Thursday, August 04, 2005


In Which We Purge Some Papers (but not others)...

First up in the purge, the consolidation of my boxes of personal effects. I'm hoping to downsize from 10 boxes to 6 (Someone else has set a goal of downsizing to 3, but that's just crazy).

In the first box I opened, I found the awful manuscript of the book I started writing at 19, the one I said I'd like to burn back in this entry. Here's an excerpt (hope it doesn't break the computer):

Chapter Eight
Being a day wherein there is a steady flow of events and also Our Hero suffers a massive Hangover...

"Cor, I could git inta so much trubbo fer bringin' you lot here, as if I'm not enough awlreddy."
"But that's precisely the point, Rognvald," Lisa said soothingly. "Since you're already in a world of trouble, how is this slight transgression going to harm you further?"
NN heard none of this from the other room. All he heard was the noise.
His pillow was damp. NN knew he had not drooled THAT much in his sleep. And where was that blipping coming from?
There it was again! NN opened his eyes, a considerable feat. He was rewarded for his efforts with two drops of water, both of which fell directly into the corneas of his eyes. NN's head began throbbing in time to the ceaseless noise. He groaned.
NN opened his eyes again, just in time to see the ceiling crack open and release roughly two gallons of water and plaster upon him.
"Glub," he said, sitting up, a fatal mistake, as 10,000 needles burrowed under his eyelids like leaping spermatozoa racing to fertilize the fragile egg that represented his sobriety. He swung out of bed, landing a foot squarely on a belt buckle. After nights like the one he had, NN tended to spend the next day feeling rather like a large dill pickle. He knew he should have stayed in bed.

See? And people think I exaggerate. Trust me: when I say something of mine really stinks, it stinks with a capital SUCK.

Also found: an envelope containing the comic strip I wrote in college with my best friend (I did the dialogue; he did the art). Man, that was fun.


It was an adventure/comedy strip, based loosely on the Platonic dialogues.


Instead of fight scenes, we had knock-down, drag-out discussions!


For some reason, newspaper editors declined to syndicate it.

Also found: a short travel journal of a trip to Italy, which I'll have to transcribe one of these days.

And this: a fragment of a letter. It's written in a flowing cursive hand, roughly 30 lines of text filling two slightly yellowing pieces of stationery. It's utterly nondescript, easily dismissed and discarded as scrap paper.

It is also perhaps my most treasured document.

(I was hesitant to post it here, because it seems very self-serving to do so, but I thought you'd enjoy the last paragraph. And anyway, when has self-servitude ever stopped me before?)

Page 2 begins thus:

...he can be a bit strange and silly. When he's in his kitchen, he likes to wear this frilly apron that says "Grandma's the best cook" and for oven mitts he uses a Gore-Tex ski glove and a tiger puppet he calls "The Kitchen Tiger." I came by when he was baking cookies once, and he was talking to the Kitchen Tiger and together they--well, he--was pretending to do a cooking show. "Well, KT, what are we doing today?" [changes to a gruff voice] "Oh, we're doing tollhouse cookies, my friend. And we've prepared a batch ahead of time. Grrr!!" There was no one else in the kitchen. He didn't see me at the back door. I don't know who he was doing this for.

But he's very, I don't know, compelling too. The other day, a bunch of us from work had to go to this industrial conference. There were about five of us from the different magazines and we were all wandering around this government building in the city, trying to find the conference room where this briefing was. When we got to the door where we thought the conference was, there was a sign on it that said "Private Meeting. No Admittance." And so we all stood there, these timid little trade editors too afraid to open the door and see if this was the right room. And then he walked up, took one look at the sign and said, "Well, that doesn't apply to US." Then he grabbed my arm, opened the door and walked right in, pulling me with him! I just love that.

And he's very nice to me. He makes milkshakes with Bailey's Irish Cream whenever I come over. And he doesn't get jealous around other guys, which you know I hate. Before we started really dating, I had this party and this guy Joe asked to be my date to the party. Jamie, who I was also seeing at the time, made a big stink about it and refused to come to the party and didn't call me for like a week. But this guy didn't. He came to the party and even made an effort to be nice to Joe (although Joe was totally drunk by then and was very rude to him. And me! Joe the jerk ended up blowing me off to go to the bars). And later when we did start dating, we were down on Michigan Ave. one night, and it was packed with people. And he reached for me and said, "Can I hold your hand? I just want all these people to know I'm with you." Which I thought was very sweet...

I know it's terrible to read other people's mail, but it was freely given to me by the recipient, an old friend of Her Lovely Self (who wrote the letter, as you must have realized by now). I'm not sure if she even knows I have this, but I'm never throwing it out. It's just the nicest thing anyone ever has written about me (or is ever likely to).

And of course, every word of it is true. Even the part about the frilly apron.

Right. Back to the boxes.

From Somewhere on the Masthead

'Scuse me a second.... *mwahahahahahhah.... mwahahahahahah.... mwahahahahaha*


That was a great post. Those comic srips - I just don't know what to say.... no, I'm serious.

I will now forever picture you in a frilly apron and scary/funny "eye" glasses with some sort of weird absinthe rash on your head.... just so you know.
Oh man... Kitchen Tiger! Love it! I begin to see where Thomas gets it from. :)

No don't downsize those boxes! I wish I had 100 boxes of my Dad's old stuff. Really. Your kids are going to love this stuff in 10 or 20 years.
Congratulations on Thomas being published at Boing Boing, quite a feat for a 6-year-old. And I love the letter from HLS, it certainly gives a little more insight to you. Thank you for sharing.
You have a house full of treasures.
It would be instructive to remember that "sophomoric" means "simultaneously wise and foolish."

Of course, we were college seniors, so what the hell was our excuse?
I want to make myself a t-shirt featuring the men of truth. It simply must be done.

That was so awesome of HLS's friend to give that to you. I can see why you treasure it so. Stumbling across stuff like that is what makes purging the junk worth the effort.
hehe. I loved the men of truth! and the letter was very sweet and I can really appreciate the kitchen tiger, seeing as that anecdote is one of the funniest I've heard in quite a while. and is somethign I could find my self doing.
You are so lucky she didn't run and call the men in white coats when she saw you baking cookies in a frilly apron while putting on a puppet show for yourself. At least it was Grandma's apron and not her underwear. I'll bet you were saved from that one because the cookies were for HLS. And...they were damn good cookies!

On another note: HOLY SHIT! I leave for 4 days and your son goes Internet Nuclear. BoingBoing! Trolls! Better be careful or you'll find your picture on the front page of the Enquirer. I can see it now: A photographer hiding in your shrubs, clicking frame after frame through your windows. You, looking over your sons shoulder, admiring his artwork (only because he's said "Look Dad, we can put this on my blog!" for like, the millionth time) , with a headline that reads: MM TURNS KITCHEN TABLE INTO SWEAT SHOP, SON FORCED TO PAINT 24 HOURS A DAY!

It's quite obvious your anonymous troll is not a parent, and not worthy of response.
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