While strolling our block in New York City, we often snicker while passing the ground floor window of Mrs. Niven. We’ve never actually seen Mrs. Niven, but her window, up against the sidewalk, sports a sign inviting us to use a phone number to set an appointment for a psychic reading. Her Venetian blinds are always drawn, making it impossible to know if Mrs. Niven is, at that moment, conferring with a client or watching Oprah with a pint of ice cream in her lap.
On the narrow sill between the blinds and the pane is a dusty display of quartz crystals and other arcania. Mrs. Niven, like most other fortune tellers, seems to believe in the power of quartz to effect introspective wisdom, and I am prone to make fun of this, setting aside my own life-long love of quartz and all other naturally occurring crystals. (I can gaze contentedly at a chunk of raw amethyst for hours. A Swarovski crystal chandelier? Eh. Not so much.)
Today, I read this fascinating installment in Olivia Judson’s series about mutation. It seems that some quartz contain bacteria that live on sunlight alone. They are not on the crystal, but in it. I now wonder if, as a child, when I parted with my life-savings of $1.65 to purchase a quartz crystal at a gift shop on the Vermont/Canada border (I still have it), I was responding to something alive and salubrious. Holding that crystal in the palm of my hand always feels good in a puzzling way. Sometimes I go to it, much as I sometimes seek out blueberries or walnuts or salmon or oatmeal or chocolate or red wine, all of which contain things that I instinctively know to be good for me.
The focus of the article is really not on the business of magic but is on the process of beneficial or deleterious mutation in which some unexpected genetic alterations may be helpful or harmful to the future of a species. A helpful mutation allows its owner to live longer and reproduce more often. A harmful mutation does the opposite.
I suddenly realized that the dim-witted Sally Kern is absolutely right about something: allowing the homosexual agenda to thrive will help to destroy the family structure as we know it today. If my 10% of the population is kept happily rolling about in back rooms rather than marrying in the light of day and raising children, I am an unsuccessful, albeit recurring, mutation. I am good for the species in that I provide Broadway lyrics and your stylish hair but I have no progeny. If C and I had been parents for the past twenty-four years, we certainly wouldn’t have produced a Von Trapp of homosexual tykes, but we would have produced an enlightened set of humans who would now be teaching there own children how to love. Even allowing me to teach in your grade schools and featuring me in the books that kids read, would produce a changed generation, one that does not fear what Sally fears. One that does not hate what Sally hates. One that does not beat up the boy with the blue eye shadow on the school bus. One in which, as Olivia Judson describes, there are spiders that are yellow when they are on a yellow flower and pink when they are on a pink flower.
Ah, but now, as Professor Marvel once said to Dorothy, “The crystal has gone dark”, and I am off to the beach.