Monday, December 05, 2005

Goo-goo-googely eyes

Google Earth is so cool. You must get it at once. But be warned: you'll spend the next few hours looking at your house, your office, the park down the street, the corner 7-11 and your favorite vacation spot (one and the same in my case), in an amazingly clear series of photos taken from outer space. Well, from space anyway.

But cool as Google Earth is, it was our current houseguest, in what the Drunkablog officially considers a Christmas miracle, who showed us just how this technological marvel can connect people in new and meaningful ways.

I need to say here that until recently this guy was living on the streets of a very far-northern city. He'd had a girlfriend of sorts but, like anyone would, she got sick of his drunken bullshit and threw him out. So he lived wherever and yada-yada and now he's here for a while.

Anyway, when I showed him the wonders of Google Earth, he immediately google-earthed that far-northern city he'd just left:

"Okay, here's the football field, so . . . here's where my [ex] girlfriend lives. Oh man! There's her '86 Toyota out in the parking lot! What a piece of shit! Did I tell you how I totaled it [yes--ed.]?

"And there's the steel stairs I fell down that time. Did I tell you how I fell down those stairs [yes--ed.]? And see that little alcove? One time I passed out right there and when I came to there was a kitten snuggled up to me! Did I tell you about that [uh, no--ed.]? And there's the shelter! And the van they take you to detox in! And there's the alley I got mugged in!"

You get the idea. We didn't really connect in new and meaningful ways. He just told me part of his "drunkalog''--which overall is not as elegant as Susan Cheever's, I'm sure, but is just as meaningful. I think. And it was almost like he told me it from space!

Okay, so here's the Christmas miracle part: our guest has been sober for 11 days and already has a job. Amazing. On the other hand, in such circumstances one must always keep in mind Pap Finn:

When [Pap] got out [of jail] the new judge said he was a-going to make a man of him. So he took him to his own house, and dressed him up clean and nice, and had him to breakfast and dinner and supper with the family, and was just old pie to him, so to speak. And after supper he talked to him about temperance and such things till the old man cried, and said he'd been a fool, and fooled away his life; but now he was a-going to turn over a new leaf and be a man nobody wouldn't be ashamed of, and he hoped the judge would help him and not look down on him. The judge said he could hug him for them words; so he cried, and his wife she cried again; pap said he'd been a man that had always been misunderstood before, and the judge said he believed it. The old man said that what a man wanted that was down was sympathy, and the judge said it was so; so they cried again. And when it was bedtime the old man rose up and held out his hand, and says:

"Look at it, gentlemen and ladies all; take a-hold of it; shake it. There's a hand that was the hand of a hog; but it ain't so no more; it's the hand of a man that's started in on a new life, and'll die before he'll go back. You mark them words -- don't forget I said them. It's a clean hand now; shake it -- don't be afeard."

So they shook it, one after the other, all around, and cried. The judge's wife she kissed it. Then the old man he signed a pledge -- made his mark. The judge said it was the holiest time on record, or something like that. Then they tucked the old man into a beauti- ful room, which was the spare room, and in the night some time he got powerful thirsty and clumb out on to the porch-roof and slid down a stanchion and traded his new coat for a jug of forty-rod, and clumb back again and had a good old time; and towards daylight he crawled out again, drunk as a fiddler, and rolled off the porch and broke his left arm in two places, and was most froze to death when somebody found him after sun-up. And when they come to look at that spare room they had to take soundings before they could navigate it.

The judge he felt kind of sore. He said he reckoned a body could reform the old man with a shotgun, maybe, but he didn't know no other way.

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