Uncle was bad at everything
Cape Cod cares about.
He excelled in one way only:
he loved my fault-finding aunt without reason.
He was blessed in one way only:
his indulgent family loved him without reason.
Today we buried him next to my waiting aunt
in the only home he has wanted for seven years.
Luvgood Carp, Editor-in-Chief
Annie Ernaux’s Do What They Say or Else is a matter-of-fact coming of age story set in Normandy, France, in the late 1960s. It’s not sweet or sentimental. It’s straightforward and refreshing. Simple and profound.
Anne is 15 and a half, bored, disgusted by her parents, and intensely curious about sex. Sounds about right. She is suffering through the summer before she starts high school. This is the summer she begins to leave her parents behind and experiment with being an adult. She has secrets, which she is happy to share with the reader, but not with her parents. Smart decision.
One secret is “if I had to die, in a war for example, I would throw myself at the first guy who came along.” So would I. She is wise and makes keen observations – such as perverts start to “come out in March like the primroses.” Or this one about her parents: “you have to keep your mouth shut all the time so you won’t hurt their feelings.” She has just read Camus’ The Stranger and is deeply affected. She would love to discuss the book with her parents, but she knows they will not find that normal.
Like all teenagers, Anne is cynical but also naive. “There must come a day when everything is clear, when everything falls into place.” If only. Anne is a wonderful narrator because she’s curious about everything and insightful. She is every 15 year old I remember being, and it is fascinating to listen to her as she navigates to adulthood. “Curiosity is normal at my age: it would be strange if that wasn’t the case, except that for girls, curiosity can lead to anything, and it’s frowned upon.” Anne ain’t wrong.
Gladiola Overdrive, Chief Editor
Some people say, “I don’t agree with the dumb-ass things you’re saying, but I’ll die for your right to say them.” Usually this is said with a smug smile and the firm belief they will never need to prove it. If they were called upon to do so, these glib liars would flee to the hills and hide in caves. Hopefully not the same cave I’ll be hiding in.
So let me be clear – I’m not willing to die so you can say dumb-ass things. I’m not even willing to die so I can say dumb-ass things. Which begs the question: should we stop saying dumb-ass things? Obviously, yes. You go first.
Tengo Leche, Cerebral Thoughts Editor
So many wonderful characters are found in American folklore. You have Rip Van Winkle, Harriet Tubman, Calamity Jane, John Henry . . . Cocaine Bear. Their fame is deserved, and our culture rightfully honors them. But, sadly, fame is fickle and not all of our heroes are still treasured. Some have been forgotten. One icon’s fate has been particularly cruel and unjust.
I speak, of course, about Tug the Wicked Pirate. He wasn’t wicked at all. He was a happy-go-lucky stiff who loved to dance – usually by himself. And he was only called a pirate because he had one eye (having shot the other one out when he was 13). Tug was famous for sailing his sloop, The Charmed Snake, all over Pungent Sound where he seeded the clam beds around Block Island. Scholars say he spread more seed than Johnny Appleseed, and his left hand was more calloused than Paul Bunyan’s. He single-handedly saved Block Island’s clam industry. It is long past time for him to take his place in the pantheon of American folk heroes.
So the next time you eat a clam, think Tug the Wicked Pirate. And, if this post has inspired you, join us on Block Island on August 16th (his birthday) for Tug the Wicked Pirate Day. There’ll be fireworks.
Saffron Crow, American Folklore Scholar
To honor international women on International Women’s Day, buy a SurrenderWatch and go exercise!
We, here at SurrenderWatch (patent pending), love women! And on this particular day we support equal rights for international women. In fact, we think international women should have more equal rights than anyone. So go buy a SurrenderWatch and get some exercise. Then we’ll sell your biometric data, and everyone will be equal.
What’s that? You’re not sure women need rights? Fine by us. Now go buy a SurrenderWatch and get some exercise.
Wait, you actually hate women, except your mom? So do we! Just buy a SurrenderWatch and get some exercise! You’ll burn off some of that righteous anger and perhaps lose that third butt cheek. And I’ll get rich.
Titmouse Beak, CEO of Pungent Sound Technical College of Technology and Owner of Pungent Sound’s Only SurrenderWatch Store
I shall move to Pelican Key
where I will only eat shrimp
until I, too, turn pink
like a flamingo.
Luvgood Carp, Editor-in-Chief