The following selection was performed at Write Club Atlanta in 2011.
All I have to say is that FORM WILL ALWAYS FOLLOW FUNCTION.
This one line should suffice. I’m sure you’ve all heard the legend of the one-word, college-philosophy exam. The one word, WHY? One confident student writes down a two-word reply, turns the paper in and walks out. The two words, WHY NOT?
I only wish that I were that bold.
FORM ALWAYS FOLLOWS FUNCTION. Here’s my paper, Thank you and GOOD NIGHT.
Like any paper I need to give attribution to the work that isn’t mine. The aesthetic wisdom that I have given you belongs to Frank Lloyd Wright’s mentor, Louis Sullivan. And even Wright’s most well known work, Fallingwater, serves a FUNCTION. It’s a home, a shelter; place to keep us dry from the rain, warm in the winter and until 3 years ago, a good investment. It’s a perfect example of FORM following FUNCTION.
Black tie, white gloves, patent leather shoes, red velvet-lined cape, obsidian helmet with built in life-support. Wait, what? That’s right fanboys and girls, Vader knows how to kick it up a notch. He’s quite dapper when he wants to be.
In first grade, my friend Brennan’s dad performed a gig as Darth Vader for my elementary school’s Halloween function. How ahead of the game was he? Christmas, you get Santa. Halloween … Vader.
“He’s more machine now than man. Twisted and evil … except when he steps out for social functions. Then he’s quite the gentleman, but still a machine nonetheless … a style machine” ― Obi-Wan Kenobi
My friend Meg wrote me yesterday. “You know how sometimes daycare centers like to paint murals of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, and while you can tell who they’re meant to be, they end being so off that they look demonic? Almost like they are actually acid-laced paper?”
I knew exactly what she meant. I specifically remember a mural in my home town of Mickey and Donald at my day care center. I was always disappointed that they weren’t inside as if the crude day care mural was actually painted by stoned entry-level Disney artists and that they were really giant map markers indicating where you could hang out with the live-action versions of the cartoon characters. The interesting thing is that drug-influenced children’s art knows no geographic boundary. I grew up in middle Georgia, she in Tennessee.
I only remember watching “Small Wonder” a few times as a kid at a friend’s house. And for the longest time, if someone ever brought it up, I’d always remember it being great. Well folks, my memories have lied. That show was terrible. You need only watch a few seconds of the above clip to realize that your memories have been lying to you too. The voice. Oh god, the voice, the laugh track, the canned reactions, the creepy… everything. I wonder if the actor who played the nerd in the bow tie has ever seen the True Companion robots as an adult? Do you think his younger self wondered if that particular episode would be prophetic? Maybe Vicki now works for True Companion. Maybe the grown, bow-tied nerd actor knows this. What a weird reunion show that would make.
My fondness of “Small Wonder” must have been due to the fact that it was a show about a robot. I always wanted a robot and my obsession with them was well known in elementary school. So well that my school-aged peers nicknamed me “beep-bop boy”. No joke. I’m sure that I wished that I was a cyborg too, but I’m banking that it was because of the influence of 1985′s D.A.R.Y.L. I remember that movie being great as well so, it probably sucked, but it starred Barret Oliver, the actor who played Bastian from The NeverEnding Story. What happened to that kid?