One night, Palermo was all snuggled up in his bed and reading a book by Steven Barnes. As sleep was beginning to overcome him, his glazed eyes came upon a paragraph describing what the characters were having for dinner.
"Mmm...dinner..." he murmered as he let the book slip from his hands. He wrapped himself up in the blue, velvet-soft comforter with the dolphins on it. His eyes closed and he let himself slip off into the sunless realm of sleep.
"Food?!" he exclaimed as his eyes snapped open. Was tomorrow the potluck at work? Oh, no!
He leaped out of his downy haven and ran wildly to the kitchen. He searched frantically for something that he could throw together in time for the next day.
His sister, Barbara, noticed him running back and forth between the two refrigerators. She asked him what he was doing.
Palermo had an idea.
* * * *
Palermo strutted into work the next morning with a delightful, custard commonly known as flan. It was a traditional desert from the country of Pexico, where his parents where from.
He had commissioned his sister to make it for him. She had been shrewd, however. She could tell that he was desperate and gouged him appropriately, like any good sister would.
So, ten dollars poorer and one flan richer, Palermo put the flan in the fridge at work and sat down at his desk. "So, what did you bring for the potluck?" he asked his friend Brandon.
Brandon looked confused. "You mean the potluck next Wednesday?"
"Yes," replied Palermo, "Yes, that's exactly what I mean."
Start the clock at two minutes before lunch is over and....Go!
Beno said that my posts are inherently funny. Assuming that's true, then why? I've been trying to pick out what most influenced my sense of humor.
One of my greatest influences was the comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson. I learned to look at things a little differently because maybe, just maybe, they weren't as ordinary as they appeared.
Today, as I was making labels for pieces of evidence at work, I picked up a bag that contained an inch-long length of metal pipe. The paperwork stated that it was a piece of defective sprinkler, but it was clear what it was. "Look!" I said to my co-worker, "A robot trachea!"
I also admired The Far Side by Gary Larson.
Comedy shows I loved to watch (when I could get away with it) were Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, In Living Color, and Married With Children.
The HitchHiker's Guide To The Galaxy is probably the single most influential piece of literature I've ever read, as far as humour goes.
It's usually pretty obvious when I've been reading it. That earlier post about my airport adventure? That was me attempting to channel Mr. Adams.
Whoa, I went way past my two minutes. Gotta go, work, then register for more classes.
Maybe I'll try one of those literature classes I'm always hearing about.
[from an inter-office e-mail, i.e., me being unproductive, i.e., Janelle being bored and asking me to "say something funny."]
I'll tell you a funny story.
So there's this guy, we'll call him...Palermo.
Well, Palermo works at this insurance place. One Saturday he has to go and do a mail run. "No problem," figures Palermo. (He's very easy-going.)
He drives over to work to pick up the mail. But first, he has to switch his car for the large van used for mail runs. "No problem," he figures again.
But then, all of a sudden, there is a problem. The underground parking garage seemed to be closed. Large, metal gates covered the entrances. "Hmm," murmured Palermo. "I guess I'll just park by the front." He did.
Palermo picked up the keys to the van, then took the elevator down to the van which was parked in the underground garage. He got in, started it up, and then drove around looking for a way out. No dice. Every exit was blocked by those damn gates. "Damn," said Palermo. He parked the van and went back up the elevator.
"I guess I'll just use my car, then," Palermo decided.
He got his car and drove to the Post Office. When he asked for the mail, the lady said, "Sure; there's a lot today."
Palermo spent the next 15 minutes trying to cram all the mail into his tiny, tiny car. He succeeded, eventually. For the last few tubs of mail to fit, he had to push his seat up as far is it could go.
His forehead pressed against the sunvisor. His left knee could easily hit the lever that activated the turn signal. The gearshift looked like it was coming out of his right pocket. Palermo had to be careful when he inhaled so that his chest didn't beep the horn.
