“Plain bagel, heavy on the mayonnaise. And Brad, could you trim away the crust on it? Thanks.”
So I am standing today with my son outside the cathedral in Pisa, Italy staring at the famous tower and watching it do what it does best in the world. And my son, who understands hard-science, practical stuff better than I ever will, takes in the spectacle and says, more or less, “Woah, that is truly a mess. Amazing.” And he smiles, glad to have seen such an oddity. Me? I’m supposed to be the pessimist. I’m the guy who is reputedly drawn to a constant parsing of human failure. The Leaning Tower should be pretty much in my philsophical wheelhouse, right? Instead, I’m standing there thinking of the taller belltower in Firenze, or the Great Fire Monument in London, or the Shot Tower in Baltimore, or the Space Needle in Seattle, or the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings in New York. I’m thinking to myself, “It’s a Homeric fucking triumph that every other one doesn’t just tilt on over. It’s a victory for all of humanity...
Returning to Baltimore this weekend, and the wife went down to the Royal Farms Store on Key Highway early on Saturday morning. Two mallards were hanging by the store entrance, all twitchy and hopping, trying to blend with the pigeons. They looked really nervous, like white kids trying to cop off a westside corner. Nice to be home.