2004 Notebook: Weak IX
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27 February 2004
No. 3,242 (cartoon)
You’ve got your hooks in me.

I cut you loose a long time ago.

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28 February 2004
Dinner with Christopher and Barbara
Fish on my dish was my wish, so Christopher and Barbara took me out for dinner last night. Barbara’s extraordinarily beautiful, and I don’t have any idea of how Christopher looks since men are generally invisible. Barbara hates to be photographed, but Christopher accepts a camera thrust in his face with his usual bemused detachment.

The fishy flesh and wine proved to be the catalysts for a welcome state of ebullience, and I made a snapshot that pleased all three of us to varying degrees.

29 February 2004
Bonus Day Swimming
Normally, a year on my home planet lasts three hundred and sixty-five days. With a few notable exceptions, though, every fourth year we get a bonus day, the twenty-ninth day of February. That would be today.

Being of a certain age, I’ve learned how to do everything I need to do is a single year in three hundred and sixty-five days or less. Today is a bonus day, which raises the obvious question of how to spend the extra time.

What to do?

Even though the weather thus Sunday is fine, I’m reminded of Susan Ertz’s observation, “Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.”

Thinking about that called to mind Cyril Connolly’s take on the day, “The boredom of Sunday afternoon, which drove de Quincey to drink laudanum, also gave birth to surrealism: hours propitious for making bombs.”

I think Ill spend the rest of the day swimming my database of quotes.

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1 March 2004
Thumpety-thump Thumping on the Roof
There’s something on the lab roof, something really big. I can hear it go thumpety-thump thump thump in the middle of the night. Ordinarily, I’d use the lab’s periscope to survey the situation, but, since I’ve never had something really big thumpety-thump thumping on the roof, there is no lab periscope. I’ve failed to spot the creature every time I’ve scrambled up the ladder through the hatch to investigate.

Heard but not seen, what to do? Answer: trap.

I had the lads concoct a giant trap on the roof. Once the brute takes the bait, the trap will slam down, and I’ll be able to interrogate the beast at my pleasure.

There’s just one problem with my admittedly cunning plan: I have no idea what to use for bait. Bones and entrails? Discarded electronics? Cheese and oatmeal?

I was about to conclude that the problem clearly required more study when I realized that a problem that doesn’t merit further inquiry probably isn’t a problem.

2 March 2004
Drug Education
Clifford surprised me by volunteering his support for the government’s plan for testing schoolchildren for banned drugs.

“Clifford, no one I know uses more recreational drugs than you,” I replied, “all of which are generally illegal unless you’re in San Francisco.”

“Exactly,” Clifford responded, “If I’d had drug education I probably never would have spent ten dollars on some bird seed the woman in the bathroom of a Detroit bar insisted was marijuana.”

I had to agree; who can argue against greater knowledge?

3 March 2004
I read an interview David Hockney that included this sentence: “I always wanted to be an artist because I like looking—scopophilia, is it called?”

I’d never heard that word before, so I looked it up in my piss-poor dictionary. “Literally, the love of looking.” So far so good; I guess I’m a scopophiliac. Or maybe not. The dictionary went on to say, “The term refers to the predominantly male gaze of Hollywood cinema, which enjoys objectfying women into mere objects to be looked at.” Oops; then I’m not a scopophiliac.

Even though I love to look at everything and everybody, I’m going to resist the temptation to call myself a scopophiliac. Since David Hockney’s gay, he can get away with it. I’m not, and can never seem to win an argument with people who cite Freud and Lacan.

4 March 2004
Around Midnight
It’s around midnight, and that means it’s around time for bed. Tonight, for some reason, I wondered if I should call the point between two calendar days “midnight.” Since humans generally sleep at night, shouldn’t midnight be personal? For example, my midnight is around four in the morning.

Having seriously considered redefining midnight for almost two minutes, I’ve concluded that this has to be one of my more ridiculous ideas. It’s around midnight, and that means it’s around time for bed.

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©2004 David Glenn Rinehart