2007 Notebook: Weak I
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1 January 2007
No. 5,399 (cartoon)
Nothing is certain.

Not even uncertainty?

2 January 2007
So Many Opportunities
Ah, a new calendar year, and with it the false promise of a new beginning. I am nevertheless thankful; if it wasn’t for false hope I’d have almost no hope at all.

So now, what to do with this shiny new year ahead of me? It’s like the writer William Gaddis said, “There have never in history been so many opportunities to do so many things that aren’t worth doing.” And that was before the Internet provided worthless pursuits that Gaddis—who died in 1998—may have never imagined.

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3 January 2007
The End of the World Redux
I got a great piece of junk mail recently that began with these memorable lines.

    Picture the scene. A harlot is sitting on the back of a fearsome beast. The beast has seven heads and ten horns ...

Now that’s my kind of harlot! Well, I suppose the trollop in the picture did look more kitschy than racy, but I attribute that to a third-rate illustrator.

Unfortunately, the harlot turned out to be a shill for Jehovah’s Witnesses, an apocalyptic religious organization. After reading the fine print, it turns out that I’ll never meet the harlot or her feline beastie until the end of the world. Dang; it looks like I’ll be hanging around with my more humdrum harlot friends until Armageddon.

4 January 2007
Bad Doggie!
Molly has a new, six-week old pit bull puppy. She’s quite enamored of the wee, ornery beast, and that’s fine with me. After all, what goes on between woman and varmint in the privacy of their own home is none of my business. On the other hand, Molly insists that everyone else be equally in awe of the nefarious cur.

“Sorry, Molly, but I’m a cat person,” I explained.

“I notice you can’t take your eyes off my little girl,” she observed.

“That’s true,” I said, “I’m watching to see where she defecates next so I won’t step in one of her darling little muck puddles.”

And that’s when I decided to show Molly an article published in a Louisiana newspaper last month; it began with with the memorable headline, “Puppy Gnawed Off Baby’s Toes.” The report went on to describe how six-week old pit bull puppy chewed four toes off a month-old girl.

Bad doggie!

And that sad story put an end to the blather about puppy cuteness.

5 January 2007
A Pretty Good Writer
Polly asked me to critique her writing, so I did.

“You’re a pretty good writer, for the most part,” I said.

“What does ‘for the most part’ mean?” Polly inquired.

“Well, you have some interesting ideas, and you came up with a couple of situations that caught my attention,” I explained.

“Where do I have room for improvement?” Polly asked earnestly.

“Again, you’re a pretty good writer,” I repeated, “except for the words.”

Polly thought I was joking, and I saw no reason to correct her since I was technically telling the truth. I could have gone on to say that she’s a writer because she’s not illiterate, she’s pretty because, well, she’s pretty, and she’s good because she took my snarky comment gracefully. I could have said that, but I didn’t.

I’m a good conversationalist except for the words; that’s why I occasionally keep my mouth shut when I should.

6 January 2007
Ashes to Ashes, Lard to Fire
I don’t know much about religion, but I understand that today is Twelfth Night and epiphany, which, in simple terms, means the orgy of holiday indulgences if officially over. My favorite image of year-end gluttony comes from a news clipping I just saw about an October mishap at a Utah crematorium.

It seems that workers were going about their business—ashes to ashes and all that—when they ran into a nasty problem. One of their customers, a two-hundred and seventy kilogram corpse, overwhelmed the oven’s capacity. Instead of burning to a powdery end, the burning, fatty cadaver caused a grease fire.

Ashes to ashes, lard to fire, and good riddance to the happy holidays.

7 January 2007
Really Fifty-One
I’m fifty-one years old today in chronological years. That statement sounds repetitiously redundant, but actually it’s not. When I was in my late thirties, I decided to be fifty-one for two decades, so today is the first day my chronological age is the same as my oft-stated age.

Today also marks the first time I’m questioning my strategy of remaining fifty-one for another ten years or so. I rather liked saying I was fifty-one when I was younger, but it just occurred to me that if I lie and say that I’m younger than I am that I’ll appear to be the miserable old git I may in fact be.

It’s a question I needn’t seriously consider for another year, since for three hundred and sixty-six days I will be really fifty-one.

8 January 2007
All-Black Chess Set
I’m playing chess with Melanie, and it’s not going very well. Playing chess never goes very well for me, mostly because I have a short attention span and delight in immediate gratification. Tonight, I have an additional handicap: we’re using Melanie’s all-black chess set.

Since my pieces look identical to hers, that makes play very difficult. We’re spending an inordinate time arguing, and suits me well. After all, I’m much better at pointless debates than I am at playing chess.

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©2007 David Glenn Rinehart