Palermo hoped that he didn't have an accident. He could picture himself getting hit, causing envelopes to explode everywhere like thick, white confetti.
He made it back to work without incident. He was a little stiff when he got out of the car, but other than that, he was fine. Palermo brought in all the mail, got back into his car, and drove off towards home.
He realized that he could push his seat back to it's original position somewhere on the exit ramp from the 101 freeway to the 60.
The following Monday morning, he drove in to work. The gates of the parking garage were still down. "How odd," he thought. He was about to go look for another spot when another car pulled up to the gate. The driver swiped his security badge. The gate slid smoothly up and the driver drove on through.
Palermo made a mental note to never speak of this incident to anyone, ever.
I'm tired of looking at my unconscious countenance so I think I'll write something.
Not that I don't like the picture. The reason I like it and the reason Kiki took it is because of the little baby in the background asleep on her father's arm. Kind of like me, except I am much larger and asleep on my own arm.
I've been thinking about writing. I've come to understand the reasons I have such a strong preference for writing. Firstly, I'm not particularly good at anything else. Secondly, I absolutely loath that universal experience of trying to relate a story and why it is significant, seeing the blank stares, and then finishing lamely with "I guess you had to be there."
I decided that no, you didn't "have to be there." I was there, I understood it, I can go back to that place, and I can bring you with me.
I will take everything I know of myself and everything I know of you and we will find that place together.
Right now I'm trying to figure out why I claim to like writing so much and yet, I am very close to needing two hands to be able to count how many English classes I've dropped. I've dropped more English classes than I have math classes, a subject which I am both horrendous at and horrendified of.
I believe I've been afraid that something I love will turn into plain, old, tedious work. It does happen.
After a few months at the restaurants I've worked at, I lost all desire to eat there.
Full-time graveyard shifts at the gym? I couldn't bring myself to step inside when I wasn't being paid for it.
Hell, there's a stack of unopened mail by my bed right now. I probably won't open any of it until the arrival of the 10 trade paperbacks of Transmetropolitan I accidentally ordered from E-Bay. (I was just curious about what the big, bright, "Buy-It-Now!" button did. Apparently, it foregoes the bidding process on the item and instead "Buys It Now!" Truly, this internet is a wondrous creation. Oh well. I had intended on getting them all eventually. Why not right "Now!"?)
Since I'm already on a tangent: Why do people like ice so much? All it is is incredibly slow water.
Ah, I do miss writing at 3:00 am. We'll show those day-walkers, won't we, little blog?
One more tangent: Is it normal for people to look very concerned and ask "Why, what's wrong?" immediately after you tell them you're not drinking tonight?
Yes, well, I was saying that I stop liking a lot of things when they become associated with work. A girl I dated would joke about getting a job as a stripper. I told her that it wouldn't bother me unless she began coming to bed fully-clothed or something.
At the Comic-Con, I got to listen and even speak to a number of full-time, successful, multi-novel, career authors and...
Hey, there's a button on my keyboard that says "turbo." It's right next to the "Shift" key. I wonder, what does it do? I don't think I'll push it tonight; I'm not ready to spend another 80 dollars-plus-shipping.
Ha ha, "do." I was at Beth's house tonight and towards the end of the evening someone asked Amber "What do you do?" I bristled because I hate that question. But Amber's response was unique. "You mean, what do I do?" she asked, and began to make humping motions. I laughed. The person who had asked seemed confused.
The reason I don't like being asked what I do is because I am not a toaster. You can ask a toaster "What do you do?" and the toaster, if it were able, would reply "Make toast."
Ask a can opener, a roof, a cow, "What do you do?"
You would get "Open cans," "Keep the rain out," and "Be delicious."
"What do you do?" is so delightfully ambiguous that it's hard not to pretend that what the question that is really being asked is "What do you do for money?"
When I am asked "What do you do?" I want to respond honestly.
"Well, I'm not really sure what I do. But whatever it is, I'm pretty sure that I'm doing it now."
