2005 Notebook: Weak XLI
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17 December 2005
No. 5,554 (cartoon)
I had a lovely evening.

I enjoyed last night too.

I wasn’t thinking about you.

18 December 2005
The alleged holiday season, which now lasts a seventh of the year in many parts of the world, sometimes takes a horrible toll on humanity. Recently I heard a disturbing report of people who cracked under the pressure of incessant saccharine music, meaningless salutations, and relentless consumerism.

    Drunken Santas on Riotous Rampage

    Auckland, New Zealand (UPI) -- A group of forty people dressed in Santa Claus outfits, many of them drunk, went on a rampage through Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, robbing stores, assaulting security guards and urinating from highway overpasses, police said Sunday.

The article went on to describe how the unruly mob, fueled by alcohol stolen in gang robberies of liquor stores, spread havoc through the sleepy capitol.

It looks like the louts won’t be punished, thanks to a mental health provision in the New Zealand penal code. Enlightened Kiwi legislators made allowances for the inevitable stress and mental illness brought on by the alleged holidays; all the perpetrators are expected to go free thanks to this santa clause.

19 December 2005
L Words
Hanna asked me to help her with her homework last night, so I did. She needed to answer lots of questions for the assignment, “Alternative Alphabet - Letter L.”

Hanna squinted at the first question, “women loving women in whatever way they wish.” She smiled, then penciled in her answer, “dyke.” She then looked to me for approval, but didn’t get any.

“Hanna,” I asked, “what does it say at the top of the page?”

She saw “Letter L,” slapped herself on the forehead like a bad actor, erased “dyke,” and wrote the correct answer, “lesbian.”

The second question was more challenging: U.S. poet and activist; in her own words: “a Black, lesbian, warrior poet.” Hanna frowned, scratched her head hard enough to dislodge a few brain cells, then frowned some more. Finally, she turned to me expectantly.

“Beats me,” I said, “looks like it’s time to cheat.”

I gave her the textbook, and she quickly discovered that the correct answer was, “Andre Lorde.”

“I never heard of her,” I admitted.

“It’s grownup stuff,” Hanna explained knowingly.

Hanna is seven years old, and is enrolled in the second grade in Berkeley, California. Clichés have to come from somewhere, and the forward-thinking people of Berkeley never disappoint.

20 December 2005
Mountain Fresh Taste Since 1878?
I was drinking Rainier Ale, meditating on the green can of joy, when I realized that something was wrong.

Very wrong.

I suddenly noticed that the phrase, “Mountain Fresh Taste Since 1878,” no longer appeared on the label. Anywhere.

How can this be?

I checked my archives, and discovered that I failed to note that when the corporate minions who concoct Rainier Ale redesigned the cans a year and a half ago, they added a tenth of a percent of alcohol to the mix and deleted the historical reference.

How could I have gone a year and a half without noticing that “Mountain Fresh Taste Since 1878” was no longer a selling point for Rainier Ale?! Could it be that I never look at a can of Rainier Ale unless I’m swilling the elixir?

That can’t be the reason; that’s crazy talk.

21 December 2005
Solstice Dinner with Diana
I enjoyed a very nice dinner with Diana tonight, starting with drinks.

“Here’s to my father,” I said raising my glass, “who died fourteen years ago today.”

“And here’s to my cat,” Diana said a couple of drinks later, “who also died on the solstice.”

We both agreed that the solstice was a good time to die, but decided to enjoy a very nice dinner instead.

22 December 2005
Seasons Greetings, Phuoc Huu
Arthur was delighted when he spotted the envelope taped to today’s newspaper.

“It’s here!” Arthur exclaimed.

“What’s here?” I replied.

“The holiday card from my paperboy,” Arthur said as he tore open the envelope. “Allow me to read it. Seasons greetings, fuck you.”

He passed the generic card to me, and it was as he described it.

    Seasons Greetings,
    Phuoc Huu

“Is your paperboy from Viet Nam?” I asked.

“No, he’s from Bolivia,” Arthur exclaimed, “that’s what makes it such a great card.”

23 December 2005
Lucy’s Xmas Lament
Lucy’s frequently depressed around the solstice, but this year she’s worse than usual.

“Look at all this crap,” Lucy said as we sat in her huge living room. “I’ve spent my life working so hard to get things I never wanted or needed.”

“Lighten up, m’dear,” I said, “I think you’ve just realized the real meaning of Christmas. Jesus flew to earth so that people we don’t really like could give us crap we don’t want or need and vice versa.”

“I guess the poor guy didn’t die in vain, then,” she said with a slight smile.

“That’s the spirit!” I said.

We had another drink, and sincerely thanked each other for not exchanging unwelcome gifts.

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©2005 David Glenn Rinehart