ARTS

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February 12, 2002

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

I'm not in much of a mood for the usual nonsense.

I wanna be your dog

I saw a car this weekend that said I can make up to $450 a month by allowing companies to advertise on my vehicle. The car didn't talk, it had an ad painted on it. Unfortunately I don't have a vehicle but I was wondering if anybody wants to take out an advertisement in this column or on my physical person. Like I could wear a T-shirt or write your Web site on my forehead in magic marker.

Actually maybe I just want to help people. Maybe I just want to help you. I want to do your dishes. I want to straighten up your living room and run water through your coffee machine so the coffee wouldn't taste bad for once. Then I will broom up the cigarette butts on your front porch. Then I will sit down for a minute and we will talk about stuff, and you will be happy with me, but at the same time it's not like you weren't going to do that stuff anyway, you would have gotten around to it, and well, frankly, you kind of resent my coming here to do these things without even calling ahead.

Or maybe you will thank me, and I will be gracious, but awkward, and you'll be thinking to yourself even as we are making small talk that you won't be comfortable again until I'm gone. I went to the bathroom and you felt a little better but there was still the fact that I was probably going to come back from the bathroom and continue the conversation bothering you. It wasn't bothering you so much as it was eating your brain. It wasn't eating away or nibbling so much as it just was eating.

I will apologize for something but neither of us will know what I am apologizing for and then we'll both apologize to one another at the same time and then look at the floor and then I will open the shoebox with holes in the lid I brought with me and I will have a Dalmatian puppy in it and I will give it you. I will leave your house quickly as you yell at me to take the dog with me but it is too late because your young son saw the dog and now you can't get rid of it, not ever, not until the dog is 12 years old and can't keep its food down and has weird lumps on its back.

One day (a Saturday morning), it will get really bad because the dog doesn't even remember you anymore and it bit you this morning and now it had diarrhea all over the dining room carpet, and you can't have company anymore although that's hardly the dog's fault. You've gained some weight, and you generally don't really try as hard these days. You are always wearing those green sweatpants and that swooshy old Nike tracksuit top, with the hot pink mesh in the armpits and down the sides. The tubes from your oxygen tank are spread all over the house and you frankly don't want anyone seeing you like this, but you still can't tell yourself the goddamn truth. It's the dog's fault. If he hadn't gotten old and decrepit, you would have lived forever. You were as close to God as any Christian had ever come, and the stink of senior citizen dog poop was what made God throw you back into His ocean.

Your son is 18 now, and his father bought him a Jeep. Sometimes your son pretends the dog isn't even there, even though the dog was his only friend from the ages of 9-13. Your son is both unwilling and unable to remember how much the dog used to mean to him, because he is a soulless monster, weaned on Game Cube and a macrobiotic diet, of which I tried to warn you off, but to no avail. On that day, your son will be playing whatever video games they play in the year 2014 with his friend, a gelled-hair, pockmarked wiener, who frankly should never ever expect to get laid, unless he gets a job as the gym teacher at a school for blind girls, and even then, I wouldn't ever expect him to get laid, and it won't be any less illegal, even if he does have a great personality.

And on that day, your son will accidentally step in dog shit, and he will scream in his annoying, never-quite-deepened voice that the Dog Must Go. The Dog I Brought Must Die in the name of Progress.

And on that day, you will wish I was there and I won't be, and if I am, I'll leave. I'll go watch daytime TV at a bar or in the hospital waiting room if I have to. Anywhere but being there with you and the dog, my dog, our dog, the dog, and the pointless life you brought down on your own head.

I broke my mouth

While eating cold fried chicken. I should clarify that it wasn't that kind of retainer. It was the kind that is just a short bit of wire cemented in two points to the back of my teeth. Somehow I broke one of the cement globs eating chicken. So then I had this piece of wire in my mouth. I managed to bend it with my tongue so that it was sticking straight up and you could see it over my teeth. I know this because I was doing most of this tongue work while looking at my reflection on the side of an elevator. I got kind of a funny look from some people when the elevator door opened and I was bent over the button panel looking at my teeth.

Anyway, I got that far. Then I couldn't get the damn wire to bend back the way it was. I looked around for some kind of metal instrument with which to pry off the other cement glob, thus freeing my mouth of all cement globs. Unfortunately, none of the implements I found were particularly well-suited to this, and the one thing I found that was (a key) was kind of rusty and I found it on the floor anyway so I didn't really want to put it in my mouth.

Finally, I had to just wiggle the piece of wire back and forth with my tongue until it snapped. But it didn't snap very cleanly and now I have this short, jagged bit of wire sitting in the place where I like to put my tongue when I am not using it. Which is unfortunate.

But I can't help but feel somehow liberated by the whole process. It's like I am molting or turning in a butterfly or something.

I take that back. I just spent five minutes poking around in my mouth with a pair of scissors and now my mouth tastes all metal-y and I don't like this and my tongue hurts and I don't want to die yet. I am not molting. I am not shedding my poofy white baby chicken fur for real feathers. I am falling apart at the seams. I am a shambles.

First off, I think I should stop rooting around in my mouth with pointy objects. I am going to cut myself, and then I'll have to go to the hospital, which is even worse than the dentist. Goddammit, this is annoying. I should go see a dentist. I will go see a dentist.

My side of the mountain

I can't give you the rose?

Time goes slowly when you are searching for love. Bob Dylan says so anyway.

But what about when you have found love but you are still building a fence around it and firing your gun periodically to scare off animals and rustlers? What do you think of Ted Williams now?

Time goes slowly when you are drowning, too.

If not for you, the sky would fall (Bob Dylan again)

I will not pay you your Triple Lagaan. I will not even give you that cricket match you feel like you deserve. I am unreasonable, at present time and for the foreseeable future.