evolution

On July 20, 1969 I’d been staying for a couple of weeks at my friend Marian Seinen’s place, in a house so small it was hardly bigger than a doll’s house, in the back of a lot by the alley behind the normal sized house in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver. My girlfriend at the time, Tassillie, and I had had a bit of a misunderstanding and were temporarily apart. She was a couple of blocks away and visited regularly. Thankfully, we solved our differences and were soon back together. I say “thankfully” because a few weeks later, after we moved together into the communal house at Stephens and Trafalgar (which included amongst the communards the future founder of Caper’s stores where I now buy my oats and occasionally have a bowl of their excellent soup), we discovered that she was bearing our child – a condition that directed the course of my life from that point on and resulted in the dynasty of children and grandchildren over which I preside, saving me from a life of aimless wandering and pointless, abeit pleasant, solitude.

But on that date in 1969 this was all as yet unknown to anyone. That morning I sat alone in Marian’s tiny living room eating a bowl of oatmeal with the TV on, watching the descent of the lunar module Eagle onto the Moon’s surface. At the same time that I was thrilled to be seeing, live as it was happening, human beings jumping around on the moon, I was thinking, for all we know this could have been filmed at any time in a vacant lot in Texas. Or Odessa. But in fact I chose to believe it and still do.

It seemed to me that I was the only person on Earth who heard Neil Armstrong say “that’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind” and thought, “huh?

Then a golf ball shot through the window, shattered glass flying in every direction. I went out to investigate, finding the landlady (who lived in the normal-sized house at the other end of the yard) and five or six of her boyfriends playing golf on the lawn, drunk, stupid, and belligerent. Before I opened my mouth they were already yelling at me, the lady informing me that it was her house and she could fire golfballs through any window she pleased. Who the fuck are you? Where the fuck’s Marian? Fuck you, she explained. The boyfriends all yelling in agreement. I went back inside to contemplate homo sapiens.

I’d read a lot of science fiction. We met inhabitants of other planets. They’d be wise and benevolent. Or evil and murderous. It was one or the other. Stunted imagination, I think. What would a Martian find on Earth? Astronauts headed for the Moon? Billie Holiday singing Fine and Mellow with Lester Young on tenor? Or assholes whacking golfballs through

windows? What about evolution . . . how come we don’t all evolve?

My next topic: What did Khrushchev mean by “we will bury you”?

The drawing at the top was one of my first made on a computer . . . with Windows Paintbrush on a 286 PC, around 1989.

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