The game is afoot
Park Record columnist
“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”
—Richard P. Feynman
It’s not that everything about me lacks organization, but I suppose the case could be made. Take my bookshelves – please! Sorry, couldn’t resist an early-morning Henny Youngman shout-out.
Let me first define a few terms. In my humble digs over here in the Heber foothills, nearly all semi-smooth surfaces in the horizontal plane are referred to as bookshelves. Basically, there are ten of them and they are crammed end to end with texts that at one time or other I felt compelled to adopt from one rescue program or another.
All that means, of course, is that the chaos evident in their seeming lack of structure (genre, author, book jacket, color schemes, etc) is nothing but, as poet Gary Snyder likes to say, a more complex kind of order.
I’m clinging to that notion just in case I ever find myself called to judgment before one of Trump’s forthcoming “Russky” Troikas for forcing Dostoevsky’s “Grand Inquisitor” into cohabitation with Nabokov’s “Lolita.”
Today’s case-in-point is the top-tier of an old dust-encrusted fly-tying desk. Centrally positioned upon this shelf resides all manner of fly-tying books and videos including an anthology of most all Hemingway writings on the grand pastime of “angling.”
“Bookending” the aforementioned are what once was a quite up-to-date mishmash of Quantum Mechanics and Cosmology. I have long found that a casual relationship with the warping of time causes the days to pass more easily in these parts.
Although it really has nothing to do with the point of this epistle, which, at the rate things are progressing, I may or may not get to, I should call attention, out of fairness I suppose, to a most regal brain skeleton of a tumbleweed jutting up from its midst. Hereabouts, all plants require a notarized death certificate in order to gain access.
At the very end of the shelf reposes a collection of recordings by the late physics professor Richard P. Feynman. Entitled “Six Easy Pieces” and packaged as cassettes — they weren’t available in 8-track — they consist of lectures he gave to Caltech undergraduates back in the day.
As you can see, since the election of Trump, I’ve been rummaging throughout my cosmos in search of a logical explanation. Bookshelves and the liquor cache appear to have suffered most.
Although, admittedly, single-malts and physics lectures don’t have a history of pushing one closer to the Trump mindset, when one approaches the end of his rope, any port in a storm.
The recent designation of Bears Ears National Monument and the forces mobilizing against its realization currently provides a nice starting off point for these considerations. Jumping rather impatiently into Feynman’s sixth lecture, “Quantum Behavior,” and the peaty overtones of the Lagavulin 16-year-old Scotch whisky, the journey begins.
It soon becomes evident that the main philosophical differences between my honky-tonk friends and myself have their roots in the manner in which we perceive and feel electromagnetic radiation in general and the phenomena of light in particular. Now, if you buy into that, I’ve got another glass here, although the ice is running low.
No, there won’t be any answers within this chosen gumbo. The fact of the matter is that I don’t trust locals to manage public lands and they don’t trust the “gummint.” They see the genesis of justice, as beginning around 1500 when the Europeans arrived on the continent while my line of demarcation is somewhat earlier.
If they are aware at all of the true genocide, raping, and pillaging that took place when the “white-eyes” arrived, they have buried it within the justification that the indigenous past has been honorably bought and paid for well within the moral constructs of their God. I’m of the opinion that not even geological time is sufficient to perform even a “quantum” of necessary atonement.
Congressional Republicans along with the Utah and other like-minded Western delegations (is that redundant?) are enlisting with the recently elected General George Armstrong Custer surrogate to reassert control. And, with side dishes the likes of Climate Justice on the table, gulfs between perceptions of reality will no doubt widen.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.
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Teri Orr is navigating the first stages of life after the pandemic. “How do we be respectful and also celebrate our double vax position? Where do we land on say … a shared bowl of guacamole now — do you dip or spoon?”