 2004. At that point I'd already sold a story to Asimov's Science Fiction. I thought it was silly for a science fiction writer to have never seen the movie.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The look-alike

A number of years ago - sometime between 2005 and 2007 - I was working at my newspaper job one day, and I covered an event at a local Rotary Club. It featured a recap of a trip club members made on an exchange with a club in South America.

It was to Uruguay or Paraguay - I don't remember which - and in the course of the report, the club leader mentioned - by way of "It's a small world" - that one of their host club members was William Shatner's brother, Louis Shatner. He had the photo to prove it - the fellow looked just like Bill.

I later checked up on the story, and found that Bill Shatner doesn't have a brother, but he had an uncle named Louis. This fellow in South America is probably his first cousin. I assume the Rotarian either misspoke or didn't understand the translation.

Like I said, the family resemblance was striking.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

The Long March

The death of a high school classmate has led to some ruminations from fellow members of The Class of 1975. What I have seen over the years is that there is a certain pattern in the way people exit this world, as explicated in class notes and newspaper obituaries.

First to leave are the kids so careless or reckless they don't make it out of high school, or who die soon thereafter. It is amazing how many high school yearbooks will have a dedication to the boy who died his sophomore year. It's almost a trope.

Then there's a decade or two gap and we see people pass away who had chronic or congenital health problems. The strain of just living in these cases takes it toll. My best friend from college, a person who had a tremendous influence in my life and is the reason I live in Texas today, was born with a neurological disorder and died at 49.

Now that we're past the big 6-0 we will finally see people start to die from simple old age. This is the most chilling sequence because it will not end until everyone in the class has passed away.

I celebrate my 62nd birthday on Sunday, so I am smack dab there. You just have to accept aging with some fatalism and perhaps a sense of humor.

As a "friend" of mine once commented, "If the good die young, you're practically immortal!"

Better late than never?

Here's an anecdote about growing up with foreign-born parents some of you may find interesting, especially the science fiction fans amon...