Summer. A dead mouse in the pool. Two dead chipmunks in the pool. Every morning is another curtain of overcast and showers. But I know summer is here because when I flick the switch for the bathroom light in the morning, there’s always a spider scrambling towards the corner. Never makes it. Two well-appointed ladies in the cereals section of No Frills, talking in whole sentences without any expletives at all, discussing how difficult it is to find fig newtons these days. One aisle over, someone is farting as hard at they can. At the checkout: HEATHER LOCKLEAR — DRUGS, HOARDING AND MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES. Suzanne Somers is there too, radiating something flattened and weird about reverse aging. I have to help the cashier make correct change. She seems very tired. In the parking lot a fat man with a milkshake is yelling at someone in a rusty truck. Half the shake is on the front of his shirt. The highway up to Bon Echo Provincial Park is littered with turtles, meaning that we see exactly three, and have to stop for one, who is huge and not happy at the prospect of being moved, but some guy has a cookie sheet in his trunk and it turns out this works quite well for rolling angry turtles towards the ditch. Errands, appointments, chores: I am determined to get things done. Other times I have no ambition at all, just the mind-static world of a nap where you hear all the noises of the house but they don’t hear you. An activity board in the hallway at school which reads: WHETHER YOU COLOR THE WORLD OR LIGHT IT UP BLUE YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE SO KEEP BEING YOU, decorated with pictures of Abe Lincoln, Bill Gates, Courtney Love, Dan Ackroyd and Mozart. I have a small run of saying things to people and them not listening, the unusual part of this equation being me making the effort to say things. Should know better. Still, it seems like every once in awhile I have an irrational need to test the program, to see if the automatic/default response is still, Whatever, it’s fine, it’ll be fine, and to see if that code is still quivering with agitation. And then too often, of course, it is not fine. Pauline Kael once wrote: There are some people who are too French for their own good. A quaint problem. We now live in an age where everyone is too much themselves for their own good, and while they don’t understand who they are, it’s pretty much all they know. Still, only one in twenty people are pathological liars. The rest of us just dissembling. I make a painting called The Man from the Past. The internet has a carbon footprint which is at least as big as the entire aviation industry. If it were a country it would be the fifth largest energy consumer in the world. I try to explain to Oona that the internet is not her friend. This is a bit like selling feminism in Alabama. This is a bit like raising legitimate issues in a departmental meeting at work. Should know better? For family fun we go on a tour of Kingston Penitentiary. The day is cold and dark and sparkled with rain. Half an hour into it we get our first don’t-drop-the-soap joke. The place is much worse than I expected, on any number of levels, and should be targeted for an airstrike. Finally, the sun comes out.
This Tinyletter has been brought to you by the vanity license plates
1 WARD E
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4 MIKE S
with a special thanks to our New Zealand correspondent who sent in
reminding us all that questionable taste is a truly global phenomenon.
Have a good week, everyone,
Draw things, paint things, write things, make things.
p.s. The quotation in the title is from Elizabeth von Arnim.