2006 Notebook: Weak XIV
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3 April 2006
No. 4,469 (cartoon)
I’m thinking of killing myself.

So are a lot of other people.

4 April 2006
Joe J. Dobrowolski’s Name
Today, I received an email from Joe J. Dobrowolski regarding a certain business matter. I have no idea who Joe J. Dobrowolski is, but wonder how he goes through life with an unpronounceable, unspellable, eleven-character surname. Who cares; it’s not my problem. And probably not Joe J. Dobrowolski’s problem, either, since he has little choice but to be Joe J. Dobrowolski.

5 April 2006
An Abundance of Termites
Scientists estimate that, for every human alive, some five-hundred kilograms of termites somewhere are crawling and/or slithering and/or creeping around and/or doing whatever it is that termites do.

I’ve come up with a number of questions based on that alleged fact. Have termites achieved some sort of evolutionary victory by outnumbering and outweighing humans? Who has more fun per kilogram, termites or humans? Is biological success defined by numbers and/or weight? And so on.

I’m not really interested in the answers to those questions. I think it’s fundamentally unhealthy to compare myself to any other creatures, especially insects.

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6 April 2006
Watch Your Fingers!
I saw a sign on the San Francisco ferry that advised, “Hand Hazard, Watch your fingers.” I ignored the warning on the heavy, steel door; losing my right index finger when I was ten years old was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

I got a week off from school. I got eleven-hundred dollars from an insurance company. (The funds, after being invested in blue chip stocks, were worth six-hundred dollars a decade later. I sold the stock and bought my first Leica.) I got a deferment from the military draft. I also got a couple of pubic hairs growing from the skin graft at the end of my amputated finger. I got I got I got I got ... all in all, a good deal.

I was tempted to remove the warning sign, but decided to leave it there. After all, some people may do better with ten fingers than with nine.

7 April 2006
Nervous Friends and Gloating Enemies
I got a predictable phone call from Gareth this morning, who claimed that he was “just calling to check in.” When he started talking about the atypically wet weather, I was reminded of Oscar Wilde’s observation in The Importance of Being Earnest.

“Pray don’t talk about the weather, Mr. Worthing. Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else. And that makes me so nervous.”

Sure enough, Gareth mentioned that he’d just visited my Internet site and was wondering how I was doing. That’s when I understood what was going on.

I told Gareth that these cynical, fictitious accounts of my daily life are just an act, as are my morbid, nihilistic cartoons. I went on to explain that my real life isn’t all that interesting. After all, who wants to read about a healthy guy leading a charmed life surrounded by people he loves who also love him? That’s one of the reasons I’ve always liked David Salle’s observation, “It’s good to do work that makes your friends nervous and your enemies gloat.”

“Thanks for reassuring me,” Gareth said.

“Glad to set the record straight,” I replied. “I do appreciate your concern, but next time check the obituaries before you call.”

8 April 2006
Still No Umbrella
I don’t have an umbrella; I really don’t need one since it never rains in San Francisco. Well, almost never. It only rains for the first two months of winter, so there’s really no reason to have one.

Except: the rain didn’t stop in February. It kept raining last month, the wettest March here in decades. And now it’s April, and it’s still raining. And I still don’t have an umbrella, since I don’t need one because it only rains for the first two months of winter.

Except ...

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©2006 David Glenn Rinehart