Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Life, the Universe and Everything

Stewart & Shelly, circa 1990Mention the number 42 to my wife and she'll instinctively roll her eyes. That's because I spent the first five years of our relationship nudging her every time those simple digits crossed our path. Bank statements, billboards, cereal boxes: I never failed to acknowledge the fact that the total sum of six times seven was haunting our every step. Blame Douglas Adams. In his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - a whole series of books I devoured throughout my early teens, he writes of a hyperintelligent race of beings who seek the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Building a supercomputer named Deep Thought, they wait seven and a half million years for the machine to spit out the damn answer. That answer it eventually comes up with, is 42. The Ultimate Question however, remains unclear...

My Two GurusI chuckled when I first read that, then proceeded to live an unenlightened life - until - I fell under the spell of these two jokers; half-mad cerebral hoodlums who more than convinced me 1) the Power of 42 was real, 2) Milwaukee's Best was rotgut suitable for any occasion and that 3) Oingo-Boingo was a band to be taken very seriously. Rick Dennis and Steve Bottoms were (hell, still are) two of the most brilliant guys I've ever pursued truancy with. Under their tutelage I escaped the small-minded shackles of my rural crossroads community, stretched my own burgeoning intellect and partied like it was 1999 - which it wouldn't be for a dozen more years.

Three of a PairIn that time, life accelerated. Kids, college, military service, wives and new careers... all conspired to cast our group of brainy bon vivants to the farthest reaches of the contiguous U.S. Though I didn't see my high school gurus even as often as I could have, I wear their influence to this day - most noticeably in my undying affection for the sum of the totient function for the first eleven integers. I'm not saying the number on Jackie Robinson' retired jersey has any mystical qualities, or that it's followed me around all these years, but I can without shame tell you that 42 was, is and always will be my favorite number. What Rick and Steve think I ain't so sure; whenever I see them Rick bangs out endless Beatles tunes on his grand piano and Steve explains how organized religion is really just an opiate of the masses foisted upon mankind by a shadowy cabal of theological underlords - ENOUGH! Can't we talk about the funny numbers again?

Sunset Beach 08 Stew and ShellyApparently not, for you can never go home again- which, when you're from the pitiable village of Goldsboro, North Carolina, ain't such a bad thing. But the damndest thing happened during my self-imposed exile...life. Like Gary Dean himself once warned, I went from being the youngest guy in the newsroom to one of the oldest. It's not been a wholly unpleasant trip. I still love my job (in theory), am excited about the seismeic shift looming in that chosen field and far more importantly, have a wonderful family that allows me to sleep inside nine out of ten nights. On top of all that, the ladies in my life abide my keyboard compulsion, knowing for whatever reason it keeps me less crabby. That means alot, for 2009 is well underway and I'm already behind on a few of key schemes. I want to be a better Dad and a more thoughtful husband this year, I wanna make potent television all by lonesome and once every couple of weeks, write something semi-important. Too often lately, I've allowed self-doubt to thwart my grander ambitions. If that's ever to stop, this is the year. After all, I just turned 42.

Hope the wife understands...

12 comments:

Brenda Bowers said...

Hate to tell you this, but from my perspective you are still a young sprout! BB Brenda Bowers 67

As usual I very much enjoyed your post. BB

Miami Fan said...

Happy birthday!

If it makes you feel any better...you're still a kid compared to some us!

Thanks again for another great read.

I needed something like this to get me through the end of the week.

You have the best birthday gifts of all. A beautiful family and life-long friends. It's a very empty world for anyone who doesn't have those treasures in their lives.

Now go celebrate!

turdpolisher said...

happy birt'day. ever notice as you get older the hair on your head turns loose and plants itself on your back?

great friends and a wonderful family that put up with your shit are a wonderful thing.

drink one for me tonight. i'll do the same for you.

jimgrey said...

I used to watch Gary Dean when he was Gary Jackson on WTHI in Terre Haute, Ind. This would have been in the late 80s. He did not endear himself to me, as outlined here (hope the link works):

http://jimgrey.wordpress.com/2007/07/27/on-the-small-screen/

Brad Weaver, BC Instructor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brad Weaver, BC Instructor said...

Birthday greetings, Lenslinger. An appropriate way to celebrate is with a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

Horonto said...

Happy B'day Stu.

Slarty Bartfast won an award for Norway.

In your younger days did you add a zero to 42?

Kendra said...

my first job was at fox 42.

and don't you disparage milwaukee's best. it's the same thing as pabst, only bottled from the bottom of the tank.

Kendra said...

i must be logged in as my wife. happy birthday from the joey-flashevilles...

Lenslinger said...

Thanks all.

Horonto, YOU BETCHA.

Oreo said...

'Slinger, you are definately one hoopy frood who knows where his towel is.

Hangin' from your tripod, of course.

Joel Leonard said...

Sorry for delay! Just got back from speaking at the UltraSound Engineers World Conference in Tampa. Although hanging out with more geeks, guess alot better place to be than in snowed in Triad.

Anyway congrats on becoming Double Legal.

Next year milestone of surpassing the Richard Petty Year will be a treat as that will maybe your Hemi (most powerful) year.

Best Wishes

Joel
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