I’m starting up the Lint tumblr again, just because I hate to let things go fallow. You know, you get a new shiny internet toy, and then you forget it, because we have the attention span of hamsters.

Speaking of which: why do they run in their wheels? Is it just for fun, or do they think they’re going somewhere? Do hamsters run and run and then look out, see they’re still in the cage, and think “man, this place is huge” or “this place is identical to my place” or anything at all? If I run a lot I will find food, and reduce my chances of being food. So run it is.

Anyway, I’ve been screencapping old TV ads, because my life is just that exciting. Really: while doing my evening cardio, I watch old TV ads. They’re fascinating. A consumer product intended for ingestion or beauty just wasn’t good enough unless it contained newfangled chemicals:


“Irium”, according to wikipedia (of all the web / text abbreviations I wish we could all adopt, ATW is one of them; I think I’ll start using it) is an “ionic surfactant.” CH3(CH2)11OSO3Na, to be exact. The salt is of an organosulfate consisting of a 12-carbon tail attached to a sulfate group, giving the material the amphiphilic properties required of a detergent. It was probably always present in Pepsodent; probably in every toothpaste. But slap on a name that sounds like an element, and it’s modern.

Or, you could invent a country:


That’s where they mine Fluoride, right? Well, ATW, Flouride comes from Fluorine, one of the most common elements on earth. It comes from rocks, mostly Fluorite; half the world’s Fluorite comes from China. Did you know that? I didn’t. The second-largest producer is Mexico. It’s also related to Teflon, one of the greatest domestic innovations of the 60s. As we learned last week about Scotchguard in the Wards 1961 section, Teflon was “accidentally” discovered when someone was doing something else. (Trying to invent Scotchguard, as it happened.) (Kidding.)

Offered without comment or explanation, to torture you with speculation:


Daughter’s last day of school. It went by so slowly; this year has just dragged. Seems like six months ago it was two months ago -

Kidding. Supersonic. Craig Breedlove on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

(By the way, I had this Craig Breedlove rocket-car toy. It was one of my favorites, and until I googled it I thought it was a Texaco promotion. SHELL? You didn’t talk Shell in a Texaco household. I don’t even know if we had Shell in town. My dad probably got it from the Goodyear distributor. I remember the tires: they weren’t affixed to a rigid axle. Push it down and something seemed to give.

I didn’t know anything about Breedlove and rocket cars, but like just about every other boy I must have picked it up and pretended it was a spaceship. It certainly looks the way a spaceship should look.)

So now her summer begins, and it won’t be like the previous ones. No more classes at Southwest, since that’s officially Kid Stuff now. Fine with me. The entire point of the enterprise seems to be: we’ll take the kids. Go to work or get some shopping done. Every morning, nine thousand cars trying to park in the same two blocks, a flood of kids, utter chaos inside; you find the note where the class meets - they all assemble in the hallways, and there’s about 50 of them - and then you hand your kid to a high school student who will either teach them about making a website, casting Harry Potter spells, Pokemon battling, fishing, or eating cake. (“Ooey Gooey Treats” is a favorite, always well-attended.)

We’ve been doing this for five, six years? More? The first few years were traumatic, to be honest. On me. When you’re completely rewired to know where your child is at all times, you get twitchy when they’re put in an absolute madhouse, where it would be easy for them to get lost or wander off or be snatched by invisible ninja predators, and at the end of the day when the 9000 cars returned and the moms streamed into the building and the kids ran out and the hallways were dense with tots and you couldn’t find yours, ahhh, I hated that. The tight throat the crimped gut the eyes scanning the crowd, waiting for the face that floods the brain with STAND DOWN juice.

She’s too old for all of it now.

Yesterday I heard the bus stop outside the house, pull away; waited a minute for the backyard gate to creak open. It didn’t. Went out front, scanned the sidewalk from the top of the cliff: no sign. Perhaps she was temporarily obscured by the evergreens; wait. No sign. Hmm. Well, wasn’t her bus, then. Must be some other bus that comes every day at the same time.

