Stare.
 
1999 Notebook: Interval X
 
   

28 March 1999
No Martin
I remembered the last photograph I took of Martin. I photographed him and two of his sons outside of the church after the kids were baptized. I knew then that he had cancer, but I don't think anyone knew it was terminal at the time.

Martin died several months after I made the photograph.

I remembered the photograph the other day; it was on the first half of a roll of film in an old Rolleiflex I rarely used. I put the camera away for a few years with the second half of the roll unexposed. I wasn't in any hurry to develop the film; I thought it would be best to wait a few years before seeing the last photograph I made of Martin.

I finally finished the roll of film and developed it this month. When I looked at the photograph of Martin, though, he wasn't there. I remembered a photograph that never existed.

gratuitous image
29 March 1999
James Bong
I just discovered the James Bong Building. (It wasn't that hard to find; it was on one of San Francisco's busiest streets.)

I wonder what goes on in there?

It could be a spy shop for the British Secret Service. I can imagine the bad guys looking in every phone directory in the world for "James Bond" without success. He's using his fictitious name, "James Bong!"

Or maybe Agent 007's real name is James Bong, but he changed it from "Bong" to "Bond" after running it by some focus groups and the British Secret Service's marketing department.

Or there may be an entirely different explanation. Perhaps James Bong invented the bong without using it too much, and thus remembered to patent his creation. I still see bongs in lots of store windows; I suppose the royalties could have accumulated over the decades.

30 March 1999
The Prime Minister's Spoons
I've seen many incredible spectacles, but I've never anything like today's. I was in the rich bastard's lounge at the airport, and there was a large crowd of deadly-serious white men in the corner. A lot of them were obviously security people; that's the logical career path for guys with too much gorilla DNA.

I needed an excuse to see what they were doing, so I told one of the hulks with an ear implant I needed to use the fax machine in the far corner of the lounge. And he believed me! As if anyone still used faxes! I walked through their ranks, and that's when I saw the prime minister of England's performance.

Tony Blair was sitting on a sofa. He had his pants rolled up to his knees to expose the metal plates in his socks and shoes. He was playing the spoons! He banged the spoons on his shoes, slammed them against the metal plates on his socks, and bounced them against each other.

Whacketa-whackety-whacketa!

The most amazing thing, though, was his expression. He had an idiotic ear-to-ear grin; he was smiling like a man who's just seen the angels come to rescue him as he was about to be hanged. His eyes were almost popping out of their sockets as he rapidly gazed from one approving sycophant to the next.

I kept feeding the same three sheets of blank paper through the fax machine, but I needn't have. All eyes were on Tony. Even Prince Charles seemed enraptured; his head bobbed from one side to the other with his ears swaying gently back and forth to the rhythm. He was snapping his fingers like the beatnik he always wanted to be. (He told a friend of mine that, when he was 15, his mother told him, "We do not wish for the heir to the throne to be known as 'Chuck.' " And that was that.)

A woman approached me and said, "I think you should leave now."

I recognized her from the press photos; it was Cherie Blair; the prime minister's wife, who, by most reputable accounts, was the person who really ran their miserable little island.

"I trust you shall not mention this, er, my husband's talents. It's just that the stress of ordering bombing raids distresses him greatly, you see. You will be discreet, won't you?"

Obviously not.

31 March 1999
Procreational Planning Considerations
I wonder how many human beings are having procreational sex at this very moment with the intention of having their kid born on 1 January 2000? What if they miss and it's born on 31 December 1999?

1 April 1999
This Is Not A Test
Today is the first day of April; it's April Fool's Day.

This is art.

2 April 1999
You Never Forget Your First Cult
Don was going on and on about old times. To be fair, though, Don and I will go on and on about just about anything, especially when it involves using his free phone scam.

He was well into a story from ten or twenty years ago when he shook his head and said, "You know, you never forget your first cult."

I don't know how I could tell he was shaking his head over the phone, but I could. I knew.

3 April 1999
The Endless Search for Satisfaction
Over dinner with friends last night, I told everyone the secret of being satisfied. (After a few glasses of wine I'm even more generous than usual.)

"It's simple," I announced. "Drink enough until you can look in the mirror and see a great person. Then gradually reduce the dose until you can look in the mirror and see a great person when you're sober."

"It doesn't seem to have worked for you," said a skeptical but observant friend.

"I didn't say it was a quick fix," I replied. "And besides, I have a steep learning curve. Anyway, it's like the guy who sold a lot of soda--or was it computers?--said, 'the journey is the reward.' "

4 April 1999
Cheating With M&Ms
Years ago I read that one of the big corporate rock groups--the kind that only perform in stadiums--had a candy clause in its contract. The members of the group required that they have five pounds of orange M&Ms in their dressing room. They did this simply for the sadistic pleasure they got from imagining some poor peon sorting through bags and bags of the multicolored candies separating the orange ones from the others.

It seems the M&M Corporation has put an end to such nonsense. I found a store that sells M&Ms in separate colors. One dispensers was full of light brown M&Ms , another had only red ones, and so on.

That's progress, I suppose.

gratuitous image
5 April 1999
Louisa Parker Parker (snaportrait)
Louisa Parker Parker died on 23 May 1870; she was two days old. (Her mother, Louisa Parker, died six days later.)

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©1999 David Glenn Rinehart