Friday, January 6, 2017

All the Way Around Robin Hood's Barn: "Revival" Revisited, Part 4

I'll be brief(ish): we are here today to get through this thing called Life.  Electric word, Life, it means... the remainder of the notes I took during my recent reread of Revival.  When I write these posts, I generally make an effort to focus them on a single theme or element, which means that there are routinely potential lines of investigation that fall through the cracks.  There still will be after this post, too, but I'll feel better about it, and that's what I'm shooting for with this one.
  
 
  
  
  
What I'm going to do is just proceed through my notes, and when I get to something that sparks my fancy, we'll talk about it.  So we'll go more or less in chronological order, although I am likely to bounce around a bit as needed.  I'm often inclined to use bulletpoints to structure such an unwieldy beast, but I think I'll break each topic apart with a line of asterisks instead.
  
Like so:
  
*****
  
In Chapter I, Jacobs says to Jamie, "People have many ways to be lousy to one another, as you'll find out when you're older, but I think that all bad behavior stems from plain old selfishness."
  

I think most readers of this novel would be inclined to agree with Jacobs, certainly if the bad behavior under discussion is the behavior in which Jacobs himself engages for much of the novel.  That said, it brings up a question: assuming you've read the novel, do you feel kindly toward Jacobs during the first few chapters?  Do you believe King intends for us to feel kindly toward him?
  
I'd answer those questions with a "yes" and a "I'm not entirely sure," with the latter leaning a bit toward being another yes.  Even when rereading the novel, I found myself mostly thinking of the young Jacobs as one of the good-guys, this despite a few mild signs that I ought to at least be skeptical of him.  
  
One way or the other, I do think we are able to place a certain amount of faith in much of what he says during these early sections.  For example: this bit about bad behavior stemming from selfishness.  Jacobs will certainly turn out to be a prime example of his own adage, but let's not let that disqualify the adage from consideration.  And if the adage is a valid one, proving that young Jacobs has at least some wisdom for us, then mustn't we wonder what else we could learn from him?
  
*****
  
After their first meeting, Jamie sticks out his hand and tells Jacobs to "put er there," and King then gives us this:
  
"He laughed and did so, then walked off down Methodist Road, toward the parsonage where he and his family would live for the next three years, until he got fired."
  
This is a trick King has used often during his career: giving us (sometimes via a first-person perspective, but sometimes via a more omniscient viewpoint) some bit of news about a character's eventual fate.  I wish I had a word for it; the closest I can think of is "foreshadowing," but this isn't foreshadowing so much as it's fore-telling, or fore-revealing, and both of those words suck.  Pre-valation, maybe (pronounced "prev-a-lation," I think)?  Yeah, sure, why not?
  
Anyways, these pre-valations almost always chill me to the bone; I'm not sure I can think of an occasion when they didn't work at or near that level of efficacy for me.  I get why somebody else would feel differently, but I am a fan.  I find that a well-placed pre-valation shadows all of our subsequent interactions with whatever character is mentioned therein.  So here, the next time we see Jacobs, we are wondering what he does to get fired; we are already assuming he is somebody who deserves to get fired, or perhaps we are assuming he is somebody who will be persecuted against and fired unfairly ... but whatever the case, I think we have to feel something.  And that creates tension over the "how" and "why" of it.
  
*****
  
A page or two later, Jacobs leads Jamie to his house to show him something.  He leads Jamie by the hand, and that "seemed perfectly natural" to Jamie.  When I first read the novel, I immediately wondered if this novel was going to turn out to be about pedophilia.  It turns out not to be, for which I am thoroughly grateful; who needs that shit in their head?  But obviously, King is raising the specter of that perversity, possibly if only so we do not feel he overlooked how it might play to a modern mindset for an older man to spend so much time with a young boy.
  
I get the feeling that Jamie -- and possibly King -- regrets the fact that it's even an issue.  The past does hold some allure for Jamie, and part of that allure would seem to be for a time in which a man and a boy could actually be friends without anyone having to think about it being a predatory sexual thing.
  
There is no pedophilia here, but we will come to learn that Jamie is massively impacted by his friend's Terrible Sermon.  That being the case, you can only conclude that the end result of their friendship is similarly destructive (even if you don't take into account any of what happens later in their lives).  Jamie's personality will be forever altered, and the ramfications of that alteration will spiral through the decades, mostly in adverse ways.
  
