Sunday, October 17, 2010

Did anyone else have such thoughts as a child?

I came across a passage in On the Road that stuck a strong a chord with a memory from my childhood.

"I told Dean that when I was a kid and rode in cars I used to imagine I held a big scythe in my hand and cut down all the trees and posts and even sliced every hill that zoomed past the window. "Yes! Yes!" yelled Dean. "I used to do it too only different scythe--tell you why. Driving across the West with the long stretches my scythe had to be immeasurably longer and it had to curve over distant mountains, slicing off their tops, and reach another level to get at further mountains and at the same time clip off every post along the road, regular throbbing poles. ..." might ask, "Why did that dredge up a childhood memory?"

And if you are one of those people, here is your answer:
On long car trips when I was younger, I would occasionally pass some of the time by looking out the window and imagining that large bandsaw blades were projecting from either side of the car. In my mind they were paper thin and impossibly sharp, and formed a gigantic loop that stretched all the way around the globe from one side of the car to the other. As we drove along these blades would take minute slices out of everything we passed: hills, rocks, houses, telephone poles, etc.. I also thought that there would be places where the blades would raise up and out of the way when they got close, for some reason my examples for this were usually the pyramids...don't ask me why.

So you can imagine my surprise when I came across the quoted passage. Clearly, I am not the first to imagine car driven scythes, but it makes me un-alone in my thoughts am I? Who else has imagined such blades cutting through the world as they zip along in cars?

Thinking about this has brought up another memory from those car trips. I would also imagine that we had a line attached to our roof that allowed people to "road surf" along next to the car. I thought this would be a sport very much like wake boarding, or water-skiing. I envisioned modified snowboards or skis with casters, ball bearings, or some form of roller under the board to allow the board to roll either in the grassy median or on the road surface. I figured that jersey walls, guard rails, bridge railings, and natural bumps in the median like would provide areas for tricks. I also saw the sport getting popular, and going into an arena "skatepark" format where a mechanical system would pull a rope around a predefined course.

I actually am amazed that such a thing remains untried.

Finally I would like to close on an unrelated note and with yet another quote that I found a touch funny given my own colligate background:
"The Jesuit [college] boys giggled. They were full of corny quips and Eastern college talk and had nothing on their bird-beans except a lot of ill-understood Aquinas...Dean and I paid absolutely no attention to them."

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