Landfills of the Mind


It is March 20, 2016, sometime before 8am, Mountain Standard Time. I’m at the McDonald’s just off 19th Avenue on Northern, with about 45 minutes’ wait before the next #80 (Northern/Shea) bus. I would be on the light rail, but a uniformed security officer told me there’d been a bad accident just south, and I’d have to take the bus.

All this date/time/place/event stamping is due to the all-text drawing above, based on thinking I’d done earlier this morning. The first thought was a two-word phrase that popped into my head unbidden: factory air. “Factory air” was a phrase car dealers used back in the mid-60s to describe the air conditioning that came with the car they were selling. A dealership named Westward Pontiac touted its wares on TV. Their pitchman, one Hal Sideler, said they were “right on the price, and right on the corner of north 7th Street and Highland, just a block south of Camelback.” (Highland is actuallya quarter mile south of Camelback. Used-car salesmen of the 60s had a deserved reputation for exaggeration, if not  outright lying. They bragged that the car they were selling was “clean.” ??? They would put “OK” stickers in the corner of the windshields. ???)

“Factory air” reminded me of commercials of the past, and then TV shows of the past, and then an obscure cartoon called Klondike Kat. This was a talking cat of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police whose adversary was one Savoir-Faire, a talking, ne’er-do-well mouse. “I’ll make mincemeat out of that maouse!” Klondike Kat would say. And Savoir-Faire would say, “Savoir-Faire ees EVERYWHERE.” Well, that rhymes with Factory Air, and so took its place as Phrase II.

At that point I started actively thinking of Phrase III. It would have to rhyme with the other two. Almost immediately another catchphrase came to mind, near the top of the mind-landfill, unthought-of for the longest time (and yet people use the phrase to this day to describe an intelligent person). “Smarter than the average bear” is Yogi Bear’s catchphrase description of himself. (Many cartoon characters have catchphrases. Snagglepuss’s was “Exit, stage left.” He also said things like, “I might expire. –DIE, even.”)

All three phrases fit nicely on an index card, semi-psychedelicized for Art’s sake. And all of us have landfills of the mind (or broom closets of the mind, if you prefer) where the pieces of days past, be they phrases, scents, moments, sensations, or ghosts (ultimately, all things past become ghosts), lay heaped.

Today three pieces got recycled.


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