Friday, October 24, 2008

Omens and Signs

First and foremost, Sydney Brillo Duodenum is a man of science, reason and rationality. Second and next, he is a superstitious, signs-mongering ignoramus. Under normal circumstances, these forces wage a subliminable duel for his attention as he makes his way through the day. Today, the superstitious ignoramus took some high ground.

First, while driving back from an early afternoon visit to the hospital attending to the family patriarch, along a well traveled city street, he glanced at a crumbling, empty red, late 19th-century brick building, encircled by a tall chain link fence, topped with barbed wire. A sure sign of urban renewal and developer bankruptcy. But, painted on the side of the building was a large Soviet-style propaganda rendering of His Most Merciful and Beknighted Saintedness, but where one might normally see big block lettering spelling out the word HOPE under his resolute, babyfuss-covered chin, giant block lettering spelled out the word VOTE. The salmon red, white and teal paint was dulled, dingy, chipped and alligatored from exposure to the scouring city elements. Locked behind a fence on a collapsing edifice, it appeared contained and muted. Struck so by the image, SBD saw it as an ill omen for The Chairman's coming investiture.

Later, the day still young, but your hero very much old and tired, he ventured from his office space to procure his 20 oz., afternoon ration of coffee from that great American success story, Starbucks. Knowing the tab would be $2.15, he searched his pocket for coins and pulled forth from his Blue BB pants a shiny, new State of Alaska 25-cent piece. Where had this come from? he had not purchased anything that day and SBD always inspects his change before putting it into his pocket. A collector of the state quarters, SBD knew that the Alaska series had been released in late August and was on the alert for its surfacing, but he did not think one would cross his path so soon.

This wonderful coin, with its image of a grizzly bear, Mount Denali back arched, and a limp, wet salmon, clutched mercilessly in its jaw. "Ah, Alaska!," SBD exclaimed to a colleague found on the line, who evidenced a slight look of disgust. The mere mention of Alaska these days brings to mind the bespeckled visage of That Palin Woman, who just this very morning he had seen live on MSNBC giving a speech about special needs children. A live Sarah Palin. It was somewhat shocking. A free flowing, unedited, confident, eloquent, wonkish Gov. Palin. On MSNBC, no less. And there in Starbucks, a shiny new Alaska quarter! The bear - a sow, perhaps - with the shiny limp salmon in its mouth. A sign, my friends.

Forces are clearly at work in the land. The signs are everywhere. Except on SBD's front lawn. He still needs to get a McCain-Palin lawn sign. Maybe a banner.