Doh!day, Jesterary 27, 2000

"The physician can bury his mistakes,
but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines."

- Frank Lloyd Wright


     And what can a mere liver of life do, Mr. Wright, particularly when it's -9 Fahrenheit outside and the ground is frozen solid?
     And please don't say "Try planting hardy petunias instead" because I tried that today and they barely survived half an hour in the snow.
     Not that even a couple of redwoods would have sufficed to adequately block the view of my mistakes.
     And I'm not even talking about such towering errors in judgment as being born into the wrong family, going to the wrong high school, or misspelling the names of both Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire in a single recent entry.  I'm talking about the many, many errors judgment I committed just today.
     I'm starting to think that my third grade teacher was on to something when she took me aside one Friday afternoon and asked if I was one of those evolutionary dead-ends she had recently read about in Scientific American....

     Today's errors in judgment began when I woke up cold cold COLD, got up to get me a big mug of hot chocolate, and then returned to bed.  I thought that would be quicker and easier than hunting around for another blanket, and it was - but it also proved to be a short-lived solution that soon left me cold again, and the sheets wet and stained to boot.  Could I really have used a hot water bottle instead of a mug as my wife later suggested I should have?  Wouldn't putting hot chocolate in a hot water bottle void the warranty?  
     Next time I guess I'll just have to find me another blanket.
     Or at the very least try a hot mug of coffee....

     My second error in judgment of the day (quite apart from getting out of bed, soggy though it may have been) came when I attempted to dispose of the poinsettia that has been hogging our living room and blocking our view of the pretty white ceiling for the last 6 weeks.  Today is trash day here, and it seemed the thing to do so as to spare it the horrors of up to six days in an airtight can, but my wife had told me to try to save the basket the thing had come in.  I attempted to do so in the laundry room.  I attempted to pull the plant out of the basket exactly as my wife instructed me to do last night.  Unfortunately, I first set the thing atop the washer to work on it, and the washer lid just happened to be up.   I tried to get all the broken stems and leaves out, but the still-fresh memory of last year's identical disaster made me realize what a hopeless task that is.  I can only hope that my wife once again buys the argument that red-stained bras are a small price to pay for having this plant's well-known poisonous properties sterilize our unmentionables.

     My third error of the day was thinking I could actually eat a banana with my cereal despite the fact that we're out of condoms.  The simple fact is I haven't been able to eat either a banana or a cucumber since sex ed class my freshman year of high school without first seeing them reassuringly sheathed in a prophylactic, so deeply did our teacher impress upon us the need to put safety first.  I don't know why I even try to eat bananas and cucumbers on condomless days anymore, but I did, and with no more success than the last time we had breakfast out and our waitress had accidentally taken my foil wrapper away before I'd had a chance to open it.  I really, really was in the mood for a banana, too, but no - lack of foresight forced me to settle for a shriveled up strawberry served on a woefully too large diaphragm.  
     Talk about your major disappointments.... 

     My fourth error:  Putting on my boots to go get the newspaper without looking in them first.  I keep them on the basement landing in the winter and apparently, sometime during the night, a big, black, hairy deer had decided my left boot was a good place to seek shelter from the cold.  So there I was, already grumpy from a wet bed and not getting my 'nana, sticking my foot into my boot only to feel waves of nausea crash over me as I heard the sounds of a deer crunching beneath my toes.  Even worse, it turned out to have been a male, so I had to spend the next hour with the tweezers trying to pull all of the antlers out of my heel, arch, and fur lining.  
     If only I had remembered to change the locks on the basement door after I lost my keys in the garden last summer....

     My fifth error in judgment came after I returned from getting the paper.  My glasses fogged up, so I took them off and put them on the laundry room counter.  When I went to retrieve them, Jester was sniffing at the frames as if they might be some new-fangled cat treat worthy of a new millennium.  I don't know why, but I suddenly wondered, "What would Jess look like with my glasses on?"  Like I fool, I tried to find out.  I picked up my glasses, I ordered my hands to hook them over my pet's ears and balance them on his nose - and instantly nearly lost a thumb and two fingers for my efforts.
     "DON'T EVER DO THAT AGAIN!" a clearly shaken feline bellowed at me as he fled for the safety of the washer.
     "Believe me, I won't," I assured him, stanching the flow of blood with my newspaper, then making a note right then and there to try nothing larger than a monocle next time.
     Or maybe contacts.
     In disgust, a made another note to ask a vet the very next time I could find one in town willing to take my calls.

     My sixth error in judgment really was my own fault.
     I thought it would be fun to make a prank call to the Pentagon.  
     Yes, it was childish and totally irresponsible, but after all I'd been through before noon, I really needed to get my afternoon off to a good start.
     When someone at the Pentagon answered, I told him in no uncertain terms that the Martians had landed in Ohio.  I'd always wanted to do this, you see, and awaited his Hollywoodesque panicked response with glee.
     "I'm afraid that's a local law enforcement problem," the guy informed me without missing a beat.
     "Oh?  But - But I tried them and they said to call you."  I was nothing if not quick on my feet.
     "Well, they must  have misplaced the memo we sent out," the guy guessed with undisguised disgust.  "Try Immigration and Naturalization Services."
     I hung up, shocked.
     Martians are landing and we poor humans on the front lines are expected to call Immigration??  That's the U.S. Government's big contingency plan???
     I thought I'd only not be sleeping well until my sheets dried out.  Now it looks like I'll never be sleeping well again, and it was all my own fault.  
     There are just some things man is not supposed to know, and Clown Dan had inadvertently stumbled upon one of the biggies.
     Talk about having the worst luck....

     My seventh and last error of judgment before just sitting down in a closet corner and holding a pillow over my face turns out to have also been my own fault, though there's no way I could have predicted it.
     In a final attempt to save my day, I'd gone straight from the Pentagon to a Yahoo chat room where I thought it might be diverting to see if I still had what it took to talk some sweet stranger into revealing the color of her major appliances to me.  I got Kristen69 to go private with me easily enough, but then I made the mistake of being a wee bit too honest with her too soon.
     "So, do you like to play?" she'd asked.
     "Well, I like to joke around - especially in the kitchen," I tried to delicately turn the conversation towards her Frigidaire.
     "Joke around?" she asked, more confused than you'd think a girl of 19 should be.
     "Yeah, you know - tell jokes," I elaborated.  "Often to my side-by-side.  Do you have a side-by-side?"
     "What kind of jokes?" she asked without so much as hinting at the color of her ice cube trays.
     "Oh, you know - like this one," I began to wing it without giving it much thought as I dreamed of her shiny chrome hinges standing out in sharp contrast against her avocado doors.  "Know how many quadriplegics it takes to change a light bulb?"
     "Ummmm, noooooo."
     "Apparently more than the 36 I've shoved into a little, dark room so far this afternoon."
     Damn if she didn't leave without so much as telling me the size of her butter compartment....

     That's it.  I thought maybe I'd feel better if I took the pillow away from my face and wrote up my troubles here, but it just isn't working.  For one thing, I keep seeing "Kristen's left the room" every time I glance up at my screen since my screen saver seems not to have kicked in soon enough to prevent those words from being burned into my monitor.  For another, the process of writing up my troubles seems to have done more to make me remember them than forget them - the exact opposite of what I'd hoped would happen when I sat down here to dredge them up.  For a third, I think holding the pillow to my face may have deprived my brain of oxygen long enough to do a bit of permanent damage in the old "happiness center" - or maybe it was the lingering poinsettia poison in the pillow cover that I carefully chose to wash before bringing in contact with my freshly cat-clawed skin.
     No matter.  I'm going to bed whether it's still wet or not.
     If reading this entry wasn't the first error in judgment you've made yourself today, you might want to consider doing the same before you end up inflicting a bit of permanent damage on yourself, too....

Back To A Doctor-Prescribed Dose Of Good Old Days


Forward To A UL-Approved Brighter Tomorrow

(©Now by the court-appointed guardian of the probably autistic Dan Birtcher)


Not that it matters, but ptosis is properly defined as "Abnormal lowering or drooping of an organ or a part, as of the the upper eyelid."  I accidentally wrote quokka when I meant to write "upper eyelid" yesterday - sorry.  A quokka is actually a small, short-tailed wallaby which I often mistake for an eyelid.  I trust you'll remember this and duck if I ever try to wink at you.