From the EditorHere we are on the brink of disaster: umpires are ruining perfect games, Willie Nelson cut his hair, World War III is about to begin in Korea or Iran or any take-your-pick place, the Gulf of Texaco is going under (and that's not good for a body of water even in this living figure of speech world), and as Clyde said to Bonnie on the way to their bloody doom, "here, we only got two dollars and you're laughing." We got problems like marbles that keep rolling around the gym floor, and the vice principal just walked in. We have solutions that appear to be just more loose marbles, and in the hands of people like Randy Armachuto, no less, who you couldn't trust with a piece of gum. We have leaders and school principals more worried about how they look and how they will be quoted and spun, rather than how they think.
Time to pull out the ol' Twain -- "Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it." True enough, the paradigm in present practice. That's a mighty tall word, though, begins with a T, too. It's a mighty tall subject to undertake -- a vast yet untapped natural resource, but I don't know if Truth is a solution to anything, or that the lack of Truth is the problem, as if you could say once I know the real authentic beyond a shadow of a doubt Truth (if it could be known) than the world could be re-made in Truth's ideal image. Truth to tell, the world already has its shape. Questions often too fearful, too swirling, to consider, but yet we must, that's what universities should do. That's their business.
It just seems odd that a band of independent scientists are trying to find out the Truth of the BP Gulf Oil debacle when we already have so many paid experts on staff. It seems odd that universities are in a constant state of flux, searching for belly buttons and reinventing their missions. It seems odd there was enormous pressure to overturn the umpire's boo-boo, so Armando Galarraga could be one of happy few to perform the perfect game. As if Truth could be measured in a plume of mistakes, or what's in the Hall of Fame. "You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows," like the song says.
We do live in the way we think, in shape note lines, some like these – "it would be nice to have a perfect game on a Sunday afternoon with everyone still alive, and we are the perfect 10 years old again before we made any choices for ourselves and we are being shown how a perfect game should be played with heroes and villains and poetic justice at the end, and the girl who finds her perfect prince during the seventh inning stretch, where there is no death, only the breaks of the game, and endless days ahead with lemonade and noodle salad galore, perhaps when we come of age, we could have a beer in between the innings and instant replay in an air-conditioned box, sushi rather than a hot dog, and a parking spot for our Escalade nearest to the gate, and during that one time we go to the park with our perfect son or daughter, we would witness the perfect drama of a pitcher pitching a perfect game, and not one fouled by human error. We could have all this and sea turtles, too."
Lamentably, the pursuit of happiness we have come to call "The Consititution", the pursuit of the perfect game, we call "The Bill of Rights" or The Bill of Guarantees. Yet as my friend down at the pool hall told me last week in his dead pan so-what: "When is a game not a perfect game?" Which made me rethink what I had been thinking about what to do to Bud Selig and to CEO Tony Hayward, how to make them cry like a baby in the middle of the night.
So I came around. Peter Makuck says it's laughable to think we can reinvent ourselves, and from their graduation remarks, our outstanding graduates Olivia Everett and Stephen Mason affirm there are only essences to be lived, that living is the thing, found in the narrative structure of what we think, what we do. The storyline goes where, but how should the storyline go?
Perhaps this is the perfect game, right now, with bad calls to boot.
Editor: Tom Douglass
Copyright © 2010. ECU Department of English.