2001 Notebook: Weak XVIII
30 April 2001
A Personal Postal Scandal
I suppose that, by now, everyone’s heard apocryphal tales about the nefarious postal employees who destroy huge quantities of mail in order to lessen their workloads.

It turns out that such tales are more than “merely” apocryphal, they’re true. Absolutely. I just learned that sad truth the hard way.

For the last four years, I’ve contracted with Acme Electronic Mail Delivery Systems to deliver the contents of my artist’s notebook of sorts to the eighteen people who’ve asked to receive it on a regular basis. In that time, I’ve not received any feedback from my dozen and a half subscribers. I always thought that was because they had better things to do than react to my nonsense, but it turns out I was wrong wrong.

I just received a letter from the Norwegian Embassy. Steinar Bastensen, a Norwegian whaler, harpooned what he thought was an ailing minke whale that turned out to be a huge glob of email. The Norwegian authorities analyzed the mail, and found several years worth of my notebook entries!

It turns out that Acme Electronic Mail Delivery Systems hasn’t sent out a single piece of mail for me; they’ve just shipped it on a freighter to Denmark, where it was then loaded onto garbage scows and illegally dumped into the North Sea.

That explains a lot.

1 May 2001
Sammy, Not Jimmy
I’m sure there must be a rewarding pursuit in life other than inflicting misery on my friends. In my heart of hearts, I believe that this is true. No, I know it’s true, even though I have yet to come up with any empirical evidence.

I’m embarrassed to admit that, to date, nothing has surpassed the schadenfreude of tormenting my dearest friends with the Sammy game. Anyone who takes even a cursory glance at the rules will appreciate that the game is an evil, painful virus.

So far, so good.

But the game gets even more gratifying when I play it with Dr. Goggin. The good doctor is a master of the game, and perhaps more. Even though I invented the Sammy game, Dr. Goggin claims not only to have introduced me to the game, but that the perpetual struggle should be properly called the Jimmy game.

I shall not stoop to refute such a preposterous proposition. The Jimmy game?! That’s preposterous!

What a silly name for a great game!

2 May 2001
A Sexually-transmitted Condition That’s Inevitably Fatal
Some people are just born complainers, and Ricardo is one of them. Whine, snivel, protest, complain, grouse, and grumble: that’s Ricardo.

Ricardo is not a specialist; Ricardo is a generalist. Ricardo is not concerned with any particular malady or injustice; Ricardo is at war with life. Life.

I’ve tried to reason with Ricardo. I’ve counseled him not to expect too much from a sexually-transmitted condition that’s inevitably fatal, but does he listen?

No, Ricardo does not listen.

That’s life!

3 May 2001
Art or Sickness?
Alain tortures plants. He uses oil paint and fine brushes to slowly poison and suffocate them even as he enhances their aesthetic appeal.

Is that an art or a sickness?

Ah, the age-old questions are always the best!

4 May 2001
A Successful Critical Approach
A year ago Marissa sent me a draft of her first novel. That was bad enough, but then she asked me for “a candid review.”

“I’ve been really busy,” I lied, “but I did make time to read part of it all the way through.”

“And what did you think of it?” Marissa asked.

“I think you’re onto something,” I lied again. “I’ll let you know when I’ve read all of it part of the way through.”

I don’t know whether or not my sophism worked as intended, but, in any case, it’s been twelve months since Marissa asked me for my opinion, candid or otherwise.

5 May 2001
Cinco de Mayo
Today is Cinco de Mayo! (That’s the fifth day of May for any gringos who may be reading this.)

Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the 1862 Battle of Puebla, when courageous and valiant Mexican fighters defeated their swarthy French opponents. What thinking person can’t celebrate the defeat of the invidious French, especially when the revelry involves burritos and tequila?


This is a particularly enjoyable holiday for me; this is the day when I get to tell my Cinco de Mayo joke. Before I tell the joke, though, I carefully size up my audience. Ideally, each of the people who hear this joke will be liberal, open-minded people without a discriminatory cell in his and/or her body.

After I’ve qualified my audience, I ask, “What do you call four Mexicans walking into quicksand?”

No one answers; no one even hazards a guess. Never ever. Everyone in the room just glances nervously at each other, wondering who’ll have the huevos to denounce me for my cultural insensitivity. Or worse.

Only after I’ve confirmed that everyone’s squeaming, I announce the punch line ...

Quatro sinko!


6 May 2001
A boring man cornered me at a party tonight. I could immediately tell he was boring because he wanted to talk about the only thing in the universe that’s more boring than the weather.

“Marnie tells me you do Internet,” he began without introducing himself.

“I try to avoid work whenever possible,” I replied, “but sometimes it ambushes me. And speaking of which, I’m not available.” (One can’t be too careful, even at parties.)

“How’s business?” he asked. “Are you one of those dot-com millionaires?”

“I came out of the whole fiasco pretty well,” I admitted. “I wasted little of my time on any of that nonsense, but still walked away as a thousandaire.”

I confused the boring man with my truthful boast; he skulked away to eat more celery.

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©2001 David Glenn Rinehart