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Wine, Words & Wednesday, No. 104

Just when I thought the world of literature couldn’t get more baffling than James Joyce, I discover the American post-modernist novelist, Thomas Pynchon.  I totally understand if you’re thinking, “Who the hell is that?”  Because I know I was.  (Incidentally, post-modernist is from the Old Latin, meaning, only English majors read this stuff).

So, how the devil did I land at Thomas Pynchon for today’s Words?

Well, today is Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).  I have zero Mexican heritage, but I love the idea of a day of colorful celebration to honor and remember family and friends, so I’ve adopted it.  I picked up a pan de muerto (bread of the dead, and delicious, btw) at a local Mexican bakery, and my daughter and I shared memories of my grandparents.  She barely remembers them herself, but she knows they are why I will always have African violets in my house, why I feed the birds, and why there’s no place like Nebraska.

And yesterday (coincidentally??), my cousin posted this on Facebook:  Make a Mug from the Ashes of Your Loved Ones.

Seriously.  Click on it.

Yep, now you can have your remains transformed into a coffee mug.  Drinking my Nescafé out of Grandma just seems kind of, well, gross.  I’m not sure this is the right fit for me.  But before I decide for sure whether I want to be a coffee mug, I need to know whether I will be microwave and dishwasher safe.

Yuck factor aside, I have no problem with this idea.  A few years ago while snorkeling in the Bahamas, we discovered you can turn yourself into a living aquatic reef (which I thought was beautiful), so why not?  Except, I’ve never loved being in the water, so I’m not sure that’s the right fit for me, either.

And so, I started thinking about this business of living legacies . . . and (237 clicks later), I landed at Thomas Pynchon.

Pynchon wrote a novella in 1965 called, The Crying of Lot 49.  It’s basically incomprehensible unless you’re an English major . . . or you just dropped acid.

Here’s the gist:

The protagonist, Oedipa, has just gotten home from a Tupperware party.  Something, something, something.  Dimensions of entropy.  (WTF?!?)  Some kind of secret, underground postal service.  A corporate conspiracy involving using the bones of cremated American GIs as charcoal cigarette filters.  (Again, WTF?!?)  And then, a connection between the aforementioned bones and wine made from dandelions that grow on graves dug up during the construction of a freeway . . .

Told you it was incomprehensible.  It’s just super weird.  As near as I can tell, Lot 49 is actually an auction, at the end of which Oedipa is left on the brink of insanity, which is kind of how I felt after trying to read this slog.

But I like the idea of persistence.

Maybe I’ll be cremated and have my ashes scattered over a vineyard (I’ll surprise you which one).  That way, I can persist . . . even in a bottle of wine.


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