Tuesday, November 30, 2010


A friend asked me how I found the time to start a blog, and I had to laugh because you could write a masterpiece in the time it takes Stella to get dressed in the morning. In the hours it takes her to finish up in the bathroom I could dissemble a steamboat and haul it over the mountains using donkeys and ropes I wove from hand-harvested spider silk. In the time it takes for her to put on her boots I could emigrate from Kenya, father a child by an American citizen, return to Africa, and die happy in the knowledge that I had planted a vine that could take root in the side yard of American soil and then as it grew, climb the house of the American civil society, and ruin the paint of capitalism, our market economy, and all that we hold dear as American citizens.

So there's plenty of time around our house, time for me to do whatever I want. And apparently what I want to do is spend that time hassling Stella to get ready. "I am only going to tell you ONCE to get dressed," I will say, before repeating that exact phrase 47 more times. My logic is that if I'm going to have to tell her dozens of times to do something anyway, I might as well do it upfront.

The other thing I do with all that time is clean up after the cats. My two are known far and wide for their prodigious upchucking. They're really quite sweet cats, but I suspect they're on the no-fly list, as their vomiting ability is such that one well-timed yack could bring down a plane. These cats can't have learned to throw up like that on their own. I suspect nefarious origins. I think that 50 years ago, all the owners of cat food companies put their heads together and realized that there was a limit to how many cats people would own and therefore a limit to how much cat food could be sold. But what if they somehow engineered a cat to eat twice as much cat food and still stay the same weight? Consumers would be forced to buy twice as much cat food! But how to make the cats want to eat all that extra food? Splice an easy-retch gene into the feline population, and sit back and watch the stock price climb.

The other thing I do with my extra time is mentally mocking people who have non-touch screen cell phones. Somehow, I've become the kind of jerk who thinks that having a touch screen phone is indicative of other people's worth. "What an out-of-date loser," I think when I see someone with one of the older internet phones. Keep in mind that I do not have a touch screen phone myself. In fact I'm not sure that my cell phone, a stripped-down pre-paid version I bought a few weeks ago, has enough in common with something like the iphone that the word "phone" could be used to described both of them. Maybe I should start referring to my phone as a "victrola" instead, and power it not with a charger but by turning a little hand crank.

The problem with developing an interest in particular phone, as I am trying unsuccessfully not to do, is that newer, cheaper, faster, better phones are continually introduced. The period before a new phone becomes obsolete is very short. It seems like a better idea to invest in technology that is cutting edge for a period of at least a few months -- in other words, almost as long as it takes Stella to put on her coat.

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