Recent Events Dictate

|July 1, 2012 | Recent Events Dictate

Another box of junk; more things to keep.

A snow globe, containing a couple of 1940s-looking children playing with a snowman. I pulled the little cap on the bottom and drained the liquid, which had turned brown, and with that, the “snow”, which had gone black as soot. The thing had started to melt, as if you’d held a match to it. South Louisiana destroys everything, eventually.

I’m at the corner store, where the people line up to play the lottery and abuse the shopkeepers. This man and woman, the owners, are totally inscrutable. I buy a Mexican Coke, and I thank the lady in Vietnamese, and she corrects my pronunciation. Cám ơn. What I said sounded to me like ” calm uhn “, and she says, ” no, no, it’s like this : calm UHN “. ” Oh, right, of course “, I say. She asks me where I learned the word, and I tell her that I’ve been to Vietnam, and that I find the language – a system of alien diphthong mouth-shapes – entirely impossible. She agrees that it’s very difficult. By way of illustration, she writes something down on a paper bag. ” See? “, she says, ” the top word means church, and the bottom word means whore “.

I have a double platinum plaque, a reward for selling two million copies of a certain album; it contains two platinum-plated vinyl records, and two platinum cassettes. Before that, I got the single platinum, with a record and a cassette, and before that, a gold one, with a shiny gold disc and tape. I have gold and platinum awards from various other countries too. They just have the CD, which is not nearly as much fun. I’ve seen gold records from the 1970s which contain a gold-painted 8-track tape.

” Do you think “, I’ve been asked more than a few times, ” that when you get a gold record, it’s actually your record? “

I cracked open the frame, and put the album on the turntable. I needed to replace the needle anyway. Some sort of generic easy-listening jazz, it was, the kind you used to hear in taxi cabs. And it was defective, pressed off-center, so that it warbled.