By Robert Wrigley
Behold the amazing artificial arm, a machine
eerily similar to the arm it replaced, machined
to exacting tolerances, as its engineers say,
to "the limits of allowable error."
Think of the hand in the glove, the piston
in the cylinder, the cartridge in the chamber
of an arm: a weapon, that is, a firearm,
to say it more primitively, more exactingly,
more ceremonially, and with more appropriate awe.
Behold then the arm from which fire comes, the hand
of a god hurling lightning. Behold the digital trigger, tick of
the finger on the hand separated from its body by the bomb
at the police station, the rifle smoking
just beyond it, as though it might yet shoot again,
the digital tick of the bomb's timer also disembodied now.
Study the artificial arm, its array of hex-
head setscrews, its titanium armatures and axes,
its silicone skins from light pink to dark brown.
Here is this, from the company's catalogue: "The upper
and lower forearm tubes are secured
to a four-position, manually locked elbow mechanism,"
and this, from God himself, having slain the man's family
and saying to Job, Or hast thou an arm like God?
And, Wilt thou also disannul my judgment?
Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?
The nerve, and the lack. Beyond the limits of allowable error,
beyond the art of it, the story of Job, the trajectory
of narrative, the flight of the bearings and nails,
the improvised explosive device; beyond war itself, that honored
aesthetic ever-present evil alive and vile in the story
that is a lie about the truth and the truth, great engineer
help us, of the lie. Consider the ongoing
problem of tactile sensitivity, the elusiveness
of feeling, those of us otherwise untouched touched
for many dollars a gallon. And see the soldier in parade dress
easing with his other, non-silicone fingers a credit card into
and removing it rapidly from the slot
in the pump, and entering through its portal
the world of disembodied money
and the exacting tolerances of the world banking
system: behold this soldier, and know of his doubts
about the surrendering of arms, which is to say not only
the ambiguous tolerances of the Second Amendment
but the limb abandoned in Baghdad;
the soldier who has entered also into the system
of government surveillance—the porn sites,
the blogs, the maimed-in-the-line-of-duty
collectorates, the whiskeys and women, the rehabilitations.
See the soldier who nods and whose left
intact hand extended to your extended right one
confuses you an instant, but who nods again
to relieve you in your awkwardness. And behold them,
your untouched touched hands, as he nestles his man-made
right one over both of yours on his left, feeling,
between his old self and his new, a responsible citizen.
I spent Friday morning doing laundry and catching up with my kids, which mostly meant picking up snatches of conversation while they were playing with Adam's best friend (plus there was a new penguin zoo habitat and lots of new plushies on Superpoke Pets, so of course we had to have those). After lunch, I sent them off to the pool, only to have them return less than an hour later because of thunder that heralded a big afternoon storm. When it finally let up around 4 p.m., I ordered them back to the pool because I really needed to finish my review of "New Ground", which we watched again because Adam wanted to see the "bugaboos," as he calls the Corvan Gilvos -- the animals Worf's son Alexander insisted that Riker rescue.
Does any hardcore Trek fan reading this know what happened to the Gilvo puppets -- were they sold in that big auction a few years ago? Because such is Adam's attachment to the Gilvos -- he was at least as worried as Alexander was about their survival, and one of the truly wonderful things about Next Gen is that you know the crew is going to save the aliens every time -- that, after dinner with my parents, we watched Deep Space Nine's "The Nagus," which is the only other episode on record in which a Gilvo appears. It's not an episode I had ever intended to replay, since the Ferengi are not my favorites, but it has some really delightful moments like Jake teaching Nog to read, and luckily it's one we own on DVD...we only have the first and last seasons, though I am strongly hoping Paramount will bring them out on Blu-Ray so people will sell off their old sets and I can finally afford the rest.
Have some county fair sheep and chickens:
The Friday Five: Times of Day
1. What time of the day is your favourite, and why? Evenings -- I've always been a night person far more than a morning person, and I love just after the sun goes down.
2. What's the best time to take a walk, and where to? Any time there's not direct sun beating down, and nearby Great Falls is the best place to walk.
3. When can you work best? Since I work from home and have no proper office, between 9-3 when my kids are at school and it's quiet.
4. What to do on sunny mornings and stormy evenings? Take photos.
5. When you look outside right now, what do you see? Streetlights and the occasional insect.
Fannish 5: What are the five biggest regrets of your favorite character?
Let's go with Kira Nerys, since I was just watching Deep Space Nine.
1. Not killing Dukat before he went into the Fire-Caves.
2. Not finding a way to save Damar.
3. Insisting on knowing what really happened to Meru instead of dismissing Dukat's stories about her mother as lies.
4. Failing to see the Kai for what she was sooner and working harder to keep her from power.
5. All the wasted time with Odo before, because after always came with a limit.
Paul's parents' church -- the governing body of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, not just their particular place of worship -- made me very happy today by voting to allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve in the ministry, getting rid of the rule that gay clergy were permissible only if they promised to remain celibate. Still no gay marriage, but the assembly said that congregations should recognize and support members in "lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships," so hopefully they will get there sooner rather than later. I suspect that people who hate the idea will see it as a losing battle and switch to less tolerant churches (which only makes me want to say good riddance to them, but it's not my church). We almost ended the day with a huge computer crisis, but Paul appears to have made a boot disc successfully and saved the files, so all is not lost!