2009 Notebook: Weak XLIX
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3 December 2009
No. 3,580 (cartoon)
I’m counting on you.

You’re innumerate.

4 December 2009
Toilet Paper Smorgasbord
Luka asked for directions to one of those huge warehouse stores as she was leaving my studio.

“What do you want?” I asked.

“I just need to pick up some toilet paper,” she replied.

“The store a couple of blocks away would be a lot more convenient,” I suggested.

“There’s not much of a selection there,” she explained.

Not much of a selection?! Who needs a variety of toilet paper? And that’s when the thought came to me: a toilet paper smorgasbord. I tried to imagine Luka’s bathroom with a wall covered in a dozen rolls of toilet paper: delicate tissue for dabbing tears, thick toilet paper for, um, other purposes. And that’s when I ran out of different types of toilet paper, except for novelty variations printed with photos of Hitler, saturated with cayenne pepper, et cetera.

I knew Luka would find even the concept of a toilet paper smorgasbord offensive, so I gave her directions to the megastore and said goodbye.

5 December 2009
At Two With Nature
Niklas and I got into a minor argument when he insisted that he loved to hike. He’s so unfit that he can barely totter to his car, so I didn’t believe him. Surprisingly, I won the inconsequential debate.

“Give me a gorgeous woman, a couple bottles of wine, some bread and cheese, great weather, and a beautiful trail, and you can have the weather and the trail,” he admitted.

Niklas then quoted Woody Allen, “I am at two with nature.”

Sadly, he was as unfit to argue as he was to walk.

6 December 2009
Redrag Holiday
I know of no one eruditer than Dr. Cristello, so I was flummoxed but not surprised when she sent me a one-line response to a snarky note.

“Shut your potatoe trap, and give your redrag a holiday.”

I couldn’t figure out how a drag could make any sense in that sentence, let alone a “redrag.” Dictionaries were useless; I couldn’t find any reference to “redrag” in any of them. The misspelled word “potatoe” provided a clue, since that wasn’t a misspelling when Francis Grose published that line in The Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue in 1785.

And redrag? I discovered that wasn’t a reference to a re-drag, but to a red rag. Evidently waving a red rag was an invitation to conversation in those days. And how did red rags come to be to be used in bull fights? I’m too tired to care. Thanks to Dr. Cristello’s cunningness, I’ve already done months of research today.

Update: Steven wrote to inform me that redrag means tongue. Wheh! So much for the menstruation speculation.

7 December 2009
Bosses Are Idiots
Lily has little respect and a lot of contempt for her boss.

“It’s difficult for me to believe that the sperm that created such an incompetent weasel prevailed over a million others,” she complained.

“I know what you mean,” I replied, “my boss is an annoying idiot too.”

“But you don’t have a boss,” Lily said, “you’re self-employed.”

“I think you’ll agree that puts me in the ideal position to to judge my employer’s myriad failures,” I explained.

Lily had to agree, so she did.

8 December 2009
An Unfortunate Obituary
I began my day by reading mail from Christiana, a beautiful French woman. (I’ve never seen a photograph of her or heard from her before; I’m just running with French stereotypes.)

    “Looking up an English guy I lived with for five years in London many moons ago named David Kamlish, I learnt through your notes that he was dead in 2006 in Thailand ...”

I read the entry for that day, and was aghast to see that she was referring to my repeating an impertinent line from a stranger’s obituary segueing into a mention of pedophilia in Thailand.

I immediately sent an apology to Christiana, which she graciously rejected. She explained that my notebook entry was the only reference to Kamlish’s passing on the Internet, and that she was grateful for it.

It’s a sad day when I’m regarded as a reliable source for anything.

9 December 2009
Elias and Sophia
Elias wants to get romantically involved with Sophia. I can think of more unlikely occurrences, such as, well, no, come to think of it, I can’t. Sophia’s brilliant, attractive, and charming, all qualities that Elias lacks in abundance.

“Why don’t you give him a chance?” I asked. “He wants you in the worst way.”

“That’s what scares me,” Sophia replied. “Look, I need no one as a romantic partner, and I want no one as a romantic partner.”

“I still think you should give him a chance,” I continued. “You’re not going to get closer to no one than Elias.”

“Stop being an imbecile,” Sophia explained, effectively ending the conversation.

Love works in mysterious ways, but often doesn’t work at all. Just ask Elias.

10 December 2009
Explosive, Lemony Taste
I know little about international economics, but it appears that one of Russia’s major exports must be improbable news stories, such as the Perm cannibals. The latest example: I just read that an anonymous twenty-five year old student in the Ukraine blew half his face off with a stick of chewing gum.

Now before I go on, I need to straighten out a couple of possible misunderstandings. Yes, I know Ukraine is not part of Russia, and vice versa. As an American, I have a right to be geographically illiterate. And there was no reference whatsoever to the 1976 recording by the J. Geils Band, “Blow Your Face Out.”

Experts were baffled by the death of the Kiev Polytechnic (no, not Pyrotechnic) Institute; that’s why they’re experts. The best explanation to date has to do with the young man’s habit of dipping sticks of gum into powdered citric acid, the Russian—not Ukrainian, see?—news agency Ria Novosti reported. Investigators found both citric acid and some sort of powerful explosive material near the disfigured corpse, and speculate he may have confused one with the other.

I don’t chew gum. But, if I did, I’d be especially careful not to coat it in explosives before taking that first, satisfying bite. As was tragically apparent, that’s guaranteed to cause a major cavity.

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©2009 David Glenn Rinehart