2002 Notebook: Weak XIII
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26 March 2002
No. 6,193 (cartoon)
Is that true?

It depends.

27 March 2002
Hitting the Burrito Spot
I had a pleasant burrito lunch with Alphonse. After we left the taqueria, Alphonse announced that the burrito had “hit the spot.” I didn’t reply to his self-evident statement.

Later, I wondered whether it was physically possible for anything as large as a burrito not to hit “the spot,” especially since the tortilla, rice, and beans expand when combined with beer. That led me to wonder what “the spot” is, and that short-circuited my tiny brain. Too much philosophizing always gives me a headache.

28 March 2002
Without Numbers
I confess: I sometimes work only for money. Not for love, not for the common good, not for art, just for money.

I don’t work solely for money very often, so it’s not much of a problem. Especially since I don’t take commercial work very seriously.

Today, for example, a client called and gently inquired when I’d complete her project.

“I’m not really able to say,” I replied. “As an artist, I often work with a clock that has no numbers.”

“I appreciate that,” my client replied. “As a creative businessperson, I often work with a checkbook that has no numbers. I’m not overly concerned with worldly numbers if you’re not.”

I delivered the work on time. Sometimes working with numbers pays; sometimes it doesn’t.

29 March 2002
Peace Through Filtration
I like the medium of email because it’s cheap, generally reliable, cheap, quick, cheap, and quite malleable. (I should add that email is inexpensive as well.)

I’ve set up my email server to filter my mail and deliver messages to separate addresses. I don’t want to give away too many secrets, but mail with the words “beer,” “wombat,” “burrito,” and “hubba-hubba” is directed to my “read immediately” folder. Most of the mail I receive is unsolicited commercial nonsense from perfidious carpetbaggers; such digital rubbish ends up in my digital rubbish bin.

I provided those tedious technical details as a preface to a silly anecdote.

A friend—anonymous for the usual reasons—recently sent me a transcript of recent correspondence:

    In any event, rehashing this ancient history (and in particular, your “interesting” interpretation of events) is all very amusing, but I seriously doubt anyone cares. I don’t. Perhaps we can agree to disagree? Feel free to have the last word—you’ve entered my “delete unread” filter.

What an elegant way to end an argument!

30 March 2002
Worth His Salt
I’ve always felt that book reviews are a fairly predictable—and thus difficult—medium. The reviewer has to voice an opinion, then support that verdict by noting the publication’s strengths and weaknesses and throwing in a few excerpts. Facts, truth, justice: where’s the fun in that?

And then today, Edward Rothstein inspired me to read the entire review with a brilliant, verb-free introductory sentence in his review of Mark Kurlansky’s most recent tome.

    Gout, crying, writing, walking, tobacco, penises, pickles, epidemics, breasts and now salt.

I think Rothstein is a great writer. Not only did he trick me into reading fourteen paragraphs about Salt, he also snuck a verbless sentence past his finicky editors at the New York Times.

31 March 2002
Nine Different Types of Bread
I went to Ellen’s potluck lunch and ate a lot of bread. It seems that Ellen hadn’t given guests any suggestions on what to bring, and everyone brought bread. I brought focaccia, other people brought rye bread, pumpernickel bread, raisin bread, whole wheat bread, cornbread, pita bread, bread sticks and bagels. Fifteen people, nine different types of bread. Had it not been for Ellen’s ample supply of champagne and orange juice, the event would have been a carbohydrate-rich disaster.

The improbable bread buffet banquet reminded me of my late grandmother Beulah’s folk saying that was popular a century ago. “Everyone brought biscuits to the picnic and wonders why there wasn’t enough fried chicken to go around.”

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1 April 2002
Saint Stupid’s Day
A couple of days ago, a religious organization sent me a letter informing me that it would soon be “time for that ritual that’s older than dirt and more fun than having a job.” The correspondence continued, “If your [sic] human, your [sic] a member of the First Church of the Last Laugh, the world’s oldest religion, the world’s largest church. So you might as well celebrate ...”

Even though I don’t consider myself a member of any particular brand of religion, I nevertheless decided to attend the twenty-fourth annual Saint Stupid’s Day parade. I joined hundreds of stupidly-dressed stupid people carrying stupid signs, making stupid remarks, and doing other stupid things. I felt right at home; these are my people.

As Saint Stupid herself said, “So far, so what?”

2 April 2002
Toward Infrathin
I spent the entire day studying objects in various stages of infrathin. I may have wasted my time; I know no more about infrathin tonight than I did yesterday. About the only positive result of my work is that the empty Rainier Ale cans occupy a lot less space than they did a few hours ago.

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©2002 David Glenn Rinehart