Shoot ‘n’ Scoot

shooter copyPhrases and brainworms stuck in my mind after skimming online news sites this morning: shooter on a scooter, half-Jewish Superman, how often should you poop. The last a question, not a recommendation.

Comes to that, I think the answer is “when you have to.” And the scooter shooter? It must be near impossible to aim a heavy pistol with one hand while steering a scooter with the other, but the asshole who did it managed to kill one victim and wound three others. Maybe those Westerns where white-hat cowboys on galloping horses shoot black-hat villains out of their saddles aren’t so far-fetched after all.

The half-Jewish Superman story is about the latest actor to play the role but also about the comic book origins of Superman himself, created by two Jewish teenagers in the 1930s. Which makes me want to re-read Michael Chabon’s wonderful novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

Speaking of re-reading, I’m into the second novel of William Gibson’s Bridge trilogy, Idoru. I read, saw, or heard somewhere that Flynn, the main character in Gibson’s more recent novel The Peripheral (and the streaming TV series based on it) is a descendent of Chevette Washington, a character in two earlier novels, Virtual Light and All Tomorrow’s Parties. Idoru falls between those two and doesn’t mention Chevette, although her sidekick Rydell makes an appearance. Anyway … so far the bloodline between Chevette and Flynn eludes me and now I’m questioning whether I ever heard they were related in the first place.

Reason I mention Chevette is by way of confession. I assumed, a dozen years ago when I first read the Gibson novels she appears in, that she was Black. I based that assumption on her name, which is shamefully racist of me. Reading the novels again and paying closer attention, it’s pretty clear she’s white.

There are writers who’ll let you know, explicitly and right up front, the race and ethnicity of characters in a novel, other’s who’ll only hint at it, and a few who’ll intentionally keep you guessing. I think the point I’m getting at is that readers — not just me but most of us — want to know, and if not specifically told will assign race and ethnicity to characters on a page. I don’t think any of us imagine beige characters when we read a story … we see them as real people, and real people come in colors. Is it important to know a character’s race and ethnicity? Not always, but mostly it is.

Donna made fruit salad and I just finished a bowl for breakfast: strawberries, sliced bananas, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries. Brainworms stuck in my mind? Now I have pips stuck between my teeth to go with ’em! Which reminds me I’m getting my teeth cleaned in three days, so better lay off the fruit salad between now and then. No matter how thoroughly I floss, it never feels like I get them all. Lordy, dentists must see some awful things.

Nurses, too. The reason I like nurses so much is that they see us at our worst, and if they still feel friendly toward us, it must be genuine.

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