Last week brought much needed Kondo joy to my cluttered life. The news cycle confirmed my long clung-to belief: We have an expanding national deficit of whimsy, serendipity and absurdity. Sometimes these joys are sitting right there, but it takes you four years to see them. Of course, I’m talking about that thing in that place made by that person and taken away by those other persons. Call it the monolith, statue, alien transporter or heating duct that fell out of a plane and stuck the landing. Whatever it was, it was a welcome relief from the post-election flame-flinging sharknado of grotesque gibberish that ensued since we last voted.
It was a big little thing. It was big enough to be seen from Google Map satellites. It was also a small thing in the scheme of things that quickly became a dog whistle for the whimsy-deprived masses. We ate it up like nest bound pubescent robins with beaks agape waiting for a worm delivery. It made Black Friday less dark and Cyber Monday less mundane.
Once the initial euphoria wore off, I started thinking about how it could have been better. I had hoped the monolith had solved a few persistent mysteries. It could have been the secret resting place of Edward Abby, Jimmy Hoffa or the fourth Musketeer. It could have been the portal to all the lost socks, keys and passwords in the universe. It could have held the secret of perpetual motion, intergalactic travel or a viable third political party. There could have been more golden iPad tablets, Commandments 11 through 15, Live Sea Scrolls, the Arc of the Covenant, the last digit of Pi, the druthers that everyone wishes they had or even the sequel to Catcher in the Rye. But no, we get something that probably has a mundane story that we don’t and never should know.
“Let the mystery be” — Iris DeMent.
You don’t have to teleport to San Juan County; there is plenty of whimsical serendipity around Logan. Some clown put a bunch of Easter Island statues around town. Are they really randomly placed or are they trying to tell a story? The giant tire that used to be at the Wellsville turn off gas station is gone, but where? The colorful bulls that used to grace Main Street have been cattle rustled off to different locales. There is a giant ball of inner tubes in front of Sunrise Cyclery; who would take the time to do that? So many kids with so much chalk made all our sidewalks works of art and poetry this summer. The winter will wipe it away, but that is the fate of most whimsical art.
Take a look at the local Christmas decorations this year. I’ve always been in favor of decorating big and early, but this year people started to lose their damn minds the day after Halloween. One of the best Halloween decorators in the Hillcrest area quickly transitioned to a spooking, ghoulie Christmas, nice touch. It’s not going to be easy, but we are going to get through this, whatever this is, one whimsical thing at a time.
I feel like telling the monolith worshipers, and anyone else who will listen, that there are 500 things cooler and more mysterious at Burning Man every year. With the exception of pandemic pause, I have gone 22 years straight just for that reason. I just submit this for your consideration. I also suggest driving the back roads from the song lyric “Tehachapi to Tonopah” and looking for the big little things. It always makes me feel better.
“Pete, the personal rancor reflected in that remark I don’t intend to dignify with comment.” — Oh Brother Where Art Thou