And you think I'm crazy
This is the week when we most remember the things that so threw us out of joint 11 years ago, and sent an unbalanced president baying for blood (turns out he was in error) in the Middle East. We proved unable to hang on to our dominos (and I don’t mean pizza) and so they have been falling one after the other ever since. How about that for a metaphor? Pretty creative, no?
But for the first time since it all began, we seem to have got a whiff of the possible reemergence of the idea of Constitutional presidency, as opposed to the increasingly autocratic presidency we have been trying to get used to for a long time. Sitting up here in my concrete tower at the foot of Mechanic Street, it has been simply delicious to watch as Congress is forced at last to take responsibility for something important that it cannot squirm and fib its way out of. It’s a rare treat, to be sure.
This isn’t a party thing I am referring to, it’s bigger than that. Johnson was just as willing as Bush Jr. to twist and dodge with the truth in order to pitch us into a war he badly wanted. It’s the principal of the thing, the manner in which vital decisions are made, that matters most in the long run. And I am unanimous in this.
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One of the Four Seagulls of the Apocalypse — I think it was Matthew Gull — came back to the north tower in a sour mood Tuesday afternoon. He seemed most discouraged. He had gone to the post office and attempted to enlist in the military, but being only a foolish bird with not much brain he did not have the right papers. Nor does he possess the necessary biological advantage of an opposable thumb and forefinger with which to fire a rifle. But at least his heart is in the right place, and next morning I was not so quick to chase him from his vigil at my bedpost as I was the other three silly birds, Mark, Luke and Arthur Gull.
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I was reading my Shakespeare the other day while waiting for a vast cloud shaped like Emmet “Dreadful” O’Meara to pass overhead so that my solar-powered kettle would work again (it took 25 minutes) and found certain references in The Tempest that indicate the author was familiar with Rockland:
“...And, like the cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the great globe itself, yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, and, like this insubstantial pageant faded, leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”
Here we have a clear indication that Shakespeare knew these concrete towers where I am obliged to live, shrouded as the tops often are in cloud and fog. He also understood that the piece of art made out of railroad spikes which appeared recently near Sandy Beach would resemble a “great globe” and will one day rust away. In connection with his remark about “this insubstantial pageant faded,” surely this is the Sea Goddess show at the Lobster Festival? Has not this year’s pageant faded from memory already? The references to “rounded” and “sleep” are obvious descriptions of my friend O’Meara of the Bangor newspaper. Just a few lines further on Shakespeare speaks of hanging clothes on a lime or linden tree, and we know that Rockland is the Lime City, and furthermore my old house is located somewhere below the surface of a mud puddle on Linden Street. I think he knew us well.
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Plato is said to be the first person to have mentioned the lost continent of Atlantis. Looking at the books I keep under Door 3, I am reminded of how interested I am in people who hold strange theories about the world, such as the location of lost continents, the idea that a certain area off Bermuda is haunted by forces that swallow ships and airplanes, the notion that spacemen visited us thousands of years ago and built the Pyramids, the insistence that some apocalyptic parts of the Old Testament are descriptions of these space visitors, the conviction that somebody built a giant human face on Mars, the hint that the world is really controlled by occult beings who only appear to a select few mortals to deliver advanced instruction, the proposal that alien craft were seen over a small New Hampshire town in the 1960s, and even in a particularly odd book that I once owned the suggestion that the moon is actually a mechanical device which was said to be quite evident to anyone willing to buy the relevant glossy photographs from NASA. And you think I’m crazy?
Atlantis is said by Plato to have existed beyond the Pillars of Hercules, which are the Straits of Gibraltar at the entrance to the Mediterranean. Now follow me closely here, for it is an indisputable fact that if you draw a straight line on a map from The Pillars of Hercules and extend that line in the right direction for long enough, that this line comes to rest exactly at the entrance to Rockland Harbor! Does this mean that Atlantis lies sunken under our very noses, submerged for thouands of years somewhere betwixt the ferry terminal and Owls Head light? You bet your bippy it does. Or it might. It is high time we organize an expedition to find out. My friend Phil, who once tried to drown me in Searsmont (it appears to have been unintentional) and who is well-known for his ability to paddle a canoe quite a long way under water, will conduct the preliminary survey of the harbor bottom. But first we will need your money, and plenty of it. Please send checks (cash also gratefully accepted) to the Atlantis-or-Bust Fund, North Tower, Mechanic Street, Rockland, Maine.
In return for these investments I promise to find Atlantis in Rockland Harbor, or at least to spend all your money looking for it. Next week, how Rockland Public Works found a hitherto unknown original Vincent van Gogh painting in a hole on Talbot Avenue.
David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or in the Conspiracy section at Rockland Public Library.