Saints celebrating feast days today include Basil the Great (patron of hospital administrators and Russia), Gregory Nazianzen, Macarius of Alexandria (patron of pastry cooks), Munchin (patron saint of Doritos, invoked against sodium-restricted diets?), Vincentian, Adalhard (or Adelard)(patron of gardeners), and Caspar del Bufalo.
Roger Miller was born on this day in 1936 and died only 56 years later. I wish I had written to him to tell him how much I enjoyed his 1985 Tony-winning "Big River;" some of the lines in the songs were as gut-wrenchingly moving as they were clever. He won 11 Grammys as well as that Tony.
Another notable who was born on this day also died in 1992: Isaac Asimov. And I DID get a letter out to him in time and even received a response, but I think I will save that story and tell this one:
Isaac Asimov and the Garbage Can Lids
About 20 years ago, I lived in an apartment building that was owned by a woman who lived and breathed liberal-environmental-antinuclear activism. She was completely single-minded in her efforts to pummel the world into an acceptable shape, and anything and anybody who got in her way was doomed to being either run over or ignored.
One day I was up at her place cutting and pasting some sort of newsletter when her husband walked in and asked us if we knew where he could get some garbage can lids. "I tried the hardware store but they only sell the cans and the lids together," he complained. My friend rose Hera-like from her chair, eyes flaring, and screamed "GARBAGE CAN LIDS! GARBAGE CAN LIDS! HERE WE ARE TRYING TO SAVE THE PLANET AND YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT GARBAGE CAN LIDS!"
It was an epiphanic moment. Suddenly I realized that for every mover of mountains, there had to be some unappreciated and overworked other person who was taking care of the great one's Garbage Can Lids of Life. The Garbage Can Lids of Life do not respect greatness and would eventually rise high above the deep thinker, collapse and swallow him or her whole.
So what does this have to do with Isaac Asimov? Do you have any idea how productive Isaac Asimov was in his 72 years of life? He published almost 500 books, all of which involved thought. Do you think that from the time he quit his day job to become a full time writer (1958) until the day he died he even once thought about garbage can lids? I just hope he appreciated the person who did. Asimov may have written extensively on the subject of robots, but he didn't have one.
In conclusion, though today we celebrate the anniversary of the beginning of Isaac Asimov's life, I believe that we should all observe a moment of silence in appreciation of Isaac Asimov's wife.