I take the car in to have the brakes looked at. They squeak. I sit in the waiting area of the dealership, notice a makeshift sign hanging by the cashier booth, it reads:
Help Your Son Become
Prepared. For Life.®
I have no idea what that means. Maybe I® should register me® as a trademark. A voice interrupts my inventive musings: “Nothing wrong with your brakes. You’re good to go!” Good. I go.
I stop by the apple farm on the way home, check out the petting zoo, why not, they have a friendly llama, a donkey, and some goats, not to mention a spiffy new “Art Space” in the old farmhouse—the current show is all about “Labor”, not the baby kind but what artists do, I suppose. As you can tell, I’m laboring here myself. Next I buy some apples picked by migrant workers. As I pay, they drive past—along the orchard lane—in the back of a pickup. I wave to them. They wave to me. We’re all happy.
Next I head off to the supermarket, where I am no longer in need of apples but still need to buy dog treats. I navigate my way toward the pet food section. A sign in Aisle 2 reads: “Prepared Meals”. Prepared for what, life? I grab the dog treats and make it through the checkout without further incident and drive toward home. Talk about preparation, there’s the Elks Club—they have a big sign out front says: “Get Ready for the Big Chicken B-B-Q!” My father used to call bingo there. Okay. I keep driving and it gets me home.
I unload the groceries but I’m pondering what all these signs mean. I go to one of my seventeen dictionaries (it was either that or to the I-Ching) and look up the etymology of the word “prepare”. I am told it’s cognate with Parcae, one of the Latin words for the “Fates”. Even the gods were wary of this crew. And the Fates are not being kind to me—the brakes still squeak.