Stare.
 
1999 Notebook: Interval VI
 
   

18 February 1999
Remembering and Forgetting Drugs
Elyse was going to tell me something, but couldn't remember what it was.

"What's that drug that helps you remember things?" she asked.

"I used to know the name," I replied, "but I've forgotten it."

"Sounds like you could use some of the drug I'm looking for, too," she said. "I'll let you know if I find any."

I then explained that the reason I didn't remember the name of the drug that makes you remember things is that I've been taking the drug that makes you forget things. Now, I can concentrate on the things that matter.

As if anything did.

19 February 1999
Inoffensively Offensive
A few days ago I programmed my Internet site to display the following text for two seconds when someone visited the site. I figured two seconds would be enough to read the headline, but not much else.

    Warning: Adult Content!

    This is a site designed and intended for adults who are interested in and wish to have access to visual images, verbal description and audio sounds of an artistically oriented, frankly aesthetic nature. This site should not be accessed by anyone who is younger than 18 years old or who does not wish to be exposed to such materials.

    By going beyond this point, you are making the following statements: "Under penalty of perjury, I swear/affirm that as of this moment, I am an adult, at least 18 years of age." "I promise that I will not permit any person(s) under 18 years of age to have access to any of the materials contained within this site."

    No materials from any parts of stare.com may be downloaded by and/or made accessible to persons located in the following areas: Alabama; Florida; except Ft. Lauderdale; Miami; and St. Petersburg; Georgia; except Atlanta; Kansas; except Kansas City; Kentucky; Minnesota; Missouri; Mississippi; North Carolina; Ohio; except Cleveland and Cincinnati; Pennsylvania; except Philadelphia and Pittsburgh; South Carolina; Tennessee; except for Nashville; Utah; Afghanistan; Kuwait; Iran; Iraq; Japan; Jordan; Libya; Pakistan; The Republic of China; Singapore; Saudi Arabia; Syria; The United Arab Emirates; or any other wretched place in which to do so would constitute a violation of any ridiculous law, asinine regulation, petty rule, good taste, or silly custom. Any and all unauthorized downloading of materials from stare.com shall constitute intentional infringement of stare.com's rights in such materials.

    18 U.S.C. 2257 compliance notice. All models, actors, actresses and other persons that appear in any visual depiction of actual artistic conduct appearing or otherwise contained in or at stare.com were over the age of eighteen years at the time of the creation of such depictions. Some of the aforementioned depictions appearing or otherwise contained in or at stare.com contain only visual depictions of actual artistically explicit conduct made before July 3, 1995, and, as such, are exempt from the requirements set forth in 18 U.S.C. 2257 and C.F.R. 75. With regard to the remaining depictions of actual artistic conduct appearing or otherwise contained in or at stare.com, the records required pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 2257 and C.F.R. 75 are kept by the custodian of such records.

I figured right. The day after I put the note on the site I received an email message from someone named "Cimmeron." S/he complained that s/he couldn't find anything offensive on the site. Oh well. I can't remember if it was Johannes Brahms and/or Lenny Bruce who said, "If there is anyone here whom I have not offended, I beg his pardon."

20 February 1999
The Second Strongest Urge
A friend emailed me a piece he'd written and asked what I thought of it. I couldn't resist the temptation to edit it, so I didn't. Resist, that is. I tore it to pieces then put it back together again.

My friend was surprised that I'd taken the time to almost rewrite his piece when all he'd asked for was my opinion.

"After sex," I explained, "the strongest human urge is to edit someone else's work."

"That's strange," he replied. "I've never had the urge to edit after sex, or even smoke for that matter."

What could I say?

21 February 1999
Jamaican Photo Recipe
I asked Mark why he didn't take any photographs on his trip to Jamaica.

"I don't like to take photographs. Photography is a lot like cooking; it always tastes better when someone else does it."

22 February 1999
Spooky Derders
A few months after I wrote about derders, I was surprised to read a description of their aesthetic uses in Tom Robbins' book Skinny Legs and All:

    In any case, he had more than a decade's worth of toilet tissue rolls stored in the attic of his Colonial Pines bungalow, and when he commenced to make art, he drove his van down to Virginia and loaded them up.

(If you want know who "he" is and what he made with the derders, you'll want to read the book. In any case, you'll probably want to read the book.)

From what I can deduce, Skinny Legs and All was first published in 1990, some five years after I first witnessed my friend's collection of derders. I'm sure there's an explanation for this coincidence, but I have no idea what it might be.

gratuitous image
23 February 1999
Craig van Note (snaportrait)
Craig is a friend of mine, and a fire hazard as well.

gratuitous image
24 February 1999
Marie Santil's Folly
The clerk at the liquor store (Stop-Buy Liquor) handed me my latest magnum of cheap red wine in a paper bag. The bag really wasn't up to the task; the bottle thrust its plastic-wrapped neck out the mouth of the bag like a ... never mind the bad analogy.

The bag was "MADE IN THE U.S.A." by Marie Santil. Actually, I doubt that Marie Santil had much to do with creating the bag; I think putting the name of a production line worker on a mass-produced object is one of those things a smart corporation does to keep workers from mutinying.

The bottom of the bag advised me to "Reuse this package for its many alternate uses in the home." The bag really wasn't of much use--other than cosmetic--the first time around; I'm not sure what other use I could find for a 4.75" by 3.375" by 9.75" bag. That works out to 156.3046875 cubic inches, not enough room for the reeking fill of a full cat box, and way too much room for a dead gerbil.

I fear Marie Santil may be wasting her time, and perhaps a few trees.

25 February 1999
Fortunately
I have the good fortune of having many friends with many good fortunes. A few of these fortunes are of the financial variety, and so it was that, within the last week, one friend treated me to an eighty-dollar lunch, another unrelated friend took me out to a hundred-dollar dinner. I felt uncomfortable accepting their generosity until I did some calculations.

One of my generous friends has approximately a thousand times more money than I do, so when she bought me a hundred-dollar dinner it depleted her net worth as much as if I had taken someone out to a ten-cent dinner. The math is simple enough to be obviously true, but I can't really imagine what it's like to have as much excess money as excess oxygen.

My wealthy friends didn't provide any conclusive empirical evidence. One of them seemed rather to enjoy all the things that money can buy; the other seemed rather sad at having a small financial fortune but few of the things that money can't buy. This could be one definition of unfortunate.

I have enough of a fortune for a burrito and a few beers whenever I want. I also have, of course, the good fortune of having many friends with many good fortunes.

26 February 1999
More Editing Adventures
I'm having my second editing adventure in a week, although this time I am the edited, not the editor.

A dear friend who knows much more about the English language in general, and, the, secret, lives, of, commas, than, I, ever, will, edits much of my work. Recently, a piece I sent him came back to me leaner and trimmer, as if I'd sent it to Wayne's Weight-Loss Hacienda for Overweight Writing. Or perhaps the Betty Ford Clinic for Disturbed Prose. Whatever. He included a preface to the new piece I allegedly wrote:

    As you will see, I've preserved much of what you sent, but I've deleted a bit, mostly because I'm not sure that you didn't want to say a great deal more than you did.

I don't know much about writing, but I do know those are weasel words. They're more than that, though, they're sophisticated, elegant weasel words. They're so sophisticated, and so elegant, that they're not even really weasel words. They are ermine words, mink words, the words of a harp seal that hasn't lost its translucent fur.

Now that's what I call creative writing!

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©1999 David Glenn Rinehart