Monday, Jan. 28, 42 A.B.


It was sunny and in the 60s today.


January 28.  Normally, one of the coldest times of the year.  We really ought to have had snow - or at least a bit of frost.

Instead, I watched a robin visiting my birdbath.

And grew more feverish by the minute.

Not because watching robins bathe makes me hot but because it was in the 60s today.  Such a day would, of course, be cool were it to occur in July, but not now.  My blood is thicker.  I am not yet halfway through my layer of hibernation blubber.  In expectations of a hard winter, I had an extra inch of pink fiberglas insulation blown into the crawl space between my muscles and my epidermis last October.  It's really not surprising that I'm now feverish.  What's surprising is that I haven't spontaneously combusted yet.

With fevers come fever dreams, of course, and this fever I have now is no exception.

As near as I can tell, these dreams started off quite placidly with images of my father having his clothes cut by a tailor so that they fit his body exactly.  Soon I was wandering the streets in search of a tailor willing to cut my books to fit my mind so that their plots would finally quit dragging....

I sat down at a bus stop to rest.  An old man emerged from a nearby doorway and told me, "If you have to shave your belly before you put on a bare midriff top, you probably ought to stick to sweat shirts."  I delicately turned the conversation into a discussion of silicone belly implants, and belly lifts, and whether or not they'll ever come out with artificial skins which will allow people to change the color of their bellies the way some of the newer contact lenses allow us to change the color of our eyes.  The old man chuckled as he imagined a woman whose face appeared to belong to a different race than her stomach....

From somewhere in the distance, a radio news report floated into my ears.  "Management at the super glue plant last week refused worker requests for free samples.  A strike looked inevitable until today when workers settled for binding arbitration...."

Home.  The temperature in my living room must have been 40 degrees, but I didn't mind.  In fact, I suddenly remembered that I'd worked hard at getting the temperature down that low after noticing that I've never in my life have had to dust the inside of my refrigerator.  Apparently I believed that if I kept the rest of my house as cold as the inside of my refrigerator, I'd never have to use a dust rag again....

Glancing out the window, I spot a boy in my yard who's obviously jealous of the sun.  Resentful, even.  "Sure, the sun became the center of the solar system without a high school diploma," I yell out my window.  "But you can, too!  The first step is to raise your surface temperature to 7,000 degrees.  After you do that, everything else pretty much takes care of itself...."

The boy appeared to ponder this.  When he finally opened his mouth, I expected him to thank me.  Instead, he said this:  "The first five years after a trauma or a hurt, people ought to sympathize and be supportive when you bring it up.  After that, people ought to just tell you to shut-up.  It's time to stop living in the past."

"I disagree," I replied thoughtfully.  "It's not about the past.  It's about the future.  If we were hurt in the past, we can be hurt again.  We need to remember this and prepare for the worst.  Until the day comes when trauma and pain are confined to the past, we do ourselves no favors by forgetting them."

The boy just stared at me, tremendously unimpressed.

"A typical movie house projector costs $35,000 these days," I attempted to dazzle him with my knowledge.  "Movies not included."

The boy burst into tears.  At first I thought it was because of what I had said, but no - seems he had carelessly run into the setting sun.

I grabbed my phone and punched in a random 10-digit number.  "Many of the better malls now have changing stations in the rest rooms," I told whoever answered.  "USE THEM!  There's simply no longer ANY excuse for changing horses in mid-stream."

"Tell me more," a pre-recorded voice requested.

"Here's my plan for the rescue of Detroit," I winged it, having not been asked by anyone to tell them more in many years.  "The mayor goes on TV tomorrow and announces that his city is harboring Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.  When Bush demands that Osama and the others be handed over, the mayor goes back on TV and flips him off.  After the Air Force has reduced Detroit to rubble, the survivors pick a new mayor - one who promises to keep Osama and the Taliban from coming back if US troops will help patrol the streets and the US Congress will fund a massive rebuilding project.  Bush sends in the troops, declares a great victory, and urges Congress not to bungle the peace.  It's win-win all the way...."

I hear a pre-recorded click in reply, followed immediately by a pre-recorded dial tone.

"Perhaps.... Perhaps this fever of mine was pre-recorded, too," I ponder.

As a shadow of a smile crosses my face, shielding me from the harsh rays of a rising sun, I don the skimpiest outfit I have and carefully search myself for a tape I can pull out and destroy....


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(©Now by DJ Birtcher or the
5'9" mustachioed sweat gland that's replaced him)