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December 29, 2006


This just in! There is a mind-boggling amount of stuff going on in the world outside my door. This precipitates an ongoing crisis, because all that stuff is forever threatening to be more important than what goes on in my day-to-day life. Clearly, some balance is required.

Therefore allow me to remind my readers that there is a very important topic that deserves their immediate attention: me.

While most of my goals for the coming year are tentative, one thing I will definitely do is turn forty. This saddens me for a number of reasons. A big reason is that I had hoped my career as a concubine would have taken off by now.

I was hobbled from the get-go by the fact that I never made it into concubine school. My GRE scores were OK, but I couldn't produce any letters of reference. Maybe it's just as well, considering what you have to do to get one of those. Anyway, without a degree it's hard to establish trust with potential new clients, let alone get research grants.

At this point, I should probably just admit that I am the only client I will ever need, and give myself a business card. Who knows -- I might win a free lunch!

On the other hand, one thing gives me hope: Living Out Loud, a 1998 chick flick starring Holly Hunter. Like always, she plays a cute and watchable lady who has some problems. The movie also has problems, but there is one perfect bit: a synchronized dance number, almost an anthem, on the need to be touched.

Maybe Holly Hunter is the only client I'll ever need.

In other news, I find this projection on climate-related problems over the next 40-50 years extremely disturbing. What this map makes shockingly clear is that climatologists can't color between the lines. When the supposed experts show you a map with blobby smears all over it, how can they expect you to take them seriously? Clearly, more debate is required.

I challenge the experts to disprove my counterthesis: namely, that the world is a Family Circus strip, and God lets Billy draw it every week. That would at least explain the map.

December 26, 2006

Thank You

To Ma, Pa, Hoss, all the new in-laws and everyone else who made Christmas good.

Of course it wouldn't be Christmas if I didn't observe it in my traditional way -- by being completely out-of-it. Special thanks to everyone at my sister's party who let me listen in on their conversations without contributing much. As your reward, here is proof that I do have an occasional thought:

If soap is supposed to get dirt off, why isn't it sticky instead of slippery?

And if soap's slipperiness gets you clean, could you get the same effect by covering yourself with banana skins? Or Bill Clinton?

December 23, 2006

The Most Precious Gift

So here are the holidays again. The only ones we should ever need.

I don't want to mislead you into thinking I hate them. The holidays are nothing if not targets of convenience, big fat blimps kept aloft by humanity's collective exasperation with them. Being big and exasperating, they tend to draw fire from those too lazy to aim at smaller sleeker targets, including me. But no matter how I badmouth the holidays, I still have a fundamental regard for them.

I'll tell you why.

Fifty-one out of fifty-two weeks of the year, we are at Their mercy. You know who I mean. Them. The Type As. The overachievers. The stay-after-school-to-wash-the-blackboard-ers. The team players, the micromanagers, the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses-ers. And the Joneses too -- that Adam and Eve of conspicuous consumption, and all their numberless scuttling progeny. The ones for whom life is a lifelong race, with no pit stops.

Even if they're not around, you can still hear their voices. And boy, are they disappointed. They're puzzled that you're not doing your best, working just a little bit harder, spending just a little more time at work instead of indulging in comfort, talk, friends, family, all those pursuits that never lead to prosperity or discipline or the respect of your betters. Don't you know you're on a team, and you're holding your team back? Get with the program, get on the same page as everybody else, get agile, get ahead of the pack, get out of the way, get tough, get going.

But then, just when you think you can't take anymore -- along come the holidays.

I don't mean little one-shot holidays like Labor Day or Memorial Day. Not holidays that only exist to add a few hours to your weekend and a few extra war movies to AMC's lineup. I mean The Holidays. Days and days of holidays, chock full of traditions, cultural resonance and expected observances. In short -- the perfect distraction for Type-A personalities.

All of a sudden, they want you to get away from your ditch or your desk or whatever else constitutes your workplace environment. They want you to go spend time with your friends and family. Why? Because it's in the program! It's what team players do!

They'll still probably expect you to put up some decorations and string some lights. However, unlike their expectations the rest of the year, these will not affect your performance review. For now, for just this one week of the year, THEY stop trying to make you better by tearing you down, and leave you alone in blessed peace.

And hey. If the price I pay for this week of peace is to hear a little more Christmas music than I would like -- well, I'll gladly pay it. I might secretly wish that more carolers would sing Lou Reed's "Men of Good Fortune," but I won't complain if it's not in their repertoire.

So. Peace On Earth.

Enjoy it with my blessing.

December 16, 2006

Oh Dear.

Turns out I didn't have a girlfriend.

I'm trying to be mature about this. But honestly, I don't know anyone else who could labor under a two-month-long misapprehension of being someone's romantic interest.

Hopefully somebody will think this is cute and want to date me.

When life offers you mirages, make mirageade.