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  Scenario for an Embarrassment

W E E K  T W E N T Y - S I X

25 June 1997
Scenario for an Embarrassment
Although I generally don't like installation pieces, I've nevertheless designed a work for a gallery, Scenario for an Embarrassment. It consists of a grid of thin, almost invisible, nylon wires attached to a delicately-balanced tower of breakable objects. For the sketch, I used a heavy watermelon balanced on top of a tower of soft-drink cans.

The piece works: while setting up the photograph I accidentally knocked everything over and made a huge mess. I was embarrassed.

26 June 1997
Constructive Annoyance
A teacher told me she had a student who constantly annoyed her by repeating "Don't tell me how to do it; wait until I ask." I like it, and wish I'd been clever enough to annoy my teachers with that line when I was a student.

27 June 1997
Toasted Still
I asked Nicole if she was satisfied with the whiskey she was distilling.

"How did you know?" she asked.

"How could I not know?" I replied. "By now I think everyone recognizes a Sears Hide-a-Still: a fake air conditioner linked to a fake refrigerator connected to a fake toaster by cords which conceal thin copper tubing."

After that, she really couldn't gracefully turn down my request for a sample; she poured me a glass from the toaster. The moonshine left a terrible taste in my mouth that was gone by the fourth glass.

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28 June 1997
Happy Corn
The Safeway grocery store is selling ears of white corn "PICKED AT THEIR PEEK [sic]!!" I pointed out to the manager that she should have used "pique" instead of "peek," since the corn is never angrier than when it's picked. She responded by saying "their" referred to the Safeway pickers, not the corn. Apparently the pickers wander through the fields pretending to be en route to a party, and peek at the corn to see if it's ripe.

"By picking the corn before it realizes what's happening," the manager explained with a smarmy smile, "we're able to sell you happy corn."

29 June 1997
Passing Out Properly
Scott's preparing for a holiday at his father's Lake Tahoe home, and there are clouds on the horizon. (They're actually metaphorical clouds, but sometimes those are the worst kind.) It looks like once again there'll be too many people in too little space.

Scott may have to share a room with a man he describes as "mean bourbon drunk." And a mean bourbon drunk who's a light sleeper at that. Scott's taking a positive approach to the situation; and wonders à la Rodney King why we all just can't get along. To his credit, he's not losing much sleep over it, figuratively or literally.

"If he hasn't had enough to drink to pass out properly, why should I be bothered if he can't sleep in my room?"

30 June 1997
The Quality Control Committee Strikes
I just had a predictably unpleasant visit from the Quality Control Committee. The committee members informed me in no uncertain terms that I have failed to meet my 1997 target of one "good" piece of artwork every week. In particular, they cited 16 April's And Now It's Neither and this week's Scenario for an Embarrassment, both of which are "sketches," not finished pieces. They also judged 12 February's Mick Jagger 1997 (unpublished photograph), 12 March's (More or Less) The Same and 11 June's Sabine Diptych to be "unusually lame."

The Quality Control Committee, never fettered by consistency, criticized me for being too formulaic as well as not being formulaic enough. The report mentions "Each week of 1997 (except the first) consists of one 'serious' image and one 'illustrational' image." The Quality Control Committee's memorandum advises "illustrational images should be used on an 'as necessary' rather than on a weekly basis."

And so it is that I'm changing horses in the middle of the year. For the remainder of 1997, I will be doing a "serious" piece every fortnight instead of every week, and using more or less more or less illustrational images.

What else can I do? No one ignores the Quality Control Committee with impunity.

1 July 1997
Lunch with Chris and Janet
I had a pleasant but uneventful lunch with Chris and Janet. Actually, it wasn't really uneventful, it just wasn't exciting as Janet's recent lunches. At one, she decided to remove two lemon seeds from the bottom of her iced tea. When she got around to it, though, the seeds were on the table beside the glass! Another time, she was walking back to her table with a plate of poached salmon, but, when she got there the salmon was gone. Someone--or something--had taken it!


Janet also told me about the time she met Oscar Meyer, a not very tall man with a very long car, the weinermobile. (Why is that always the case?) I believe every word Janet says but I'm not so sure about Chris. He claimed to have had pancakes "served by the real Aunt Jemima," but historical records suggest there's no such person. (In 1889 Christian Ludwig Rutt changed the name of his product from "Self-Rising Pancake Flour" to "Aunt Jemima" after seeing comedians do a New Orleans-style cakewalk to a tune called "Aunt Jemima.")

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©1997 David Glenn Rinehart