Another dream: Minesweeper Technology.


The following is not journalism. It's about a dream.

The night of the Super Bowl, I went to bed thinking about whether the Slavic peoples in the Socialist Republic of Macedonia should be allowed to continue calling their nation Macedonia, or to continue having an airport named after Alexander the Great, ancient Macedonia's king. Many non-Slavic Greeks, especially those from the region of northern Greece also called Macedonia, complain that the modern-day Republic of Macedonia has nothing to do with Alexander. But consider: Modern-day Seattle has nothing to do with long-dead Indians, aside from the hawk logo on its pro football team's helmets. And the hawk image does not derive from Chief Seattle's tribe. Genealogies get weird that way.

I had felt ambivalent about Super Bowl LII, because I wanted the Eagles to win but had told everyone to expect a Patriots victory. The Patriots had beaten my Seattle Seahawks a few Super Bowls previous, so some kind of NFC bird deserved revenge.

At a Super Bowl party, my ambivalence increased as I watched Justin Timberlake's halftime performance. He had what looked like two hundred backing musicians and dancers, including the traditional marching band, doing the work of four musicians. I know people enjoy spectacle, but it seemed pointless to me. And the fact that it seemed pointless made me feel old. Older than Justin Timberlake, but not as old as Alexander or Chief Seattle. And not as old as Steven Tyler, who starred in a Bowl automobile commercial wherein the Aerosmith singer drove backward in time and became young again. (Buying a red car helps a man dream on.) And not as old as my friend's father, another party attendee, who was 94 and had helped design the trigger mechanism on the atomic bomb that destroyed Nagasaki. A generation apart, he and I were both raised to believe that God favors America, and told to stand for the national anthem, even if we disagreed about those things now. Since I arrived at the party after the anthem, we didn't get to have that argument in the all-important context of pro football.

Later that night, having dreamed that God wanted me to buy "Minesweeper Technology" rather than a red car, I arose at 1:30 a.m. to do His bidding. I didn't know what Minesweeper Technology meant, and an internet search revealed no such product. Did God mean Mindsweeper Technology? I could use some. But no results supported that, either.

Turning to music, I discovered that an artist called DJ Rupture had made a 2002 mix called "Minesweeper Suite," containing artful layerings of African sounds, gangsta rap and reverberative effects. Maybe that was what God meant by technology. Although I listened to the suite and enjoyed titles such as "Ziggurat," "Up From the Underground" and "Everlasting Life," my quest felt incomplete.

I kept searching. My father had been in the Navy. Had he ever served on a minesweeper? I didn't think so, but I tried to find out. My dad having died on Valentine's Day 1999, before the internet could notice, I didn't find much digital history about him, except that he had a wife and two sons. Contrary to the data, I protest that he had three sons, even if the internet does not consider me, the legitimate firstborn, one of them.

So, Dad, thanks for the clarinet, the instrument you used in the marching band when you attended the Naval Academy. It was not superfluous, and I did learn to play it a little. And I will continue searching. God and history demand it.