A couple of days ago , I read a book about a good spy. Those who know me well, alas, know that I am the worst spy ever, for several particularly unfortunate reasons, at least one of which was on full display tonight. Of course, within our nation’s history, there is a long history of particularly terrible spies. One of these poor spies, a young man by the name of Nathan Hale, faced his death bravely and quotably, saying that he had but one life to give for his country. Other poor spies have been much less fortunate in that they did not even leave any worthwhile quotes to be remembered by, just the bad luck of being exposed as a part of the wikileaks scandal or some other similar moment of unfortunate exposure. As I tend to say when it comes to secrets, if I cannot keep my own secrets, how am I supposed to keep anyone else’s? An effective spy, after all, has to be good at keeping secrets and maintaining a low profile, and that is precisely what I cannot do.
As it happened I watched the fireworks presentation at Tigard High School with a friend of mine, where the music choice was about what one would find at a church dance and and the age range was also about what one would find at a church dance . Earlier in the day this same friend had attempted to give me a book, except it was a book I own multiple copies of already. As it happens, this was a book I first read and bought as a child. Then, a couple of years ago , my roommates had purchased this book at an estate sale, and when I opened it I realized it was the same book repackaged under a different title. Then, yet again, someone tried to give me a copy of this same book, thinking I would like it as a fan of the civil war. The next time someone tries to give me the book I will hold up my hand with the number of times this same book has been given to me. It has now moved to an official inside joke to be shared across several circles of friends.
This is not the only inside joke that motivated today. Twice at Tigard High School I sat down only to realize that unbeknownst to me there were brethren sitting nearby. The first time I sat down, in the soccer park on the east side of the high school, I sat down on a bench and did a bit of reading, only to realize that a family at services I never get to talk to was sitting on the lawn. Two of the children were in my Sabbath School class this past year, and both are small and very well behaved students, which is something I appreciate, and when I was talking to them about who else would be at the fireworks show, lo and behold, who would call but the very person I had just mentioned, who said that they were waiting by the bleachers, where I had originally thought to go, and which were on the other side of the school. So I hiked over there and when we sat down and I started talking about the other brethren in the area, lo and behold, I talked about the young couple that was sitting right next to us where neither of us had recognized the other. It led to some friendly chatter and yet another inside joke about how I blow my own cover all the time. This is just what someone should be known for, a compulsive and entirely unconscious urge to talk about people who are nearby and thus draw their attention to me. This explains a lot of why my life is so dramatic in such consistently unwanted ways.
Concerning the fireworks show, it was a good one, if short. While it was free, it only lasted about 40 minutes if one doesn’t count the pre-show with dancing to songs like Gangham Style, YMCA, the Funky Chicken polka, Happy, and the Macarena. Like I said, it was the sort of music one finds at a church dance, with young folks dancing as enthusiastically here as I am used to seeing them dance normally. When it comes to the fireworks, it was clear that at least some of the time the fireworks technicians were looking to make different shapes. Fortunately, fans of fireworks, whether young or old, operate by very simple principles. If it blows up and looks all colorful and beautiful, it was successful. By that standard, the fireworks presentation was mostly successful, even if one late-exploding firework ended up lighting up a bit too close to the ground for comfort. Some the effects, though, were quite excellent. And when the fireworks show was done, and it was time for me to hike back across the high school to get to my car parked on the other side, I only ran into one drunk guy along the way, and he wasn’t paying attention to anything out side of his private reverie. That was a lot less awkward than it could have been, and that is about the best thing that can be said about a night as odd as this one. Do odd things happen to me because my life is more strange than others, because I am a lot more odd than others, or just because I make a point of recording and remembering the odd things that happen to me, or perhaps some combination of the three? That is a question for another night, I suppose, for it is time to sleep, and then to go off to a civil war reenactment in the morning. Somehow I get the feeling another odd day is on its way.
 See, for example: