Thursday, September 30, 2010

Through The Past, Eye-Assaultingly Brightly

Saying goodbye can be extremely difficult, especially when you know that it’s forever, and it’s to something that’s been in your life for so long that you don’t really have a sense of living without it.

But such times are inevitable; try as we might to pretend that things can last for all eternity, there comes a day when we must face facts and accept that all things are fleeting on the grand stage, and try to carry on with naught but the memories of them that we hold so dear, treasure more valuable than any earthly holding.

Such a day was yesterday. I had let the laundry duties slip a bit, and had become perilously close to not having a clean Hawaiian shirt to wear. Wanting to avoid a fashion crisis, I did several loads, and was preparing to restock my closet – I had a huge stack of bright colors and complex patterns, my favorite clothes hangers polished up and waiting to serve, a frosty cold tallboy, and maybe just the slightest bit of sinful pride, knowing that I was the best dressed guy in the room (Indy, while certainly stunning in her purple collar, does not technically count as a "guy").

And so I began, happily whistling “Aloha `Oe” as I untangled and smoothed each shirt, making sure the sleeves were all right-side out and the collars all creased just so.

It was at about the third shirt that I noticed the first tear … just a small rip, where the fabric around a button had worn thin. I thought nothing of it, at first … but then I noticed some fraying around the shoulder seam on the next one, and on the arm on the next. Panic welled inside of me as I realized just how few of my beloved Hawaiian shirts were nothing more than tattered rags, long past the point where even the homeless shelter would welcome them.

How could I have not seen this? Was I so blind to what had been before my very eyes, so deaf to the words of well-meaning others*, that I literally could not perceive the decay that had taken place? Am I clinging so vigorously to the past, a past likely constructed out of whole cloth and bearing little resemblance to reality, that I’ve kept myself surrounded with ancient relics to support my delusions? Are these decades-old shirts simply serving to prop up this façade, this self-deception, this refusal to let go?

Probably not … it’s more likely that I’m just not very observant about the state of my crappy clothes. That, and the fact that my relatively high level of laziness has kept me from going to all the work of throwing them away.

But on with the purge! Even tossing half of my wardrobe will still leave me with enough to go a couple of weeks without wearing the same shirt twice, and who knows? Maybe this endeavor will lead to a general life cleansing in which I shed all sorts of things I’ve been dragging around for all these years.

(No, P*77 & N*88, the Colnago isn’t going anywhere.)

* Believe it or not, I've had more than one significant other make less-than-flattering comments about my fashion sense. Crazy, I know!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chain Of Fools

This is just plain weird.

I wheeled my bike out of the house last night to head over to band camp, climbed aboard, and began pedaling furiously, as I was a bit late (when you’ve hired a string quartet to back you on your latest tear-jerking love ballad, every minute counts). Imagine the confusion I felt, then, when there were no corresponding changes in my visual field, as is usually the case when I am traveling forward.

“Well, Dead Acorn,” you might be saying, “those mountain bikes are geared extremely low for climbing steep grades. Perhaps you were in your 20-36 configuration, and it just seemed like you weren’t moving.” That’s a plausible explanation, especially given my tendency toward exaggeration in these posts, but last night, I was literally making no progress whatsoever. It felt somewhat like being on a date.

After about 10 minutes of spinning in place, I finally looked down, only to discover that my chain was gone. Well then! That certainly explained my lack of propulsion! Mystery solved!

While most people would be satisfied at this point, having discovered the source of the problem, I was not, for I am not most people, and my curiosity led me to ask another question: What the fuck happened to my chain?

There aren’t all that many possibilities. Chains do break from time to time as one is riding, but that’s something that the rider generally notices, as pedaling immediately becomes effortless, the bike begins to slow down, and there’s occasionally a crash involved (or at least an unfortunate interaction between sensitive body and bicycle parts). Unless it broke as I was coasting across my front yard at the end of my last ride home, I’m pretty sure I would have been aware of it (and yes, I’ve checked the yard - it’s not there).

The only other explanation is that someone entered my house and deliberately removed it. But why? Some sort of fetish, perhaps? If that was the case, why would they leave the other six bikes in the house chained? I must assume that it’s not just a case of run-of-the-mill theft, because the Monet that hangs just above where the bike rests was left untouched.

I suppose it could be a practical joke, and while not entirely without a dash of cleverness, the folks I know of the practical joking persuasion tend more toward coming up with them and giggling about how funny they would be while drinking at the pub, not actually following through and pulling them off. (If, by chance, it was a practical joke, then well played, fellas/fellasses! Ummm … can I have my chain back, now? Please?)

I guess it’s just one more thing in life about which I’ll wonder from time to time. I’m not going to go on some epic quest for the missing links (ha!), certainly, and with any luck, it’ll take my mind off of trying to solve the Collatz conjecture for a while. I swear, I've lost more sleep over that ...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No More Anchovy Pizza Before Bed

I had a terrible dream last night in which this blog played no small role. I’m still trembling a little.

I don’t harbor any secret dreams of becoming an actual writer; nevertheless, I do enjoy taking a few minutes now and again to scribble down some thoughts, especially while I’m at work, being compensated by the taxpayer, in the comfort of my home as evening settles in, to post out here on the teh googletubez. While I certainly don't have any particular schedule I try to adhere to, for some reason, I get a bit anxious as the “most recent post” indicator on the blogrolls that link to me (which is quite humbling, by the way) creeps up through “3 days ago” to “4 days ago” until finally the dreaded “1 week ago” appears.

Whatever the reasons underlying my odd anxiety, I realize that the dreaming mind can do some strange things with just the slightest bit of stress, so the occurrence of my recent nightmare didn't really surprise me. Still, the bizarre nature of it had me a bit shaken.

I dreamt that I received a phone call from a number that I didn't recognize. I often let such calls go to voicemail, as just as often as not, it’s a telemarketer or an officer of the court attempting to serve a subpoena. As Fate would have it, I chose to answer …

Dead Acorn: Hello?

Faintly Familiar But Unplaceable Voice: Is this The Dead Acorn?

DA: Why, yes! Yes it is!

FFBUV: The Dead Acorn who “writes” on an eponymous “blog”?

(note: in dreams, I can actually see the quotation marks around words sarcastically spoken by unseen characters. It's kinda weird.)

DA: That’s me! Who’s this?

FFBUV: This is Mrs. McGillicuddy.

DA: umm … Mrs. McGillicuddy, my high school composition teacher?

Mrs. McGillicuddy: That is correct.

DA: It’s, umm, nice to talk to you, I guess … can … can I help you with something?

Mrs. McGillicuddy: You cannot. In fact, it is the damage you have done and continue to do that necessitates this call. Your incoherent ramblings have come to the attention of the school board here, and they have deemed the atrocities committed each and every time you put pen to paper pixels to screen to be unforgivable, and in an effort to dissociate themselves from your “work,” they have summarily fired me.

(note: text strikeouts work just like quotation marks in my dreams.)

DA: Gee, Mrs. McGillicuddy, I’m sorry, but high school was over 25 yea …

Mrs. McGillicuddy: And as I too am unwilling to let persist even the slightest perception that my tutelage has contributed in any way to the unspeakable crimes against language that you sporadically commit, I have amended your grade, which has resulted in a revocation of your diploma.

DA: But … but … I already went to college, and even graduate school!

Mrs. McGillicuddy: Oh, trust me, they’ve been notified, as has your employer. All are in agreement; the former have revoked your degrees, and the latter has asked me to inform you that your “services” are no longer needed. Thanks to your “blog,” Dead Acorn, you have nothing left in life.

At this point, I sat up, drenched in sweat and gasping for air. There were a few moments of continued panic as I struggled to gain some sense of where I was, and then relief began to wash over me as I saw, in the dim moonlight streaming through the window, the familiar surroundings of my bedroom.

I got out of bed and walked to the kitchen for a drink of water to calm myself before trying to go back to sleep. It was on my return that I noticed my phone blinking … I had a new voicemail, from a number I didn’t recognize. I was unable to stifle the whimper that emerged from my throat, and I stared at the phone for what seemed like hours. “It was just a dream,” I told myself. “A dream, and that’s all.” Finally, I picked it up, and deleted the message without listening to it. I walked slowly back to bed.

“What was that, sweetie? I thought I heard something that sounded like a cry.” Mrs. McGillicuddy rolled over and softly stroked my cheek. “Nothing, Mrs. McGillicuddy … I guess I just don’t feel too good …” I replied. “’Well,’ sugar … you don’t feel too ‘well’. Remember that without the proper use of language, life means nothing.”

[UPDATE:] Several readers have emailed and asked that I not blog while so obviously hammered on cheap vodka. Umm, yeah ... I think that's doable. My sincere apologies.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sh*t Gonna Get Crazy Now

I’m a fairly boring person, as is evidenced by my eating habits during the noon meal. Approximately four out of the five “work” days, I heat up a can of Progresso soup (low-sodium because my “doctor” says it will keep my blood pressure down).

