Video chat. Damn it. Where’s the sin in simple telephony? Just dear old disembodied declarations delivered down landlines and across radio waves. The pretty picture is a photo formed on the big screen inside one’s head. But no. Video is a must. Each player poses for tiny TV, viewing all the others equally unready for primetime pictures. A videographic crystallization of one’s worst imagining. There is little listening, simply seeing and worrying. Is my look lame? Wow, that crazy cowlick. What is that wobbling strap of fat beneath my chin? And that imposing snoot flute, wild and wooly, leering like a lobby card for that epic disaster, When Nose Hairs Attack. Scissors in my desk. Can I trim right now with nobody noticing? And why is that a lampshade sprouting from my scalp? Wait. What’s he saying? Why’s he leaning? Where’s he going? Did I miss a matter of merit? Am I revolting? Why must we see any of this? Video chat. Damn it. My life is a hell.
Toilet paper. Damn it. All. My. Life. Never had to use The News. Left the leaves alone. Left hand? The third-world wipe escaped the reality of day-to-day living in This Great Country. But now? No. But…why? Manufacturing? Magnificent. Supply chain? Linked up. Supermarkets? Making it work. Fear? Ah-ha-ha. Fear freaks out the guy who grabs every roll until his cart is packed and stacked above capacity with a towering supply of paper product, weaving his way to the checkout, attempting to peer around the packages without running into his peers panic buying pallets of plastic-bottled water. Supermarket shelves are now devoid of ways to wipe. And in this stinky little home, the last roller of loo paper looms large, daring one to pick a square. The Greatest Nation On Earth goes to shit at the hands of fearful families who have barricaded their chunky children behind castle walls of toilet tissue while yours truly wonders where the next wipe is waiting. Eventually, virus victory will be ours. But nobody will want to shake my hand. Toilet paper. Damn it. My life is a hell.
Bottle of wine. Damn it. Open it once, and it is open to everything. It’s never again free from the outer air. Swik! Pop! Open. Oxidation. Begins. The history inside the bottle has been freed like the genie in Aladdin. (Not the Disney Aladdin. The real one. Where the kid is a right rat bastard and would drive one to drink.) The history escapes. The air invades. The wine’s purity of essence goes all ephemeral. It will never be again as good as one hour from now. Welcome to the decay of bouquet. Feel and flavor are dying moment by moment. Best to drink it all right now. Right! But...alone? That’s 750 milliliters of tomorrow’s price to pay. However, cork it and put it away for another day, where is the good in that? It becomes a mere ghost of today’s delight. A faint reminder of the wonder it was this day. But what is the alternative? Boxed wine? Call a spade a spade: a cardboard container holding a plastic bladder filled to overflowing with screaming headaches. Wine in a can? Just jam it in your can’t. Bottle is best. But after right now, it never is at its best. Drink to drunk, or dishonor the drink. Mournful that wine dies this day. And that I no longer can drink like a Skid Row bum with a Napa Valley budget. Half empty? So sad. Damn it. Bottle of wine. My life is a hell.
Program Not Responding. Damn it. In a work zone working working working working not saving not saving not saving so good so good…gone. Ghost white screen. Tiny spinning wheel of doom, disaster, misfortune, calamity, whatever. It is just short of death. In death, no worry is required. Fear and loathsome living is what happens in a life where ideas are tippity-tappitied onto the non-page of digital downfall. A culture on a slippery slope into the eventual loss of all knowledge. Somewhere, maybe, monks are gathering together the remaining knowledge in hard copy and sequestering it in a monolithic tower off the coast where no fiend will find it until after the machines have had their way. They will save scant vestiges of civilization once again, if history’s saintly lies are to be believed. Meanwhile…tiny spinning wheel of doom, disaster, misfortune, calamity, whatever. Waiting. Knowing. The document is done. The composition is kaput. Computer will not convey a copy. Pen and paper were so simple. Program Not Responding. Damn it. My life is a hell.
Bacon grease. Damn it. The bacon is cooked, an already evil deadly delight. Now, pan of grease is hot and danger slick. Needs to go… Where? The coffee cans mother used to fill and collect on a shelf are not now how this kitchen lives. And barely eating bacon at doctor directive of impending death from clogged arterial tracts. He proposes a plant-based diet avoiding including anything processed in a plant. This is bacon sneaked in when he’s not looking. But now, there is no grease keep. Looking, seeking. Slamming cupboards sliding drawers. Empty vessels do not abound. Want to toss this slick without gruesome greasy mess. Empty vessels often are in the trash. Not this morning. But wait. Wait, yes, maybe, will it…the empty eggshell repurposed. Like baby bear bed, just right for holding the dose of deadly golden goodness poured from the pan. The shell now sits, waiting for the waste bin. Hot grease going cold. Will it ever gel or will it stay liquid? What have I done. Just a different problem to solve. Bacon grease. Damn it. My life is a hell.
