2002 Notebook: Weak XXX
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23 July 2002
No. 6,331 (cartoon)
How much pain can you take?

How much do you have?

This is no contest.

24 July 2002
Evy called and asked me if I wanted to go to a party on Saturday.

“Maybe,” I answered, “I’m already going to a couple parties that night. What time is it?”

“It’s like I said,” Evy replied, “Saturday, not Saturnight.”

“I never heard of Saturnight before,” I said.

“I’m not surprised,” Evy responded, “I just coined Saturnight, Sunnight, Monnight, Tuesnight, Wednesnight, Thursnight and Frinight a couple of weeks ago.”

I told Evy that I was excited to be one of the first people to learn about seven new words.

25 July 2002
Fifteen Days a Year?!
Julie’s here in San Francisco for the summer, so we had time for a relaxed, pleasant reunion during a long walk at Point Reyes. During the course of an extended chat about this, that, and the other thing, I told her about my new friend, Sally.

Sally has an impressive-sounding position at an impressive-sounding laboratory. I told Julie that Sally and I had briefly discussed taking a trip up the coast until we quickly realized that it was almost impossible: Sally only gets fifteen days of vacation a year.

“How old is she?” Julie asked.

“Two grey hairs under forty,” I answered.

“That’s ridiculous!” Julie shot back. “At her age, she should have at least six weeks off a year.”

“Sounds unlikely,” I replied. “She seems to have a lot of responsibilities.”

“I didn’t say she should take six weeks off every year,” Julie said. “She should be offered six weeks, but be too busy to take more than two weeks off.”

I changed the subject. Corporate life is just too depressing to contemplate.

26 July 2002
Beer Uniforms
Cherie and I went to the opening of a crap art show, “The Big Nothings: Art from the New Millennium.”

Oops. Big mistake.

When we arrived, we were greeted by a small platoon of young women in small, tight t-shirts and low-cut pants who walked around trying to foist the sponsor’s cheap beer on us. (I declined; I’ve been to Amsterdam enough to know that Heineken is Dutch for “beer-flavored fizzy water.”)

I asked the tenth woman to offer me a watery beer why she had to wear a uniform.

“It’s all about beer, I guess,” she replied.

I apologized for my ignorance. I should have known that.

I took a couple of beers from her tray, then gave them to the doormen. I was embarrassed to discover that I was the first person out of hundreds of guests to think of offering the hired help a drink.

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27 July 2002
The Opposite of Clarity
I wandered away from the picnic as soon as I arrived. The woods seemed appealing, and no one needed my help setting up base camp.

I’d been staring into a thicket for some time when Aerlia approached.

“Are you feeling ill?” she asked.

“I feel wonderful,” I replied.

“You’ve been standing there for nearly an hour,” she said.

“I’ve been savoring a sudden flash of clarity,” I explained.

“So what’s clear?” Aerlia inquired.

I didn’t have an answer. I couldn’t find the words to describe that what I discovered during my moment of clarity was the opposite of clarity.

28 July 2002
A Promising Duet
When Eli told me she was going to take her first piano lesson in two or three decades, I asked her the obvious question.


Eli told me she’d always wanted to play the piano, but that she’d been frustrated by her “musical” environment when she was a child.

“Same here,” I replied. “I spent a decade blowing on my horn, and all I ever did was follow the unambiguous instructions of some dead Caucasians. I couldn’t improvise until I bought my evil bass.”

Eli and I agreed that we’d perform a duet as soon as she’d unlearned all the poison she’d been fed as a child.

29 July 2002
How Am I Doing?
A friend asked me how I’m doing. The name of the friend will remain anonymous, since I always have the same generic answer for that query.

“It’s like Chairman Mao said, if one can believe Garry Trudeau,” I explained. “There’s confusion in heaven, and the situation underneath is excellent.”

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©2002 David Glenn Rinehart