Saturday, December 11, 1999

Not Just Another Mutter Machine In The Crowd


     Partly sunny again today, and not too cold, with nary a thunderstorm, blizzard or drought in the entire house.
     In other words, perfect weather for Jester to sit around and throw interrogatory glances at me.
     "WHAT?!" I finally snapped and demanded to know after his 53rd thrown glance nearly went right up my nose.  Green cat eyes like his make up for in force what they lack in accuracy and always get to me in the end.
     "Why did you buy a new pillow in the first place if you already had one?" the beast inquired, beastily without prelude.
     He's been reading my journal again, I realized, nonchalantly wiping the sudden sweat from my brow with a sock.
     "Only enough to know what my chat friends are making fun of," Jester hurried to assure me.  "But you're changing the subject.  You really should be trying to answer the question.  That way, if you're ever faced with another, you'll have had some experience."
     I bought a new pillow because I couldn't recall how old the one I had was.  If there's one thing I've learned from reading biographies, it's that no one should take anything to bed with them unless they're sure of its age.
     "Oh, really?"
     Well, that and the fact that I didn't know how to ask it when it had bathed last, since I don't speak Pillowish at all. 
     "I thought you took Pillowish in high school?"
     No, I took Sportscaster.  Well, until I lost my voice during a pop quiz which required us to extemporaneously bark out six hackneyed superlatives in a single sentence fragment.  I automatically flunked when I panicked and exclaimed "NOT SINCE KAFKA PLAYED FOR THE GREEN BAY YANKEES HAS SUCH AN EXISTENTIALLY MACHIAVELLIAN PASSING PLAY BEEN ATTEMPTED ON FLANDERS FIELD!"
     "Gee, just hearing you reminisce kinda makes me wish I had a new pillow of my own right now."
     You know, I'm really glad we still have time for these little talks despite my starting up a new journal and all, otherwise I wouldn't be able to write for fear that you were off in some corner of the house drowning in all your undrained snottiness.
     "Oh, hey - I think it's great that you're back in that office of yours, sitting in your little chair, filling the air with the white noise I need in order to reach my full potential as The Animal That Gazes Off Into Space.  Things were just too damn quiet around here when you were trying to usurp MY place in the Great Chain of Being."
     What are you talking about?
     "Here - read this," he demanded, throwing a recent Newsweek in the general direction of the sock I had forgotten to remove from my sweaty forehead.

"Utter silence can be torture.  That's what accountants at the British Broadcasting Corp.'s open-area west London office whispered before consultants diagnosed 'pin-drop syndrome' there.  Sound-starved staffers complained of stress and loneliness.  The solution?  A new 'mutter machine' emits indecipherable human chatter to create a friendly hubbub where once there was none."

     So - you're saying that my writing a journal is providing more of a legitimate social function than my trying to pass myself off as a "consultant" who diagnoses "problems" that can only be solved by the purchase of stereophonic nonsense?
     "No, I'm saying that the unintelligible stream of curses against PCs, Windows, ISPs, and the demise of the 8-track that flows from your lips as you tippy-tap-tap your life away does wonders to relieve my stress and loneliness."
     In other words...?
     "Thanks for being my very own personal Mutter Machine!"
     Umm, good to know I'm of some value to you.
     "Hey, if they ever give out awards for Best Babbling Brook in a Supporting Role, you'd win - easy!"
     Something to look forward to.
     "In fact, you're almost as good as the sound of an electric can opener inanely laboring to free tuna from a can."
     What do you mean "almost"?  Are you saying that I'm not only just a Mutter Machine to you, I'm a second rate Mutter Machine??
     "Don't take it so hard.  Remember: The can opener was designed by trained professionals."
     Ha!  I think a little contest might be in order here.
     "Now, don't do anything you'll regret in the morning.  Especially not when you're already in the middle of a pillow crisis."
     To the can opener - NOW!
     "Ok, ok - but you gotta promise me you won't try to obtain an unfair advantage over the machine by 'accidentally' dropping the open can of tuna on the floor just to steroidify your girlie curses."
     Hey, there's nothing in the rule book that explicitly says I can't drop a can of open tuna all over the floor if I want to.  I'll even drop TWO if that's what it takes to prove my superiority over a kitchen appliance when it comes to the emission of unintelligible noises!  It's my house, dammit!  The can opener is merely sub-leasing.  Now, let's go!
     "Please - I beg you.  NOT the expensive white tuna.  You KNOW how unbeatable your curses are when you drop that!"
     GO!  And stop trying to tell me how not to win this contest!

     So: That's how I spent the afternoon - successfully proving once again that man is superior to any machine when it comes to the finer points of pet ownership.
     So what if it meant I had to spend most of my evening mopping the kitchen floor and tending to the hand wound I, umm, accidentally suffered on the ragged edge of a can lid?  I had sense enough to make a tape of my performance and I intend to cash in BIG by forwarding it to the BBC first thing Monday morning.
     Or as soon as I manage to wake up on my own - Monday afternoon at the latest.
     Depends if I can remember how to set my can opener to go off at 8 a.m. 
     If you have any idea - or can even tell me what might have happened to the buttons I'm sure were on the thing last time I needed to get up early - drop me a note.  I'll be right here, tippy-tap-tap away for my oddly fatter cat.
     The fixed males can't get pregnant - can they??


Yesterday And Such


Tomorrow Or So


(All Material Not Accidentally Mopped Up And 
Flushed Down The Toaster ©1999 by Dan Birtcher)