It’s three in the morning, I can’t sleep, and this is pretty ridiculous, in my opinion. I’m tired. Tired and whiny, and thoughts won’t quit invading my head. And I have no whiskey, which is a problem in and of itself.
I have gin, but that just isn’t the same. You sit around at three in the morning drinking whiskey out of the bottle, you feel like a private eye. You do the same thing with gin, you feel like a fat, oily, gin-soaked alcoholic. Which isn’t nearly as cool-sounding.
I saw a car today that still had a George Bush for president bumper sticker on it. I am not a political person, but I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind still supporting Bush. Democrat or Republican, it seems like at some point, you just have to realize that the guy’s a moron. I see him on TV, it seems like his handlers have completely given up on him. I got the same feeling when I saw clips of Tom Cruise on Oprah a long time ago. Like watching a luxury ship hit an iceberg. Going down, ladies and gentlemen, and it won’t be pretty.
The thing is, I can see how someone could have voted for him a long time ago. I’m not saying I condone it, but I can see how it could happen. It seems like by now, though, you’d seriously want to reconsider that bumper sticker. I know they aren’t that easy to take off, but at this point, it’s almost like you’re proud of being a sucker.
I liken it to meeting a woman at a bar, taking her home, and finding out she has a penis. And then bragging about it to your friends, anyway.
“Dude, I totally got laid last night.”
“Yeah? Because we were talking about it after you left, and we sort of thought that was a guy in drag.”
“Yeah, yeah, it was.”
“Oh…so. I didn’t know you were gay.”
“What?! I’m not, man! Why would you even think that?”
“Well, you know—you just said you got laid. I assumed you were talking about the cross-dresser you took home.”
“Yeah, I was. Tore that shit up, yo!”
“And yet…you’re not gay?”
“You voted for Bush, didn’t you?”
“Got the bumper sticker to prove it!”
Don’t be proud of getting duped, America.
The other day, my princess and I were having a discussion about stupid people. Stupid people worry me. It’s like a disease that rarely kills. And although stupid people occasionally take themselves out of the gene pool by doing something moronic, they’re much more likely to reproduce all over the place, furthering their legacy of dipshit.
My answer to this problem is forced sterilization. You’d be amazed at how often people seem shocked when I mention this. And then they generally ask something like, “But who decides who is stupid? I mean, how would you feel if someone told you that you couldn’t have children?”
My stock answer goes something like, “I decide who is stupid. And frankly, I wouldn’t mind so much if someone told me I couldn’t have children—save a fortune on birth control.” This answer doesn’t work so well. When speaking to my princess, it’s even worse—something about that whole, “I’d be fine with never having children” answer seems to irk her.
I used to pitch the idea of just taking away people’s children, but I got sick of people looking at me like I was a monster. Okay, not really. What happened was, I got fat, so I couldn’t ever tell if they were looking at me like I was a monster, or if they were just looking at me because I’m such a fat-ass.
So forced sterilization.
Although this seems like a perfectly logical solution to me, it apparently isn’t. “There’s still that problem of drawing the line,” my princess told me. “What if you’re sick the day you get tested for intelligence?” This is a sore spot for me, because as a child, I didn’t make it into the Gifted & Talented program for this exact reason.
The day I took the various tests, I was running a fever, and probably shouldn’t have even been in school. I remember the lady explaining the tests to me, and I just stared at her, unsure of what she was saying—most of her words just sounded like buzzing.
Admittedly, there’s a chance that I was just a stupid kid.
“Okay,” I said to my princess, “What about this? What about we get a birth control patch, right? We stick it on their back, right in the middle, where they can’t reach it. If they’re too stupid to get it off, they don’t get to procreate.”
After a few minutes of deliberation, she decided it wouldn’t work. “I know people who’d probably knock the patch off just trying to have sex.”
And that’s the truly terrifying thing about these kinds of people—given enough time, it’s possible that they’ll fail their way to success.
