There is a grandeur in this view of life...while this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a begining endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved
Charles Darwin
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An Old Man’s Opinion

I like this story—even though, at the end I, with an interrogative crescendo, head tilting Scooby doo rendition, articulated to myself the Freudian slip of where is Waldo, quickly recovering with the proper Pronoun of Mark?  I suspect my tendentiousness toward this story line is attributed to the evolutionary psychology theory of Patternicity, where there is a proclivity to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise: you see animals silhouettes in the clouds, beatified countenances in pizza toppings, and hear voices in electronic equipment. The suspected proximate cause is the priming effect, in which our brains and senses are prepared to interpret stimuli according to an expected model: life experiences and genetics dictate: the synergistic forces of nature and nurture!

The cognitive perceived commonality, or affinity thread of types of story lines, that you write, which I luxuriate in reading are set in the corridors of academic institutions: UVA, and now, Ralph Waldo…was the omission a projected subliminal… ”Emerson” Elementary. ???

 

I think you should have follow through and not supplanted the name sake with Elementary for two reasons: 1) alliteration effect, you know how I enjoy my alliterations, and, 2) Ralphie Emerson was the patriarch of the transcendentalism; an implicit supernaturalism spin (philosophical religious dogma bickering with the Calvinist about self) in literature—and, the eu-mazing Mark is enigmatically shrouded and foments the air of the ‘spiritual’ transcendental.  You will probably retort that it was too obvious and trite—maybe…

Afflicted with patternicity, I envision a conspiratorial alliance of the janitor that has Willard-like mesmerizing control of small mammals with the precocious maze crafter and expositor, the a-mazing boy, Mark.  The conspiratorial fraternal kinship seed was sowed between boy and janitor with your emphatic fleshing out of the toilet cleaner’s exaggerated behavioral tics: At the waning of saga, I was expecting that Mrs. Hewitt and his dad would find Mark in the company of the janitor.  Unfortunately, there is no absurd or wacky detection network in the brain to discern true and false patterns. We have no error detection governor to modulate the pattern-recognition engine; hence, the use of the filtrating empirical science; therefore, natural selection will favor strategies that make many incorrect causal associations in order to establish those that are essential for survival:

a father’s endearing, unconditional love for his son regardless of the reasons he publicly sports purple hair horns and draws freaky mazes…    

One does wonder if there was purposeful subliminal projection of the schools name to evoke the Turrets syndrome –like outburst of, “where’s Waldo?” I like this story line it has all the potential of a stem cell…

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