2009 Notebook: Weak II
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9 January 2009
No. 1,310 (cartoon)
I enjoyed our leisurely dinner.

You mistook endurance for hospitality.

10 January 2009
Seven-Second Trip
I read that it takes seven seconds for food to get from my mouth to my stomach. That’s exactly the kind of useless information I can appreciate.

I just ate a huge burrito. I was conscious of every gulp going down my gullet; even the largest bite took less than a second to swallow. Despite mustering all of my concentration, I couldn’t feel the food making its way to my stomach at any speed. Maybe I don’t have any significant nerves in my esophagus, or maybe I’m just as oblivious to my alimentary canal as I am about most things.

I’ll probably never consider the speed at which food travels down my throat again; such knowledge is pointless. I wish I knew why it takes days for new information to get from my eyes or ears to my brain; that’s insight I could really use.

11 January 2009
An Idiot with a Large Motorcycle
Buzz just bought a huge motorcycle that’s almost as large as some automobiles.

“Why didn’t you just get a cheap Korean motorcycle?” I asked. “They’re faster, dependable, use less fuel, have more ...”

“Forget it,” Buzz interrupted. “Riding a Korean bike is like kissing your sister; it’s not bad until someone finds out you do it.”

I was relieved to remember that Buzz doesn’t have a sister, and that Buzz is still an idiot.

12 January 2009
The Midwives of Invention
I ignored Annie’s warning that I was about to make a big blunder.

Poor Annie doesn’t understand that mistakes are a critical component of any creative pursuit. Good mistakes and bad mistakes are equally important parts of a balanced inventive diet.

Only the wrong survive. If necessity is the mother of invention, then errors are the midwives. Paternity remains in doubt, as usual.

13 January 2009
Bicycle Pollution
Wanda and Joel ran out of wine during my visit, so I offered to hop on my bicycle and get some more. Instead, Wanda insisted on driving her car because it generated less pollution.


I thought Wanda was joking, but she was atypically serious. She explained that industrial agriculture uses huge amounts of energy for fertilizer, production, and distribution. She calculated that the food I’d need to provide energy for my wine ride would release more carbon into the atmosphere than her automobile.

I was happy to learn that I was doing my part—perhaps more than my part—to ruin the environment. I dislike being commended for being an exemplary person for merely riding a bicycle; Wanda’s data should put an end to such unwanted and unwarranted flattery.

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14 January 2009
Bad Fruit Idea
Stephan just received his holiday present from his mother, a box of rotting pear pulp.

For reasons known only to women who’ve borne children, every December mothers are overcome by a powerful desire to ship fresh fruit to their distant offspring. When they do, fruit magnates ship their wares from a temperature-controlled warehouse in trucks that pass through every climate from the frozen mountain passes to the scorched desert.

By the time the fruit arrives, it’s been heated and chilled a number of times while bouncing around in a lorry for thousands of kilometers. Stephan’s gift was in worse shape than usual since it was shipped to the wrong address. The pears rotted in storage while the mistake was being rectified.

Stephan poured the pear paste on the compost heap. Then, like every other good son or daughter, called his mother to thank her for such a wonderful and thoughtful gift.

I told him he should tell his mother the truth, but he said it would be boorish to let her know that her gift ended up as marijuana fertilizer.

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©2009 David Glenn Rinehart