So, as I might possibly have mentioned in this journal already, I graduated! (See icon for robe and funny hat.) Thanks to everybody who traveled from far and wide to mark the occasion (my parents, L's parents, Kofi Annan
, Ali G
...) and to everybody who came to my party last week, which raged from about eight pm to midnight and then instantly turned into a pumpkin. Which is actually pretty much how I like it. It was so great to have Mom & Dad heretheir only visit to Boston this millenium (they did make it to Amherst for the wedding). My Mom apologized for getting weepy. We're such WASPs. Weepiness is good! It reminds me that this graduation thing might actually have been kind of a big deal. Thanks for everything, everyone.
Another great success was djwilhelm
's salon, where a random sample of our generation's greatest minds gathered to discuss the weighty issues of the day. It was a lot of fun, and some of those present may have said something intelligent at one point or another, though alas, nobody was writing anything down, so our genius will be lost to history. The one moment I will
remember is when narcissime
suggested I do an LJ post about five alternate Harvards, and I said something like, "Five goofball variations
on some ridiculous premise
seems to have become my thing
." And Ken Hite said, quite rightly, "Your
thing? [Krusty the Klown voice:] If this is anybody but Avram Davidson, you're stealing my bit!
Which I shall treasure for a couple of reasons:
1. Because it's actually validating to have someone as cool as Ken Hite acknowledge that I am blatantly ripping him off, occasionally artfully.
2. Because while the geek conversational habit of just tossing out obscure references without stopping to explain them can be deeply irritating if you don't know, for example, who Avram Davidson
is (he's a science-fiction author and fabulist whose influence can definitely be seen in Ken's magnificent Suppressed Transmissions
), or you don't immediately recognize a line from The Simpsons
(Krusty the Klown gets a prank phone call from rival TV host Gabbo. After realizing he's been punk'd, he says, "If this is anybody but Steve Allen, you're stealing my bit!"), it is both pleasing and flattering when you do.
3. Because Ken had no way of knowing that that line from The Simpsons
is an old favorite of mine. See, in my Golden Words
= the weekly humor publication at Queen's University), I became keenly aware of the long chain of homage, inspiration, and outright plagiarism that lay beneath each attempt at "original" "humor." I started out a somewhat slavish imitator of the senior writers and cartoonists on the paper, but stayed long enough to be imitated myself. By the time I reached the lofty heights of editor-in-chief, I often responded to cartoon and article submissions with some variation of Krusty's klassic line. "If this is anybody but Joey DeVilla
, you're stealing my bit!"Literature is full of such coincidences, which some love to believe plagiarisms. There are thoughts always abroad in the air, which it takes more wit to avoid than to hit upon.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
We're all part of the great circle of rip-offs, remixes, and pastiches. It's like that Elton John song
with the dancing warthogs. Hakuna Matata, baby. You're stealing my bit.