Saturday, December 12, 2009


The indexical nature of the photograph is more or less neatly documented here: this is an actual thumb with an actual inscription on the pad of flesh underneath it. Of course in another respect it's not "as is" at all - like very many digital photographs (certainly most of mine) it's been faintly tweaked in Photoshop not for deceptive ends, but to bring out the constrasts between sunlight and shadow. But I didn't - as I could have done - write "Index" on a sheet of paper, scan it, isolate its slender pixels, and paste it in. Had I done so, of course, I might have tried a more directly punning montage, sticking the word where it belongs, as a label, under the index finger. This word, if intended as a label, really ought to read "thumb."

But of course, it's a memory tool (note to anyone likely to take my u/grad seminar on "Memory" in fall '10 - and yes, we do advance planningly scarily early in the English dept - it's Mon/Wed period 5 - on the very first day we'll make lists of The Different Ways in which we record things we want to remember). Alice needs to look over the index to Hot Stuff this weekend (when we're not talking to what's beginning to feel like an endless procession of men looking at the boiler). Hence, this reminder. I've never known anyone make notes to themselves on the inside of their hand before: my own habit (when did I stop it?) was always to make notes on the back of my hand - so much easier to see, and to remember... and it was something of a badge of pride at school to have neat little lists there, which one could cross off when done.

1 comment:

  1. I was never allowed to write on my hands when I was younger because all of my teachers told me that I would give myself skin cancer. I'm not sure keeping lists on my hands would work too well, anyway... I'm so neurotic about keeping to-do lists and schedules that I basically time out everything I need to do during the day -- this includes meal times, napping, etc. -- down to the minute. If I forget to add something into my schedule or onto my to-do list, I'll write it down after I've completed it just so I can check it off. Finishing the list is pretty much the greatest part of my day.

    Also, I'm pretty excited that I can already start planning my schedule for next year... I don't think any other department at Rutgers is this organized.