Turning to a colleague, I asked, “What’s this ‘Doctober-fest’ that everyone’s been talking about?”
He smirked, taking note of my ignorance.
“What?” I inquired. Suddenly, I was interested. Before I only spoke in order to break the silence of workplace monotony. But now we had the beginnings of a conversation brewing. Cooking with fire, if you will.
“Yes? I’m all ears sweetheart.” The “bro-mantic” undertones were almost palpable.
“One—it’s ‘Doctober,’ not ‘Doctober-fest,’ or whatever the fuck you called it.”
“Oh…I wonder what I was thinking of?”
“Oktoberfest, you jackass.”
I paused,; my mind was momentarily lost in thought. “I can see where I confused the two. I had some wine last night. Imported stock. So, that train of thought makes sense.”
Shaking his head, bemused at my eccentric musings, my peer continued: “And secondly, he’s a baseball player. For the Phillies.”
That did it. Conversation over. Well, it was good while it lasted. Sports are by no means my area of expertise. And we both knew this.
Knowledge like that lies in the margins of my brain. And that got me thinking. What else is there in life’s little corners?
Historically, the outskirts of such things like manuscripts have been very fruitful entities. Take, for instance, Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum. Within, tucked away in the margins (see what I did there?), is the first surviving poem written in English. Quite the discovery, I’d say.
It’s certainly more interesting than what I write in the margins of my notebook. During one boring lecture, I jotted down this treasure in the sidelines of a piece of paper: “You sir, are just one dick, in a great big bag of dicks.”
Moving away from that oh-so interesting snippet of dialogue, I frequently find physical objects, those not of an artistic persuasion, to follow instep with this thought process. Take fast food and the obligatory order of French Fries that go along with it. Extra fries will always get lodged in the recesses of the bag. They will. It’s just a fact.
And these estranged pieces of potato will, without a doubt, taste better than the rest of the order. It’s one of life’s little boons.
What other great surprises remain hidden in the margins? (Fuck, I’m going to need a synonym for ‘margin’ before this article is done. What shall it be…? Brim, verge, side, etc?)
The shoreline of social interactions, too, is a veritable cornucopia—pretentious much?—of interesting occurrences. Take for instance, a rainy day in New Brunswick. Huddled in the library, reading whatever wrinkled paperback you can get your hands on to pass the time, you strike up a conversation with some random person who turns out to be really cool.
Isn’t that the best?
You’ll never talk to them again. You weren’t planning on conversing with anyone that afternoon. Hell, you don’t really even know who they are. Yet it happened. And it was fantastic.
What I’m trying to say is simple, folks. Just stop and fuckin’ smell the roses from time to time. Take a look around. No one’s stopping ya.
 New Brunswick, much like Seattle, New York City, and Edinburgh, is one of those cities that get infinitely better with rain.
Photo courtesy of insideview.ie