2004 Notebook: Weak XVI
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16 April 2004
No. 1,663 (cartoon)
You couldn’t be more cruel, could you?

I won’t treat that as a hypothetical question.

17 April 2004
Not Even Beer-flavored
When Paula offered to get me a drink, I replied that a beer might be a most efficacious beverage after the long bike ride to her studio.

“Sorry, David,” Paula replied, “all I have is some Budweiser left over from a party last summer.”

“The American Budweiser?” I asked.

“I’m afraid so,” she answered, “I believe it’s the stuff you call beer-flavored water.”

“I can’t believe I called it that,” I said, “I must have been feeling very charitable to have referred to pseudo-artificial beer as having the flavor of beer.”

18 April 2004
No Chinese Party
I ended up at table at Vesuvios this afternoon with several women from China. We discussed this, that, and the other thing, and that’s when I learned that there’s no word in Chinese for “party.” It’s no wonder they moved to San Francisco, where there’s no word for “end of the party.”

19 April 2004
Fishing for an Apology
Seymour sent me a strange, cryptic note.

    Regarding the tequila incident: Please feel free to apologize if you feel you may have offended me in the slightest amount.

I knew better than to reply, and so I didn’t.

20 April 2004
Airport Terror
I’m standing in a long line at the airport watching a bored clerk put on an incredible performance with her pen. She’s twirling her pen high into the air, then catching it without appearing to look at it. She even caught behind her back once.

I wonder, how did she come by this amazing skill? Was she a cheerleader who traded in her baton for a clerk’s pen a few decades ago? Or did she develop her talent during tedious years standing behind an airline counter?

Jobs terrorize me.

21 April 2004
Cigarettes Slowly Twitching
Pavel’s back from Burma with incredible stories to tell. My favorite tale involved the Paluang tribe’s smoking practices. The men roll their own smokes with cigarette papers, cheap tobacco, and a small, skinny worm. Pavel wasn’t sure if it was a caterpillar or some other creature, but he did discover that the unfortunate invertebrates were burned alive.

Pavel said he was unnerved to see the men sitting motionless in the stagnant, humid air, with their cigarettes slowly twitching and twisting.

22 April 2004
Another Irish Pub Death
I heard another grim murder report from the part of Ireland the British occupy. This was a variation on the usual story of Catholics and Protestants killing each other. In this case, two atheists in a Belfast pub got into a heated argument about religion, with one taking the position of an atheist who didn’t believe in a Catholic deity and the other who didn’t believe in a Protestant supreme being.

The death would have tragic had it not been so funny, and vice versa.

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23 April 2004
An Unnatural Burrito
I’m in San Diego, and decided it was time for a burrito. I’m usually a pretty good judge of taquerias, and found one that has all the basic requirements: fluorescent lighting, plastic chairs, and no Caucasian employees. Everything seemed fine until the burrito arrived.

I noted that the burrito was a bit on the diminutive side of the fence. I wasn’t concerned about the volume of the burrito, though; I could always get a second one. I cut the unfamiliar burrito in half, and that’s when I started to really worry. I didn’t see a single bean or grain of rice, and that’s not right. I did, however, find artery-clogging globs of cheese and greasy, strips of fried potatoes, more commonly known as French fries or chips.

I threw the oily concoction in the trash and left. I’ll be back in San Francisco tomorrow; I can wait until then for a proper burrito.

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©2004 David Glenn Rinehart