2001 Notebook: Weak X
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5 March 2001
Impossible Cheeseburger Pie
Billy’s apoplectic with apoplexy. He’s screaming at a box of commercially adulterated wheat flour. He can’t seem to say much between visceral grunts and howls except, “That’s my idea!” and “I was robbed!”

It seems that some corporation has published his previously secret recipe for “Heart Attack in a Pan.” Worse, the corpodrones have renamed the dish and called it “Impossible Cheeseburger Pie.”

I tried to explain to Billy that theft is an integral part of the creative process, but I don’t think he heard a word I said.

6 March 2001
Fifty States of Death
Arturo sent me a copy of the February 1993 issue of Mortuary Homes Today that he stole from his doctor’s waiting room. Although I usually can’t condone the theft of someone else’s property, I doubt Arturo’s physician will ever notice the loss.

I was fascinated by the profile of Evan Koestler, the elderly North Dakota lawyer who planned on being the first person to be buried in every one of the United States of America. Koestler purchased burial plots in each state of the union, and had a team of attorneys draw up a will that would ensure that two percent of his cremated remains would be buried in each state. (The article mentioned that Koestler originally wanted his body chopped into fifty pieces and distributed among the fifty burial plots, but that wish apparently violated an uncited United States Department of Agriculture directive.)

Koestler was motivated by two desires, the first of which was practical. Koestler wanted to be the first person to spend eternity in every American state. Or maybe not. Koestler believed that Jesus would pay a return visit to our planet in the year 2000, and wanted to make sure he wasn’t overlooked. (The article never mentioned why Koestler didn’t hedge his bets by having a few grams of ashes distributed from Zanzibar to Afghanistan.)

How does the story end? I have no idea. Mortuary Homes Today went bankrupt in 1998, Jesus apparently had otherworldly appointments for the entirety of 2000, and I can find no trace of an Evan Koestler anywhere.

7 March 2001
Too Simple to Understand
I hear a lot of things on the radio, crazy things from all over the world. Or at least from Boston.

I recently listened to an interview with an exceptionally articulate Boston cop. The interviewer asked the law officer how he explained the success of his program that reduced gun violence by seventy percent.

“We told them to stop,” he explained.

The interviewer responded with dead-air silence. The cop sighed.

“It’s a problem,” he admitted. “I’m afraid it’s too simple for people to understand.”

Too simple to understand. I must remember that.

8 March 2001
Beautiful Home Syndrome
Mindy’s having a bad morning. I suppose it can’t be helped; she’s suffering from Beautiful Home Syndrome.

We woke up this morning and made coffee. Mindy and Pico curled up on the couch and stared at the towering wall of trees through the coffee vapors. Everything was still except for the phalanx of ruthless blackberries advancing down the hill through the Seattle mist.

“I don’t want to go to work,” Mindy announced.

Pico ignored her; I suspect she’s heard her say that before. I didn’t want to ignore her, but all I could do was to shrug my shoulders.

We each drank another cup of coffee.

“I don’t want to go to work,” Mindy repeated.

“Sounds like you’re suffering from Beautiful Home Syndrome,” I replied. “I think you should get a cheap, cramped apartment covered with mold and infested with cockroaches. You wouldn’t mind leaving in the morning, and you wouldn’t have to work as hard to pay for it.”

“I have go to work now,” Mindy said as she headed for the door.

Pico went back to sleep.

I poured myself another cup of coffee.

9 March 2001
Terminal Rainier Ale
Oh dear. This afternoon I found myself out of Rainier Ale in an unfamiliar city. Ironically, I could see Mt. Rainier in the distance, but its famous ale was no where to be found in Seattle.

At least, that’s what I thought until I went down to the docks and discovered Terminal Liquors, an adult beverage store that catered to a select maritime clientele.

I’ve purchased Rainier Ale from many dealers, but the Rainier Ale from Terminal Liquors was certainly among the tastiest.

10 March 2001
A Nice Little Virus
I met Tony over drinks at a bar on the sound. Tony offered to buy; how could I refuse?

We talked about our recent adventures since we’d seen each other years ago. We lied, mostly, but that was fine since we’re both pretty good liars. The deceit was going smoothly until Tony successfully confused me.

“Looks like you’re riding a nice little virus,” he said.

“And what virus might that be?” I asked.

“That notebook nonsense you and a zillion other people are doing,” he explained. “I love it! A billion people who have nothing to say writing trillions of words about nothing at all. I love it!”

“I suppose you have a point,” I confessed. “I often do something stupid just to have something to write about the next day.”

I left to use the toilet, then ordered an unopened bottle of Bunnahabhain from the bar. I stashed the whisky in my shoulder bag, and told the waiter to add the cost to Tony’s corporate credit card.

“You know, Tony,” I said when I returned to the table, “I think you might benefit from writing a bit of fiction soon.”

“What are you talking about?” Tony asked.

“I’ll explain later,” I lied.

I won’t need to explain anything to Tony. I’m sure that Tony will appreciate the value of writing nonsense about nothing at all when his company’s accountant asks him to explain a two hundred dollar bar tab.

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11 March 2001
Tuba Busker
I saw a man with a tuba sitting beside a lamp post on a quiet Seattle street. I think he might be there to play for money, but I couldn’t really tell. I watched him for almost half an hour, but he remained motionless except when he occasionally caressed his tuba.

I left him alone with his thoughts and his silent tuba.

12 March 2001
Pornography and Holography
I met a woman at a reception tonight who told me she was an artist “making work using pornography.” I wasn’t quite sure what to say, so I asked what kind of pornographic concerns she found interesting. (Although I’ve never really been interested in pornography, I try to keep an open mind about such things.)

The woman mumbled something about needing to talk to a friend before he left, then scurried across the room. She avoided me for the next hour or two until she left. I didn’t take it personally, especially since I didn’t think anyone could say anything about the art of pornography that would be of much interest to me.

I told Heidi about the aborted conversation, and she laughed. It turns out that the artist in question worked in holography, not pornography. I must have been slurring my hearing again.

Heidi offered to reintroduce me to her later, but I told her that she needn’t bother. I may be prejudiced, but I think pornography and holography are equally unpromising media.

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©2001 David Glenn Rinehart