Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Yet Another Crotchety Bathroom Aphorism?

"There is no fine line between what is stupid and what is impressive. The two overlap so often they need dual-language road signs. Stunts without wire teams, learning a language on your own, and nearly all respectable sports are simultaneously moronic and commendable. If it weren't for my brother falling through thin ice when everyone else knew not to go out there, I'd think the stupid and impressive really were the same phenomenon. That left me with this wide guideline: when you cannot figure if a thing is moronic or commendable, think how you’d feel if your family did it."

Friday, May 1, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: School of Bad Assassins

Jane and Brad’s idea was a bad one, but they were bored. They started an assassin’s school. Neither of them had ever killed so much as a turkey. They put no money into learning how to, either. All their money went into advertising, making themselves better known than all the expert hitmen in the world. They became so well known that assassins wouldn’t dare take them out – that would be suspicious. They were so well known that they got more students than any other school, and then trained them poorly. Graduates went on to try to kill for money and failed before they could cash their checks. That was Jane and Brad’s idea – clog the arteries of the industrial assassination complex with false confidence, and make the killers pay tuition up front.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Cartwheels

I’m going to tell you about a fact on Wikipedia. This is entry is so important because of what’s going on in the world. You see, the world is constantly being reduced. Architecture is more math and less art. They cut out people who take pride in making clothes, replacing them with kids who will take less pay. Scientists are bolder all the time in saying more of your personality is just your genes. They want to know you, and they want to know there’s as little of you to know as possible. Then they can dismiss you utterly. To whole industries and society you’re the sum of what goes on your tax form and fits on your passport. It takes the life out of life.

On Wikipedia they have a lot of entries for athletes. Boxers. Football players. They can give you the height and weight of Brian Urlacher or Oscar De La Hoya. Last I looked him up, the cage-fighter Frank Shamrock was 5 feet and 10 inches tall, and 185 pounds.

185 pounds. Was somebody there at his scale this morning? I don’t know. But it’s a symptom of how everything is being reduced. We’re being boxed in by dimensions.

You know the government even calculated how much a human life is worth? They factor it into punishments of murderers or something. If Frank Shamrock goes nuts next week and snaps your neck, you could be put on his tab. The tab of a man who weighs 185 pounds, with 23 wins, 9 losses and 2 draws in what Wikipedia calls his “Mixed martial arts record.”

Now I was browsing this site and came across the entry for Takeshi Morishima. This guy is a Japanese professional wrestler. A fake fighter’s got his stats here – his age, his height, his weight. At first there’s the laugh that this would even matter. Then there’s the disappointment at another man being catalogued. But those are obliterated by the actual entry. He’s Japanese, so it’s in metric, but it goes:

Ring name(s): Takeshi Morishima
Billed height: 190 cm (6 ft. 3 in.)
Billed Weight: 145 kg (Morbidly Obese, but can do a cartwheel)

It’s right there under his picture. Not “145 kilograms.”

“145 kg (Morbidly Obese, but can do a cartwheel).”

This man is amazing. He’s in a fake sport, but he is so jarring that somebody whose job it is to write his stats can’t stick to the job. It’s funny, it’s jarring, and it doesn’t belong in this society of numbers. The guy is a certain height and a certain weight, classifying him for morbid obesity, but he can do this thing you’d never think he could do, something atypical of what comes to mind when you think of these statistics. And the guy writing them adds it, and forgets to translate his weight into pounds.

That bucks the reduction. It bucks the death of life in written history, even if it gets edited tomorrow. It’s hilarious. It’s something you’d write about. That is willfully abnormal, and I will do everything in my power to create just one more stupid speed bump for a statistician who will have to say that I once swapped a Ritz for the communion wafer, or that I put steak sauce on my popcorn, or I have personally melted the final remnants of at least two urinal cakes. Anything so that I have so many things that someone trying to reduce me to numbers will have to give in and write just one parenthetical that does not belong in that box. Then I win, even if her editor fires her tomorrow and erases it. Because it means I didn’t live out a math problem. And if someone tries to write that I did, even if I don’t read it, even if I’m dead, I know they’re wrong.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: “ME – 5 cents” –Deposit stamp on Florida Orange Juice bottle, sold in New York

“What I’m saying, Ted, is that maybe we should get a bottle deposit in our home state. Maine is way the heck north of us. It’s embarrassing enough that only one out of all fifty states in the country will give people a recycling refund, but when it’s Maine instead of the state the oranges were picked in, the juice was processed in, and then bottled in? The ridiculousness is as pure as our fine, fine O.J.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Familiarity Does" on Powder Burn Flash

An unpublished Bathroom Monologue, "Familiarity Does," is the story of the day over on Powder Burn Flash. It's one of my very few pieces of crime fiction, and I'd love to hear what you all think of it.

You can check out Powder Burn Flash at this URL:

Bathroom Monologue: A Little Knowing Is…

Vineguard: Little-known fact: the black cat crossing your path and bringing bad fortune superstition arose from Africa, where the cat was a hungry jaguar.

Ninx: Little-known fact: the sky is actually God’s genitals, and He has been celibate since the dawn of time. Not willingly, though.

Chambers: Subtle.

Ninx: Your turn.

Chambers: Little-known fact: vampires cannot cross running water because they don’t know how to build bridges.

Ninx: That’s just dumb.

Chambers: Ask one. They’re abominable architects.

Vineguard: [Writing his on his napkin to illustrate for his cohorts] Little-known fact: 111,111,111 times 111,111,111 equals 12,345,678,987,654,321.

Chambers: New rule: no facts I’d need a calculator to check.

Vineguard: You’re free to call B.S., Randy.

Chambers: Screw that. I’m not losing again.

Ninx: Little-known fact: caution tape works poorly in advance.

Chambers: Okay. Little-known fact: this country isn’t the only one with a red, white and blue flag. France and England, two countries we often vilify, have the same color sets.

Ninx: Why would you bring that up? Do you hate America? These colors don’t run.

Vineguard: Plus, that’s not even true. I’ve been to France. Their flag is green and gold. Not only do you hate America, but you cheated at little-known facts. Lying is not okay in this game.

Ninx: Neither is dissing this country.

Vineguard: I’m afraid you lose.

Ninx: Get the drinks.

[Chambers gets up and goes to the bar, flummoxed.]

Vineguard: France’s flag isn’t green and gold.

Ninx: How the heck would I know? Couldn’t even point it out on a map. But I can’t pay for the next round, either.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Plastic People

It was the newest breakthrough that no one understood – we weren’t protein-chains, but a heretofore-unknown brand of plastics that seamlessly duplicated the protein experience. It was a delicate plastic destined to break down and force you to buy a new one, hence all the sex. It turned our world from a place of holy meaning and natural selection to a grand toy store. People submitted to full body scans just looking for their microchips or the strings doctors could pull to make them say adorable things – not that such things existed. That would be silly. Though late in the lab on April, Dr. Friedrichs did find “Made in Taiwan” stamped at the end of an RNA strand, or so he thought. It disintegrated too quickly to verify. Disintegrated, he figured – or melted.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Medium Listening

Not easy listening, because too much pop music chafes the soul. But not hard listening, because too much inflammatory or depressing music is not what I want to listen to when I’m driving a gas-powered hunk of plastic and steel. This will be a Medium Listening station. “Medium Well,” we’ll call it, with smooth Jazz and neat tones that nudge your values instead of attacking them. It will be frank and friendly, a hot stove to gather around while all the other stations offer burning buildings, brimstone and bad commercials.
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