The Absurd Epistolary Adventures of the Astonishing FartMan chronicles the amusing escapades
of the lovable, stinky, and obnoxious Cape & Tights Super Hero, and his maudlin Alter Ego, W____,
as they learn to cope with Stage IV colon cancer, each other, and their annoying fellow human beings.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Hook in the Water

From: The Astonishing FartMan
Sent: Thursday, October 28, 2010 1:19 PM
Cc: R_____ ; S_____ ; Ba______ ; Be______ ; B______ ; Li______
Subject: your paintings

Dear S______,

I hope you don’t mind that I’ve cc’d some others on this reply so that they can follow the link to the images of your artwork, which I finally got a chance to take a good look at.

The pieces shown there are all quite different from each other, but somehow it's obvious that the same single artistic sensibility produced them all. They are each lovely—coherent, unified, composed, beautifully and harmoniously colored, and expressive yet restrained.

Speaking of art, last evening we went to X_____ Gallery for a talk by P____ M_____. He is the fellow who curated the L____ show in which S_____ had a piece of her work. Interestingly, or rather I should say the opposite,  uninterestingly, M_____’s short talk was enitirely a rambling commercial about his “art organizing” efforts (getting grants, putting together cooperative exhibitions between various galleries in different places, etc.), and he said not a sinlge word, not one word, about art itself, his curatorial aesthetic, or any such thing.

Heaven save us from P_____ M_____ and all the other “community organizers”! But they will undoubtedly survive and prosper long after everyone has forgotten what they are supposed to be organizing, long after there’s nothing left worth organizing! I am sometimes amazed by how seldom “art people,” like M_______ actually talk about (or even look at) the ostensible subject of their occupation. It is as if art is in service of their occupation, rather than the other way around.

Oh well. The evening was enjoyable anyway as we did meet the man (W_____ G______) who owns X________ Gallery, and the woman (S______ K______) who owns the physical building there that houses X_________ Gallery and several other art facilities, including R_____ Gallery. S_____ K____ also has her own studio there. We talked with her and G_____ a little about their work, which in both cases was interesting to me for reasons you might surmise if you cared to investigate what kind of art they do. (It's all about death!) And we saw the work currently on view at X_________ Gallery by B____ H_____ and by H____ B_____ (both of which were not at all my cup of tea and actually were offensive to me on several levels), and the work by E_____ M_____ currently on view next door at R____ Gallery (which I liked much better).

Changing the subject abruptly: Our daugher, J______ arrives tomorrow evening for another visit, not really so much to visit us, but more to see this fellow, T____, an old high school friend of hers with whom it seems on her last visit she reconnected and cultivated a budding romance. Really, I don’t mind at all that she’s coming to see her friend more than to see us. S____ and I have a fond hope, faint and unreaslistic perhaps, that she might have such a pleasant time with her old friends when she’s here visiting that she would decide to move back to Houston!

So I won’t mind much if J____ and this fellow fall in love—assuming of course he’s a good man—and consequently she moves back here. On the other hand, if they did fall in love, it seems just as likely that he would move to the city where J___ lives because, although T____ has a high-fallutin' job as the Culture Editor for X______ magazine, of the two romancers, our daughter has the more stable, promising, and remunerative career right now.

J___ also has cast a hook in the water for an old Yale classmate, a doctor who’s a reconstructive cosmetic surgeon here at Med Center, so maybe I should be rooting more for the doctor than for the Culture Editor, (notwithstanding that I think our culture these days needs editing even more than our bodies need reconstructing), because if they really did hit it off, it's more likely that J___ would move here than he would move there.

J_____ would kill me if she knew I was gossiping so crudely about her; we must be sure to keep the gossip within the circle of us old farts.

I apologize for writing such a long and crotchety email. It’s what I’m doing to excuse myself from working while sitting here in a Starbucks in the Village where S____ cruelly abandoned me this morning right after my first visit with my prospective new super-duper liver-scooper surgeon, Dr. J_______. I await S_____’s return from a meeting down the street at the musuem.

Speaking of livers (weren’t we?), Dr. J_____ said that, in addition to the spots on the right lobe of my liver, of which I was previously painfully aware, he’s pretty sure he sees a spot or two on the left lobe of my liver, which is news  to me, not good news, and changes my prognosis significantly and maybe my treatment plan, too.

Of course, my question is, if Dr. J_____, who is a surgeon and not a radiologist, could see what he was pretty sure was a spot on the left lobe after looking at the images for only about thirty seconds, why the heck wasn’t that spot noticed by the radiologists who have been looking at exactly the same THREE image studies (CT, PET, and MRI) for the last two months? I wish these doctors would all get on the same page, and get their story straight, so I could climb down off this roller coaster and not be compelled so often to mix the heck out of my metaphors.

Okay, with that bit of additional whining out of the way, I absolve you, just this one time, from the usual obligation to respond compasionately to this most recent of my persistent complaints.

Hope you and me and S____ can get together soon; meanwhile I remain . . .

Your friend,
The Astonishing FartMan

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