The place is different, but I can't say quite how. Certainly, there are details to be noticed: this business that closed and the new one that opened in its place, a road that's been widened or stoplight added, things that were once shiny now showing their age, old things refurbished or replaced. The absence of familiar faces. It's different in spirit now as well. I was once a stitch in the fabric of this place. I knew its rhythms; I could sense its intentions. I knew all the shortcuts and shorthands. The sense of the place, its vernacular, its expectations were simple, obvious, pleasing in their familiarity.
That's not the case any longer. Now I despise this place and every aspect of it. I experience no reverie, no pang of nostalgia for my youth. I feel only my guts turning over with disgust. What was so redeeming about this place that I spent so many years here? I must have appreciated it for something, mustn't I? Perhaps I hated it all along and never noticed? Had the tawdry-ness of it, the duplicity of the environment, the ignorant self-satisfaction of the denizens somehow escaped me or has the place changed in my absence?
I would be perfectly happy never to come here again, to let the place to its own fate and to let my memories to whither until I am an aged pickaroon, unsure if it had ever been real at all or just an idle imagining.
The truth is that we do not have memories. We have memories of memories, half-faded impressions, recollections of feeling, lingering disappointments and dismissed expectations, known as well from meditation and retelling as much as from the experiences themselves. The tragedy of time is not that things pass away but that they remain, changing by degrees each day until they become something else, something reminiscent of what we once knew but still only an echo.
Obligation and idle habit brings me back here from time to time. I will, for now, choke back my own bile and hope for the day that the degrees of shifting turn this place into something less hateful or until the day I need never return.
Your good friends at Merriam-Webster called and you've been asked to create five new words for inclusion in next year's dictionary. What are your five words? (Don't forget to include each word's definition.)
Flurritize: v (Flur it iz), 1. To cause needless fear in another based upon their perception of their own inabilities. Orig: Drivers in Georgia cannot intellectually separate snow flurries from once-in-a-century blizzards.
Flustrated: adj (Fluh stra ted), 1. To be simultaneously in an awkward and unsettling situation whilst feeling discomfort at being unable to rectify that situation. 2. A combination of Flustered and Frustrated.
Jamammered: adj (jah Mam erd), 1. To be put upon so heavily or so quickly as to become incapable of action. 2. Helplessness in the face of odds that seem impossible but are, in fact, easy to overcome. 3. A state of intoxication in which one can no longer accomplish basic tasks such as signing one's name or counting money but that can be explained as some other ailment such as exhaustion or hunger.
Retcamp: v (Ret Kahmp), 1. To sit in a a restaurant beyond the period which the staff of the establishment considers reasonable.
Unlegal: adj (uhn Lee gal), 1. To be technically within the law while deliberately trying to skirt the law's intent. 2. Being within the letter but outside the spirit of the law. 3. (business) Having been altered in a meager fashion in order to meet legal requirements while undergoing no fundamental change Ex: the relabeling of sexual aids as "novelty items" to skirt decency statutes, selling an incidental item and including some non-salable item as a "bonus."
Do not read this if you are with the press.
"What the fuck are you talking about?" is probably the question I hear most often. While it comes in response to approximately a third of everything I say, it comes most often in regards to a particular far reaching topic that I am going to take a few lines to explain for the sake of the vulgar masses.
My friend Kitten, who shall remain nameless, and I once hatched a plot to conquer the world. As everyone knows, global domination is impossible without a stranglehold on the international vanilla trade. Madagascar, the large autonomous island off the East coast of Africa, is the world's largest supplier of organic vanilla. Naturally, my nameless friend Kitten and I stole Madagascar. It is currently folded up on his desk and thus the fate of our future world oligarchy is secure and I can feel comfortable explaining all this to you.
We were also able to secure the glass skull from Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which makes us nearly invincible. As you can see, all that leaves is to secure the cooperation of the Semite Eating Gorillas of South Congo[TM] and the world will be ours.
