I wonder if schools are more selective about their teachers these days.
I had a high-school teacher that greeted us with such giddy enthusiasm when we entered the classroom – I might say he “pranced” around the room, his little toesies all dressed up for the day in black, dress socks. I could see the socks because those feet weren’t stuffed into a smelly old shoe – no! They were free as you and me in a classic Birkenstock sandal.
Seven Paula Figurines lined the front of his desk.
Six of them kept their backs to us, the seventh would be turned to let us know what day of the week it was,”Happy Monday!” and so on. So much better than a calender.
We were told that we should address him as “Doctor” – that title was later disputed. And revoked. Turns out it was all just a fantasy… oh, such a fantasy… I imagine myself getting a doctorate degree in religion…
He described one of his teaching methods as “accelerated learning.” All students were required to put their heads on their desk – or grab one of his strange-smelling pillows from his “cubby-hole.” Classical music blaring, he read aloud – synchronizing the inflection of his voice to the swells and ebbs of the music.
I wish I could remember what he read. Maybe it was the multiplication-tables. Or Jim Jones’ manifesto.
No more casual afternoons at Starbucks. No more sidewalk cafes. No more days at the park with the kids. No more walking down the sidewalk with a kid on my shoulders while sipping a Starbucks Latte while going to the sidewalk cafe from the park.
Not any more. Because we’re celebrities. I know, I know – don’t worry – I’ll still make me-time.
If you are living in a well, you might not have heard that Zeichen Press was proclaimed Best of Show by -my new favorite- magazine: Do It Yourself
With the magazine in her hands and a cart full of groceries, Jen called me. She called me over the loudspeaker. I was in the frozen foods section and she ordered me to get myself to Lane 7. I did as I was told and Thank God because Jen was being dragged away by security – I got there in the nick of time, explaining that we were on a “living on your own” outing and I’d be taking her right back to the group home as soon as we bagged her groceries.
Okay, here’s a sneak peak into the magazine – go and get your very own copy and don’t forget to buy some of our goddamn holiday cards.
Maybe. Oh, who am I kidding? I can’t broker peace between nations. I’m no Dalai Lama. I’m no Barack Obama. I’m just kidding about that second one – I just wanted something to rhyme with Dalai Lama. Wait, what? Barack Obama really did win the Nobel Peace Prize? Oops. My bad. It’s hard, toiling away, day after day – trying to make this crazy planet just a little bit cheerier. Ghandi knows how I feel.
Alfred “Alfie” Nobel
What would Fran do?
ANYWAY. I wrote some new cards. Perhaps, one day, they will bring peace to war-torn countries…
PSST, is this my birthday party or my funeral
The Christmas concert would be her chance for revenge.
I’ll celebrate Christmas however I damn well please.
I hope she likes thoughts that count.
Great. My parents just got home.
It’s no secret that I have always wanted 300 feet of bubble wrap.
Somebody (Jen) had it delivered to our headquarters – it’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen on my doorstep. Although… the Sunday paper is nice to see when I open the door…or girl scouts selling cookies. Hmm, one of my stalkers once left a skinned, boiled squirrel on my doorstep… that was strange – and I still don’t get the message – was it: “Love me back, or I’ll boil and skin you” or was it “I am capable of providing small game for your meals.”
Oh, I guess I’ll never know.
Do not worry. IF you can’t get your sad self to the Room and Board nearest you, you can shop online!
It’s true. But not yet. NOT YET. The ink isn’t even dry.
Did I mention that I will be the lunchmeat between the bread named Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol? What a strange, virtual sandwich. Speaking of sandwiches: I decided to take a break from printing to do some printing and I made this:
There were two parts to the Freak Show – two tents – one contained The Fat Lady and the other was filled with the usual freakish-fare. I didn’t really want to pay to see the Fat Lady so I poked my head under the tent – it seemed silly to pay to see a fat lady but this was before the days of google searches and voyeuristic television masquerading as health and human interest stories. Before the days of shows actually called, World’s Fattest Woman.
