Stare.
 
2002 Notebook: Weak L
 
   
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11 December 2002
No. 2,717 (cartoon)
I’m in pain.

Pain is just a state of mind.

It can also be a deep, bleeding gash in my arm.

12 December 2002
The Musician’s Private DNA
I ran into a famous musician when I was in the kitchen gobbling up the leftover salmon at Linda’s party. I never particularly enjoyed the musician’s music; he’s one of those people whose fame comes from being famous, not from doing good work. Since we had nothing to say to each other, that’s what we said.

When I mentioned the unencounter to Linda, she said I should have asked the musician about his gloves.

“What gloves?” I asked.

Linda explained that the musician was worried about someone stealing his DNA. He wore thin, synthetic gloves to keep every trace of his DNA off dishes and doorknobs. [The gloves are almost transparent; that’s why I didn’t see them.] He’s obsessed that someone’s going to make genetic copies of him.”

“That certainly is a frightening possibility,” I agreed.

“And there’s more,” she added. “Check out the big, hairy, neckless anthropoid standing in the corner. That’s his personal assistant-cum-bodyguard. I bet you can’t guess what he has in the fat aluminum briefcase.”

“I bet you’re right,” I admitted. “Automatic pistols? Harmonicas? Worse?”

“That’s where the musician keeps bags full of every bit of urine, phlegm, and shit that came out of him since he left his house,” she said. “Plus every napkin, every piece of newspaper, and every sheet of toilet paper he’s touched today. And maybe even a harmonica, too.”

Linda and I agreed that the musician’s extraordinary steps to prevent more creatures like him from ever being created are an invaluable, albeit bizarre, service to generations yet unborn. Too bad we still have to listen to him.

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13 December 2002
Eluding the Evil, Stocking-stealing Demons
At 12:49 I put my dirty clothes—including five pair of socks—into the lab’s washing machine. By 13:37, all my clean, damp laundry—including ten socks—was hanging on the lab’s clothesline. As I gazed at the drying socks, I wondered how they managed to elude the evil, stocking-stealing demons that feed off my laundry.

14 December 2002
Thinking Like a Kindergartner
I went to a holiday party last night, and met a charming woman named Sandy. She’s the first kindergarten teacher I’ve met since I said goodbye to mine several decades ago.

After chatting for a while, she apologized for her behavior. “I’m afraid I think like a kindergartner.”

“What a coincidence,” I replied cheerfully, “so do I.”

We spent hours playing with our food, making faces, blowing bubbles in our drinks, and laughing at the stupid grownups. Except for a little spat when I selfishly refused to share one of my toys, it was a lovely evening.

15 December 2002
Grey, Frozen Rain
I’m in Flint, Michigan, of all places. It’s morbidly grey here, beyond any hope, and colder than the bloated cadavers that litter the violent, postindustrial landscape. What is it about the inexplicable magnetism of Flint that leads people to live in a place where frozen rain accumulates into mountainous piles of sludge?

16 December 2002
My Box of Dreams
My mother asked me about my dreams. I told here that I didn’t have any dreams; I explained that I had learned to thoroughly enjoy the present. I added that dreams were good investments for young people, and that I’d realized my dream by living a wonderfully rewarding life.

“You certainly did have lots of dreams when you were a boy,” she said. “Do you remember keeping them in one of Rosco’s old cigar boxes by your bed?”

“I’d forgotten about that,” I replied. “What ever happened to that box?”

“I finally threw it out like you told me to,” she said.

It turns out that my box of dreams was part of a large collection of childhood memorabilia she’d preserved. It took me years to convince here that I’d never, ever want to look at my old toys, school papers, favorite clothes, or other childhood relics again.

Although I’m curious what my unrealized childhood dreams were, I’m glad they’re gone. I’m having too much fun living today to be distracted by dreaming, or by the past.

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©2002 David Glenn Rinehart