September 24th, 2005

American Slip?

So I'm in the process of trying to make sense of some of Skylar's art supplies. The first step is to sort all her blank paper. I get out a cardboard box of hanging file folders and begin tackling the bottom drawer of her desk, pulling out a ream of laser-printer paper. I start writing a tab for the file. Kim walks into the family room to put in a video for Skylar. I remember a question I'd wanted to ask her last night, after she'd already gone to bed. "Kim, does that portable CD player you bought have an electrical power adapter?" She says it doesn't. "But maybe we already have one that will work." I finish writing the tab. As I slip it into the slits on the file folder, I realize what I've written:

And I can't stop laughing. It's such a wonderful illustration of the return of the repressed. Because the archivist's attempt to make order out of disorder is always already bound up with a call to order of a far less innocent sort. Goodness knows that my superficial tendency to forego neatness derives in large measure from my recognition that once I start organizing I can't stop in a timely fashion. On the other hand, there is something alluring about the fantastic notion that one could contain white power by filing it away in a box. Sadly, though, that's one archive that has a way of escaping every fold meant to hold it in place, defiling everything in its path.
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The Comparison

It will be interesting to see what the constantly vilified Barry Bonds does next year. But his ever-so-brief appearance with the San Francisco Giants this season suggests that he still has something in the tank, whereas his onetime rival Sammy Sosa -- back in 1998, no one talked about Bonds at all -- seems to have been running on fumes for quite some time. Of course, Barry was a far better player than Sosa at their respective peaks as all-around athletes -- 1991-1996 for Barry, I'd say -- and remains a far better hitter than Sosa (or Mark McGwire) ever was. Still, in this time of renewed Barry-basing -- the San Francisco Chronicle's odious Bruce Jenkins has outdone himself with today's über-odious column, to give just one example of hundreds -- it bears repeating that, if we assume that the worst rumors are actually are true, the consumption of performance-enhancing substances doesn't seem to extend the longevity of players' careers nearly as much as their overall brilliance. I know, I know: I can't shut up about this. The thing is, I have months of baseball commentary to catch up on, with almost no hope of my team's season outliving the weekend.