*****
  
The opening of Revival is set in fictional Harlow, Maine, which was also partially the setting of "The Body."  I don't know about you, but I'm 100% glad that we didn't get cameos from Gordie or Vern or Ace Chambers or whoever.  I'm sure King would have done a good job with it; but still, I'm glad.
  
*****
  
Jacobs tells Jamie a story about Jesus appearing to His disciples while they are in a ship on the sea.  Jesus, meanwhile, goes up a mountain to pray.
  
"When evening was come, he was there alone.  But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves, for the wind was contrary.  And in the fourth watch Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear."
  
I don't blame them disciples.  That's creepy as fuck.
  
*****
  
In Chapter II, Jamie tells us that "writing is a wonderful and terrible thing.  It opens deep wells of memory that were previously capped."  This is a fine quote that I'm sure will be used by King scholars for decades to come, and via Jamie, he deepens the sentiment a bit in its wake by reeling off a sequence of fond memories.  For example: "I remember my mother, standing at the ironing board in her slip, impossibly beautiful in the morning sunshine."  But he will soon dash some cold water on the sentiment:
  
"Selective memory is one of the chief sins of the old, and I don't have time for it," Jamie tells us.  Not all of his memories were good.
  
I live in a country that recently allowed itself to be swayed by the promise that some dude is going to "make America great again."  A lot of fucking sinners practicing one of their chief sins is how that shit happened.
  
It's also worth noting that Jamie's quote makes it plain that this is literally a written-out narrative, not a free-floating first-person viewpoint. 
  
*****
  
During the brief presence of Patsy Jacobs in the narrative, I could not help but picture her as the actress Anna Camp.  I suspect a lot of that is for two reasons: first, I've been watching Camp on the Amazon series Good Girls Revolt, so she was on my mind; and second, she played a religious type on True Blood.  (You may know her from Pitch Perfect; I do not.)
  
I present to you now a select gallery of Anna Camp photos, lovingly cultivated from Google Images and archived for one and all:
  
  




delightful

jesusgodalmighty


A promo image for Good Girls Revolt.  Not a great series, but I've enjoyed what I've seen, and have become more invested with each episode.  So, naturally, Amazon canceled it.  I've still got one more to go, and I'm gonna watch it just to spite them sorry fuckers at Amazon!  Also, to enjoy it, which I likely will.

If you're getting a Mad Men vibe, you're on the right channel mentally.  Good Girls Revolt is fishing from the same pond.

True Blood: rarely subtle, occasionally marvelous.

True Blood again.  I apologize to everyone.  This is actually quite classy for True Blood.
  
Anyways, this has been Objectification Minute With Bryant. 
  
*****
  
The second chapter has a good bit of material involving Con's near-deafness that results from an accident.  It's a plot device designed to give Jacobs somebody to "cure," but, as is often case, King's character work is strong enough that not only does it not feel like a waste of time, it is arguably more interesting than the eventual plot use to which it is put.  Con goes from being on top of the world to being a sort of an outcast at school; I could have read a whole novel about it.  That novel would have involved Con and Hector teaming up for adventures of some sort, I bet.

By the way, that's no knock against the way King uses Conrad's accident as a plot device.  I think he does so very capably.  The scene in which Jacobs cures him is fantastic.

*****

I discussed a good part of Chapter III in the first post of this series, but one element that only passingly came up: the cancer with which Jamie's mother is stricken.  These scenes may cause Constant Readers to think of the short story "The Woman in the Room" (from Night Shift), which is about a young man coping with his mother's cancer struggles.

King's own mother died of that same disease, by the way, just a few months before the publication of Carrie.  As I sometimes say, I'm resistant to imposing an autobiographical reading on works of fiction; but when the shoe fits, it fits, and I think it fits pretty well with certain aspects of Revival.

*****

From page 60 of the US hardback, a bit about Jamie's mother driving Jacobs to see his wife and son's bodies:

They went to Gates Falls in our old Ford wagon, and they went by way of Castle Rock.  It was at least twenty miles longer, but my mother was past the worst of her shock by then, and able to think clearly.  She had no intention of driving past the scene of the crash, even if it meant going all the way around Robin Hood's barn.

