A Critic's Meta-Review: 3.5/5
Time And Again (REVIEW)
When I set out to read and review this story, I had a very particular plan in mind: first, I was going to heat up a frozen waffle in the phenomenally versatile toaster oven that I purchased for my mother a couple years ago after breaking her standard slide-through toaster (honestly, at this point - given the immense functional range of this toaster oven - it seems as if me breaking it was almost sort of like an instance of divine intervention) and smush fragments of the half-eaten banana my sister had left in the fridge for me into each of the waffle’s holes; then, I was going to adorn each banana-filled hole with a newly washed blueberry; following that, I was going to squirt just a smidgen of maple syrup atop my fruity breakfast bonanza and dig in; finally, while tossing back each hearty bite - letting the natural sweetness of the fresh fruit and refrigerated tree sap tickle my tonsils with an electrifying ebullience - I intended to grab hold of this wonderful collection of concise yet captivating tales penned by the promising and, rather unfortunately, dearly departed West Virginia fictionalist Breece D’J Pancake and sift through the shortest one.
A little Pancake with my waffle.
Alright, now that we’ve gotten my inevitably futile foray into funniness out of the way, let us steer things towards the lecture at hand (for perfection is perfected, so I have no choice but to let ‘em understand...from a young G’s perspective).
That is really what this story is about: perspective. Sure, there are other lessons to be garnered as one flips through the five pages (such as “sometimes picking up hitchhikers ain’t the worst idea and can result in a fairly interesting conversation”); upon closer examination, however, it all really boils down to perspective being the deciding factor in how each facet of the human experience is interpreted.
Take, for instance, the case of my brand new laptop. A few weeks ago, while watching the film Lucia y el sexo with my roommate, said roommate accidentally knocked a glass of water onto the keyboard, sending the poor computer into a frenzy of rebooting and refreshing without any home screen to show for all of its surely diligent efforts. Feeling responsible for the damage, my roommate took it upon himself to bring it into a local repair shop, whose owner told him that it would likely be taken care of within a week or so.
It has now been about a month, and I have still not received my laptop - in working order, or in any order for that matter. Apparently, it has been shipped somewhere in California for further repair, as the shop it was brought into initially does not have all of the requisite parts to complete the job in-house. For the time being, I have been sort of a “computer-surfer”, making use of pretty much anything with an internet connection in order to fulfill my occupational obligations and finance my lavish lifestyle of eating oatmeal and playing chess against strangers online.
At first, I felt as if the fabric of reality had been yanked from underneath me (a feeling I have not felt since I attended my first Phish show in Camden, NJ last summer, after which my friend Annie had to tirelessly convince me that I was not in the process of being abducted by aliens). I was not super concerned about the prospect of the laptop itself being unrepairable - after all, my roommate was going to have to foot the bill for a new one anyway seeing as it was sort of his fault (no hard feelings though, pal); no, what I was most troubled by was the possibility of losing all the stories and music that I had spent hours upon hours endlessly toiling away at, often in lieu of attending a social gathering or event that I had been invited to.
For the past few weeks, this idea has been the source of much anxiety. Recently, though (in fact, as recently as earlier today), my perspective has begun to shift. For, you see, as someone who is always writing and making music, losing a few stories and some beats is not the end of the world - even if they were quite entertaining and, in the case of the beats, mad funky fresh.
It’s all good, yo. I’ll just lay down some more!
Similarly, the unnamed narrator in this story begins by lamenting the disappearance of his son, not bothering to feed the pigs in his pen because they are “old hogs...not good for anything” - opting instead to “just...let them die”; by the end, however, it seems as if he has come to accept the reality as it is (and not as he would like it to be), not worrying about his son as he “know[s] the house is empty” and, seeing that the hogs are anxiously awaiting their next meal, finally attending to them.
“Change your mind, and you change your relation to time.”