My house has too many smells in it right now. We’ve been cooking a lot lately, and it’s nice to have the smell of a cooking meal, sometimes. Like if you have a sauce cooking, and it fills the kitchen with smells of parsley, tomato, oregano, all that—nice. But you have to give it time, I think, to air out.
For example, I cooked sausage and eggs this morning for breakfast. Spaghetti last night. Chicken before that. Turkey bacon. All these smells, they’re fine independently. The dishes have been washed, the stovetop cleaned. But the smells, they linger. They meet up, they merge into new smells that are not nearly as pleasant. It’s too bad, really.
Also, stay away from Baked Cheetos. They smell like shit, and they taste like that awful orange popcorn that comes in giant tins at Christmas time. It’s a bad deal.
There was a bottle of Knob Creek bourbon sitting on my shelf. One shot left in it. I drank it, and it was good. That warm feeling all the way down to my stomach. That’s another thing—whiskey tastes like liquor, whereas gin just tastes like a chemical. A not-so-safe chemical. I’m not saying that whiskey always tastes good, but at least it tastes like something other than toilet cleaner.
I wouldn’t mind standing around in my underwear, waving an empty gin bottle around, though. People see you doing that, they know you have problems. You try it with a whiskey bottle, there’s a good chance they might just think you’re on a bender of some sort. A giant, plastic gin bottle, that’s how you let the world know that you’ve got some serious issues that will more than likely only be solved with some serious police intervention.
Stained boxer shorts, maybe some black socks on, those weird, old-man slippers. I guess a robe, but it has to be untied, and your belly has to be sticking out of it. If you’re a chick, you can do this same thing, only substitute the boxer shorts for a pair of those outrageous old-lady panties (I believe the technical term is granny-pannies), and maybe put some of those old-time rollers in your hair. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to have a cat or two scurrying about your feet.
I wish I could set up a business as a consultant for crazy people. They’d come to me, explain the level of insanity they need to portray/reach, and I’d run through a madness model with them.
“Well, if we’re going for batshit insane, you’re definitely going to want to invest in a bathrobe. We have several styles, already pre-stained. And if you purchase the complete package, we’ll also throw in this CD of nonsensical rambling you can learn along with. Tracks include, ‘The secretive, tin-foil-hat-wearing, government-conspiracy-babbling, paranoid;’ ‘Racist war veteran;’ ‘Things to mumble while wandering about in traffic;’ and many more.”
“Well, I’m not sure if I want to go all the way batshit insane. Maybe something a little more subtle?”
“Absolutely not a problem. With our, ‘About to snap’ package, you get several generic composition books, already filled with lines of disturbing poetry and ranting, defaced pictures of celebrities, and spatters of animal blood. You simply invite someone from the office to your home, and go into the kitchen for a bit, leaving them to peruse your bookshelves. Trust me—by the time you arrive with Bill’s cocktail, he’ll be sweating bullets, wondering if he’ll even make it out alive. And if he isn’t calling various other coworkers, alerting them to the fact that it’s only a matter of time before you come to work with a firearm, we’ll refund the price of the notebooks. For an extra fee, we can even include unsettling collections, such as those weird little spoons with pictures of places on them.”
“That sounds great, but what did I see in the pamphlet about a ‘mother-issue upgrade?’”
“Excellent package for trying to scare away potential dates or even someone you’ve been in a relationship with for a while. You’ll receive the fifty-eight framed photos, all of your ‘mother.’ You simply hang them throughout your house or apartment, and display them on every shelf, counter, etc. We’ll arrange calls at all times of the day—and night—in order to ruin every gathering, or special night out. We’ll leave messages on your answering machine and voicemail—sometimes screaming and cursing, sometimes weeping and guilt-laden. With a minimal bit of training, you’ll soon be able to awkwardly interrupt any conversation, outing, or even sexual encounter to answer calls from your mother. We’ll also schedule in times when you’ll have to suddenly rush away to be with her.”
Four in the morning now, and someone just got home—car door slamming shut with a little too much force, signaling too much to drink. Short burst of the car horn as the owner activates the alarm.
