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 Scenario for an Embarrassment

W E E K  T W E N T Y - S I X

25 June 1997
Scenario for an Embarrassment
Although I generally don't like installation pieces, I've neverthelessdesigned a work for a gallery, Scenario for an Embarrassment. It consistsof a grid of thin, almost invisible, nylon wires attached to a delicately-balancedtower of breakable objects. For the sketch, I used a heavy watermelon balancedon top of a tower of soft-drink cans.

The piece works: while setting up the photograph I accidentally knockedeverything over and made a huge mess. I was embarrassed.

26 June 1997
Constructive Annoyance
A teacher told me she had a student who constantly annoyed her by repeating"Don't tell me how to do it; wait until I ask." I like it, andwish I'd been clever enough to annoy my teachers with that line when I wasa student.

27 June 1997
Toasted Still
I asked Nicole if she was satisfied with the whiskey she was distilling.

"How did you know?" she asked.

"How could I not know?" I replied. "By now I think everyonerecognizes a Sears Hide-a-Still: a fake air conditioner linked to a fakerefrigerator connected to a fake toaster by cords which conceal thin coppertubing."

After that, she really couldn't gracefully turn down my request for asample; she poured me a glass from the toaster. The moonshine left a terribletaste in my mouth that was gone by the fourth glass.

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28 June 1997
Happy Corn
The Safeway grocery store is selling ears of white corn "PICKEDAT THEIR PEEK [sic]!!" I pointed out to the manager that sheshould have used "pique" instead of "peek," since thecorn is never angrier than when it's picked. She responded by saying "their"referred to the Safeway pickers, not the corn. Apparently the pickers wanderthrough the fields pretending to be en route to a party, and peek at thecorn to see if it's ripe.

"By picking the corn before it realizes what's happening,"the manager explained with a smarmy smile, "we're able to sell youhappy corn."

29 June 1997
Passing Out Properly
Scott's preparing for a holiday at his father's Lake Tahoe home, andthere are clouds on the horizon. (They're actually metaphorical clouds,but sometimes those are the worst kind.) It looks like once again there'llbe too many people in too little space.

Scott may have to share a room with a man he describes as "meanbourbon drunk." And a mean bourbon drunk who's a light sleeper at that.Scott's taking a positive approach to the situation; and wonders àla Rodney King why we all just can't get along. To his credit, he's notlosing much sleep over it, figuratively or literally.

"If he hasn't had enough to drink to pass out properly, why shouldI be bothered if he can't sleep in my room?"

30 June 1997
The Quality Control Committee Strikes
I just had a predictably unpleasant visit from the Quality Control Committee.The committee members informed me in no uncertain terms that I have failedto meet my 1997 target of one "good" piece of artwork every week.In particular, they cited 16 April's And Now It's Neither and thisweek's Scenario for an Embarrassment, both of which are "sketches,"not finished pieces. They also judged 12 February's Mick Jagger 1997(unpublished photograph), 12 March's (More or Less) The Sameand 11 June's Sabine Diptych to be "unusually lame."

The Quality Control Committee, never fettered by consistency, criticizedme for being too formulaic as well as not being formulaic enough. The reportmentions "Each week of 1997 (except the first) consists of one 'serious'image and one 'illustrational' image." The Quality Control Committee'smemorandum advises "illustrational images should be used on an 'asnecessary' rather than on a weekly basis."

And so it is that I'm changing horses in the middle of the year. Forthe remainder of 1997, I will be doing a "serious" piece everyfortnight instead of every week, and using more or less more or less illustrationalimages.

What else can I do? No one ignores the Quality Control Committee withimpunity.

1 July 1997
Lunch with Chris and Janet
I had a pleasant but uneventful lunch with Chris and Janet. Actually,it wasn't really uneventful, it just wasn't exciting as Janet's recent lunches.At one, she decided to remove two lemon seeds from the bottom of her icedtea. When she got around to it, though, the seeds were on the table besidethe glass! Another time, she was walking back to her table with a plateof poached salmon, but, when she got there the salmon was gone. Someone--orsomething--had taken it!


Janet also told me about the time she met Oscar Meyer, a not very tallman with a very long car, the weinermobile. (Why is that always the case?)I believe every word Janet says but I'm not so sure about Chris. He claimedto have had pancakes "served by the real Aunt Jemima," but historicalrecords suggest there's no such person. (In 1889 Christian Ludwig Rutt changedthe name of his product from "Self-Rising Pancake Flour" to "AuntJemima" after seeing comedians do a New Orleans-style cakewalk to atune called "Aunt Jemima.")

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©1997 David Glenn Rinehart