When I read this bit I says to myself, "huhthefuck...?!?"  I'm enough of a hick that I thought maybe I grasped the meaning of this saying on sheer context, and the Internet was gracious enough to confirm it for me.

In case you don't want to click on that, it means, basically, "take the long way."  The etymology given on that Wiktionary site is useful enough, but I suspect it's not entirely accurate.  Around my parts -- and possibly around others, for all I know -- we have a similar saying regarding "B.F.E."  As in, "where did you have to park, B.F.E.?"  As in, you had to park so far away that nobody actually knows where the place you parked is, so they called it "Bum-Fuck, Egypt."  Because wherever that is, it's WAY the fuck away.

I sense that this "Robin Hood's barn" business is very similar to that in derivation.  Some hick was sitting around one day waiting on some other hick to show up at some place, and when he finally did, his pal asked him what took him so long to get there.  "Had to drive around Robin Hood's barn to get here," says Hick #2, and Hick #1 nods knowingly, understanding that wherever Robin Hood's barn is, it ain't nowhere close to there.

*****

Jacobs talks to Jamie about Conrad on page 83:

"[T]he mind is where half the healing takes place.  Maybe more.  Con thought, 'He's lying now so I can get used to having no voice.  Later on he'll tell me the truth.'  That's just the way your brother's built, Jamie.  He lives on his nerve endings, and when people do that, their minds can turn against them.
     "He wouldn't come with me today," I said.  "I lied about that."
     "Did you?"  Jacobs didn't look very surprised.
     "Yeah.  I asked him, but he was scared."
     "Never be angry with him for that," Jacobs said.  "Frightened people live in their own special hell.  You could say they make it themselves -- like Con manufactured his muteness -- but they can't help it.  It's the way they're built."

You can read this as being directly relevant to what happens to Jamie over the course of his life, and it may even be that the visions of "hell" -- the ant-things and whatnot -- could be partially of his own making.  I don't think they are, exactly, since his colleague Hugh apparently also sees people as ants; but I'd rather not rule it all the way out.

If there's anything to that, it would seem to imply to me that both Heaven and Hell are inscapes (in the NOS4A2 sense) of a sort.  It would further imply that one's outlook on (the after)life is what determines one's eventual Fate.  If so, then that is both a repudiation of Jacobs's outlook on God and an affirmation of it.

I'm honestly not sure which side of that divide I'm on.  As I said earlier, I lean toward feeling that King wants us to believe in Jacobs at times during these early chapters; this is one of those times.  Jacbos's analysis of Con's attitude seems fairly accurate to me.

In contemplating this, I thought of a story King sometimes tells about Stanley Kubrick, who, when he was in pre-production on The Shining, telephoned King out of the blue one morning.  As in, Tabitha came and told Steve that Stanley Kubrick was on the phone and Steve didn't initially believe her.  But he took the call anyways, and it went something like this (I repeat it mostly from memory):

"Hi, Steve, this is Stanley Kubrick," says Kubrick.  "I think all ghost stories are fundamentally optimistic because they posit that there is an afterlife.  Don't you?"




"Well, okay," King allows, "but what about Hell?"




Pause.  "I don't believe in Hell."  And Stanley Kubrick hangs up the phone.

It's a great story.  I'm not entirely certain I believe it's true, in a literal sense; but it's a great story, and Kubrick was eccentric enough that if it isn't true, it may as well be.




I see King's point, of course.  But I also see Kubrick's.  So, I think, might Jacobs; and, by proxy, Jamie.  And if we're following the chain of logic that we've been following during these posts, one might extend it far enough to say that King, here, is implicitly agreeing with Stanley Kubrick.
   
*****

In Chapter IV, Jamie makes the following observation about playing music for a crowd of people for the first time:

When it became clear to me that we weren't going to be booed off the stage, I felt a rising euphoria that was close to ecstasy.  I've taken enough drugs to sink a battleship since then, but not even the best of them could equal that first rush.

In his sometimes sub-occupation as a public speaker, King has a set of go-to jokes.  He loves to tell the one about the old lady in the supermarket who doesn't believe that he wrote The Shawshank Redemption; and why wouldn't he?  It's a great anecdote.  But he also loves to tell the audience that he feels like a rock star when they all cheer at something he's said; like if he mentions one of his "greatest hits (The Shining or Pet Sematary or what have you), it's the equivalent of Lynrd Skynrd playing "Freebird."