Breathalyzer. Damn it. Driving after drinking? No longer socially acceptable as sport. From droll to deadly. Not to mention dear, with a five-figure festivity fine just for being found influenced. Hello key ring breathalyzation. Provide a petite puff into a pocket plastic box. Momentarily, a nifty number tattle tells the fear factor faced behind the helm. But…it’s occasionally contradictory. Which truth wins? The first puff, second or third? And wait, what state? Where am I imbibing? BAC is b-a-d to varied degrees depending on where you USA ST be. To be the designated driver, or designated drunker? That is the question. Unless the real question is, Just stay at home and drink alone? Numbers, numbers everywhere and nary a drop to drink. Happy New Year? Damn it. Breathalyzer. My life is a hell.
Holiday. Damn it. It used to be easy Xmas. (History lesson: the X is Greek for He Whose Name shall not be mentioned, just BTW.) But now, everyone is afraid to say whose holiday it is. That said aloud, decorating is still a thing, as long as there is no acknowledgement of nativity unless behind a closed door. But that is not the problem. The problem is, when to up the evergreens? When can the tinsel and trifles be placed around the house? How soon is too soon? How much is too much? Will my seasonal display manifest offense in a friend whose leanings one does not know? There is no obvious Christ manifest in this merriment. Just a wish to feel, smell, sense the innocence of every childish December delight. And what about Hanukkah? He was a Jew after all. (Are we allowed to say that?) Is blue and silver allowed to coexist with green and red? And why green and red, anyway? Santa used to be blue, before Coca-Cola. But soda Santa was festooned in the color of Christ and blood. The politics of decorating, the worries of preemie dry dead evergreen, the too soon, the too late, the too long, the dissonance innocence project gone wrong. Balls and garlands and angels oh, my. No winning in the war on Christmas. I'd wish you a merry merry if it was safe to do so. Here's to the holiday of hope. Damnit. Holiday is hell.
Mousetrap. Damn it. Mouse about. Detritus abounds. He has been here. And there. And there and there and there. (Surely a he. The evil gender designation for the verminous interloper.) Have to trap. Not a von trap. There is no music play to this ploy. Just the sound of trap snap. Sad. But necessary. Before his family feels infestive and joins the fun. Supermarket tiny trap. In the vermin and infestation aisle, alongside the pretty poisons. Glue trap? Eegad. Is there a more inhumane slow-death device ever invented? No. Old fashioned, wooden base, metal bail, baited trigger, a sudden simple sufferless death. This is your grandfather’s trap, thank grid. Set that night. Morning corpse delivered. But now…disposal? It’s a new trap. A dollar and change. Throw it away with the furry form? Dispense with the diminutive cadaver and save the set-up? But then, how to clean? Disinfect? Is it ever free from germ and bug? Does it even work again? Or does the next mouse sniff the trace of trauma and the scent of doom? And has this trapper violated an Eastern religion prohibition of killing creatures and ensuring karmic reincarnation as a critter to be snaptrapped in the life anext? Guilty. Cursed. PETAviled even. Mousetrap. Damn it. My life is a hell.
Blog. Damn it. Maintaining is makework. Doing it for doing it, meeting demands of insipid slog. Inspiration matters. The marketplace demands. Two weeks without? Eternity in the dog years of extant internet extent. A life of grinding down into hellish detail is all consuming, sucking valuable time from tiny tomes of dishing the OCD lifestyle. And what writer doesn’t hate writing? So many more funtivities to be had, like a toothbrush to grout. Grout? Hmm. Maybe next. Damn it. Blog. My life is a hell.
Shaving. Damn it. Yesterday’s face easy smooth as infant ass. Today, no shave. Still smoothish. Tomorrow, shave or no shave? Getting baby bottom face is a struggle. Fresh blade’s good. Hot hot hot water good. Wrapping head in hot wet towel? Good. Sinking up to nostrils in boiling hot bath? Good. But work. Then, which direction? With whiskers doesn’t yield newborn buttocks closeness. Against whiskers does. But...against whiskers spawns ingrown hairs. (Do babies have those?) And then: Missed a spot. Go back. Re-scrape. How do those hairs grow in so many differections? If today is close enough, no need to scrape tomorrow. But when tomorrow becomes today, how to decide? And what if there’s just no shaving at all? Starting to reveal the inner Sterno bum. Inconsistent infantass intoleration disinterative facing up to facts of no way to make it always so. Damn it. Shaving. My life is a hell.
Venetian blind. Damn it. Little tiny pull. Too much light. Little tiny pull other way. Not enough light. Infinitesimal sliding but no. Precision is not to be had. And where is the unison? The harmony of the slats? Separation lacks uniformity. Overlaps unequal top to bottom. Some slats have slight warp to throw the stack into dismaying disarray. 180-degree rotation? More like 173 degrees and wanting. The overlaps lack match. The cords are crass. They mock perfect play. Lift and separate cross your heart ha! Lifting is lackadaisical. Rotating is random. Control of light and air is half-assed hearted. Damn it. Venetian blind. My life is a hell.