Returned to the backyard; there she was. Grinning. Took the side gate just for fun.

“How was the last real day of school?” (Tuesday they went to an amusement park.)

“Sad,” she said. “It’s sad that it’s over. I’ll miss 6th grade. I’ll miss my teachers.” Sigh. “It’s all going so fast.”

It does, at that. But as I remind her: the years are short but the days are long. Especially if you stay up until one, which she probably will tonight.


Then she grabs her iPod and checks her message, and aww, her friend’s dog died. There’s been a lot of that around here: dogs just up and dying. A friend at work had her pooch perish in the middle of the night. Blue, the Great Dane up the block who made Marmaduke look like something that would say Yo Queiro, had a heart attack. It’s hard, but it has to be not-as-horribly-hard as putting them to sleep. Which is selfish, I know: it’s easier for a dog to go gently.

Jasper discovered a bunny warren under the swingset. It’s been years since he did that. Trotted over and stood there watching, absolutely still: he may be deaf and the eyes aren’t good, but the snout still works, and can pick up aromas we’ll never know.

Anyway: I’m trying to remember what I did during summer when I was a kid.

* Rode my bike all over the place, including the Woods past the sewage plant at the edge of town. The edge of town wasn’t far from my house; Fargo marched north ten blocks or so then came to a halt. You could go left and ride to Ponyland, a scary and defunct horse-riding place that had a sign on a barn and no discernible signs of life, pony or human. Wonder if there’s anything on the web . . .

Great googlemoogle. The Fargo Forum, from 2010:

It looks like it will be another winter of watching a pony suffer the cold, snow and relentless winds without any shelter. This seems to be the situation at the property on the northeast corner of University Drive and 32nd Avenue North in Fargo, which years ago was called “Pony Land.”

There’s still a horse there. It’s a ghost.

If you went right you around the sewage treatment plant to the woods down by the river, where you could hang out and hope Big Kids didn’t come by and smoke or swear. There was also a block of woods off Broadway, which existed only because someone owned it and was waiting for the right offer. It was a strange thing: a vacant lot, except it was full of trees.

* Go to Northport. This was the strip mall by our house, but the term “strip mall” hadn’t been invented yet. It was a Shopping Center, a far more dignified term. It had everything: a grocery store with the great smell of fresh bread and Fizzies to buy and doors that opened when you stepped on the magic rubber mat; a store full of interesting knick-knacks, called the Carousel; that’s where you went for something for Mom, because they had small porcelain things and cards with flowery scripts. Johnson’s Drug had comics, and Mr. Johnson lived across the street, a few houses up. His daughter was a mysterious STONE FOX, as the parlance had it, with straight brown hair parted in the middle; she was older than me by four, five years - an unbridgeable chasm. (Until I was 20, that is; I ran into her right before I was leaving down to go back to college. She was living downtown in the old DeLendrecie’s department store, and in my mind I’ve furnished it with a futon, a big cable spool as a table, a straw-covered wine bottle with candle wax. All the boho cliches.) Then a hardware store; a Three Sisters clothing store, and the big Ben Franklin. It smelled of turtles. You could go to the record section and sneak a look at the Black Oak Arkansas album cover.

BTW, Jim Dandy of BOA, today.

* Walked downtown on Saturday with a friend, had a donut at the Quality Bakery, went to Dirty Ernie’s paperback exchange for old comics; sometimes you could find a Marvel that had the high-holy 12-cent price, which meant it was ancient

* Sat in the basement and made model rockets and listened to the Hawaii Five-O soundtrack and KTEL Top-40 compilations

* Sat on the front steps in the evening and read Spider-Man

* Spent most of the morning watching game shows, which made me feel like part of some swingin’ community that knows how the games are played and can whistle the themes and can also correctly price Rice-a-Roni

Life was good. I have a million summer memories. It never rained in any of them.

Oh, 15 or so Dinsey titles: it's 1951 today. See you around!







blog comments powered by Disqus