Stare.
 
2005 Notebook: Weak XVII
 
   
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24 April 2005
No. 9,774 (cartoon)
I used to like you.

Used to?

That was before I knew you.

25 April 2005
Fox Hunting with Dog!
I think one of the reasons people break the law is because breaking the law has always been tempting, going right back to Eden. And that’s why, when friends asked me what I did for fun in Scotland, I told them that I went fox hunting with a dog.

My hunt was quite unlike traditional—and recently outlawed—fox hunts in that I didn’t use horses, packs of hounds, trumpets, and all the other trappings of rich twits. Those hunts haven’t changed much since Oscar Wilde described them as, “the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible.”

My hunt involved a single dog, Muttly. When I spotted a fox on the cycle path as Muttly and I took our midnight walk, I’d inform Muttly, “Fox!”

He looked at me quizzically, then a dim light went off in his little canine mind. After spotting the fox, Muttly took off at full speed with an deep, guttural growl.

At this point in the story, the reader might be concerned about the poor fox. Such sympathy, however, would be misplaced in that Muttly posed no threat whatsoever to the fox. As was always the case, as soon as the nominal prey spotted the charging dog, it simply leapt to safety on the embankment. Muttly, however, never seemed to notice the fox’s escape and kept charging ten meters past the spot where the fox was last seen. At that point he would stop, look around, then trot back to me as if nothing had happened. In fact, I think he may have forgotten that the chase ever occurred.

And even in the extraordinarily improbable event he could catch the fox, he couldn’t have bitten the varmint; Muttly never goes anywhere—including fox hunting—without a ball in his mouth.

Tally ho!

26 April 2005
Tasteless/Gross
A friend (who must remain anonymous) is working on a project at Stinky OilCo, from where he sent me this note.

    Last week, when I stole a work minute and attempted to visit your Internet site, I was notified:

    Forbidden, this page (http://www.stare.com/) is categorized as: Tasteless/Gross.

    Congratulations! Tasteless/Gross is high praise from this corporation ...

Since I like to encourage my friends to waste their time, I passed along the Internet Protocol address for my site. That didn’t work either. The corporate morality police, who evidently know their censorship technology, sent my friend this note.

    [Name withheld]

    Your attempt to access, http://167.160.244.60/ may be in violation of Stinky OilCo Policy 692 and has been restricted because it is identified by SmartFilter as having inappropriate content.

    Internet access is logged and monitored. Repeated violations may be reported to Stinky OilCo Global Downstream management and may subject you to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

There wasn’t much to say after that, since the corporate morality police were much more entertaining than anything I’ve ever concocted.

27 April 2005
Raising the Awareness of Poetry Prevention
When people ask why I’m so smart, I have a simple answer: I read The Onion, a publication its publishers immodestly yet accurately describe as, “America’s finest news source.”

In today’s issue, for example, the editors presented a timely story, “National Poetry Month Raises Awareness of Poetry Prevention.” The article, featuring an interview with Dr. John Nieman of the American Poetry Prevention Society, was a timely wakeup call, a critical alert to the growing poetry menace.

Why I am I not reading about this threat in more mainstream media? Although I can’t be sure, I can only assume timid and greedy publishers of less august periodicals are merely puppets of the powerful poetry lobby. I’m increasingly cynical about the future of independent media, but at least solitary voices like The Onion offer a modicum of hope.

28 April 2005
Why I Spend Thursday Nights Alone
I just received a curious, anonymous note.

    We who are your closest friends feel the time has come to tell you that every Thursday we have been meeting, as a group, to devise ways to keep you in perpetual uncertainty, frustration, discontent, and torture by neither loving you as much as you want nor cutting you adrift. Your analyst is in on it, as is your girlfriend. We have pledged to disappoint you as long as you need us. In announcing our association we realize we have placed in your hands a possible antidote against uncertainty indeed against ourselves. But since our Thursday nights have brought us to a community of purpose rare in itself with you as the natural center, we feel hopeful you will continue to make unreasonable demands for affection if not as a consequence of your disastrous personality then for the good of the collective.

Ordinarily, such a missive would concern me. But, since I don’t have an analyst or a girlfriend, I assume the note was intended for someone else. On the other hand, it does seem curious that all of my friends are always too busy to get together on Thursday nights.

29 April 2005
Dessert Options
Erica served me a lovely dinner, then asked me if I wanted any dessert.

“I usually don’t like sweets,” I replied, “but I might be tempted. What are my options?”

“You have a choice of desserts,” Erica replied, “take it or leave it.”

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©2005 David Glenn Rinehart