2004 Notebook: Weak LII
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24 December 2004
No. 4,156 (cartoon)
This tastes great.

Reindeer steaks are yummy!

25 December 2004
In the early nineteenth century, Americans celebrated this saccharine holiday with, “hard drinking and lewd merrymaking,” raucous mischief, firing guns into the air, that sort of thing.

Damn! Just my bad luck to have been born a very long after Christmas lost any relevance to me.

26 December 2004
Tsunami Dreams
Five years ago I was at the beginning of a delightfully debauched ten-day party on Koh Ngai, an island off the coast of Thailand. And so it is that I’m disturbed that many of the lovely people I met there may have just been killed by tsunamis. One survivor there reported, “Suddenly this huge wave came, rushing down the beach, destroying everything in its wake.”

As always, I’m fortunate to be alive. Until, of course, I’m not.

27 December 2004
I had lunch with Bill and Christine today. They’re dear friends, and over the years I’ve carefully avoided talking business about the foundation they manage. Until now, that is.

“Would you consider giving me a grant of four dollars and sixteen cents not to make art for a day?” I proposed.

“Why?” Christine asked.

“Well, four dollars and sixteen cents would pay for two bottles of wine, including taxes,” I explained. “I could then spend the day drinking with friends without pushing a pixel or changing a single byte.”

“I rather you not embarrass either of us,” Bill replied as he handed me a five-dollar note.

I wonder what I’ll do with the extra eighty-four cents?

28 December 2004
Seasonal Greetings
Some stranger in Dresden sent me a curious seasonal note.

As always, it’s the thought that counts. And my thought for the day is that there are some very strange people in the world. I can say this with certainty, because I’m one of them.

29 December 2004
Basic Math
I had drinks with Dr. Law tonight. I hadn’t seen him in almost three decades, so we spent a fair amount of time describing plot twists and twisted plots. He told me he earned his doctorate in what to me was an exotic field, that distant pasture where mathematics and philosophy graze on the same fodder. I know I’ll never even visit that very far away place, so I didn’t try.

Having said that, after several pints of ale I did get a glimpse of how abstract his world is. We’d each been throwing down money at every round, and by the end of the evening there were many dollars scattered in front of us. Since I’d been keeping track of who drank what and who paid, I divided the notes into three piles: his, mine, and a tip for the barman. Even though I’d given him his fair percentage, he protested that I should get more than him. In other words, he seemed incognizant of numbers as unremarkable as a few unimaginative dollars.

30 December 2004
Perhaps Doubly Premature
Damn, I may have made my baby and burrito photograph too soon. Jeff just showed me the story about Mahajabeen Shaik. The Chicago mother gave birth to the smallest surviving baby ever, a two-hundred and forty gram girl.

“I wish I would have heard that story before,” I said, “that would have been worth a trip to Chicago to photograph her with a burrito.”

“It’s just as well that you didn’t,” Jeff replied. “Chicago burritos are smaller too, so the photograph would have looked the same.”

I felt better after he told me that my picture of the premature baby probably wasn’t premature after all.

31 December 2004
A Somewhat Ambiguous Ending
“What kind of year did you have?” Maria asked over afternoon champagne.

“I can only describe any year that ends with drinking champagne in good health with an extraordinarily lovely friend as a very good year,” I replied. “How about you?”

“Well, since I met you in January, I think the answer’s obvious,” Maria said.

I wasn’t sure what she meant by that, and didn’t want to ask for a clarification.

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©2004 David Glenn Rinehart