Last night, I set up a yahoo discussion group about absurd music exchange. This led me, indirectly, to search out context on the word "absurdity". The term has so much freight from its use in various literary movements during the 20th Century. I learned that it had different kinds of freight from prior 18th Century literary usages. I didn't really absorb any startling new insights, as the biggest insight I obtained during August 2005 is that "Dolly Madison" spelled her name "Dolley".
This August time of year reminds me of camp-in my case, church camp and baseball camp. I went to a baseball camp in wonderful Chandler, Oklahoma for two years when I was about 12. I have always considered camp a good experience, because at camp without undue risk of life and limb one can experience first-hand the sheer horror of man's inhumanity to man. People who make you stay awake, or they'll pour chewing tobacco juice on your face at midnight. Kids who challenge you to a fight because you expressed amusement that people ate ketchup on something that you couldn't imagine anyone using ketchup to eat--that kind of thing. In camp, counselors have an odd way of getting appellations like "Red Dog" and "Pookie". The cafeteria did things to Polish sausage that nobody could have imagined. The whole experience is an excellent training ground in my own definition of absurdity, which differs, I believe from any well-ordered vision of Ionesco or Voltaire.
Late August also reminds me of junior high football pre-season practice. I played from 6th grade through 9th grade. Although I did get a purple and gold letter jacket in 9th grade, I never amounted to much as a football player. But a lot of the experiences have an absurd place in my heart. I remember the time in 7th grade, when our team, the Gurdon Go Devils, had lost by eighteen points to the Nashville Scrappers. I had not been on the road trip, as the team had more players than bus spaces. Thus, I did not even sit the bench, being unable to qualify for the bench. But I got to share in the 56 "windsprints" we had to do, in humid September heat, as punishment for the team's performance. I do miss some things about junior high football. They had these odd exercises called "agilities", which were devoted to quick reaction and turning on a dime. These helped my coordination immensely, and they were fun. I had less fun with the thing about tackling the huge, life-sized dummy suspended by a retracting wire. I could never knock that dummy down! On hot August practices, they would serve us a kind of kool-aid with the entire Grand Saline salt mine mixed into the solution. If you didn't rush to block your opponent, Coach Middleton, a basketball coach who pitched in as an assistant coach on junior high football, would say "You don't want 'im. You don't want 'im". As a matter of fact, I didn't want to hit him, or want to be there, but I was 13, and it was August.
I think that people in literary circles spend a lot of time worrying about absurdities one comes to instantly understand as a reserve junior high football player.
But I will market my yahoo group,and nurture it, and begin a kind of Quixote crusade. It's an earnest August beginning. It's more fun than Summer camp cafeteria food.