2004 Notebook: Weak X
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5 March 2004
No. 8,752 (cartoon)
Everything is about sex.

Why is is that?

Because everything is about sex.

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6 March 2004
A Day at the Races
Some of my learned friends were skeptical when I reported that I’d just returned from the Iditarod race; more than one of them pointed out that it doesn’t start until tomorrow. They assumed I was talking about the Alaskan Iditarod, but I wasn’t. They should have known I wouldn’t fly thousands of kilometers to photograph a bunch of stinky dogs and stinkier guys pulling a sled through frozen wastelands.

Since I’m both sensible and lazy, I joined in the San Francisco Iditarod, an event clearly superior to the original. For starters, there wasn’t a single dog in the race. And instead of sleds, teams of humans in preposterous outfits pulled shopping carts through San Francisco’s main thoroughfares. Empty shopping carts are notoriously unstable, so each of the dozens of teams filled their carts with large quantities of beer and wine.

After police on motorcycles showed up to block traffic, the hundreds of participants raced through town screaming and barking, much to the delight of tourists who saw the San Francisco sights they expected.

In order to avoid heat prostration, exhaustion, et cetera, the Iditarod organizers forced the enthusiastic racers to take twenty-minute rest breaks every few hundred meters. The participants took advantage of every stop; they drank prodigious amounts of beer and wine to replace the fluids lost in the previous sprint.

The racers consumed most of the alcohol by the fifth leg, and that’s when the trouble started. The exhausted participants had difficulty controlling the empty, unstable carts. I watched a number of weak Iditarodders stumble and fall when they failed to negotiate the sharp turn onto the Embarcadero’s uneven brick roadway. I was distressed by the sight of so many bloody elbows and knees and so many overturned shopping carts in puddles of spilled beer that I left.

I sped away from the grim tableau on my bicycle and enjoyed a restorative burrito.

7 March 2004
The Truth About the Poodle and the Spittoon
Suzie asked me if my story about the poodle and the spittoon was true. Why people are forever asking me about the veracity of my statements, this I do not know. I place a high value on the truth. And, like anything precious, I part with it judiciously.

8 March 2004
Devastating Musical Tsunami
Today is a most auspicious day at my laboratory. I just obtained some sophisticated software for my computer that will allow me to make many hours of wretched music with ease. Once I figure out how to connect my bass to my computer, I shall unleash a torrent of audio putrescence.

This is going to be fun!

9 March 2004
Keeping Secrets
Vaughn showed up for lunch in a very foul mood today.

“You sure have a big mouth,” she said.

“And a gracious good afternoon to you,” I replied. “What in the hell are you talking about?”

“It seems that everyone in town has heard about a certain incident with the meat helmets,” Vaughn grumbled, “which was supposed to be our little secret.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I protested, “I was very discreet.”

“Do you call it discreet when you tell half the people we know what happened?” Vaughn shot back.

“Look, I can keep a secret,” I protested, “so don’t blame me if the people I tell them to can’t.”

10 March 2004
The Uselessness of Useful Knowledge
Abraham Flexner was an hombre.

Actually, I don’t know a single thing about Flexner except that he wrote an essay, “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge,” which was published in the October 1939 issue of Harper’s Magazine. The title alone is enough for me to conclude that Flexner was a brilliant guy.

I’m thinking of doing a variation on Flexner’s article; I’ll call it, “The Uselessness of Useful Knowledge.” I suspect thinking about such a piece is as far as I’ll get; I’m too lazy to actually write it.

11 March 2004
The Truth About Carrots
Erin’s Aunt Hilda’s creepy crazy; she’s at least two tacos shy of a combination plate.

I can’t eat a carrot in front of Hilda. If I do, she disparages them as, “the laziest of the lower fruits, creatures that rejoice in the underworld.”

I almost never tell anyone they’re wrong, even of it’s an objectively true observation that no carrot has ever joined the fruit tribe. Hilda doesn’t need to know that.

12 March 2004
Patrick’s Wake
When Dr. Wheeler returned to the lab, I asked him about Patrick’s wake.

“Much alcohol was drunk,” he reported, “and so was I.”

I suppose there’s really not too much to saw about a wake that’s not more or less a priori knowledge.

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©2004 David Glenn Rinehart