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by Christopher Mudiappahpillai

It’s funny how things happen at times. Especially unrelated things.

I’ve been having a series of strange dreams over the last few days. The last one had me attending a Sunday service in our church – which had hardwood floors again – where there were nine couples visiting with new-born babies.

Now, as far as the strangeness of my dreams go, this particular one doesn’t rate vary high. But what happened afterwards does.

I woke up, and suddenly realised the answer to a question that’s been at the back of my mind since I was around seven or eight years old: the original NES controller had buttons that were backwards because of its origins in Japan.

I guess I should explain…

Sometime in 1990 or 1991, I was given an original Nintendo Entertainment System as a Christmas/birthday present. I was ecstatic. (Truth-be-told, I still have it. And yes, it works.) But I was troubled by something. A close look at the controller revealed buttons that go ‘backwards’ – they start at the right and go left.

So, instead of the arrowpad followed by ‘Start’, ‘Select’, ‘A’ and then ‘B’, you have ‘Select’ and then ‘Start’ with ‘B’ before ‘A’. This bothered me quite a bit as a child. (Please keep the ‘What a strange child you were.’ comments to yourself.) And it has come to mind every so often over the years.

Now, I guess I don’t have any real proof for my deduction, but I think it pretty safe to say that this ‘backwardsness’ has quite a bit to do with the Japanese tradition of writing (as far as horizontal verticle script is concerned, anyway) from right to left. And of course, some ‘traditional’ manga must still be read in what we would consider to be a ‘back-to-front’ way.

And there you have it. I guess there must be some truth to all that stuff I’ve heard about our brains working things out while we dream.

And of course, a song. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack from the first season of Grey’s Anatomy quite a bit over the last few days. There are quite a few nice cuts on it, so I guess I’ll be posting several of them over the next little while.

Such Great Heights
The Postal Service
From the Grey’s Anatomy OST (Season One)
Originally from the album Give Up

I am thinking it’s a sign
That the freckles in our eyes are mirror images
And when we kiss they’re perfectly aligned
And I have to speculate
That God himself did make
Us into corresponding shapes
Like puzzle pieces from the clay

It’s true, it may seem like a stretch
But it’s thoughts like this that catch
My troubled head when you’re away
When I am missing you to death
When you are out there on the road
For several weeks of shows
And when you scan the radio
I hope this song will guide you home

They will see us waving from such great heights
“Come down now.” They’ll say
But everything looks perfect from far away,
“Come down now.” But we’ll stay

I tried my best to leave
This all on your machine
But the persistent beat it sounded thin
Upon listening
And that frankly will not fly
You will hear the shrillest highs
And lowest lows with the windows down
When this is guiding you home

Hope all’s well in your part of the world.