2007 Notebook: Weak L
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11 December 2007
No. 4,612 (cartoon)
Why are you so depressed?

Because I don’t know why I’m so depressed.

12 December 2007
Wine Style (or Lack Thereof)
I was enjoying an erudite conversation with my learned friend Dr. Landweber, when he brought up a trivial matter. He talked with great enthusiasm about an undiscovered thrift shop high in the Sierra where one can buy four wine glasses for a dollar. He added that he’d purchased fourteen of them, and was most satisfied with his acquisition.

“But wine generally comes in a glass,” I noted, “albeit a glass bottle.”

“That’s an astute observation,” Dr. Landweber observed, “coming, as it does, from someone who buys his wine in a box.”

“It’s a matter of practicality,” I continued. “Why pay for redundant glass?”

“It’s not about the delivery device,” Dr. Landweber replied, “wine is all about style.”

I didn’t know what to say; it appears that I’ve been enjoying wine for all wrong reasons for decades. I guess I shouldn’t have listened to Priscilla Post, who helped me discover that wine makes one inebriated.

Style, imagine that!

13 December 2007
Depressive Amnesia
Jody and I were in a good mood, and so we were talking about depression. I told her I liked Chris’s definition of depression, “I’m helpless, it’s hopeless.

Jody told me she associated depression with amnesia. I agreed. I’m reasonably content because I barely remember my myriad mistakes; I recall then just enough not to repeat them.

It turns out Jody was thinking about something else. She explained that depressed people can’t remember not being distressed; they can’t remember what it feels like to be elated, alive, fulfilled.

There’s a lot I don’t know about depression, and I intend to preserve that ignorance.

14 December 2007
Killing Vanilla
I enjoyed a tasty lunch with with Dr. Goodlatte this afternoon, and we of course talked about her cat Vanilla, who’s on his last legs. Or, less euphemistically, he’s suffering from renal failure; he’s losing weight and vision at an alarming rate. After watching him bump into large objects in his path, and seeing his gaunt frame and unsteady gate, I gently suggested that it looked like it was about time to have him put to sleep.

“You’re right,” Dr. Goodlatte agreed, “I’m afraid I’ll have to have him killed soon.”

I was struck by her directness. When it comes to ending a companion animal’s life, I’ve only heard and used euphemisms: euthanize, put down, put to sleep. Of course, killing is killing, but it’s rarely ackmowledged as such.

After lunch, Vanilla sat in the sun beside me, rubbed his head against my leg, and purred. I hope no one kills me while I can still enjoy doing that.

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15 December 2007
A Pleasant Victorian Evening
I had a great time at Bonnie’s party tonight, even though I was the only one there with a Y chromosome and no tuxedo. I was uncomfortable for a moment, until a number of guests asked me what I’d done to be able to avoid dressing up like a penguin. When I told them artists, writers, and musicians—of which I’m all three—never have to wear tuxedos unless it’s to receive a Nobel prize, the magnates, moguls, and wealthy financiers looked a little uncomfortable in their stiff costumes.

But enough about irrelevant superficialities.

Bonnie organized a spectacular evening, with a sea of tasty wine leading to hectares of scrummy food and back again. I quite enjoyed chatting with her guests—especially Rosemarie, an international woman of mystery. Throw in a few opera singers and a great bluegrass band, and that’s about all there is to say about a lovely evening. Especially since that’s about all I can remember.

16 December 2007
Condom Hair Ties
Another day, another curious story from China. I have no idea whether this is because it’s a country populated by strange people, or if it’s just a matter of probability that so many bizarre stories emanate from the world’s most populous country.

Today’s story comes from The China Daily, which reports that stores and beauty parlors in Guangdong are selling cheap hair bands comprised of used condoms. That sounds like a fine new life for used prophylactics; it’s clearly better than using them for birth control.

Now that I think about it, the story is the opposite of curious; it’s thoroughly rational. Why is there no condom recycling program in San Francisco? As usual, the city’s not nearly as progressive as its publicists maintain.

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©2007 David Glenn Rinehart