The song his grandfather came into being knowing

January 19th, 2007

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Dear Ben,

Welcome to the novel I’m writing! It’s a novel because, generally, novels go in one direction, whereas letters are a more back-and-forth, pongy sort of thing. Something you clearly don’t know anything about.

So, today, I feel like a thousand bucks because the mentally debilitating parts of my cold have finally subsided, and now it’s just that I am frustrated with my crippled body. My nose is useless, my throat a barren wasteland. The good news is that I had bitchin’ fever-dreams last night. Okay, I’ll try to relate them to you. I’ll obviously expect no response, since you are locked into that mobiatic New York Groove:

So I’m in England maybe visiting my sister, but I’m with J for some reason. We go to a fast-food place called Celia’s, and I wonder if it’s a Simon & Garfunkle thing. Anyways, it’s a real McD’s ripoff, right down to the smiling burgers and stuff, except their more British somehow. And there’s a bar, and it’s set up very weirdly, and it’s my turn to order and I say “fries” instead of “chips” and they get really mad at me. But I eventually order and they say it will take like an hour so I go for a walk.

On my walk, England is like suburban America. There are huge shopping centres looming in the distance. And there are no crosswalks, and the cars are going in insane directions, so I have to cross highways basically. Anyhow, I run into a prostitute on one of the medians, and I politely refuse her and she gets real sad and says, get this, “You are missing out on an impossibly vast adventure”. That’s what British prostitutes are like in my dreams. Anyhow, in hind sight, I’m not sure why I didn’t go for it, but for some reason I was heart-set on getting to the used car dealership that was across like 19 highways. Your logic is all messed up in dreams. I eventually made it, after seeing a gruesome car crash, and I got in and remembered that they drive on the wrong side of the road, and how I could never adjust to that, so I just started walking back to Celia’s and woke up somewhere along the way as my watch sang to me in deep, rich tones.

I’ve been listening to a lot of early computer music recently. Like really early. You know the first song ever sung by a computer was Daisy Bell, by an IBM 704 (see attached wax cylinder)? And in 2001, when HAL is dying, he sings that same song? The song his grandfather came into being knowing, something deep in his digital genes? I find this so beautiful that it makes me want to cry. If only I hadn’t cauterized my tear ducts after they canceled The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. My tears became a hindrance, they did.

-c

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