Short Wednesday, Marchipelago 22, 41 A.B.

A few quick notes for the benefit of my future selves....

1.  "It is a rare man who suffers from such an excess of empathy, he allows himself to be buried instead of the corpse of his friend."

2.  Ants are appearing in my bathroom.  Big, black ants.  One or two a day.  Always one at a time.  I have no idea what their motivation may be.  (A desperate need for deodorant?)  I have never had such ants in my bathroom before - at least not that I can recall.  Perhaps it is merely the same ant coming back, over and over again, no matter how hard I crush it?  Perhaps it is merely serving as a decoy while others raid another, more interesting part of my house - like my sock drawer??  If only I had time to look.  If only the little buggers would knock before entering...!

3.  The ground is shifting.  Has shifted.  I mean to say, my three-quarters of an acre has noticeably changed since the fall.  There are dips where last November there were none.  There are humps and lumps and bumps where smoothness once reigned supreme.  And holes - mysterious holes, the size of the circle I can make with thumb and forefinger.  As if I'm even tempted to make such an "OK" sign for a single second in the face of all this unexpected change!  What did Darwin once calculate?  That all the earth we see and touch is run through the gut of an earthworm once every 7 years??  What did that columnist tell me the other day about all the earthworms on earth outweighing all the humans by 10 to 1???  Are these invertebrates the ones responsible for this slow-motion transformation of my world????  Perhaps a private detective or an infra-red surveillance camera would be a better investment than more Prozac when it comes to my peace of mind.  BUT WHAT OF THE TUFTS OF GRASS?????  Do I really want to know that the worms are responsible for those, too???????  Time to grab the ice cream and do my best to forget I ever noticed anything at all....

4.  Am proceeding with all deliberate speed to legally change my name to "Dan University" in order to increase the chances of someone accidentally enlarging my endowment in their will.

5.  I bought a new shirt last weekend.  The first new shirt I can recall buying in months.  It's a simple short-sleeve rammie/cotton blend, made in Bangladesh.  Only $12 at KMart, but I'd feel better about it if I knew what "rammie" was.  Hmmm, the closest thing in the dictionary is "ramie: a tropical Asian perennial herb having broad leaves and small unisexual flowers; the flaxlike fiber from the stem is used in making fabrics and cordage."  I don't believe I've ever worn a perennial herb before.  If it frays when I'm out to dinner, can I just scatter the threads and pieces over my salad?  And the lint that it will inevitably leave in my dryer - can I in good conscience serve it on crackers to my guests?  Alas, the label only tells me that rammie is "ramina" and cotton is "algodon" in another language.  Bangladeshi?  Is that the chief language over there?  No - it's Bangla, the almanac says.  Smart thing, my almanac.  However did it end up in my employ?  Anyway, the shirt has a map printed on it.  An out-of-focus (and hence perfectly useless to navigators) blue and green and brown cartographical recreation of what might be the Philippines area, repeated over and over again as if drawn by a cartographer desperately trying to forget his seasickness (or shifting ground).  Oooo, and little indents/flares at the sides - a shirt that begs to be worn outside the pants!  Or, perchance, with no pants at all??  Trying it on again now in the privacy of my office, I feel the accumulated sinfulness of 4600 years of sub-continent decadence seep out of the ink, the wooden buttons, and the residual herbal pollen and slowly corrupt my blood.  Time for more ice cream!

6.  Fired off an email to the US Postal Service today:

"Dear Sirs and Madams - Instead of raising postal rates again, why don't you try to stay in the black by convincing Bic, Parker, and other pen makers to start using heavier inks?  I'm sure with the addition of a very few cheap ingredients like concrete or lead, even the briefest of messages scribbled on a postcard could be made to require extra postage.  Please disregard if you already have someone working on this.  On second thought, could I please have their name(s) so that I might sue them for infringing upon my patented "evil genius" idea generation processes?  Thanks!

Now to wait and see if they reply more favorably to this suggestion than they did to my request that fourth class ad flyers be reclassified as "clotted blather" just because I hold the copyright on that phrase and could really use a few royalties right now....

7.  I learned a new word today.  Oscitancy: 1) The act of yawning.  2) The state of being drowsy or inattentive; dullness.  Having posted well over 300 pages like this one in the last 11 months, you'd have thought I would have learned this word a long, long time ago, eh?  Silly you!  I was too busy eating ice cream.

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(©Now on a trial basis by Dan University,
"The Man With The Placid Abdominal Campus")