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A Theory Concerning Thunder

Posted by Remy on April 5, 2009

(written 2006)

I know dead languages. I have run a business. I have translated poetry. I have read scholarly books that contain sentences over a page in length with enough colons, semicolons, and commas to construct a continent-long reptilian vertebra. I have also found, when pushed into a corner, that sometimes wisdom means putting aside your education.

Today I am called to play dinosaurs. Archer, my son, will only let me be the herbivores. He gets a Tyrannosaurus Rex for each hand. I am a brontosaurus or what was once called a brontosaurus. The first great “terrible lizard” no longer exists. The name came from the Greek bronte meaning “thunder” and sauros meaning “lizard”; now geologically falsified, it is the Aptosaurus –from apetilos meaning “deceptive”. This is what happens when your remains are misidentified; the scholars blame your own wiliness for the misnomer.

The Flintstones still eat Brontosaurus Burgers.

Archer gallops the two T-rexes at my peaceful carpet-eating dino, who roars in terror and the T-rexes have a laugh. Why are dinosaurs never depicted in pictures of Noah’s ark? The God of Israel said to take two of every beast. The brontosaurus would be far more impressive sticking its head out of the boat than the measly giraffe.

My enthusiasm for the game wanes and my dino grows tired of being the burger; he goes on the offense. My son isn’t pleased, but my bronto escapes to live on for another day.

The educated will not survive. I have gone past the writing on the wall; I have seen the surveys on the wall. The National Center for Health Statistics has found a direct relationship between years of education and a decline in fertility rates. To quote:

Educational attainment is a very critical factor in accounting for lifetime fertility differentials. Women with one or more years of college have sharply lower lifetime fertility than less educated women, regardless of race or Hispanic origin.

Fittest, apparently, has nothing to do with intelligence. At first this disturbed me.

If you search for the definition of meekness you find many things. Meekness is putting the needs of others before your own short term interests. Is an inward quality of spirit. A quiet attitude of spirit, joined with the care neither to offend any man, nor be offended at anything. I was taught that a virtue was not the same as an absence of the vice; therefore, the weak, with no ability to influence the strong, are not meek, but the strong submitting to the weak are indeed meek. I have found that sometimes wisdom means putting aside your education. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

There are many reasons to not have children. Financial being the most popular. The burden of clothing, feeding, and educating a child, not to mention the enormous medical costs, are enough to dissuade even the hardiest among us, but throw in the sacrifice of certain luxuries and vacations along with the emotional wear and you have a task of nearly anchoritic proportions.

True love scars you. I have calluses on my fingers from writing. I have always held the pencil incorrectly. Guitarists mangle their hands. Mechanics are stained with oil. Part of being in love means giving that person the power to hurt you.

If I leave to fast, walk out without assurances of imminent returns, my sons will thunder into tears. Great commas of sadness rolling down their cheeks while they beat the windows. It’s hard work to have faith facing an absence. I promise to be back. Be back soon.

The divorce rate hovers around forty percent. Love doesn’t last in America. “Irreconcilable differences” is code for lost enthusiasm for the union. At the beginning of any romance, irreconcilable differences increase desire, all are Romeos and Juliets. We all feel like we battle the odds, later we just quit the battle. I suspect the reason for divorce is that we are too smart. We know that you cannot trust someone forever without getting burned. They are deceivers. They will betray your heart at some point

In 1989 the Postal Service was accused of “fostering scientific illiteracy” for using the nomenclature “Brontosaurus” for its dinosaur stamp series instead of the official name. They defended themselves saying “Brontosaurus” was more familiar to the population.

Sometimes I push plastic tractors in the yard. For the first time in twenty years I have grass stains on my knees. My youngest son, Jaiken, likes to read, and by that I mean he likes me to read while he points at things and makes noises. Except I don’t read. I reinvent the story. I reinterpret history. “Et tu, Big Bird!” He grows bored before Pooh Bear surrenders at Appomattox.

Children are the most enthusiastic of creatures. Enthusiasm literally means “having God inside” from the Greek en theos. However, to define it as “childlike” would probably be more familiar to the population.

Ignorance may or may not be bliss, no word yet from the experts; but it is written that in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth in knowledge increaseth in sorrow. The wise in America have a birthrate average of less than two children.

Playing some sheet monster for my screaming boys I have forgotten the distinction between denote and connote. But I have put aside my education. I am thunder-monster. I am deceptive. I hide behind doors. Doubleback. Lie in dark. Wait. Amorphous. I snatch ankles. I tickle. I forget which comes first Henry II or Edward I, metaphase or anaphase.

Wisdom may be the new Brontosaurus: misnamed. Education is not a savior. Maybe a meeker education. Maybe what is now called wisdom will be called “thunder”, which, in the best guess of science, is a loud noise produced by the explosive expansion of air heated by lightning.

2 Responses to “A Theory Concerning Thunder”

  1. timmyjimi said

    Really enjoyed reading this, Remy. Way to pull a doozy from the archives.

  2. Remy said

    Thanks Tim. It’s fun to write in big swooping letters sometimes.

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