1968, it says on the back in my mother’s flawless longhand, Age 11. I was probably 5’6” by then. I was 5’5” earlier in 5th grade, which I remember since the kids said I was fifty foot five. I peaked out at 6’5” when I was sixteen, so I was gaining height about two inches a year. Must have spent a lot of time waiting for a flood. Adolescence had trouble keeping up and I was coming in on six feet before my voice finally cracked in 9th grade. I had the voice I have now by the time I was a sophomore. I remember all the songs I could sing just a few months before were hopelessly above my range. Nor more Simon and Garfunkel for me, Emily would have to find herself. Not that it bothered me any, because suddenly my voice had power, and no one ever fucked with me. It was like being a grown up in 10th grade surrounded by all these silly kids. That’s a very easy way to begin adulthood, everybody thinking you’re somebody because you’re so goddamn tall, everyone seeking your approval, dudes apologizing who hadn’t done a damn thing to apologize for but just wanted to be safe. But then that’s a behavior that’s been hardwired into us apes—gorillas, chimps and all the various human species—since we evolved from monkeys 25 million years ago. I’m just carrying on the tradition.
A head sewn onto a mismatched body and a cooler full of penises was as far as I got, and that was the first line. A cryonics place. Will be interesting when they’re unthawed in a thousand years. Maybe they’ll let them pick one of the penises out of the cooler and then zap it on futuristically. Don’t know about that mismatched head, tho’….
I suspect that most verbs began as nouns verbed and an ungodly number of nouns were once verbs nouned and not once but sometimes many times this renouning and reverbing takes place, leaving dictionaries a record of wanton anarchy and the decline of values over and over again.
The earthquake coverage over the weekend by CNN and MSNBC was appallingly bad. Utterly unscientific tabloid style journalism. Local coverage in LA was vastly superior. The networks could at least try to have geologists on call. Trump isn’t alone in being anti-science, apparently.
Damn, man, got an overpopulation crisis in the aquarium. Platys up the wazoo. They’ve live bearers—as opposed to egg layers—and being really awful parents they tend to devour their own offspring. You can see them hunt them down, moms and dads and extended family members all in an orgy of devouring their own genes, evolution be damned. Of course, this keeps the population in check. Now in the wilds of Central America the newly born hide amongst the vegetation. In your typical aquarium with its handful of plastic plants that is not much of an option and the entire litter (or whatever a bunch of fry is called) is lunch. Alas, our tank is positively lush with plants, real plants, unplastic. So a mess of the little fuckers made it. And now they’re adults, beautiful, happy, healthy adults. On the handy side they’re amazing algae eaters, better even than the impossible to spell otocinclus. And they don’t make a lot of noise. Or pick on the other fish. The tank looks like a freshwater tropical reef, plants and fish everywhere. Have no idea what to do. Maybe consider them an investment, being that they’re running four bucks each in the shops now so eventually we can retire. But we’re already retired. They’re too small for a Friday Night Fish Fry, and too big to put down the garbage disposal without years of analysis. If anyone has a fish tank that could use a few of them, you can have as many as you want. It’s an incredibly healthy aquarium—we haven’t had any fish diseases since the 80’s, three tanks ago. Our damn fish live forever.
In the meantime I’ll sit here and watch them swimming and blooping and chasing each other and think about life. There sure is a lot of it in this fish tank. Damn. And you thought you had problems.
The Darwin Awards have nothing to do with Darwin or natural selection. It’s just people doing dumb stuff. And people doing dumb stuff has nothing to do with genes, which is all that natural selection is about. The people who really deserve Darwin Awards are adults who never had children, because they selected themselves right out of evolution. Genetically speaking, I lose, and lose as bad as it is possible to Darwinianly lose. I do get the cold evolutionary comfort of having a brother who spawned four sons, meaning that some our shared genes got passed on to another generation. But the fact that he spawned no daughters limits the long term genetic possibilities. So it goes.
Memetically I haven’t done too bad. Some of my memes might last a while past me. But civilizations fall eventually and take most of their collective memes with them, certainly the ones based on language. At some point languages themselves disappear and my beautiful prose would read like the stilted translations of cuneiform poetry, the life sucked out of them. In the unlikely event that anything I ever wrote had lingered on for generations, it will vanish into the ether when English vanishes into the ether, gone forever, my written thoughts dead as my genome, and the very last proof that I ever existed will fade into nothingness, as if I had never existed at all.
The tiger lunged at me and roared in astonishing fury, roaring and roaring, his giant incisors ready to crush my skull, his enormous claws slashing through the space between us, six feet and a thick steel mesh. It was an incredible display of violence, just marvelous. He lunged at me again, louder and angrier. But for the steel mesh, that big cat could kill me in seconds, I thought, crush my skull with one chomp, scoop out my insides with a swipe of that paw. A docent came up and drew me to the side, in front of another pen and another tiger, a tigress lolling lazily in the sun and paying me no heed whatsoever. Rajah doesn’t like great big men, she said. Your size is threatening. I’m threatening him? It’s a territorial thing, she said. Rajah got another glimpse of me and snarled viciously. Slash. The docent pulled me back into a corner, out of view. Rajah settled down, but I couldn’t stay hidden in there. Maybe it’s the blazer, I said. It was sandy brown and perhaps in it I somehow looked like a tiger’s worst enemy back in the jungles of Malaya. Maybe, she said, so I took off the coat and walked past the cage in a bright Kelly green shirt. It fooled Rajah for a minute. But just for a minute, and as I walked away he let out an absolutely blood curdling murderous roar and lunged one last time, all huge teeth and gigantic claws and rippling tiger muscularity. The children watching screeched and scattered, their mothers running after them. Wow. That was the coolest thing, and I felt strangely pleased with myself, a week shy of 62 and intimidating a man-eating tiger.