One of my favorite Vonnegut quotes is from Mother Night: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”
I’d add that when we go looking for the past, we find it, so we must be careful about how we look.
I was going through my boxed-up comic collection, which my brother had been storing for me, and I came upon an Avengers issue I recalled reading when I bought it, in 1976, sitting at our dining-room table. I have no idea why I remember that, but it occurred to me that way back then, I couldn’t have known I’d revisit it in 2022 in a two-bedroom apartment in Chicago, just shy of three decades passed since I was last in that house, and my dad gone nearly six years.
I uncrumpled some of the newspaper I balled up when packing this stuff almost 30 years ago, after my parents sold the place. There were pages from three papers in there, and this one is from the January 25, 1994 Philadelphia Inquirer.
My dad did all the puzzles in ink. This is his careful, precise engineer’s block printing. I print in all caps, too—I got that from him, I guess—but not as neatly as he did. The cryptogram answer is a George Santayana quote that I feel like he left for me to find: “Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness.”
I suppose so. It’s the beginning of something, anyway.
But it brings to mind another favorite quote, this one from Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
No—it isn’t, is it?
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