Thursday, July 3, 2008

Jumper Cables

It's odd to think of jumper cables on a hot July day in Minnesota. The cables lie neglected in the trunk or hang ignored in the garage. But yesterday I got a call from my daughter in California. She and her friend wanted some fatherly advice on jumper cables. I was surprised to learn that anyone in southern California owned jumper cables, but there they were in Los Angeles, trying to jump-start her friend's car. It seems her friend's sister had borrowed the car and left the lights on all night. Even in California, that will drain the battery. So they came up with a pair of jumper cables, as out of place as an icebreaker in the Caribbean, and had to call dad back in Minnesota. Glad to help out.

It reminded me of a Brautigan poem. This Brautigan poem.

Herman Melville in Dreams, Moby Dick in Reality

In reality Moby Dick
was a Christ-like goldfish
that swam through the aquarium
saving the souls of snails, and Captain Ahab
was a religious Siamese cat
that helped old ladies
start their automobiles.

(from Lay the Marble Tea, 1959)

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