Driver’s Ed

Larry McMurtry died this past week. Even if the only thing he had written was Lonesome Dove, he would be in my personal pantheon of authors who hit it just right. You know how it is … there are books that when you finish them, you have the sense of that’s how it was, that you have learned something true about a time or a way of life? Of course you can’t know if that is so, but it feels that way. That’s how I felt when I had finished Lonesome Dove. And again when I watched that remarkable mini-series based on the book, on television.

The characters were as real to me as if they’d been staying overnight in the spare bedroom, and we’d be sharing coffee and trading insults in the morning. This was also true of the people in Last Picture Show, Leaving Cheyenne, The Desert Rose, Moving On, Texasville, Terms of Endearment … the list of excellent books he’s written does go on and on.

I will give you only one quotation from Lonesome Dove here today. There is a long, long list of toothsome sayings from the book on Goodreads if you’re interested.Anyway, here’s the one that won out this morning:

“I figured out something, Lorie,” he said. “I figured out why you and me get along so well. You know more than you say and I say more than I know. That means we’re a perfect match, as long as we don’t hang around one another more than an hour at a stretch.” 

Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove

I have read a lot of McMurtry’s stuff, and there is still a lot of it for me to cover in the years to come. His writing never disappoints. So thanks, Mr. M, for giving me folks like Augustus McRae to turn to for counsel whenever I need them. That’s something, it really is.

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One day last week the programming robots at YouTube served this tasty bit up to me. I don’t ordinarily fill spaces in the blog with pirated Tubery, but when I found myself still chuckling at it several days later, and when last night I couldn’t resist forcing Robin to watch it again with me, I decided to bring it to your attention.

I just found this to be so funny. Conan O’Brien’s assistant is allegedly getting advice from a trio on her driving, and her responses are … well … supercute. Be warned of the presence of some off-color language. But the in-the-car banter is great.

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Robin and I were picking something up in the bathroom fixtures department at Home Depot when I spied this sign on a displayed toilet. I couldn’t believe it at first, and then began to truly appreciate what this small decal provided. It was a gift, pure and simple. Let’s take it one line at a time.

First … what exactly is “stealth technology” when it comes to water-closets? Have we reached some sort of nirvana where our visits to the bathroom can at long last be completely silent? Where no one on the other side of the door can hear what is happening, even though everyone of those people knows exactly what is happening?

I’m not dealing with that “extra large trapway to prevent clogs” at all. There’s just some imagery that I’m not willing to entertain. But I guess if the gastrointestinal fates dealt a person a really awkward blow they might be glad for that supranormal capacity.

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And now the piéce de resistance. “Flushes 7 billiard balls in a single flush.” The mind boggles. What possible relevance could this ever have to any human activity? (If you do know of one, please keep it to yourself.) Why are there only six balls in the photograph, instead of seven? And I simply don’t believe that you could make 7 balls disappear stealthily, so there goes claim #1 right down the drain. And how does one finish a game of billiards now that seven of the balls are on their merry way to wherever stuff goes when you turn the handle on the WC?

But with the stealthiness, the dreadful trapway, the billiard balls, and that sinister-sounding vacuum assist … I’m not sure I would have the courage to ever sit down on the device. And I would make absolutely certain that I was well away from the bowl when I turned that handle.

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