So, they made a new Duke Nukem game. This is the Duke Nukem game I remember playing on my father’s IBM, sitting as close to the fan as possible in the stultifying heat and humidity of the attic. This is some pre-Windows, DOS shit, mind you.
MF Mann will be pleased to hear that the fellow playing the game is a Northerner.
Oh, wow. The glorious sound effects. I played hours of this. And a wicked cool Dick Tracy game (essentially a low-res L. A. Noire, and hot damn how I want to play it again), a port of an arcade shooter called Mad Dog McCree, and Wolfenstein 3D (the Dobermans scared the shit out of me). There was another one with a little kid who wore a yellow football helmet, a purple t-shirt and jeans. I believe it was called Commander Keen? Memories.
And that’s what this week’s post is about, really. It is the last post I will make from the old hometown of Fort Smith. In my time here, I’ve made lots of friends, laughed, loved, wept, rejoiced, acted like an asshole, made up for it as best I could, been obliterated in drunkenness, awoken to see the sunrise…in other words, I’ve lived.
I remember walking to elementary school some mornings, pretending that a particular crack in the sidewalk was a launchpad, running onto it and leaping, imagining that I soared freely through the air when in reality I couldn’t have jumped more than a few feet.
I remember walking through my parents’ neighborhood in the early evening, from south N to south W street. I loved to look at the bigger houses on the hills. They were beautiful old stonework houses, framed by trees (oaks, I think). When I came back home as a despondent 19 year-old, this walk always seemed to make things better, especially when I listened to Iron & Wine as I walked. Sam Beam’s voice has the quality of someone whispering in your ear, and the southern imagery of his lyrics made the atmosphere of my solitary walks even more insular. He would sing about cicadas, and the cicadas would respond from the world outside my headphones.
I’ve done a lot of walking, come to think of it.
What’s been of curious interest during my moving preparations is the fact that my folks are moving out as well. Much time has been devoted to sorting through possessions thought long lost. Some things have been kept; many more have been sold, donated, or thrown away outright. My apartment in particular is starting to look pretty sparse. My parents’ house is for sale, sign in the front yard and all. Oh, I just had another memory. It was one of the summers that my mum and fa spent in Oregon. While they were gone, some friends and I fulfilled a fantasy I’d had since at least the age of ten: house full of video game party. A different console in nearly every room, from Genesis to XBox. What a glorious night. I remember in particular the giant mech game (with controls so intricate that there was a switch for the windshield wipers, I’m dead serious) and horn of mead Dark Wombat contributed.
Naturally, there are many more stories and memories. But I have business to attend to in the present. And so, the title of this post. It’s from George Harrison’s first post-Beatles solo album, and I love it. I particularly admire the stoicism of the lyrics. It’s not a self-help book or a nihilistic paean; the point of the song is not that good things pass, or bad things pass. All things pass. The act of passing is not positive or negative, it simply is. Love that. Hope you do, too.