I look at my list of things to do tomorrow, and can’t help feeling a little bitter. To-do lists seem like lousy practical jokes you play on yourself when you have insomnia. I don’t have insomnia, really. Not really. I just have trouble sleeping. Not always. Only when I should.
I can sleep just fine at seven in the morning, when it’s time to get up and go to the gym. I can sleep just fine at four in the afternoon. I don’t know why, but my body feels that four in the afternoon is my bedtime. I find it almost impossible to stay awake. Fall asleep, stay that way until seven, eight, nine, whatever. Wake up. Go to the gym at ten, because that’s about the time that other people stop going.
Weights? Walking? Something. Nothing helps my fat ass, but it gives me something to do while I’m not sleeping. Midnight, and everyone I know is asleep, because that’s what people do at midnight. Surf the internet, look at all kinds of shit I don’t care about seeing.
Homework, just to be productive. Web design, digital imaging, maybe even some graphic art history. Algebra? Fuck algebra, seriously. I have enough nightmares. Sometimes I think about how maybe algebra is the language that demons speak. When spoken, it’s like a venereal disease in the mind. Penile leakage, vaginal discharge, oozings from the cerebral cortex. Bad business, not something you want to be a part of.
Two tomato harvesters are available to harvest a field of tomatoes. The slower harvester can harvest the whole field in 7 hours. If both machines harvest at the same time, they can harvest the whole field in 3 hours. How long would it take the faster machine to harvest the whole field by itself? This is the devil’s lullaby.
Polynomials, irrational numbers, extraneous solution, quadratic, linear functions; these are the words monsters whisper into each other’s ears as they screw.
You wouldn’t even believe how many Post-It notes I have. If I told you, I mean. You wouldn’t even believe me.
I know it isn’t scientifically possible, but I like to imagine that if you ever looked into a turtle’s shell, there would be a swanky 70’s-style bachelor apartment, with a rock fireplace and all kinds of velvet and maybe a waterfall behind the bar. And once inside his shell, the turtle is always dressed in bell-bottom pants and a button-up silk shirt with some sort of outrageous print on it. Just for the record, I hate bell-bottom pants, but if you ever look at a turtle—the feet and legs, specifically—you’ll see that they are naturally inclined to look good with this style of pant.
Also, I would like it if, when you walked in unexpected to a turtle’s shell, he’s actually dressed in either a tuxedo—James Bond-style—or in a wizard robe, and he suddenly looks completely busted, because the 70’s bachelor thing was all just a front.
Unless it’s a girl turtle, in which case it will always just look like outer space. You walk into a girl turtle’s shell unexpectedly, you find yourself floating among the stars, and then there’s this voice—an ageless woman’s voice—that goes, “You do not belong here.” And next thing you know, you’re eight years old, you’re standing there in front of the public library with a pack of cigarettes in one hand, a book in the other, and your mom’s pulling up. You jam the pack of cigarettes into your pocket, confused and scared, and really just hoping that you can throw them away without getting caught. But then you get home, and throwing them away doesn’t seem right at all, so you sneak out in the middle of the night, and you bury that pack of cigarettes under the lilac bush, and although it feels like you’ve certainly learned something about the universe, you’re damned if you know what.
So I should go to bed—I have things to do tomorrow. More than likely, I’ll end up staring at the ceiling for a while, and I’ll think about all kinds of unpleasant realities. But I just hit the five-page mark, and that’s pretty silly, considering I didn’t even have anything to say.
I’m going to ask a favor before I go. I know I have no right to ask anything from you. But it’s not a terribly huge favor, and it would make me feel better. It’s this: do something unexpected today.
It doesn’t have to be anything monumental. Kiss your lover spontaneously; invite a stranger to laugh; buy a CD you haven’t listened to since high school. Something. Whatever life you live, tilt it just a little today.
I’d appreciate it.
If you want to tell me about it, you can either comment or email me: ray at thestrangelands.com. But there’s no obligation.
You don’t have to do anything different, of course. Honestly, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t—different is scary. I think you should though—not just for me, but for you.
Anyway, I’m out of here. Sweet dreams, Strangelanders, whenever you have them.