2004 Notebook: Weak L
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11 December 2004
No. 840 (cartoon)
I don’t know what to do with my life.

It doesn’t matter; you’re just a spectator.

12 December 2004
Not Married for Fifty Years
Yesterday would have been my mother and father’s fiftieth wedding anniversary, except that they were divorced decades ago. Also, my father died almost fourteen years ago. As a wealth of empirical data suggest, it’s quite unusual to be married for fifty years.

13 December 2004
The Animals Film
Many years ago, when I was living on the Greenpeace ship, a number of crew members and I went to see The Animals Film. It should really have been called All the Disturbing, Horrific, and Cruel Things We Do to Animals, but it wasn’t. As I recall, the film began with footage of Thomas Edison demonstrating the power of electricity by electrocuting an elephant, then went on to catalog a litany of abuse including tortuous and unnecessary laboratory experiments, millions of unwanted cats and dogs killed every year, and spectacularly cruel factory farms. After the film, several of my mates from the boat announced they would never ever eat meat again, never ever.

As we walked out of the theatre, a panhandler plaintively asked everyone filing past him if they’d give him a dollar for a hamburger. Had the man done his marketing homework and asked for money for tofu, he would have been given enough money to buy a steak the size of a toilet seat.

A few days later, almost everyone on the Greenpeace boat was eating meat again.

14 December 2004
Drinking and Reading Out of Whack
Brad, a dear friend who works in the library system at a large American university, reports that a recent crackdown on student drinking has resulted in some unanticipated and unwelcome consequences. The biggest surprise of the campaign was that the undergraduates responded by drinking much less. I’m rather alarmed that students are obeying the authorities; that’s just not right. And since the kids aren’t drinking, they’re spending more time in the library, which means a lot more work for Brad.

Neither Brad nor I know where this might lead, but when natural systems go awry there’s rarely a happy ending.

15 December 2004
Some of the People Some of the Time
I heard a brief, interesting story about Neil LaBute and his new play, Fat Pig. LaBute, who also wrote In the Company of Men, complains that people are always confusing him with the reprehensible characters he creates. At one performance, someone in the audience screamed, “Kill the playwright!”

I have the same problem, although it’s been quite some time since someone suggested that my mother should have a postnatal abortion. My problem is that even my friends confuse the avatar that writes these entries with the real me. I even had one dear friend ask me in a loving, supportive way if I was feeling suicidal after reading one of my cartoons.

On a more positive note, perhaps LaBute and I should congratulate ourselves that the alternate reality we’ve created is so convincing that we convince other sentient beings that it’s real. My greatest accomplishment, though, will be to fool myself. Sadly, I still see through my lies.

16 December 2004
Discretion Advised
Amelia and I went to Spec’s Twelve Adler Museum Cafe for drinks; it’s one of the very few bars in San Francisco where one can order Rainier Ale. We’d been there for a few rounds, when Amelia returned from the toilets with a story to tell. Here’s what she overheard another woman say to a friend in the next stall.

“Do you think he knows? I mean how would he find out? Is it going around?”

“You should be careful about what you say in public,” I remarked.

“And what you do in private,” Amelia added.

17 December 2004
Voodoo Logic
Colombian police in Bogota seized a shipment consisting of two hundred and ninety-two voodoo dolls, one hundred and ninety-two packages of “magic dust,” and instructions on casting spells. And that’s when the problems started.

It seems that none of the police would touch the contraband because they were afraid of witchcraft.

“Witches don’t exist,” explained Highway Police Captain Gerson Fajardo, ”but if they do, they do.”

Voodoo logic is spectacular!

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©2004 David Glenn Rinehart