Thursday, February 10, 2011

43. Artifacts

C.W. was driving my wife, Brenda, crazy. And me too, truth be known. We were snowbound with him at her ancestral farm, deep in the middle of nowhere. He had decided, for reasons known only to himself, to retain the persona of a 11 year-old boy. Just imagine it, if you will.

The first thing I caught him doing was messing with one of my guitars—a Martin D-28 named "Baby" that I keep carefully stored away in its case to prevent undue exposure to the elements and the bad karma emitted by network TV. She is a sensitive thing and easily thrown into an unbalanced state. So you can imagine how I felt when I heard him banging away on it and attempting to yodel.

“Put that away immediately,” I heard Brenda yell.

“Aw gee.” It was only going to get worse.

He put it away reluctantly and then settled into a chair and pretended to read until we were out of the room.

I dozed for a short spell and awoke to a loud, “How dare you?”

I ran into a bedroom and there he was with one of her precious collections of Native American artifacts spread all over the bed.

“I was just looking,” he said as she began to gather arrowheads and stone tools to return them to their box.

He grabbed one. “Is this a Clovis Point?” he said.

“Are we in Clovis?” she tried to take it from him but he jerked it away.

“I’m confused about something,” he said.

“You’re going to be more than confused,” she said, staring at him with a homicidal look on her face. I must add that she has always assigned C.W. as my problem and my problem only, meaning she tolerates but doesn’t participate.

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson says the ancestors of the people who made this crossed the Bering Strait about 16,000 years ago.”

“I think that’s about right,” I tried to interject myself between them and assume a pedantic demeanor, which I pride myself at being good at. “They taught us about 10,000 to 13,000 years ago, but that was when I was in school.”

“That’s the problem,” he said.


“Teacher says the earth is only 6,000 years old but says don’t tell anybody she told us the truth because the School Board doesn’t love Jesus.”

We were stunned.

“You’re teacher taught you that?” We sometimes forget to whom we are talking.

“Yes. And I thought your species valued education.”

“Did you bother to tell her what the prominent PhD and astrophysicist Dr.Tyson said?”


“What did she say then?”

“That he wasn’t ‘saved,’ whatever that means, so he had no business teaching science.”

A tight place to be locked up with an alien.
He paused and studied an arrowhead. “Know what I think?”

“I’m all ears,” Brenda said.

“I think that in many ways your species is about as dumb as this rock.”

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