But I know what I'm not doing: Talking about meeting full-time writers when I was in San Diego.
I think there are two schools of experience. There is the experience of observing an action and then there is the experience of participating in an action.
Both provide information. Both are important. I don't think the two are rigid, mutually exclusive concepts, but they are useful perspectives to be aware of.
Myself, I'm more likely to go native.
The majority of my writing is non-fiction. Hmm, I've just now realized that. Probably less than 5% of what I've written is fiction, and that's even counting all the autobiographical fiction. I write almost exclusively about what I've done, what I think about what I've done, and what I might do next.
I don't think I'm a very strong writer creatively. My strength lies in living haphazardly and writing things down before I forget them.
It is a very simple formula, but not one I'd necessarily recommend.
If I were to spend my days writing full-time, I don't doubt that most of my writing would end up like this. Globs of ideas floating around, blending and separating like the wax in a lava lamp.
I'm not up to the task of creating worlds. Creation is a big responsibility. Right now, I'm more responsible than I've ever been in my life and I still balk at the idea.
It is a frightening thing to be in charge of showing a world.
A while ago, Chris was telling me about Ansel Adams. Chris said that Adams would go out into the wilderness with a set image in his head and then look around until he could found the image he wanted and photographed it.
It didn't make much sense to me, so I thought about it for a while. I think it is a function of becoming experienced with the subject (in this case, nature) and the medium (photography).
A musician might do the same thing, playing different instruments and songs in different ways, all the while listening for the sounds they want to hear.
When I actually get off my lazy butt and edit anything, I will go through what I've written and make sure it is something I want to read.
Heh, if all I did was write, all my writing would end up being about writing. I don't think that would even fall under post-modern; it would fall under tedious.
On to other thoughts, then.
I've also been thinking about marriage. Not about getting married, no. About the process itself. I was discussing it with a few friends, two of whom were engaged to each other. I opined that I was "vehemently against marriage." I should have elaborated because now I think I may have offended them.
Right now, I'm against marriage because, in this case, I would prefer to err on the side of caution.
I understand why people would want to get married in the romantic sense. The idea of never being alone again can be very comforting.
However, with that idea, the other face of Janus is gazing balefully at the other far-too-common element of marriage: Fear.
Everyone seems so bloody terrified of being alone. I don't see why. Particularly with us humans, one of the safest places you can ever be is alone. Assuming that security is the ultimate goal, of course.
Our buddy Janus has run out of faces but I haven't run out of reasons. Never underestimate the power of apathy.
I've also seen the "might-as-well" attitude. Like a game of relationship roulette, in which the passage of time pulls an internal trigger and the marriage hammer falls on whoever is in the chamber.
I could be misunderstanding it, of course. I do tend to emphasize the importance of timing.
Getting past the myriad of reasons people get married, I encounter more questions.
How does marriage change a relationship? Myself, I don't feel bound to any set of rules that dictate my behavior (besides supply-and-demand, gravity, and the like). Relationship-wise, I can explore options with a partner such as sex, sharing a home, and even having children (not that I'm particularly wild about the idea of having to be responsible for a miniature me), without fear of repercussions from my community.
I don't like the idea of marriage as the key that finally unlocks the next set of possibilities in a relationship. Frankly, it sounds too much like a video-game to me.
Thus, for me, marriage would not have a radical impact on anything other than the paperwork for filing my taxes.
I was thinking that people with dyslexia would make great couples. See, when one of them makes a mistake and switches something around, the other would switch things back.
Many relationships are about making a commitment to mutual growth. Marriage strikes me as much the same thing, only with more paperwork.
If I were to consider marriage, it would be because I found someone with shares my values, possesses qualities I admire, and has the same sense of life.
Goals are important, too. I mean, I'd prefer that her career not require us to move to a frozen wasteland where the sun never sets, but hell, I can write with a pencil in my teeth if all my fingers freeze off and I don't know how to light a seal-oil lamp anyway.