Stare.
 
2006 Notebook: Weak XXIV
 
   
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11 June 2006
No. 3,499 (cartoon)
I can read without moving my lips.

I can read without touching myself.

12 June 2006
That’s Why It’s Called Acting
One of the many things I like about the Internet is that the technology provides an easy way for my friends to locate me after a long absence. And so it was that I was delighted to hear from Lori, an old friend with whom I’d lost touch decades ago.

Curiously, I didn’t have much news to convey. Since I’ve been doing self-indulgent work as a worthless artist since I was a teenager, there weren’t many developments to report except for changes in geography.

As for Lori, she reported that she’d long ago abandoned her acting career in favor of raising a family.

“Acting was fun while it lasted,” she said, “but I could only go so far on my breasts.”

“I suppose acting is a brutal profession unless you’re at the top of the food chain,” I said sympathetically.

“That’s true,” Lori agreed, “but I found that it’s even more difficult without much talent.”

She seemed happy, even though raising children is a lot more work than acting. (That’s why the practice is called acting.)

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13 June 2006
Pro Pride Urination
A large investment company recently bought the building in which some of my friends work. Although tens of millions of dollars changed hands in the transaction, the only difference I noticed was in the toilet. Specifically, the new owners installed “Pro Pride” urinal fresheners.

I’m confused about the rationale—if there is one—behind the move. Are the people urinating the professionals, or are there now professional urinal cleaners at work behind the scenes? In any case, where do the amateurs and/or those who don’t take pride in the endeavor go?

14 June 2006
Puerto Rico Driveby
Today’s my first time in Puerto Rico. Actually, I’m not really in Puerto Rico proper; I’m spending a few muggy hours in the San Juan airport holding pen between flights. I ordered a sandwich, which arrived with deep-fried potatoes and some sort of neon-orange, cheesy-flavored sauce. That may or may not be an example of the island’s cuisine; I don’t care.

I really do try to keep an open mind about most things, but I admit I have some old prejudgments against Puerto Ricans. Some years ago, an old friend married a man from Puerto Rico. After that, she told me that she couldn’t talk to me again, because her sexist pigdog husband forbade her to speak with anyone who knew her before she was a virgin.

But that was a long time ago; she since divorced the troglodyte. With apologies to all the fine Puerto Ricans everywhere, I’m glad my first visit to Puerto Rico will almost surely be my last.

15 June 2006
Welcome to St. Kitts
Although I generally avoid taxis, I took one last night since was the only way to get out of the St. Kitts airport.

The driver asked me where I’d come from. When I told him I’d traveled from San Francisco, he replied, “Well, then I have a story for you.”

Normally, I’d grimace at the thought of being a captive audience for a cabbie’s monologue, but his Caribbean accent was so mellifluous I didn’t care.

The driver told me that he’d only been to San Francisco once. He reported that a man approached him on a nude beach and asked him if he knew Wendy. The man explained that he’d once gotten quite drunk with a woman named Wendy, and woke up the next day with a horrific hangover and the word “WENDY” tattooed on his penis. He went on to say that since my cabbie had the same tattoo, he was wondering if he’d had the same experience.

My driver said he was confused, then realized the man, being polite, hadn’t taken a careful look. “Actually,” he replied, “it says Welcome to St. Kitts, have a nice day!”

The cabbie then laughed uproariously at his stupid joke. I didn’t find the tale amusing, but his accent was so wonderful that I would have enjoyed listening to him read the telephone directory.

“Tell me another one,” I said.

“You’re maybe the first person who wanted to hear more,” he admitted.

“I’m not surprised,” I concluded.

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16 June 2006
Dominoes!
I’m not good at exploring other cultures, mostly because I’m shy and suffer from occasional bouts of curiosity deficit disorder. And so, I sometimes turn to television to find out what’s happening locally when I’m in other parts of the world.

I generally despise television, and haven’t owned one in thirty years. When I’m traveling, though, the medium’s banal pablum seems like good fare, especially if I can’t understand the language and/or culture.

For example, when I initially turned on a television in the Soviet Union (back in the days when there was a Soviet Union), the first thing I saw was a Communist tractor plowing a Communist field with a soundtrack of patriotic Communist music. What fabulous Communist luck!

Today, I’m enjoying the mesmerizing broadcast of four Caribbean men playing dominoes, complete with the earnest commentary of domino experts skeptically questioning the wisdom of every move. I’m enjoying the spectacle perhaps as much as last year’s go tournament on Korean television.

Go, dominoes, go!

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17 June 2006
A Dozen Seashells by the Seashore
I spotted some seashells while I was snorkeling off the coast this afternoon. That wouldn’t be a remarkable observation except for one thing: there are no seashells around here.

The shells I found were in a clear, plastic bag that was partially buried in the sand. The stash hadn’t been there long; the bag still featured a paper label identifying the shells’ provenance: “Origin: India, Mexico, Philippines.”

I wonder how the shells got there? I have lots of theories, all of which are quite improbable. I’m happy to leave this little mystery unsolved. The sheer artificiality of the find provided a rewarding experience with the simulacra that passes for the natural world.

I have no interest in collecting seashells, so I shall scatter them along the sea bed on my next dive. With any luck at all, some scientist in hundreds of thousands of years will ponder how mollusks known to live in only one part of the globe came to be found on the other side of the planet.

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©2006 David Glenn Rinehart