2001 Notebook: Weak XXXII
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7 August 2001
Bunny-Munch Carrots
I was dumbfounded when Herbert told me his children wouldn’t eat carrots because they thought carrots caused flatulence. I may not know much about anything, but I do know that carrots are one of nature’s most beneficial and benign fruits. (I eat a lot of carrots; that’s why I can see in the dark.)

After a trip to Herbert’s refrigerator, I found that the problem wasn’t the carrots; the carrots’ packaging was the culprit. Some marketing idiots made the unfortunate choice of branding their company’s carrots “Bunny-Munch,” and using an even more unfortunate choice of illustrations. The cartoon rabbit on every bag of Bunny-Munch carrots appears to have a severe gas attack, all because some underpaid illustrator couldn’t draw a rabbit’s tail.

Entire civilizations have been destroyed by smaller mistakes.

8 August 2001
Independent Shadows
I took the train to Sherrie’s temporary studio and saw an amazing new piece. Through some combination of lighting, filters, and glass walls, she created an environment in which there was no apparent correlation between shadows and the objects that cast them.

She wouldn’t tell me how she did it.

“I don’t want to say too much on this topic,” she explained. “A girl’s gotta keep some secrets.”

9 August 2001
Thirty Years of Silence Ended
I heard a story about a Vietnamese soldier who was injured during a View Nam War battle. He survived his wounds, but never spoke again. Never, that is, until he got very drunk at a party in his village, at which point he spoke at length.

His thirty-year silence may have been caused by the trauma of war. Or perhaps he didn’t have anything to say for three decades.

But then again, there’s also the possibility that he still hasn’t said anything, and that the powerful rice wine was talking out of the veteran’s mouth. Alcohol is a great ventriloquist; I’ve seen it work its tricks more times than I can remember.

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10 August 2001
Transplanted Stump
I became confused when I saw the stump of a huge tree a few meters from the Pacific Ocean on a beach near Florence, Oregon. I knew that such a tree could not have grown or survived so near the shore of the ocean, so how did it get there?

That’s the question I asked at a local bar, The Crab Pot. One of the locals told me that “some damn hippies” had brought in a huge tree stump with a helicopter, then buried it in the sand. (The tree, that is, not the helicopter.) As I understand it, a team of photographers, lighting technicians, actors, and various apparatchiks descended on the displaced stump and made a series of “public service” advertisements warning against the myriad perils of coastal logging.

Since all the firs, redwoods, and sequoias vanished from west coast beaches a zillion years ago, I fear it’s too late to save the transplanted stump’s relatives. As the damn hippies know, however, it’s never too late to make money.

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11 August 2001
Nasty Tool
“You’re going to need these,” Greg said as he tossed me a pair of vice grips.

I was worried; I recognized the weird pliers from Michael Rosen’s photographs. I’d seen vice grips attached to men’s genitals and women’s nipples; ouch! I find pain painful; I didn’t like the idea of using this nasty tool.

As it turns out, Greg had another plan. He discovered that vice grips can pull out rusted and corroded staples from a roof under repair, that’s what I’m going to be doing for the next few days.

I felt uncomfortable using a sexual aid in the services of carpentry, but I’m sure I’ll get over it in a thousand staples.

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12 August 2001
An Alien Tableau, Demystified
I ran across a strange thing on the ocean beach today; I found a board covered in pink worms. Each pink worm was attached to the board on one end; the wiggly end was encased in a small, transparent shell. Occasionally, feathery teeth emerged from one of the shells to probe the air for prey.

I told Jim about my discovery and showed him a photograph of the alien tableau.

“Oh, those are common as tears,” Jim explained. “They’re just a bunch of Pacific Goose Barnacles. The birds will have eaten them by now.”

How sad. I don’t care if a bunch of birds ate a bunch of worms, but I do find it lamentable that too much knowledge can transform a pod of mysterious wormy creatures into a few dead barnacles.

It’s too late to do anything about Jim’s maritime knowledge, but I shall treasure and protect my ignorance.

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©2001 David Glenn Rinehart