THE FOG ALSO RISES
by Clarence Brown
American Reporter Correspondent
SEATTLE, Wash. -- The next best title for a personal column like this was Mrs. Roosevelt's "My Day." There is a kind of patrician insouciance about supposing that readers might like to know what kind of day you had, but then, if you were Mrs. FDR, of course they did.
I say that hers was the next best because, frankly, false modesty aside, Ink Soup is the best of them all. It is in fact so good that if you search the Web you will find others who have chosen it, not for a column, but for whatever it is they're up to. One is an artist who makes works of art by putting ink into fabric. Or something. Ask her.
She doesn't write, bless her heart.
You cannot copyright a title, my battery of top lawyers tell me. Anyone can, and often does, write "Vanity Fair To Middling," say, or "Blithering Heights," or the "Dialogues of Playdoh."
The title Ink Soup began its resplendent career as that of a lowly cartoon panel that I drew for the Village Voice after my comic strip for the same paper, "Hereafter," went south.
Why that strip has not been revived is beyond me. The setting was heaven, and most of the people had wings. My purely imaginary character Osama Bing Crosby, a crooner of celestial lullabies, who concealed an AK-47 beneath his robe, was, it seems to me, eerily prescient.
Moving right along, and returning to the theme of My Day--excuse me for a second here, my cat Huck has just discovered that I am at the desk upon which it is his habit and right to pounce for a treat. There. Three morsels from a jar of Whisker Lickin's, shrimp and tuna flavor, and that apostrophe is on the conscience of the Ralston Purina Company, not mine.
Huck is a big part of my day, to say nothing of my night, when he jumps on the bed and demands attention.
Last night, or early this morning, at around 3 a.m., I heard him exchanging incivilities with another cat and had to crawl out of bed, down here to my study, and flash a light in the eyes of the aggressor, a large black cat on the other side of the patio door who belongs to the real estate agent down the street, the one who drives a Prius. The agent, not the cat.
It is for the sake of the Prius that I forgive him the cat. Anyone who drives a car that goes 10 miles on a spoonful of gas is doing us all more than enough good to compensate for the predations of his damned cat.
Now if only he could do something about the fog. Seattle is not only a large conglomeration of little independent communities, but it consists also of hundreds of microclimates.
We live on a hill perched above the Puget Sound with a view of the (now) snow-covered Olympics in the distance. With a view, that is, when the fog lifts.
But talk to a friend who lives 10 blocks away and complain about the fog and he'll say, "What fog? The sun is blinding us."
In this immediate vicinity, my street seems to be the most fog-friendly of all. There are times when we think some heliophobe on the block is secretly generating and releasing fog. The other night, as I was walking with a flashlight down the sidewalk, a familiar figure materialized out of the peasoup and said, "Nice night for a murder, no?"
If I should turn up missing, you can look for his name in my address book, next to the word FOG. Clarence Brown is a cartoonist, writer, and Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Princeton University.