2002 Notebook: Weak V
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30 January 2002
Coma Choir
I saw an ad in a Berkeley coffee shop promoting “The Threshold Choirs for Women.” The ensemble’s leaders have carved out a relatively uncrowded market niche; “we sing to those who are dying or in a coma.”

What a great idea!

I believe that all too many musicians inflict their tunes on the conscious majority. Every day, I hear dozens of melodies that only a comatose listener could appreciate. I can imagine the Threshold Choirs for Women singing their little hearts out for “those who are dying or in a coma.”

That’s just perfect!

The choir members needn’t worry about pesky reviews or audience response. And the audience—a hop, skip, and a jump from death’s door—need not worry about anything at all.

The Threshold Choirs for Women performances remind me of concerts by the ensemble Flipper. On those memorable occasions, I witnessed scores of comatose people delighting to Flipper songs, especially “Life.”

    “Life! Life! Life is the only thing worth living for.”
    (Repeats endlessly.)

I think the members of Flipper long ago dissolved the group. Nevertheless, I dream of hearing Flipper every time I’m within spitting distance of a coma.

31 January 2002
An Inconvenient Suicide Attempt
The long train trip from San Jose to San Francisco took longer than usual last night because someone tried to kill himself by jumping in front of our moving train.

The suicide attempt led many of my fellow passengers to comment on how rude and inconsiderate the would-be victim was. “Couldn’t he have suffocated himself in a garage with carbon monoxide?” “Why didn’t he just take an overdose of drugs?” “He could have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, for Christ’s sake.” And so on.

I suppose a suicide attempt may be a cry for help. As with any appeal, though, it would behoove the person committing suicide to do a bit of market research. My small sample of empirical evidence suggests that commuters on a train are a very tough and unsympathetic audience.

1 February 2002
A Predictable Outcome
I saw an ad for a new [sic] movie about the second world war. I’m surprised that people are still making—and presumably watching—World War Two movies. The good guys always win, the Nazis always lose. That’s as it should be, of course, but such a predictable plot can’t be very interesting.

2 February 2002
The Strange Appeal of Certain Dates
A year, a month, and a day ago, it seemed like everyone was talking about 01.01.01. Today is 02.02.02, and the only item of widespread interest is whether or not a large rodent with the improbable name of “Punxsutawney Phil” will continue to hibernate for six more weeks.
After today, it’s 03.03.03, 04.04.04, 05.05.05, and so on until we arrive back at 10.10.10.

And so on and so forth.

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3 February 2002
Ulysses, At My Service
At 19:18 tonight, I bought a tube of toothpaste from a local chain store. The purchase seemed like a routine, commercial transaction until I examined the receipt the young shop clerk handed me along with my change. The document announced, “I’m ULYSSES. I’m here to serve you with our ‘7 Service Basics.’”

Wow! The ruler of Ithaca and the conqueror of Troy, at my service!

I feel like a complete idiot. I could have asked Ulysses for just about anything, but all I requested was a tube of cheap toothpaste. And what may be worse, I have no idea what the “seven service basics” involve. I suppose I could be enjoying wine, women, and song now, but I am instead brushing my teeth alone.

4 February 2002
The Urination Muse
A friend of mine announced that she was going to start a publishing company. (I won’t mention her name in order to allow her to move stealthily through the dangerous business jungles.)

“And what led you to make this decision?” I asked.

“Well,” she explained, “I’d had quite a bit to drink, which inevitably led me to the toilet. I was just sitting there minding my own business when it came to me. Publishing! Of course!”

Of course.

I recognized the urination muse immediately. After all, that’s one of the main reasons I drink perhaps more than may be prudent.

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©2002 David Glenn Rinehart