2006 Notebook: Weak VIII
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20 February 2006
No. 4,836 (cartoon)
Are you trying to torture me?

I don’t have to try.

21 February 2006
Severed Head Interviews
I suppose the most profound thoughts one can have involve mortality. I don’t have profound thoughts of any kind, but I am fascinated by two reports I recently read.

First report: when dying, hearing is the last functional sense.

Second report: a severed head is conscious for fifteen to twenty seconds after separation from the neck.

Having spent many pleasant decades on this lovely planet, I’m not concerned with my last few seconds of life. Nevertheless, I keep think thinking of well-intentioned scientists in bloody lab coats interviewing severed heads while looking at stopwatches.

22 February 2006
Stranger Than Reality
Memory works in strange ways.

After Alphonse explained his demented aunt’s fraudulent ostrich-breeding scheme, I thought of exactly the right thing to say.

“Truth is stranger than reality,” I observed.

“I suppose so,” Alphonse agreed.

I never told Alphonse my little plagiarism secret: I stole my remark about truth versus reality from a throwaway line the inimitable Marin gave me over a North Beach pizza a few weeks ago.

Memory works in strange ways; I’d forgotten Marin’s remark until it popped out of my brain, unbidden.

23 February 2006
Not a Bit of a Death Wish
Duane told me he had a bit of a death wish.

“How can that be?” I asked, “since one can’t have a bit of a death.”

“I guess I don’t have a death wish, then,” Duane announced after thinking about the proposition for a moment, “I think you just cured me.”

“Glad to hear it,” I replied, “semantics are too often underrated.”

24 February 2006
Kidneys Are Everywhere
I spent decades without thinking of kidneys, but lately every day brings some story from the world of kidneys.

The toymaker’s daughter showed me the scar left from giving her late brother one of her kidneys. (Her brother was, of course, not late at the time.)

A dominatrix friend of mine told me the most difficult part of her job was keeping a straight face while walking on a fat, old man’s back in stilettos without damaging his kidneys.

Dr. Lyon now spends most of her working hours figuring out how to get kidneys out of one body and into another.

And speaking of kidney transplants, I read a lovely story about a Croatian lumberjack who complained that he started “enjoying housework and knitting” after receiving a female kidney. And so, Stjepan Lizacic is suing Osijek medical authorities because he now prefers housework to heavy drinking.

“The kidney transplant saved my life, but they never warned me about the side effects,” Lizacic said. “I have developed a strange passion for female jobs like ironing, sewing, washing dishes, sorting clothes in wardrobes, and even knitting.”

Although I keep hearing kidney stories; I have no idea what the organs do. That’s not a problem; I still enjoy the tales.

25 February 2006
Why My Writing’s Horrible
“Do you know why your writing’s horrible” Amanda asked.

“I’ll take a wild guess,” I replied, “is it because I’m a bad writer?”

“No, in literature the reader must be interested in the character,” Amanda explained, “and, in your case, no one cares about an unsympathetic if not reprehensible character like you.”

“Let me take a second wild guess,” I continued, “did you learn that in college?”

“Of course,” Amanda said, “why did you ask?”

“I figured you were just regurgitating what you were force-fed,” I concluded, “but I wanted to make sure.”

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©2006 David Glenn Rinehart