Rendered Fat Content


Winslow Homer: Adirondacks Guide (1892)

" … destined to become the eye beholding the beauty …"

Make no mistake, I am here as a representative of the past. While my powers once focused upon my abilities to disrupt and introduce disquieting futures, my sole role now seems to have coalesced into one focused upon representing what once was. Consequently, children and small dogs suspect me, and with good reason, for their remit opposes mine. Both the kids and the smaller puppies should properly be attempting to make some difference, although in the small dog's case, their effort's destined to be fruitless, if only because small dogs seem frivolous and ineffective by design. The children, though, rightfully take umbrage with how it was and with how it's been, and so wade right in with whatever might prove different, and can't seem to help it, while I steadfastly stand with the past.

My memories have not started fading yet.
I still quite clearly and often fondly remember before some calamity or other, before graffiti covered every unguarded surface, before rents went through the roof's roof's roof. I recall when the rules for comportment were still clear and widely respected, when we held common standards, when only the bad guys wore black hats, if only for ease of identification. We smoked even inside the office and never once thought less of ourselves for it. We would not have countenanced standing in persistent drizzle at a discrete twenty-five paces from any entrance, Gandolfing in the rain. We were blesséd and magical beings, in our own way, crowns of creation. Now, we're just reminders of times that likely had never been, glowering into this present, reminding everyone of something disconcerting: fleeting time.

It will happen to you, too, but only if you're lucky. The less fortunate ones die young and so never get confronted with a world contorted around any future. Evidence of entropy expands to finally fill every foreground. Distances persist in seeming to hold their shape, but up close, their illusion loses its convincibility and crumbles. The Haunter simply must be humbled by his occupation. He simply must embody contrition, though none of his threatening influence can be properly seen as in any way his fault. He simply persisted in attempting to change this world until this world changed on him. Though probably not his fault or precisely of his intent, those changes persisted and he
was present when they manifested. The past carries culpability if only because it was present, even if it never intended or meaningfully contributed to any of what resulted.

The Haunter stands sentinel, part of the security detail for the already vanquished status quo. It belongs exclusively to the die-hard conservative to defend only whatever's already defeated, to attempt to reinstitute whatever's already thoroughly discredited, like any of the many, many Good Old Days only he can seem to recall. The rest of the people feel inflicted by the mere suggestion that their best days might have preceded their appearance, and that those will probably forever elude their grasp. I was at a very early age poisoned, poisoned by penny candy and nickel Cokes, and other habits of anyone on the downside of their second half century. Do not listen to me, future generations, for I have nothing to contribute to your dedicated disruption of all that dominated this once-lovely place. You're destined to become the eye beholding the beauty before later going blind.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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