The Truth about the Time Capsule 9/15/07

I can't believe I missed the ten year anniversary of The Truth according to Iago Steele. Oh ... and 2006. I missed that one, too. It just flew right the fuck by, didn't it? Zoom! "Has anyone seen 2006?" "2006? Dude ... that's so last year."

It's not that there wasn't anything to piss me off in 2006. There was plenty of stuff. I wrote a big-ass Truth about global warming that I never sent out because my mailing list was broken. Apparently, it's been broken for some time. Not being particularly web savvy, I didn't really know how to go about fixing it. Well, last night--at long, long last--I finally fixed that sumbitch. I read those instructions line by line and finally replaced my old Subscribe with a fancy new Subscribe that does pretty much everything the old one did when it was working.

It's strange. Getting that mailing list fixed has been hanging over me for such a long time, I feel like a new man. Hopefully I'm right about the fact that it works. I'm not sure I'm willing to spend another night (and another perfectly good drunk) trying to fix it because, Wow, what a fantastic hassle that was.

It's hard to believe that ten years have gone by since I started writing these things. August of 1997 was when I wrote the first one, and I can't believe how quickly I went from there to here. Back in those days there was no wife, no step-daughters, and no (gasp!) grandchildren. Now I've got four grandchildren--two living with us here in Jersey, and another two out in Oklahoma. Grandchildren. Iago Steele circa 1997 scarcely would have believed it. Iago Steele circa 2007 scarcely believes it, and they're sitting right in the same room with me watching cartoons.

(I don't think this qualifies as irony, but it's worth mentioning--they're actually watching a DVD of the old Super Mario Brothers 3 cartoon, which was four years old when I wrote that first Truth in 1997. Who'dda thought?)

Hmm ... that's strange. I've managed to write several paragraphs so far, and I haven't yet stumbled on "Funny" yet. Instead, I seem to be wallowing in "Nostalgic." I wonder how I used to do this stuff.

Anyway--on the subject of nostalgia--I did an interesting thing a few weeks back. You see, back in the 80s, a bunch of kids from my old neighborhood buried a time capsule. We all gathered up items that were important to us (but not too important, because Important Things were hard to come by, especially in 1983) and we buried them underground for what was supposed to be 20 years. Well, time slipped away from us a bit--like it does once one gets a little older--and we didn't actually get to digging that up until 24 years later.

I haven't been to any high school reunions, but I suspect it's a similar experience. Some of these guys I haven't seen since they were little, little kids. Now they're all grown up, most of them with little kids of their own. It's enough to make one feel quite old--because having four grandchildren wasn't getting the job done on that score.

Unfortunately, water got into the time capsule and destroyed most of the valuables. I felt bad for Mike (it was his project back in '83) because it was pretty clear that he felt personally responsible. Truth was, we didn't mind. We were just glad to be there and see everybody. Besides, the extremely clever among us buried plastic instead of paper ("Plastic! The future is plastic!"), and my circular brain-teaser puzzle thingy came out of that capsule in pristine condition.

I didn't get to catch up with many people while we were there--there were just too many humans there to corner any one individual and ask what they've been up to. Besides, 24 years haven't changed the fact that Iago Steele is more-or-less socially backwards. (I've really got to get around to working on that.) Tim Cross bought his mother's house, and is still living right down the street. I think Gary Kempton is living right in the neighborhood, too (and damn if that guy didn't go and get really tall on us). Mike Dagget is in the military. Sean Conte is working for the Home Shopping Network--I'm not sure in what capacity, but I know that travel and shooting footage is involved. Producer? Cameraman? Both? Not a clue. Anthony Giacchino is working for the History Channel, and he recently did a documentary called The Camden 28 that is freakin' awesome. And Mike Giacchino--who I was able to do the most catching-up with of anyone there--is living in LA, writing scores for television and film. He did the music for a few little projects you've probably never heard of, like The Incredibles and Ratatouille and Mission Impossible 3 and the television shows Lost and Alias.

I know, I know. I'm freaking out, too. The funny part is--and I'm pretty sure this does classify as irony--that I'm a huge fan of movie soundtracks because Mike turned me on to John Williams when we were kids. The soundtrack to The Empire Strikes Back was the first cassette I ever bought. So I'm a huge fan of Mike because of Mike's influence. Yes, that's definitely irony. It's way more ironic that rain on your wedding day, which isn't at all ironic.

So, we dug up the time capsule. (Thank God for Gary Kempton--he brought a powered hand saw to cut through the roots, and without his help I think we'd still be digging today.) We swam in the pool and had some beers and I listened in on as many conversations as I could in an attempt to get a bead on everyone's goings-on in as unobtrusive a way as humanly possible. Day turned to evening and the crowd thinned and we sat outside and talked a bit more while the mosquitos feasted, and although I could have easily stayed until four in the morning talking, I decided at about ten that I should go before I turned into The Guy Who Just Wouldn't Fucking Leave.

As we stood out in the street saying our goodbyes, I shifted my belongings to my other hand to make my hand available for shaking. My plastic brain-teaser--which had survived 24 years underground unscathed by the ravages of water and time and stood alone as a shining example of what to bury in 1983--slipped from its precarious position and plummeted to the unforgiving asphalt, breaking into exactly seventeen (yes, I counted them) pieces.

Fucking irony.