So I poked my head under the tent. A pit had been dug in the dirt in the center of the tent – she, all 600 pounds of her, sat in the pit in a teeny weeny bikini. The paying public stared and stared while she thumbed through the pages of a paperback.
The other tent promised a variety of oddities and I handed my tickets to the dusty man guarding the flap-door. In this tent there was a stage and on the stage there was a sign and on the sign were the words, “World’s Fattest Man”
The crowd – and I was in the crowd now – stared at the sign and waited for the man. He hobbled out using two canes – those canes that have the four baby canes on the bottom. He reached the center of the stage and lowered himself into a reinforced chair, spoke to the crowd about his thyroid disorder, and asked if we wanted to see him attach a bucket of bolts to his tongue.
Ugh. I wanted my tickets back.
Why can’t things be the way they’re supposed to be? And why can’t freaks just enjoy their exploitation? If I were a freak (if) I’d love it. I’d use my freakish power for the good of mankind.
I’d love to have one super long arm. A Super Arm. I could take seemingly candid pictures of myself even more easily!
Do you see that?
It’s like someone else is taking the picture. But what a struggle!
If I had Super Arm my whole life would change!
Cary Grant’s tie is the perfect shade of gray.
It’s not like I’m obsessed with shades of gray because of this project I’m working on. I don’t get obsessed. I wasn’t obsessed with pulling out (and counting) all of the dandelions in my front yard (689). I wasn’t. I also wasn’t obsessed with collecting and transporting rocks halfway across the country to surround my little tree.
I’m not obsessed with letterpress.
And I don’t just sit around waiting for the sun to be in the perfect spot.
Doesn’t this gray look just like Cary Grant’s tie? :
WELL?! It does, doesn’t it. Won’t it look lovely decking the halls of Room and Board?
1/3 of the project done.
We had a special guest for TWO WHOLE WEEKS! : The Swine Flu aka:H1N1 That’s just what we needed to shake things up around here! Oh, and nothing brings a family together like contagious disease. I mean it. I barely notice my kids unless their eyes get glassy and they vomit on my bedroom floor. I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, a nosebleed will get my attention -and so will a 2 am phone call from the Edina Police. Oh, kids!
I heard that “scientists” are working on some sort of “immunization” for this particular version of the flu. They can just inject themselves with their magic potion. I’m not standing in line at the Walgreens with a bunch of clammy people. Anyway, I discovered the cure: 100 episodes of Malcom in the Middle and lots of popsicles. When The Plague finally, and politely, exited our home – I felt that I needed another challenge:
The Fish Pond at St. Helena’s:
Of course! Everyone knows what a daredevil I am – I just couldn’t say no to Jen’s (repeated) requests to “volunteer.” I don’t regret a moment. In fact, I’m pretty sure that my time in Purgatory is reduced by exactly the same amount of hours that I spent in that claustrophobic booth. That’s five hours, God. Should I go on and on about the ROOM & BOARD project I’m working on? 21 down, only 279 to go! I love you, grayish-brownish-not-quite-taupe-ish-sort-of-smog-ish ink.
Vomit blood for a week or have a nail gun misfire so that the nail pierces your eyeball?*
WHICH ONE DO YOU CHOOSE?!
Maybe I’d choose the vomiting… I hear the ICU is like staying in a fancy hotel. You see? Life is about choices. Or wait… is it about rolling with the punches? Having your eye sewn shut is worse than getting punched – Maybe life is about getting your nail-pierced-eyeball sewn shut.
Yes. That sounds about right.
* These events are true and happened to two men that I know. Both named Ben.
I can’t wait to turn 40.
Jen did it and she got a Fu Manchu AND pickles. It was a very special evening – one she will never remember.
See how the Fu Manchu put her under his spell? Isn’t he cunning? Poor Jen, she never had a chance.