This joke usually kills.  And, again, why not?  It's a good joke.

*****

In Chapter V, one of the novel's major scenes is set at a fairgrounds, and many a Constant Reader is likely to have flashed on The Dead Zone when Jamie mentions a Wheel of Fortune.  I wouldn't count this as a reference to that novel, since King didn't exactly invent the Wheel of Fortune.  However, if one does find oneself with The Dead Zone on one's mind, one has not erred: that novel, like Revival, is keenly focused on the tension between fate and coincidence.

*****

Seeing Jacobs again, and weakened by a need to score, Jamie begins inadvertently swaying.  "My legs had a strangely meaty feel, as if the bones were being extracted, inch by inch," Jamie tells us.

What an odd, marvelous description!

*****

I'm going to now quote myself, from the notes I took on Chapter V:

"154:  Jamie talks with Jacobs about fate briefly.  Jacobs no longer believes in it, seemingly; we know from reading the thoughts of Jamie as a narrator that he does, however -- which means that in some ways, we have proof that Jacobs is wrong during this scene.  Jacobs is unwittingly professing himself to be an agent of the Random.  But on the next page, King ends the chapter by Jamie telling us that 'he had no choice about' taking a ride with Jacobs, who has already pulled off; here, Jacobs is unwittingly serving -- within the boundaries of Jamie's experiences -- as an agent of the Purpose.  If I follow that chain of thought, then I'm forced to conclude that agents of the Random can sometimes actually be serving Purpose by way of their actions."

When I wrote that -- rather sloppily, I might add -- I had not yet researched the matter by consulting Insomnia.  But yeah, I more or less had it right.  Although I would add that Ralph is told very specifically that he should not feel there is no freedom of choice; so in that sense, Jamie is wrong about that car ride.

*****

In Chapter VI, we get Jacobs's cure of Jamie.  His broken and reflexive repetition of "something happened" is chilling.  So is the scene toward the end of the chapter in which he wakes up to find himself stabbing his arms repeatedly.  "Oh, Mother, something happened," he says.  That's an innocuous enough line on first read; on second, not so much.

*****

Chapter VI also contains a reference to Joyland -- the theme park from, of course, Joyland -- which, according to Jacobs, has closed by the mid-eighties.  That revelation arguably makes an already-bittersweet novel even more so.

*****

Jacobs has a shiftless assistant at the time Jamie meets up with him again: Briscoe.  "Briscoe lit out for the territories," we find out via Jamie.  I've seen this listed as a reference to The Talisman in a few places, but I'd insist quite loudly that it's a reference to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; after all, the Territories in The Talisman are themselves named -- as is Jack Sawyer, the novel's protagonist -- so as to evoke Twain's books.  Yeah, sure, I know that in Huckleberry Finn, it's "territory" singular, not "territories" plural.  So what?  Jamie Morton is entirely unaware of the universe(s) in which The Talisman is set, and is therefore unaware of the Territories.  But he would certainly be aware of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, so there is simply no argument for asserting that he's referring to the King/Straub novel.

That doesn't mean King would mind the association, of course.  But listing it as an in-story reference?  No.

*****

All the stuff in Chapter VII (and on) involving the recording studio is good, but much of it could have been cut out and the end result might have been a stronger novel, one focused more sharply on Jacobs' influence on Jamie.

That said, it's good material, so I mind it only intellectually; and not even really then.  Once again, if this stuff had been what the novel was entirely about, I would have happily read it.  Screw that foofaraw about ant-people and giant hairy-legged monster women; just give me a novel about an old rock musician making his way through life, love, and work.  Sounds like the setup for a perfectly excellent early-eighties Larry McMurtry novel, and that's a thing that is A-okay in my opinion.

*****

In Chapter VIII, having gone to one of Jacobs's tent revivals, Jamie has some thoughts:

The audience burst into applause and hallelujahs.  I kept trying to make sense of it, and kept coming up short.  Here were people who routinely used their computers to stay in touch with their friends and get the news of the day, people who took weather satellites and lung transplants for granted, people who expected to live lives thirty and forty years longer than those of their great-grandparents.  Here they were, falling for a story that made Santa and the Tooth Fairy look like gritty realism.  He was feeding them shit and they were loving it.  

