2005 Notebook: Weak XXI
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21 May 2005
No. 6,353 (cartoon)
I’ve wasted my life.

Failure has gone to your head.

22 May 2005
Maria’s Tambourines
Maria’s tambourines are made of iron, cement, and lead. Each one weighs at least a dozen kilograms, and, unless she drops one on the floor, they’re all completely silent. If only Linda McCartney had used such tambourines, the world would be even better than it is.

23 May 2005
Liz breeds dogs, and sometimes things don’t go quite right. This weekend, for example, she reported that one of the pups in a litter was horrifically deformed. She said she had no choice but to kill it. She didn’t want to pay to have it euthanized, so she took a friend’s advice on how to kill puppies on the cheap.

First, Liz finished off the last of the ice cream. She then said goodbye to the doomed dog, put him in the empty ice cream container, and put it back in the freezer. I didn’t ask whether the puppy way supposed to freeze to death or suffocate.

“Sounds like a peaceful way to go,” I said.

“That’s what I thought too,” Liz replied, “except that I kept hearing him yelping.”

“How could you hear a one-day old puppy in sealed container in a freezer?” I asked.

“If you ever read Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart you’d know how,” she explained.

“Anyway, it gets worse,” Liz continued. “My son found the puppy in the freezer when he came home, and screamed at me and demanded to know how I could do such a thing.”

“I can see why he would have been upset,” I agreed. “It must have been disturbing.”

“No, I don’t think you understand,” Liz corrected, “he hates dogs. He was furious because I ate all of the ice cream.”

24 May 2005
Leigh’s Ambiguous Musings
I told Leigh that I dreamt about her mice undergoing taxidermic transformations. I photographed the wee critters in various stages of reconstruction and wrote a narrative about their adventures in the rodent afterlife. I thanked her for being a muse.

“Are you sure?” she replied.

“Of course,” I said. “What are you talking about?”

“There are both positive and negative muses,” Leigh explained, “and the latter can drive an artist to indulge in self-destructive behavior.”

“Sounds like I can’t lose,” I concluded, “at least then I wouldn’t have to walk.”

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25 May 2005
My New Bike
Dr. Goggin presented me with my new bike today, the one he spent weeks building from scratch. He told me all sorts of things about this part being machined to a zillionth of a micron from a block of pure titanium, custom racing tires, a fork at the perfect and almost magical seventy-one degree angle, that sort of thing. All these technical nuances were lost on me; the only thing I understood is that he put a tremendous amount of work and passion into building a custom bike superior to anything I’ve ever owned.

I couldn’t fully appreciate his craft until I rode twenty-five kilometers from his shop and across the Golden Gate Bridge back to my laboratory. It was only then that I realized the “replacement” bike was, in fact, vastly superior in every way to my stolen bike. I am very happy to be two-wheeled mobile again.

In fact, I wish I could meet the guy who stole my bike and shake his hand; my new bicycle is really that much better. And, lest I give the mistaken impression that I forgive despicable, bike-stealing vermin, after thanking him I’d cut off all of his fingers with rusty pruning shears to ensure his retirement from a life of larceny.

26 May 2005
Baited Breath
Juanita sent me an email saying that she was looking forward to our lunch, “with baited breath.”

I wrote back to confirm that I’d be there, then added a postscript, “As for the baited breath, you may want to brush your teeth.”

Juanita called me a few minutes later to say how embarrassed she was about her misspelling. She then apologized for apologizing; she said she was a bit defensive because English isn’t her first language.

When I told her that I had no idea what she was talking about, she replied that she’d misspelled “bated.”

I told her to relax; “bated” is one of those words no one ever needs to spell correctly. But I would say that, wouldn’t I?

27 May 2005
Does One-Way Love Count?
Melinda told me she hasn’t been in love for nine years.

“Really,” I said, “that sounds too horrible to be true, especially since you’re so wonderful.”

“Well,” she said, “I was in love with a guy a few years ago, but he didn’t love me. Does that count?”

We discussed the semantic and philosophical implications, and, eventually, we concluded that friends don’t keep score.

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©2005 David Glenn Rinehart