Saturday, February 16, 42 A.B.

Is There A Virgin In The Month??

Well, it's been a busy few days, hasn't it?

Mardi Gras.  Lincoln's birthday.  Ash Wednesday.  Chinese New Year.  Valentine's Day.  I thought I might finally catch a break yesterday, but no - it unexpectedly turned out to be the start of shrimp season in New England.  Now it'll be another 24 days before I can stop thinking about all those poor little crustaceans being caught in nets and pulled from their sweet Atlantic home.

Egads!  Is there not one day in the entire month of February which has NOT been touched and transformed by the mind of man?!  Is there not one 24-hour period in an entire year which I can have fresh and all to myself?!?!

Sorry.  Ordinarily I can handle this sense of being stuck with other people's used, abused, and discarded days, but right now...  well, right now I'm in Day 14 of a cold which I thought was leaving on Monday but decided to hole up in my sinuses instead.  I am SO tempted to storm my face and drag the bastard out, dead or alive, but it seems to have taken my concentration hostage and if that ends up being inadvertently killed in the process, what exactly will that leave me with?  A bunch of used days I can't even recall the names of, that's what!  Best to get rid of those before I risk permanently destroying my ability to focus, don't you think?

Ahh, but best of all to just sit back and dream of a sweet little Day Yet To Be Named....

Alas, since that dream's never going to become a reality, I'll have to settle for redefining the problem out of existence.  It's an old philosopher's trick, of course, but it still works amazingly well sometimes.  Let's give it a shot!

Every day is actually new - just like every moment is new.  Although people give some days the same names they've given others, that doesn't mean they're really the same days - or even have anything to do with each other.  Lincoln, after all, only had one birthday.  Feb. 12 is merely the anniversary of that day - which means nothing more than that the earth happened to be in a place in its orbit around the sun this week similar to the one it was in when Lincoln emerged from the womb, or log cabin, or whatever the hell it was he first popped out of (I'm afraid it's been years since I learned this stuff in history class, and my concentration IS being held hostage, so cut me some slack).  Why, one may as well say that all Dan's are the same Dan just because they share a common place in the earth's orbit, too!  Or something.  Erm...

Maybe I don't real want a day all to myself after all.  Maybe what I really want is a day when I don't fell like Time is sitting on my face, suffocating me.  Although it's possible that it's merely the phlegm being produced by my cold which is suffocating me, experience tells me there's nothing I can do about that.  Much better to think of it as Time sitting on my face instead.  Now, what can I do to get Time to shove off?

I look at my clock - Time's idiotic handmaiden - and I notice the sweep second hand manufacturing those nasty seconds Time is using to block my nostrils.


No more second hand - no more seconds!  Ahhh, I can breathe better already!

But what's this?  Time is now trying to slip minutes up my nose!  Enough! SNAP!  No more minute hand!  My day is now a mere 24 hours long instead of 1440 minutes.  For the first time in a long while, I finally can heave a big sigh of relief!


Heehee!  Suddenly, mercifully free of hours, I can lean back in my chair and pant with glee as my clock is reduce to a poker-faced idiot savant.  Time is no longer on my face, or even on my wall - it is now out there, in the sky somewhere.  There's morning, there's noon, there's afternoon, evening, and endless night.  Night!  One long expanse from sunset to sunrise - a big, slumbering dog in the corner of my mind, too lazy to bark or growl let alone bite.  Time is never further away than at night, when one must strain to see faraway stars moving slowly across the sky if one is to note its existence at all.

I pull my blinds, I draw my shades, and those stars (countless though they may be) disappear - and with them, Time itself!

But wait - what's this??  A calendar?!  No, no, no - this will NOT do.  Days dripping into my life like some cosmic Chinese water torture almost as bad as an overweight Eternity sitting on my face.  I consign my calendar to the flames!!

Now it is merely a matter of forgetting the years, of carefully isolating myself from birthday greetings and New Year's ball drops, of studiously forgetting biennial flowers, quadrennial presidential elections, bicentennials and all the rest and just be.  Not under Time or pelted by Time or tied to and dragged by TIme but simply in Time the way a pebble is in a mountain or a shrimp is in the sea.

I sit and stare at my hands-less clock and realize that the only difference which matters is the difference between being able to stare at a clock and not being able to because you're dead.

The spot on my wall which once held my calendar now holds a chart of geologic ages.  I am now in the Holocene.  I was in the Holocene a second ago and a minute ago, last year - all my life.  I shall always be in the Holocene.

Want to do lunch?  Let's try for this Holocene.

When did I dust last?  The Holocene.

Your uncle was born when?  Oh, yes - of course.  The Holocene.

I need a complete physical?  Sure. Let's schedule it for this Holocene.

What do you mean I'm too old for you?  Don't be silly - I'm a member of Generation H(olocene), too!

Ahhh, for the first time in ages, I feel free - FREE!

But wait - did I say "like a shrimp in the ocean"???  THE DAY AFTER SHRIMP SEASON BEGAN????????


Damn slip of the tongue.  Now I need to go find myself an unlisted aquarium to hide out in.

If this cold doesn't release my concentration unharmed soon, I'm doomed!

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(©This Holocene by DJ Birtcher using demonstrably waterproof ink)

One Quick Question Before I Finish Welding The Screen To The Top Of My Tank

My newspaper told me this week that the average American man spends $95 on his sweetheart for Valentine's Day.  My newspaper also told me that the 15th Waffle House has just opened in Columbus.  If any American man spent $95 on his sweetheart by taking her to all those Waffle Houses and spending exactly $6.33 on her at each one, what do you think the odds are that the man still has a sweetheart this weekend?