I try to avoid politics around here, but there's no way that I, having read these words post-11/08/2016, can avoid connecting these words with the sad reality of the most recent Presidential election.  In the next chapter, Jacobs will defend himself somewhat from Jamie by saying, "They don't deserve the truth, and that's okay, because they don't want it."
  
Well, these days, who does?

*****

I'm skipping to the final chapter now.  I remember feeling on first read that King had pulled his punch a bit in those concluding pages: I thought Jamie should go murder his family or something like that.
  
On reread, I realized that that is a deeply silly idea, and that that is why Stephen King is Stephen King and I am a blogger.  The truth is, the final chapter is plenty dark; dark as night.  Jamie tells us about some of the murders that happened during the two years after Mother made her brief appearance in our world.  It's all awful stuff; I wouldn't change a word of it.

And that, friends, is where we will call a halt to this revisitation of Revival.  In the final analysis, I'd say my appreciation for this novel increased in a substantial way.
 
I really enjoy digging into King's work in this way.  It's time-consuming, but the time always seems to have been well-spent once I've spent it.  I'm not sure which of his novels I'll give this treatment next.  I'd planned for it to be Finders Keepers (with which I wanted to touch base again before tackling End of Watch), but haven't decided for sure.
 
Either way, see you then.

12 comments:

  1. Mr. Burnette:

    Isn't prevalation a hook to keep us reading? That's what it's about when writing, isn't it? Keep us asking why. It works for me anyway.
    That's what I thought right up until I was thrown in jail!

    You should be writing some King fan fic, or fiction of your own. I'd read it.

    Around here we call it 'out back of nowhere'.

    I enjoyed this four-part series. Thanks very much.

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    1. I'd say it probably works as a hook, yeah. It seems not to work on everyone, though; some people view it almost as a spoiler. I don't see it that way personally, but I've got two different King-reading friends who do.

      You're in jail? I'm sorry to hear that! I hope things are going as well for you as they can be.

      I had aspirations at one point to write fiction. I still get ideas once in a while, and one of them is to rewrite the last couple of Dark Tower books. That's not to say I dislike the ones King wrote; I don't, and in fact I'd say I love them. But I had a very specific idea of where I thought the story was going, and I'd kind of love to read that version. But I'm entirely too slow a writer to ever actually do it. Plus, it'd be shit and I could never show it to anyone! Other fiction, fiction of my own, does appeal to me -- but it just takes so much energy, and I'm perpetually unable to find time for all the things I'd like to do. So it is likely to remain a what-if. But I appreciate the thoughts! Great compliments.

      "Out back of nowhere" -- I like that. That's got a ring to it.

      I appreciate you reading along with me. I had a lot of fun writing the series, too.

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  2. I think any presidential election has more than a little overlap not just with revival-BS-people-be-crazy but with ants and cosmic forces claiming our souls in bondage for all eternity.

    But that's just me.

    Crazy days at work! I've read both this and your other post twice now but have to carve out the time to leave a proper reply.

    Thanks for sharing this generous helping of Revival, though - it's a work that deserves the meaningful attention you've been paying to it.

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    1. It really is. That's true of most of his novels, but it does seem to be a little extra true in this case. I had a frickin' BLAST working on it.

      Sorry to hear work is nutso for you right now. Me, I just got a free day off due to wintry weather and road closures. Might get another one tomorrow.

      I'd say you are probably right about that election analysis. And it can probably be extended farther to the human condition in general. It feels to me as if we are basically just savages waiting for permission to lapse back into a state of grunting and wearing bear skins and whatnot. That also feels a little extra true right now, but I don't doubt one bit that it's exactly as true as ever.

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  3. This whole series was excellent, it made me want to re-read this novel for the fourth time, even if it always leaves me so cold afterwards. Thanks so much!

    Mircalla

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    1. You are thoroughly welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed. I had a good time writing it, so hopefully some of that came through.

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  4. (1) "do you feel kindly toward Jacobs during the first few chapters? Do you believe King intends for us to feel kindly toward him?" Yes and yes. I for one felt kindly towards him right up until the ending. I kept wondering why Jamie was being so jerkish and self-righteous about things. Once I got to the ending and realized the ants-and-subsequent-murder-and-life-unraveling-thing was the prism through which he was telling his story, I thought ahh, and tipped my cap to the author. But absolutely at the beginning; the Rev was more sympathetic to me than Jamie for long stretches of my first read.

