Sunday, July 7, 2019

tribal lore

Yesterday's throttling humidity gave way over night to lighter air and being.

Not that it helped me to remember today the name of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, the heavy cruiser hit by two Japanese submarine torpedoes July 30, 1945. Of the nearly 1,200 sailors and marines on board, some 300 were killed by the torpedo blasts... and then there were the sharks. It was considered the worst shark attack in naval history. Close to 900 men died.

But the air is lighter today ... today we can use the word "hero" in passing from the fogs of the past to the lightness of the present.

The other day, I woke from a nap thinking of the tribes anyone might ally him- or herself with -- the like-minded spirits who wallpaper your past and mine. Join the tribe ... but who was my tribe? Many rub shoulders with the high-profile vendors of tribal lore and imagine they are better off. And maybe they are. Certainly their teeth are straighter and their tits plusher.

I woke from the nap and thought of the famous people who were my tribe. Names floating upward. Carson McCullers ... a friend of my mothers when I was a child. Isaac Asimov, quite by accident. Kurt Vonnegut, again quite by accident. Truman Capote, another of my mother's chums ... and on and on. How is anyone to get a bead on the tribal elders who are layered in fame and neuroses and watching the world go by and trying to cope and helping (?) sustain a tribal presence?

How can you get to know a person of stature when s/he has been at such pains to lay on the layers of tribal stature? You gotta play the game -- the tribal game, the kinship game, the identifying-markers game ... and then, and then ... well, who the hell do you become?

Everyone smart as a peacock.

Is that a tribe? And yet only a fool would believe that this bright-as-a-new-penny braininess was a substitute for the naked one, the one inside, the one aspiring to join a tribe that might accept him or her.

I can sort of see why my younger son wanted to be part of the military. It's a verifiable (sort of) tribe. If enough people say "yes," does that mean the real answer is "yes?"

Beats the socks off me.

1 comment:

  1. Morals:

    Sometimes there’s safety in numbers.
    Nothing is cheap.
    Going it alone is lonely.
    Loyalty can be a beneficial virtue or horrendous vice. It can also be unfathomable.
    There are no guarantees, but legally enforceable warranties are good.