I don’t know where all the Microfilm reels and their reader machines wind up; probably a junk yard or recycling center for electronics; same fate for home computers and pay telephones and what not.
The reader machines still exist in library basements. There are a few pay phones inside hotel lobbies and home computers maybe make their way to orphanages. That sounds like such an old word; orphanages, a house for orphans. I looked up the etymology; “without parents, deprived,” and most interesting to me “change allegiance, to pass from one status to another.”
I like day dreaming about these orphanages, not so much the made for TV specials and their scandals, the perverse staging process-a crying wolf so government money flows freely into the evil King and Queen who rule the roost and commit heinous crimes discovered 60 minutes later.
My day-dream is an orphanage with a microform reader. The reels hardly matter. There’s maybe one or two of some old newspapers. It’s the sound of time whizzing past and the blurry visual of it catching up to the present bringing orphans to their knees. It has the same effect as time lapsed photography or primal screams; an emptying of the misery bottle, that post traumatic habit of saying what you’re thinking all the time and getting free.
The reel rolls like a song of Jericho; not so much destroying the walls of the past, but soothing them as transplanted soil. The orphans sit on a ferry-boat, wearing imaginary robe and slippers, reclining on dollar store lawn chairs…back of the boat receding out to sea. They see the skyline in its entirety for maybe the first time and watch in silent awe as it melts into the horizon. They do this on a regular basis whenever the past creeps into the present.
Kid Perkins enjoys the first few hours of his life, maybe weeks or months; the good looks and big doey eyes, a grande sense of wonder and one or two parents that feel revived by the new life they’ve created and that strange genius all children demonstrate; of being here and now; inspired by the things adults have long ago forgotten; a fire truck, a bird in a tree.
Kid Perkins continues to enjoy one or two parents, three meals a day, a decent shelter, an education, almost no physical deprivation. The slip comes as psychological and begins on the playground when other kids called him a natural on the pitcher’s mound. The obsession evolves into parents; both his own and others, comparing him to great ones from the past.
People who know nothing about baseball travel country roads to come and see the Kid Perkins way, but they’re interested in his style; in the cut off jeans he wears and the hair he never combs and not so interested in the substance of what he actually pitches.
Kid Perkins was barely a teenager, but already in the throes of a schism; somewhere between the world pecking away at his flesh sucking him dry and the smell of another day is a good day to be alive. It was a schism played out in the hearts and minds of teenagers and adults all over the world; one foot in tradition-the other lost in assimilation; see sawing back and forth between the discipline of sobriety and the care free-beer for breakfast screw it all. It was schism river and its endless reflections slowly wear away the most rigid of human psyches.
And when inside, there’s tension and bottleneck and hopefully friction and a beer stein lid that eventually bursts with schism river exiting and flowing faster and stronger than before.
I like to think Kid Perkins makes it out to some imaginary orphanage with no Don or Dona running the show; no government kick backs, no child molestation scandals, no religious cults; no nothing; just a state of mind where all of us are orphans dwelling with reel and player and the past, but the only sound is time whizzing and the only visual; blurry clouds passing into the present.