Basil. Damn it. Fresh basil? Good. Growing fresh basil? Beast. Respect for new life flies out the window. Crippling the plant for food is first and foremost. New buds? Kill! Energy must go to grow leaves, not flowers. Not. Flowers. New bud? Pluck. New bud? Pluck. New bud? Pluck. New bud pluck. New bud pluck. New bud pluck. Dirty, dirty work. Foiling flowers for a finer food. The self-hate is sufficient without also committing herbicide. And the dilemma of detail. Pluck the bud, not the leaf. Pluck the bud, not the leaf. Pluck bud, not leaf. Pluck bud, not leaf. Pluck bud, not leaf. Pluck bud not leaf! Augh! Leaves! Fat fingers plucking leaves! It is willed. This plant must die. Damn it. Basil. My life is a hell.
Butter. Damn it. Toast needs butter. Coverage is critical. An even spread of fat to the edges of the toasted surface matters most. Correct knife is crucial. Sufficient strokes. Butter enough to make it to the edges without spilling over. Get a gap between crust and crumb and the process must be scrapped. Have pat posed. Toaster pops. Pick toast. Place on surface. Scrape and spread. Get to the border. No drips. No gaps. Gaps. Drips. Eegad. No! Augh! Not perfect. Not. Perfect. Eat or toss? Dilemma. Damn it. Butter. My life is a hell.
Damn it. Whole grain. Good, right? Get ‘em. They got fiber. They cramp cancer. Heart healthy. Or…not. Whole grains kill. They are anti-nutrition. They suck out minerals. They are fat burning bombs that bomb you into obesity. They are the inflammatory anti-inflammatories. My buddies barley and brown rice. Magical maize and millet. Sassy sorghum and spelt. Everyday oats, rye and wheat. Wherefore art thou part of the wholegrain madness? Food kills! Whole grain. Damn it. My life is a hell.
Damn it. Bed head. Sticks up. Can’t flatten. Alfalfa sprouts. Morning meeting. Overslept. No time. No shower. Cancel? Just go? Wear a hat? Isn’t that rude? Manners. Miss Manners. Missing manners. No worries about manners. Just…just coffee. They will have coffee. Right? Crap. Bed head. Damn it. My life is a hell.
Damn it. Plastic wrap. Unpeel? Where? Turn the toll. Look. Turn. Look. Turn. Look. Augh! Ah! There! Unpeel. Un-peel. Un…peel. UNPEEL! Fingernail under invisible seam unpeeeeeeel—unpeeled! Shrick of unroll and…Stuck! STUCK! Stuck on itself stuck! Unstick! Un-stick! Un…stick! Yes! Unpeeled and unstuck! Joy and victory! But fleeting. Sticking to self. Unsticking. Un-sticking. Un…sticking! Yes! Find alligator jaws teeth steel strip and…zip. Stick! Unstick! Un-stick! Un…stick! Unstuck! Quick! Wrap over opening and…one inch too small. Too small! Too! Small! Plastic wrap. Damn it. My life is a hell.
Damn it. Kindle. This app. Everything. Moves. Leave. Come back to page. Page has moved. Where you stopped is no longer where you stopped. Where is it? Where am I? Find it again. Takes a second. Or two. Or three. Augh! Three seconds. Ticking away. So much to do. So many seconds go to waste. And "time left in chapter"? It does not know how long I have left. It does not know how fast I read. It is not God. It is not Bezos. It is digits. Zeroes. Ones. Zeroes. Ones. Zeroes. Ones. Zeroes. Ones. Nothing more but a clever arrangement of zeroes and ones over and over under that screen. Yet it vexes me. App for Kindle. Damn it. My life is a hell.
Damn it. Trash bag. Kitchen garbage. Full. Ish. Not full quite enoughish. Press it down just so. Not so much the trash bag sticks inside. Put flattened boxes on the top. On the side. Coffee grounds will fit. But. Oops. They escaped. Ran off the edge. Down the side. On the floor. Crap. OK. Fine. I’ll take it out. Pull it up. The bag is stuck like it was not supposed to. Sticking. Fighting. Swearing. Grinting. Banging. Thumping. Pulling. Arging. Boomp. Out. Sprinkle trash. Eggshell coffee ground. Ripshred. Out damn bag. Trash bag. Damn it. My life is a hell.
Damn it. Fingernail. Trimmed. Not true. Can't get that corner perfect. At it. Clipper. Not a precision instrument. Too. Cheap. Too. Chinese. Too. Walmart. Save money live better? Not my motto! Don't want to measure with micrometer. Ever if so, how to trim? Need closer tolerances. Need lasers. Lasers! Laser-guided nail trimmer. Perfect curves. But how? Where? Damn it. My life is a hell.
Damn it. Computer keyboard. Dirt. Crumb. Grease. Gak. Can’t. Take. It. Any. More. Deadline? To hell with it. Q-tip! Solvent. Solvent? What solvent? Rubbing alcolol? Fine! Dip. Dig. Bathe. Not to much. Don’t want it to drip into the underneath. But wait. Crumbs. Crap. Keyboard shake! Upside down. Crumb storm. Back to swab. Brown letters turning white. Enough? Not enough! More! Dip. Dig. Dig dig. Dig dig dig dig. Clean. Cleaner. Clean enough. Deadline. Could be worse. Could be grout. And a toothbrush. Still Computer keyboard. Grubby. Damn it! My life is a hell.
This is hard for me. My life is a hell. Be afraid. Or you will join me. TFTD: WTH?