Wednesday, May 11, 2011

From Home

by J.S Holland

Lest y'all out there in the Peanut Gallery think Dr. Dock and I are overdoing it somewhat by treating his move to Vermont with the austerity of a eulogy, let me offer a most illuminating passage from one of civilization's great writers.

Milton? Shakespeare? Goethe? Yeats? Tosches? No, Douglas Adams, actually. Writers of sci-fi (or "speculative fiction", if you like) have always been among the smartest and wisest philosophers of our time, and Mr. Adams scored a cosmic-truth bullseye when he penned this passage:

Ford was very kind - he gave the barman another five-pound note and told him to keep the change. The barman looked at it and then looked at Ford. He suddenly shivered: he experienced a momentary sensation that he didn't understand because no one on Earth had ever experienced it before. In moments of great stress, every life form that exists gives out a tiny subliminal signal. This signal simply communicates an exact and almost pathetic sense of how far that being is from the place of his birth.

On Earth it is never possible to be further than sixteen thousand miles from your birthplace, which really isn't very far, so such signals are too minute to be noticed. Ford Prefect was at this moment under great stress, and he was born 600 light years away in the near vicinity of Betelgeuse.

The barman reeled for a moment, hit by a shocking, incomprehensible sense of distance. He didn't know what it meant, but he looked at Ford Prefect with a new sense of respect, almost awe.

An inordinate - or what I would have thought inordinate - number of fans who follow my Unusual Kentucky blog daily are actually transplanted from their home state, and tell me how much they enjoy getting a daily dose of the wacky underbelly of their homeplace that they love and miss, having been transferred to another state for work or called by love or duty for country to be somewhere else. Kentuckians, more than denizens of most other states, have a keen acuity for the genetic "pining-for-home" aura. It's no coincidence that our most popular theme song is called "My Old Kentucky Home".

This, then, is why you might see us bowing our heads at the knowledge that Commissioner Dockery is headed for a dark eigenstate of the soul, even though he's gonna keep on rockin' in the free world more than ever, and he's Winning in ways that blowhards like Charlie Sheen could never ever wrap their head around. Look upon his works, ye mighty, and send him cash.

(photo by the most honourable L.Z. Bickett, esq.)

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