2003 Notebook: Weak XXVI
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26 June 2003
No. 5,042 (cartoon)
This has to end.

How could it be otherwise?

27 June 2003
The Pain of the Pig
Alvin asked me why he was sick, so I told him.

“It’s probably the three pork chops you just inhaled,” I said.

“Do you think it might be trichinosis or something like that?” Alvin asked.

“That’s improbable,” I suggested. “The pig you ate was raised in the porcine equivalent of a concentration camp. The pain of the pig is no longer with the pig, its pain is now inside you.”

“That’s rubbish,” Alvin replied.

“Your argument isn’t with me,” I responded, “your disagreement is with the pig.”

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28 June 2003
American and German Toilet Paper
My associates at the laboratory have repeatedly asked me more questions about my recent trip to Germany than I can answer, so I decided to provide an interactive presentation. After putting a roll of German toilet paper in one of the lab’s toilets, I emailed this memo:

    For those of you who’ve recently asked me what Germany is really like, I’ve placed a roll of German toilet paper in Bathroom C. The German paper is darker and coarser than its American counterpart. Achtung! The German toilet paper is narrower than the paper you’ve been using; plan accordingly.

My interactive experiment was a success; no one asks me about Germany any more.

29 June 2003
Authorship and Originality
Herman asked me which one of Sol Lewitt’s works I plagiarized to make my piece, One Hundred and Eighty-Four Lines Generated Randomly Within Certain Subjectively Chosen Parameters Resulting In Five Empty Diagonal Corridors.

“Beats me,” I said. “I think it was more or less my idea, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s like Karl Valentin observed, ‘It’s all been said already, though not yet by me.’”

Authorship and originality are overrated.

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30 June 2003
Increased Aleness
Bay Area Rapid Transit, or BART, system administrators have posted advertisements in subway stations announcing, “We’ve increased our alertness.” The government employees don’t appear to be any more vigilant; no one ever inspects the contents of large suitcases capable of holding dozens of kilograms of plastic explosives.

An anonymous citizen corrected a misleading announcement by deleting the “rt” from “alertness,” resulting in the much more probable pronouncement, “We’ve increased our aleness.”

Later, I saw what appeared to be two empty cans of Rainier Ale beneath a BART train driver’s seat.

1 July 2003
Roller Considerations
I saw a man driving a pompous, powder-blue Rolls Royce near the lab on Folsom Street in San Francisco. I couldn’t avoid noticing such an ostentatious vehicle, and, by extension, its driver.

A man with a grossly misshapen head piloted the tank with a grille the size of a tombstone down the street. He reminded me of John Merrick as depicted in the film Elephant Man, although he didn’t appear that grotesque. Why was he driving a pretentious car that was designed to attract attention?

Money does strange things to people.

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©2003 David Glenn Rinehart