2003 Notebook: Weak XXXIX
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24 September 2003
No. 6,969 (cartoon)
Am I supposed to take you seriously?

Take what you can get.

25 September 2003
Permanent Wedding Rings
The old women sitting in front of me on the train are comparing their wedding rings. They’re both talking in very loud voices; that’s how I know that their husbands have been dead for years. Neither woman can remove her wedding band; their hands have become too plump and swollen.

26 September 2003
More is Less
“Libations?” Richard asked when I arrived.

“The usual, in the usual quantities,” I replied.

“I’m drinking less,” Richard announced, “but in the opposite of a Mies van der Rohe sort of way.”

“So more is less?” I asked.

“Precisely,” Richard confirmed, “more or less.”

27 September 2003
Felix McKay
Although most mothers choose names for their children, Fearghas named his mother. And that is why Felix was called Felix instead of Felicity. I always liked Felix; she always made me feel welcome on my many visits to her Edinburgh castle.

Fearghas just told me that Felix died on Thursday. A death of a friend is always sad, but at least she’s no longer in the pain that recently plagued her. That sounds like a cliché, and perhaps it is. With so many people dying from cancer, I suppose everything about the wretched disease is becoming so repetitious. (Until it happens to me, of course.)

Felix always loved sailing; I wonder where she’s sailing now?

28 September 2003
Silly Matrixville Fights
I rarely watch movies. When I’m with friends, I prefer to talk, and when I’m alone I usually create instead of consume. Jets are somewhere in-between, and so it is that I find myself somewhere over Greenland watching an improbable science fiction film, The Matrix Reconcocted.

I’m entertained by handsome young men in cheap suits and beautiful young women in tight-fitting outfits engaging in gravity-defying exercises in pugilism. It’s all very clean, with barely a drop of blood.

These fight scenes are hilarious; the actors twist and leap like martial arts experts on tons of methamphetamine and/or some really, really good lysergic acid diethylamide. But here’s the good part: no matter what happens, the fighters’ fashionable sunglasses never fall off.

This curious detail reminds me of the old Hollywood westerns; the cowboys’ hats never fell off either. This practice allowed the editors to splice the fight footage in any order, something that would be impossible if someone’s hat fell off after crashing through a window and off a balcony.

Meanwhile, back in Matrixville, the acrobatic fighting is sensational, but ultimately not all that impressive. Even though I can’t somersault nearly as well as I once did, I think I could hold my own there with a couple of Glocks and enough ammunition. And, of course, some expensive sunglasses.

29 September 2003
Life Without Gravity
David Brower once gave me some practical advice from his mountaineering days, “Always keep three points of contact.” In climbing terms that meant always keeping three of one’s four limbs on a secure hold while the fourth probed for a new support.

Today, I find myself with only one point of contact. If I was on a sheer rock face where losing one’s grip would probably mean disaster, I’d be in big, big trouble. Instead, I find myself in a new world devoid of gravity, a place where losing my tenuous hold could mean either catastrophe or a passage into a strange new orbit.

I should probably be worried, but I’m not.

30 September 2003
Seeing Alice Again
I asked Alice what she disliked most about being dead. She paused, and thought about the question for a very long time.

“Kisses that never find lips,” she finally whispered.

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©2003 David Glenn Rinehart