    (2) "I wish I had a word for it; the closest I can think of is "foreshadowing," but this is foreshadowing so much as it's fore-telling, or fore-revealing, and both of those words suck. Pre-valation, maybe? Yeah, sure, why not?" I like pre-valation just fine, but perhaps "portent?" (As in "King employs judicious use of portent," submitted for your approval.) I think sometimes he can get carried away with this, but 98% of the time, I enjoy how he uses it.

    (3) Good call on the lack of "The Body" cameos. Until you laid out the Insomnia overlap I thought this one stood independently of them all. Which it still does, sure, but I found all that Insomnia shared terrain you covered fascinating.

    (4) Anna Camp is a very particular type of "knockout." I don't have the categories sorted out as precisely as I'd like them, so I couldn't tell you which type that is. I don't know her work, though.

    (5) If people are grabbing at "lit out for the territories" as a Talisman reference, I mean good lord. That's as common a phrase as "son of a gun" or what not.

    (6) "Screw that foofaraw about ant-people and giant hairy-legged monster women; just give me a novel about an old rock musician making his way through life, love, and work. Sounds like the setup for a perfectly excellent early-eighties Larry McMurtry novel, and that's a thing that is A-okay in my opinion." I hear you, here. I can see (to a point) that there are two novels fighting for the same space here (as I've read in some reviews out there) but for me the fake-rock-bio-life-story aspect of it was great, but it was foreground. All the Secret Electricity / ant-gods/ metal-album-cover-afterlife / sturm-und-drang of it was more my style. But, reading you put it like that, and hell yeah, I want to read that.

    (7) I'm really glad to hear your appreciation increased after this reread! If you'd gone in the other direction I'd have lost confidence in my own high opinion of it, and that'd likely have played a definite factor in subsequent re-evaluation. I have come to rely on The Truth Inside the Lie as my King calibration/ GPS after all.

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    1. (1) Okay, good. I didn't THINK that was just me, but I couldn't be sure of it.

      (2) Portent is closer than foreshadowing, for sure. But it still doesn't seem quite right; a portent is more of a vague sign of impending doom, whereas King's technique is to flat-out tell us. He is often vague as to the specifics, but not so much the actual outcome. It's an odd technique. I dig it.

      (3) I found it fascinating, too! I went looking for whatever that novel had to offer; I had no idea the extent of it, though.

      (4) I don't know how versatile she is, but she's an affable screen presence, which is always worth appreciating.

      (5) Amen.

      (6) I agree that the rock-star stuff does indeed take a backseat. It just felt to me like maybe that was the stuff -- and Jamie's reminiscences about his family, too -- that really revved King's engine with this one. I think he got into it for the Frankenstein but stayed in it for the VH1.

      (7) Man, that means a lot! Sincerely. You're serving a similar function for me regarding music of late! But yeah, I was very glad the reread shifted my opinion upward. That's always a fine result of a reread.

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  5. p.s. Another well-selected quote/ thematic-gravitational-center for the title, here. "All the Way Around Robin Hood's Barn" and "All That Shit Starts with 'E'" could be Twilight Zone titles, couldn't they?

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    1. Man, they really could, expletive excepted.

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  6. " I think he got into it for the Frankenstein but stayed in it for the VH1."

    Ha! I like that.

    Good distinction re: portent. I think I'm thinking more of how he uses it elsewhere and not Revival. Duma Key is what I'm specifically thinking of - stuff like "I never saw my daughter alive again" at the end of the art show. The reader doesn't know if it's on account of the daughter or the dad dying, there, but it hangs in the air and keeps you turning. or where he does stuff like "Oh wait, I just thought of something" and then doesn't reveal it until 50 pages later. (Duma Key also affords another example, when Jack figures out how he's going to drown Reba in the flashlight but doesn't reveal it until its moment of maximum dramatic impact, almost as if he's doing a favor for the author!)

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    1. Hmm. Good points. It does almost play for the readers like a portent.

      This is a fascinating topic! Maybe not for anyone other than you and me, but hey, I'll take it.

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