It is important to note that none of this would have been possible without the gospel stylings of John Kerry's campaign staff, the insight of Brian from Vancouver/Boston/London/Tokyo/Lhasa/Melbourne, the nano-football that created walled city and lots and lots of coffee.
Please be advised that once the domination has been completed, the following will be required of all people of Earth:
1. All men must get haircuts akin to a young John Travolta or have their scalps implanted with microfilaments that will all stand directly vertical. All women must adopt hairstyles equivalent to Lita Ford c. 1986 or shave their heads.
2. The word "Cyberpunk" will replace all curse words and most common adjectives and irregular verbs much in the manner of the word "Smurf" in its respective fictional setting.
3. Drum Corps exhibitions will replace Monday Night Football and DCI championships will replace the super bowl. Additionally, a distinction between 'games,' competitions which do not require a significant degree of athleticism: bowling, baseball, shuffleboard, golf, Statego, poker, racecar driving etc and 'sports' which do: gymnastics, football (erroneously called soccer in the US), synchronized swimming, Iron Man etc. Anyone who plays a 'game' for a living, barring chess or go, will be limited to an annual salary of $15 and a case of Charmin.
4. The owning of stock in a corporation by which you have never been employed will be outlawed as it is patently immoral and has gone on way to long.
5. The annual compensation of any government or corporate employee not employed in education will never exceed that of a first grade teacher. Moreover, thirteen compulsory years of education will be used to actually educate the youth of the world in a critical and meaningful way.
6. All male nurses will be required to find other gainful employment as the only thing a man should nurse is a bottle of scotch.
7. At designated weekly sessions, everyone will boogie.
This will all wait, of course, until Kitten comes to acknowledge that my Wife is not, in fact, a figment of my imagination.
I hope this clarifies the situation for everyone. Please make a note of these things and remember that no one is to talk to the press.
The guy at the next table over sat down at the same time that I did. By happenstance, he and I both pressed the power buttons on our laptops at the same moment. My machine is now fully on, booted up, logged into and wirelessly connected. I have started my browser, checked to see if I have any emails, which I didn't, navigated to Blogger.com and written all of this and he is still waiting for his long-on screen to come up.
I should point out that his machine is obviously much newer than mine. I think that's Windows 7 that he's running. (He just got to the log-on screen) I remind you that we started our machines at the same time; this post will be finished and on the internet before his desktop icons appear.
By best guess, it's taken three and a half minutes for his machine to come up and it's not done yet. Mine did it in under thirty seconds.
All Linux, all the time, baby.
If I ever have the opportunity to produce a Super Bowl commercial, this is the commercial that I will make.
Picture this; you're at the crucifixion. Jesus hangs on the cross. The Roman soldiers taunt him, tear apart his clothes and spear him just as in the gospels.
Suddenly, we hear a choir of angels soar above the roar of the crowd. The clouds part and a shaft of holy light shines down onto the face of Jesus, who looks skyward and smiles.
Jesus clamors down off the cross and picks up his soiled rags that are suddenly pristine white. The crowd parts as the holy light follows him across the plateau and up to a Roman pavilion. He cocks a finger to the sky and the holy light waits patiently as Jesus walks up the steps and through the archway.
There, inside the pavilion, is a vending machine. Jesus doesn't touch it; he just holds his hand to it and it clicks, dispensing a Pepsi. He cracks the can and drinks the Pepsi in huge, thirsty gulps. Exiting the pavilion, Jesus crushes the can and tosses it into a bin labeled "Be Kind to Mother Earth." He steps back into the shaft of holy light and whistles. The light follows him back through the crowd and he clamors back up onto the cross.
In a final close-up, Jesus turns his face to the light above, "Ahhhhhhhh."
Title, in a bold font: NOTHING ELSE IS A PEPSI.
After I win a Cleo for this particular spot, I spend the next several years living in hiding, reading my fan mail and death threats.