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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak II

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9 January 2018

gratuitous image

No. 6,541 (cartoon)

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Try eleven.

10 January 2018

A Posthumous Surprise

My Christmas card from my cousin in Florida just arrived yesterday. I don’t know why Janice sends ’em; I suppose that’s about the only way she can keep distant relatives like me abreast of current affairs, or, more accurately, marriages and babies. It seems that all of her kids, nieces, nephews, and cousins many times removed are busy reproducing.

I stopped trying to keep up with who begat whom, whom begat who, and so on, a long time ago. I’ve never met most of them and never will, and they’re breeding faster than I can remember new names.

I opened up the card so I could truthfully report that I’d seen the picture of Elmer and Millicent’s new baby, then I got a surprise when a check fell out.

I quite like Janice and we’ve never felt the ridiculous obligation to exchange gifts on an alleged holiday I do my best to ignore. I was initially annoyed that she broke our unspoken truce, but then saw the check wasn’t really from her. It was her handwriting and signature, but the five thousand dollars was from Don—Janice’s father and my uncle—who died last April.

I’m fortunate that I didn’t have any foreseeable need of the money; that allowed me the luxury of being grateful that he remembered me as his brother’s son who kept his memory alive with bad jokes, tawdry tales, and worse. I hadn’t seen him in five years, but I always called him on his birthday, as well as my father’s birthday and deathday. We never spoke long, just enough to assure him I was leading a suitably debauched life. I never really have, alas, but he appreciated the sentiment.

I wish he had warned me that he was going to leave me such a generous amount in his will; I would have told him what I was going to do with it: piss it away most of it on wine, women, and song, then spend the rest foolishly. It wouldn’t have been true, but both Don and I knew a good lie trumps a tedious truth any day.

11 January 2018

Murphy’s Law

Edward Aloysius Murphy Junior would be celebrating his hundredth birthday now if he hadn’t died in 1990. You’ve heard of him even if you’ve never heard of him; he came up with Murphy’s law: “If there’s more than one way to do a job, and one of those ways will result in disaster, then somebody will do it that way.” Or more concisely, “If anything can go wrong, it will.”

Or maybe it’s not really Murphy’s Law at all; eminent scholars disagree whether he’s the first person to arrive at what by now is an obvious conclusion. Perhaps it’s really George Nichols’ and/or Paul Stapp’s Law.

There is definately a wrong way to write a brief remembrance of Murphy, and I just did.

12 January 2018

Expectation Management

Melanie dropped by my studio on her was to have a drink with “some guy I met on the Internet.” I pointed out that she was as shabbily dressed as I was, plus a small grease stain on her shirt.

“I love it when you’re in femme fatale mode; trying to seduce him immediately?” I joked.

“Quite the opposite,” she replied with inappropriate seriousness. “I’m using expectation management so he’ll never look forward to me dressing better than this.”

I agreed with her strategy, but then I would, wouldn’t I? I’ve always done well by promising people nothing then giving it to them in full.

13 January 2018

Save the Antarctic Polar Bears!

I’m not much of a writer; I just like to tell tall tales and bad jokes. My writing will never be forgotten because it will never be remembered. Like so much of what I say, that’s not exactly true.

Decades ago—or was it a couple lifetimes ago?—I printed an editorial in the Greenpeace magazine I edited and published. I wrote about the imperative to preserve Antarctica and not put the survival of the penguins, marine mammals, and polar bears who lived there at risk. My writing made a strong impression; people still cite that editorial today. They use it as a reference to prove how stupid the idiots running Greenpeace really are: there are no polar bears in Antarctica.

My purportedly creative work with soon vanish without a trace, but my stupidity will live on forever.

14 January 2018

A Stooopid Million-Dollar Question

I hate stooopid hypothetical questions, and Lara’s was one of the worst.

“What would you if you found a million dollars in cash?” she asked.

“I’d probably keep it as long as it didn’t get me killed,” I replied. “That many bills would probably be from some illegal venture. What would you like for lunch?”

She didn’t take the hint.

“But what if you knew the money legitimately belonged to someone who lost her suitcase?” she continued.

“Then I’d probably return it if she was poor,” I concluded. “And unless you have that much money on you, I’m not going to answer any more speculative questions about anything that’s not going down our gullets soon.”

I knew she didn’t have ten kilos of cash with her, and we enjoyed a happy grilled cheese sandwich ending.

Stare.

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©2018 David Glenn Rinehart

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