Dead Acorn: But doc, since both my systolic and diastolic numbers are high, doesn’t that mean my ratio of good:bad blood pressure is okay?

Doctor: Well, that’s cholesterol, which reminds me ... A) your numbers on those are too high, too, and 2) you’re an idiot.

Dead Acorn: I’m not the one who had to go to some off-shore medical school.

Doctor: Doing an internship in infectious diseases in a developing nation after graduating from Harvard is not generally considered going to an “off-shore medical school.”

Dead Acorn: Whatever. I want a second opinion.

Doctor: Fine, but every physician in town will agree that you’re an idiot.

Anyway, I usually buy a bunch of cans of soup at one time and keep them in my desk drawer, and I generally only eat three kinds: Chicken and Wild Rice, Chicken Noodle, and Chicken Gumbo. I usually stock up more on the first two flavors, as they are more conservative in flavor, while the Chicken Gumbo is a bit spicy (dare I say bold?), which is somewhat antithetical to my rather pedestrian approach to midday sustenance. Nevertheless, I do maintain a small cache of the Gumbo just for those days when I feel like "coloring outside the lines," so to speak, just a little (I think I get this tendency from my Great Aunt Selina, who, every few months, goes on a whisky bender and talks some naïve college freshmen into driving her to Vegas, unfailingly landing in jail (though almost as unfailingly talking her way out of it) … we’re pretty much kindred spirits, she and I (but in spirit only; I don't regularly seduce college freshmen)).

Today was such a day, and to my surprise, there was nary a can of Gumbo to be found. Six cans of Wild Rice, four cans of Noodle, but nothing to sate my yearning for the 1 1/4 alarm heat that only Progresso can provide.

This, of course, got me thinking. I hadn’t altered my shopping list at all – I still bought the same ratio of the three flavors, which for years, has perfectly met my needs and desires – on most days, something safe and comfortable, but every once in a while, something just a little zany and dangerous. So if my buying habits hadn’t changed, the premature depletion of Gumbo could mean only one thing: my lunch, and, by extension, my life, is venturing more and more often into the wilder realms. I must be, without realizing it, bustin’ out of this cocoon of familiarity in which I've entrenched myself … throwing away this security blanket to which I cling … finally removing the safety harness I’ve been wearing my whole life, and goddamn it, walking the wire free of inhibitions, and to the devil with timidity.

Next up: switching to Crest Gel toothpaste, and having a beer in a bar south of State Street. Crazy talk, I know, and I'd be lying if I said I'm not scared. But watch out, world … there’s a new shooter holding the dice.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lesson Up, You ...

It occurred to me that rather than simply dirty up the googletubez with incomprehensible drivel as I usually do, at the very least, I could try to impart some wisdom, or, since it seems rather unlikely that actual "wisdom" will be found here, perhaps just some useful information. You know, maybe tell a story with a moral, à la Aesop’s Fables (though I would imagine that for my reader, a more appropriate reference would be to Fractured Fairy Tales).

So without further ado:

Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived all alone, except for a big stupid dog. He had gotten the dog from a place where people take bad dogs so that the bad-dog-place people can clean them up and make them look cute in a picture and tell unsuspecting other people that the dogs are only one year old and are really, really good and will never eat your whole pizza when you step outside for just a minute to talk on the phone.

The dog always wanted to be in the boy’s way, and would do things like walk in front of him in order to trip him, and breathe into his face from two inches away when he would lay on the couch.

She could be a very annoying dog.

One day, the boy was doing laundry, and was trying to pull the blankets off of the bed so that he could wash them. The dog, sensing an opportunity to be annoying, jumped up and laid down right in the middle of the bed. “Get up!” said the boy to the dog. “GET. THE. F*CK. UP!” But the dog continued to lay there, all 350 lbs of her nestled down atop the blanket.

Finally, after several minutes of pulling as hard as he could on the blanket and imploring the dog to move, the dog, with all the impeccable timing of Jack Benny, leapt into the air, causing the boy to slam himself in the stomach with both of his fists and knock the wind out of himself. As the boy writhed on the ground, clutching his belly in pain and gasping for breath, the dog looked at him as if to say "hey, I was just doing exactly what you asked!" and walked away laughing hysterically.

The Moral: Don’t get a goddamned passive-aggressive dog who thinks she’s all funny and shit.

There. I hope you've learned something.