I’m a junkie.
An NPR junkie that is.
I suppose of a few other more mindless things such as sports, sushi and pop culture.
But back to NPR. When I’m not in some immature mood, I listen to NPR almost religiously. Even the dreadfully monotone shows or Science Friday on which I claim much ignorance.
On Saturdays at 10 am, usually when I’m heading to tutor or grocery shop, I
listen to Car Talk. The older of the two car talk brothers died this week. He
died of Alzheimer’s, which may be proof that the more we use our brains the
sooner we are likely to lose them.
I listened to the show for a good 20 years. I learned absolutely nothing about
cars since my brains intake valve doesn’t operate when it cones to automobiles.
It was the English teacher and Bostonian in me that liked the show.
I always thought the brothers were frustrated English professors. They were.
They loved language. They are Renaissance Men whose favorite activity was
kibitzing. In a way the real emphasis of the show was word play as evidenced by
how much energy they put into the credits. No dummies go to MIT and their show
is a testament to how zen it can be to deconstruct something whether it’s a car,
puzzle or idea. I won’t necessarily miss the show as I’ve heard it for too long
but I’ll miss the body work they do on language.
If anything that’s the part of society that needs the most repair, which is why
I suppose I still keep obsessing about English and dread teaching it. I’m at the
point in my career where all my fixations with language seem to matter less and less to students. And perhaps for the right reasons. The world is virtual. Good diction may impress a few but it can oppress the one who gets hung up on it.
I’m not even sure that makes sense. I’m probably referencing some of the
critical theory I took in college. I’m not sure I have ever escaped the college
mentality that somehow everything I’m writing is being assessed nor have I no matter how far I may drift from the classroom, been able to suppress the urge to teach something.
But back to Car Talk. The show has been in reruns the last two years. They were
probably busy playing scrabble and writing technical manuals while I still
tinker with hack verse in the garage of my own mind. At least NPR is still
there to remind us that wordsmiths still exist and some more daring than others
in going public with it.
I just really doubt that most of them know how to fix cars too