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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak III

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15 January 2013

gratuitous image

No. 958 (cartoon)

That was a joke.

No it wasn’t; jokes are funny.

You’re a joke, and you’re not funny.

16 January 2013

Living With Cancer

I was visiting Annie yesterday when a neighbor dropped by to look at her broken toilet. He said it just needed a new part, and that he’d be happy to buy and install it for her any day except Friday, his wife’s birthday. He then went on to say that it could be her last birthday because she was suffering from stage three breast cancer.

I couldn’t imagine how difficult their lives must be living with the specter of death. I felt compelled to say something comforting, even if it was a lie, so I told him that all my friends under seventy had survived their cancers. He said he appreciated the optimism.

I saw the man and his wife at the grocery store this afternoon; he didn’t recognize me. She was quite beautiful, and perhaps ten years older than Maggie was before she died from breast cancer before her thirtieth birthday.

17 January 2013

Danke Schoen Until the End of Time

When it comes to death, most people believe you can’t take your belongings with you to whatever comes next. Most people except pharaohs and Fredrik Hjelmquist, that is.

The Swedish music store owner developed a coffin with a built-in stereo system that can be controlled wirelessly by the living. I haven’t seen the specs, but ideally it’s loud enough to literally shake the earth. I’d love to listen to my favorite songs at deafening volume; I won’t have to worry about hearing loss when I’m dead. Still, I’m glad I probably—I haven’t planned that far ahead—won’t be buried. It would be just my luck to have someone play a practical joke and make me listen to Wayne Newton singing Danke Schoen until the end of time.

18 January 2013

Silent Crows

Most of the crows here in New Mexico are quite raucous. Occasionally, though, I’ve spotted a silent one. Wanda and Joel say that, according to the Zunis, people who kill themselves are given the bodies of birds, but remain silent.

I don’t believe in reincarnation; I think the quiet birds don’t have anything to say. And although I know little about ornithology, I suspect the boisterous ones don’t either.

19 January 2013

gratuitous image

Gratuitous Photo of the Weak: Petrified Forest

A tourist at the Petrified Forest National Park introduced himself as Wilhelm, and needlessly added that he was from Bavaria. (I already knew that from his accent and groß beer belly.) He was not enjoying his visit, and complained at some length about coming all the way from München to find the park was barren of bears and offered “nothing but a lot of big, old rocks.”

20 January 2013

The Needles Pricks

I just had an interesting conversation with a waitress in Needles, California, after I asked her to explain why the high school has “Home of the Needles Pricks” painted in five meter high letters on the side of the building. After rolling her eyes, she explained that the school’s football team as originally called the Injuns.

Over the years, the volume of complaints about the racist name became too many for the school board to ignore, and the bureaucrats foolishly let the students choose a new name. They cleverly came up with one that offended many more people than the original.

My worthless dictionary defines “prick” as, “a small hole or mark made by piercing something with a fine, sharp point, a sharp pain caused by being pierced with a fine point, or a sudden feeling of distress, anxiety, or some other unpleasant emotion.”

Needles. Pricks. Get it? I think that there are other definitions of “prick,” but I’m too lazy to do any research.

21 January 2013

Mite Be

I’ve spent my life avoiding communicable diseases by killing off invaders with Rainier Ale and cheap wine, using condoms whenever I’m in Monaco, and all the other normal, prudent precautions. But now I’ve discovered that I may be literally hosting parasites in front of my eyes.

(I’m tempted to go on a rant about why “literally” isn’t a synonym for “figuratively,” but I’ll save that harangue for another day.)

My microscopes—both of them!—are currently being repaired. And so, I can’t confirm this, but it’s statistically probable that I have eyelash mites. Even worse, it’s quite likely that you do too.

The wee parasites are virtually transparent, and only a third of a millimeter long. They feed on dead skin cells and sebum, the oil our hair follicles produce. The little invaders are laughing at me as I type this, twerps.

The article I just read said they’re harmless, but what do scientists know? I was tempted to get rid of them by pouring boiling bleach in my eyes, but then wondered if that might be one of those ill-advised endeavors that have unintended consequences.I’ll take the safe route and go on a bike ride tomorrow down a steep grade where I go eighty kilometers an hour. I shall blink robustly while doing so, then take a hot shower when I’m back and wash my eyeballs with vigor. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll bat my eyelids faster than ever the next time I kiss someone on the cheek adoringly in the hopes that the intruders abandon me for more pleasant pastures.

Stare.

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©2013 David Glenn Rinehart

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