Friday, June 12, 2009

Missing the secret, important stuff

Being unemployed means having to fill in lots of forms and notify lots of people and offices about your status and needs. I think everything’s now put to bed and copacetic and stowed away safely, cap’n. But I keep thinking it’s not, that I’ve missed something vital, and it’s going to rear up and tear off my head. Metaphorically speaking.

I often feel this way about the various obligations, duties, processes, and procedures that life subjects us to. Part of that is because I have a bad memory and I do indeed tend to forget important steps. But I just realized that it’s deeper than that.

As a semi-deaf and severely nearsighted kid, without either glasses or hearing aids, I always missed important things in school. I sat at my desk lost in my own world, neither seeing what the teacher was writing on the blackboard nor hearing what teach was saying. Which was fine with me, but I’d show up without homework assignments that I didn’t know had been assigned, and when called on in class I’d either ignore the caller or would have no idea what the subject under discussion was. Other kids looked at me as though I were crazy. Teachers assumed I was stupid or disobedient or both. This probably has a lot to do with why I disliked school so much.

It probably contributed to my habit of losing myself in escapist fiction, and later writing it. It also probably explains why themes of secret, important stuff happening in the background, beyond the ken of characters who are endangered by their not knowing, crop up so often in my fiction.

Maybe that’s also why I got hooked on Philip K. Dick from the first novel of his I read.

1 comment:

Leonore Dvorkin said...

Okay, David, now you have ME hooked on your blog!

Of course I don't disbelieve what you say here about school and your problems with it, but I want anyone else reading this blog to know that your general intelligence and your obvious erudition were two of the things that most attracted me when we were dating back in the mid-to-late 60s at Indiana University.

It seemed to me then, and still does, that you know and can remember an amazing amount about a very wide range of subjects, far more subjects than I have ever mastered or could ever hope to.
Also, you could not have earned your two university degrees without a darned good memory and plenty of attention to both your teachers and your textbooks in spite of your physical problems.

After that came decades of excellent professional work in fields not all that closely related to what you studied in school -- quite an accomplishment, in my view.

Of course, it remains an open question how much better you might have done during your academic career had you had the wonderful electronic, programmable hearing aids available today, such as the ones that have helped you so very much these last few years, especially socially.

Having only recently learned from you (and from your writing on the subject)just how handicapped you were by your poor hearing and eyesight in childhood, I am now all the more admiring of what you have accomplished in your lifetime.

Also, I am very glad that you wrote your essay for our Web site on your history of semi-deafness, your new hearing aids,and how much they have helped. I hope that essay will encourage many others to get such aids as well.