You’re never going to believe this, it’s the funniest thing, but I’ve been away conducting anthropological research into a tiny wee ancient culture I found one day while walking in the San Fernando Valley. Nobody walks there which is why I’m the first from the outside world to ever make contact with them. For the past 4000 years they have inhabited the area, unbeknownst to the so-called “modern” people living all around them. The name of their tribe is Robert and they are a proud and warlike people. Devastatingly, however, there are only 3 members of Robert left, trying to eke out their existance in a copse on the centre-island at the corner of Burbank and Cahuenga. They are a fascinating people with a vibrant culture and have adapted amazingly well to the development of the past 70 years, developing leathery smog-resistant lungs and a strange screaming language to overcome the noise of incessant traffic. This is the language I am now trying to learn in the hopes of communicating their story to the outside world. It’s not a very inflected language but I am having trouble mastering their gerunds and parts of their participles. Theirs is an oral tradition, which means of course they can’t get into heaven or some parts of the South, but, once I had screamed to them about how that sort of thing can really cut off the funding for research into their ways and how that would mean no more Bacardi Breezers and pictures of a young Woody Allen – whom they worship as a prophet – they stopped their deviancy and started screaming their story to me.
I’m only back now to collect some clean underwear and to explain to the children that I still love them and “abandon” is really too strong a word. My work will end in or around the second week of July when, unfortunately, I predict all three remaining members of Robert will be dead. They are old tremendously old for one thing and, for another, the centre-island is due to be demolished in late June to make way for a billboard publicising Bob Hope regional airport. The shock is sure to kill them. This would be, narratively speaking, very neat as my research funding runs out about then too and I shall have to leave my luxury suite at Sherman Oaks Hyatt for the (bloody) real world once again. Also, the irony of the hopeless, hapless Roberts being wiped out by a Bob called Hope will lend a poignancy to their story that’s sure to translate well into book-sales and movie-options.
I’ll be back to visit all your lovely blogs then, then, and, then, possibly, also begging you for money to support the lifestyle to which I’ve grown accustomed on my State of California research expense account. So, til then, “SKUGGILSCREAMYWAILWAIL!” (That means “Your (pl) continued good health and fortune,” in Robertese.)