At the same time, the words of my father, Austin Moray, ring loudly in my head:
NEVER COMPLAIN -- NEVER EXPLAIN.
In this time of sorrow, I ventured out to the Nightflower Fens Rest Home, where my father now resides. Humbly I went to seek his counsel.
He has a cozy cottage to himself (the Home is a converted highway motel that dates from the 1940s). From the parking lot could be heard his booming voice, in concert with a radio broadcast of a football game:
"WHAT ARE YOU--BLIND? THAT WAS NO FOUL!"
Although it was a chilly day, my father remains a "fresh air fiend." He had his screen door open. The volume of the radio was such that my meek tappings could not be heard.
In truth, it was hard to get a sonic purchase on the flimsy pine-and-aluminum door frame. It tended to mildly rattle, rather than produce a crisp knocking sound.
After ten minutes, I elected to forcibly enter the cottage. (The screen door was unlocked, which aided my attempts.)
My dear dad sat in a faded maroon armchair. A pint can of Diet Mountain Dew, clutched in his left hand, was visible.
"TOUCHDOWN!" my father cried. "ATTA BOY, DEMPSON! I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT, BOY! THAT'S SHOWIN' 'EM THE OL' PEPPER!"
"Father," I said, in my loudest civil speaking voice. "It's Mason, your son."
The can of soft drink fell to the floor as my father bolted in surprise. "WHOA! YOU COULD GIVE A FELLA HEART TROUBLE SNEAKIN' AROUND THAT WAY!"
The game was almost over. Out of deference to my father, I waited 'til its conclusion. Then we spoke.
Long story shortened: I confessed that I had made a public fool of myself. I had gotten my own research notes mixed-up and had presented correct facts--but attributed to the wrong individual!
As well, I noted my sorrow that accurate attempts to transcribe the Latin American dialect of my ward, Raphael Vazquez, had offended my readership. One of my "Followers," a seemingly nice Spanish fellow named Gabriel, elected to leave my blog--on account of this linguistic malfeasance, I would presume.
"WHAT DOES ALL THIS HAVE TO DO WITH A CLOG? WHAT YOU NEED IS A PLUMBER. OR YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF--SAVE YOURSELF A LOTTA MONEY!"
I explained what a "blog" is, and after much discussion, my points were finally made clear to my father.
His advice, as ever, was succinct and helpful. "YOU GOOFED! IT HAPPENS TO EVERYONE, SON. LOOK AT EDISON. HE GOOFED, BUT PEOPLE STILL THINK OF HIM AS A GREAT MAN!"
He paused for a sip of Diet Mountain Dew (which, mysteriously, is now officially shortened to "MTN DEW" on the packaging) and continued.
"YOU DON'T OWE NOBODY AN EXPLANATION, SON. JUST 'FESS UP THAT YOU MADE A BOO-BOO, AND LET IT REST. THE WORLD WILL FORGIVE YOU. THAT IS, IF THEY'RE MAN ENOUGH TO."
It was time for my father's nightly TV "holy trinity"-- Matlock, The Rockford Files and Hazel--so I bid him adieu.
And, armed with his words of support and encouragement, I humbly state to you the following:
I, Mason James Moray, made a public error. Due to my poor penmanship of the 1960s and early 1970s, my research notes of those years are difficult for me to clearly read today.
I went to a corrective writing school in 1975, and under the supervision of Dr. Charles Fennell, I realigned my pen-hold and hand-position. I now can boast handwriting of uncommon clarity. I am forever thankful to Dr. Fennell and his "14-Zone Method."
Friends, Martin Filchock was NOT a part of the controversial "Out-Doorist" artistic movement. He was, indeed, the creator of "Fire Man" and other fine panelological features of comic books' "Gilded Age."
The artist in my notes was Marvin Pilchmore. Mr. Pilchmore was, indeed, a vital part of the "Out-Doorist" group. He did create panelological features. Among them was "Wire-Man," a clever variation on the DC Comics feature "Air Wave."
Pilchmore's character was given the powers of the telegraph. He could travel via electrical impulses, over telegraph wires. He had the clever gimmick of addressing his villains thusly: "Okay, Mattigan, you're all washed up! Stop!"
Or: "Here's where you hit my big fist with your little chin! Stop!"
"Wire-Man," clever though it was, never saw print in the United States. I have never seen printed copies of the stories. They appeared in an obscure Canadian weekly supplement to a Catholic magazine for boys, The Guiding Lamp.
Mr. Pilchmore appeared at the 1970 ExcitaCon in Cincinatti, Ohio, where he displayed his charming original art boards for the first "Wire-Man" tale. His asking price for the entire story's art was 45 dollars--a king's ransom in those bygone days! How I wish I had gambled my bankroll on those exquisite originals.
I took some Polariod pictures of the artwork, but given my malformed, unsteady penmanship, I also took a poor, shaky picture. Thus, all that remains on the snapshot is a blur of white paper and blue-black linework. 'Tis a sad loss to panelological history.
I am delighted to hear of Mr. Filchock's successful career in Christian Science, and of his other panelological achievements. I wish him well in his future career. I apologize for the confusion. Were you to peruse my 1970 notes, you might just as easily make the same error as did I.
Now, as to the other matter: I meant no offense. I am something of a student of linguistics--albeit unlicensed and untutored. I take great joy in the rich variety of pronunciations and voicings of we human beings.
If I have offended any Latin Americans with my sincere attempt at honest transcription, I deeply apologize and regret the hurts I have caused you. From his moment on, any reportage of Raphael's dialogue will be written in "The Kingly English," just as I describe the words of Anglo-Saxons and Caucasians.
I further regret that I have no story to share with you today. I felt that it was important to "claim the air" and I hope you will allow me my humanity, and forgive a well-meaning panelologist for the poor penmanship--and sincere transcription--of his past.
That said, I must also take mention of an apparent enemy in my midst. This fellow complained at great length about me on his blog. I shall be gentleman enough not to name names, or blogs. Let us just say that I shall not be wearing my "beach hat" anytime soon!
That quip aside, I must sincerely state that, as the Ink Spots once sang, "To Each His Own." Live and let live, sir. Although I do not entirely approve of your approach to the study of comic book stories, or, to use the official term, "panelology," I feel that there is room for everyone, and their opinions--regardless of their strength or conviction.
Let us strive to create a rich tapestry of panelological offerings, and not enmire one another in petty squabbles.
I rest my case.