Monday, April 14, 2014

New platitudes

At my library we have a large projector that casts a continuous slide show of images onto a large white wall in the central area of our library. I will refrain from going into a massive screed against this demonic device (just kidding, I'm pretty sure it's not really demonic) and will limit myself to one essential, negative, but mostly technical, observation. The projector, as expensive and powerful as it is, is not powerful enough to project a good quality image in a lit area. All the images it casts look bleached, washed out, and slightly vague.

These slide shows of dwindled images have so far been devoted to photography shows. The current one is of school aged kids holding a small slate board on which they appear to have written a message in chalk. The message tends to be a small piece of advice, or, sometimes, a little bit about their feelings. It might not be a bad photography show (it is, I know, by a photographer I greatly respect), or it wouldn't necessarily be bad, if only it weren't all horribly washed out and hard to see. Indeed, time after time, as a new image rotates up, even though I have seen that image many times before, I completely misread what the vague, bleached chalkboard writing has to say. Unfortunately, often when I misread the chalked message I think "Oh! I like that one!" only to face the disappointment of what the chalkboard actually says.

I am not keen to criticize what these kids have to say on their little chalkboards. But I will note that the sayings tend to fall into one of three categories:

1. Out of the mouths of babes.
2. Regurgitated platitudes.
3. Misspelled and poorly phrased regurgitated platitudes

My misreadings have created a fourth category. Let's call them, 

4. Surreal wisdoms. 

I don't mean to take credit for them. They are what, to me, just seems at first to be actually there. I will share a small collection of these misreadings with you now. If you would like to see selections from the first three categories you're on your own. We're open seven days a week.

1. Be yourself and follow your ears.

2. I work to get white lies.

3. Don't think. It's impossible.

4. Peace is feeling different because paper rules things.

5. Don't judge people on the backboards of what they like.

6. Don't let the pigeons affect you.

7. People see me as haughty, but I'm actually sane.

8. The world is drowning in odd details.

And finally I will leave you with my last, favorite one in hopes that you might apply it wisely to this very post:

9. Adore and misunderstand.


  1. You've nailed it with surrealism. This also relates to your "Long May You Run" post.

    1. Well, then, um, thank you. My ears are turning all pink!


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