Questionable Advice From My Father

General Discomfort

Crushing Your Opponent In the Dirt and Other Tales

Petrie-Exhibiting-at-UCL.jpg

Petrie Exhibiting Material from Tell Fara in London.  The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, Photographer unknown

The Anonymous Head In A Jar

Archaeologist Flinders Petrie was born in 1853.  I bring him up here not to celebrate his mass plundering of Egypt, nor his horrifying pro-eugenic views, but because he donated his head to the Royal College of Surgeons in London.  Shortly after his death in 1942, during the pinnacle of World War II, his head was stored in a jar in the basement of the college, and they kind of forgot about it. You can see where this is going; the label fell off, and for many years, it was just the unknown head in a jar.  Eventually identified, it is still stored at the college, but not, thankfully (?) on display.  A little bit, I want to write them and ask what their long term plan is there, but never matter. Don’t you think it has a tiny bit of comic mythology?  The arrogance and entitlement he clearly enjoyed during his own life, and the hubris that must have been involved in deciding that the world of science would surely need to study his brain, only end up anonymous, in a jar. Definitely Greek myth territory. Or maybe a Tim Burton movie. Go draft that screenplay.

Thank God for Lili St. Cyr

June 3rd is the birthday of the founder of Oldsmobile Ransom Olds; King George V; painter Rauol Dufy; singer and dancer Josephine Baker; blues singer Memphis Minne; actor Tony Curtis; burlesque dancer Lily St. Cyr; and poet Allen Ginsberg.  You know the guy that saw the best minds of his generation destroyed by madness starving hysterical naked, blah blah blah, they-lived-on-a-plane-you-can’t-even….  Sorry, he probably doesn’t deserve that, I just have met too many egotistical writers who worship him. Actually, as a founding member of the Beats and the cult of cool, he probably deserves it a little bit. But it could be worse. He could have written On the Road. 

If I could find it, I would absolutely post a picture of myself in a train station when I was 22, pretending to read the copy of On the Road that my friend and I bought for that specific purpose when we were traveling, where doesn’t matter. In mockery of, again it doesn’t matter, let’s just say the many self important artists and writers we knew at the time. But truthfully, all of us were terribly self important when I was 22. I am so glad the internet didn’t exist yet.

June 3rd is the birthday of The Gong Show creator and host Chuck Barris. He also created massively popular game shows The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game, the hilarious objectives of which, I don’t know humiliate people in return for appliances?

For the week:

All of this talk about supercilious swagger, and games, and world conquering has strangely reminded me of a stray bit of advice from my father when we were children. In celebration of the wide array superiority described above, this is how I would like you to plan and approach your week:

Shortly before my older sister started softball, our father sat her down to make sure she understood the rules of the game. To make sure she knew everyone was there to learn the sport, have a good time, and make new friends you ask? No. To make sure she understood that her primary objective here is “to crush your opponent in the dirt.”

For today: You  heard the man, go crush your opponent in the dirt.

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