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BY Keat

02/01 Direct Link
Shelves loaded with every possible type of gadget and gizmo and plate and hat and shoe and more besides; every possible item that can be dreamed up by the mind of man. How do they sell it all? When do they sell it all? So few people are buying anything, and I can't do it all myself. They will go out of business, I think, and I panic for their sakes. But then I remember the profit margin and I relax. They only have to sell a fraction of this stuff and they will be sitting in clover. Lousy bums.
02/02 Direct Link
The moon plays hide and seek among the high white clouds that go scudding across the midnight sky. Stars twinkle among the wisps of clouds. A low thud shakes the ground occasionally; is it thunder? Or something more sinister? A giant stepping across the land, headed for my house, where he will grind my bones to make his ogre-ish bread by the cold, stark light of the moon? The opening of great chasms in the land, swallowing whole acres and everything in them? Or artillery practice in the dead of night by the ghosts of warriors long dead? I wonder.
02/03 Direct Link
The $188 dishwasher looks good. But it is merely a ploy to get me in the store. Once inside the doors, the $188 dishwasher looks like an ugly stepsister at the ball: she certainly doesn't have a chance next to Cinderella. Cinderella, in this case, is a $399 dishwasher that gives you a cozy feeling as it dutifully scrubs away all the food and assorted detritus on your plates. Plus, it is huge inside, and so quiet that your dirty plates can all get in together and not create a ruckus as they have their orgy of water and soap.
02/04 Direct Link
The car in front of me swerved. I couldn't see what had made it swerve until I got much closer. Lying in the road was a small gray-white rabbit that had run afoul of some car, and recently; it was jerking its arms and legs wildly as it lay there. Back's probably broken, I thought. Better just run over its head and put it out of its misery quickly. But by the time I had that thought, I had swerved too. It's OK. The rabbit probably didn't live too long, and even if it did, not everyone can swerve properly.
02/05 Direct Link
What are you doing? Why do you do that? Stop it please. Don't ever do it again. Could you possibly go for one day without doing it? You don't see me doing it. If you do that again, you'll be in trouble. Do that one more time and you're gonna get it (whatever "it" is). Do something else. If you're going to do it, do it where I can't see you. Fine, go ahead and do it all you want - see if I care. God says He doesn't want you to do that. He told me so. Stop. Now. Please.
02/06 Direct Link
The moon is full tonight. A perfect shining orb in the sky; everything below is swathed in false daylight. Full moons and bitter cold go together. The weatherman tells us things about "radiational cooling" that our forefathers never would have guessed. I walk outside and wait for the dogs to pee and while I do, I am looking at the moon. Wondering about it like Lewis Carroll and his little bat. The dogs finish, oblivious to me and my lunacy. They run for the door to get in from the cold and we all fall in line to go inside.
02/07 Direct Link
What's wrong?
"Nothing."
You look like something's wrong.
"Nothing's wrong."
Are you sure? Don't you want to talk about it?
"I'm sure. Nothing's wrong."

Later...

Are you sure nothing's wrong?
"I'm sure."
You just don't seem right.
"Well, I don't know why. I'm really fine."

I must be hell to live with. I'm so paranoid sometimes about things like moods and stuff. Things happen, but then things don't get talked about and they simmer until they boil over and leave a huge nasty mess. I am slowly recovering into trying to be proactive about talking early and quenching the fire.

02/08 Direct Link
The preacher rambled on and on, about creation, about mountains and birds and what all I don't know because I tuned out half way through. And we sang a song to end the sermon, because music is one of God's gifts. Yes, uh-huh, we know. The word for this is pablum. Does God sigh when sermons like this are preached? Does he think, "You know, I've got some really important things to say to my children, and this guy thinks that a story and a song are the critical things they need to know right now? Where's that lightning bolt...."
02/09 Direct Link
Rapidly spiraling downward. Things falling apart. Desperate grabs at normalcy, sanity, or anything resembling business as usual. “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here,” the poet said, and he didn’t know the half of it. Spending life trying to prepare for this moment and the preparations never seem enough; in fact they’re never enough, as evidenced by the wreckage of the life you thought was going to work. It was so hopeful, so promising in the beginning but now it’s simply over.

Oh well. I can always take the course again and try to make a better grade next time.

02/10 Direct Link
Organic chemistry is officially gone for me. It no longer resides in my brain. Once upon a time I knew it, at least enough to get a B in the class. I must have studied my butt off, poring tirelessly over mechanisms and atomic structures. But now, I can look at an organic chemistry textbook, and nothing looks familiar. I search for some recognizable concept that will spark the tiniest neuron in my brain, and make my mouth say, "Oh yes, I remember that." But those parts of my hard drive must have been written over a long time ago.
02/11 Direct Link
More and more I wish for a desert island to run away to. The daily interactions with people, instead of adding to me, wash bits of me away, like the ocean eroding the cliffs at its edge. Eventually I will be gone. I need to go to this desert island so I can preserve myself, perhaps even add to myself so I could re-enter the fray and start the erosion all over again. However, since the likelihood of this happening is akin to the likelihood of angels flying out of my butt, I guess I should find another coping mechanism.
02/12 Direct Link
Annette had a makeover once upon a time. New nose and chin, every possible flap of flab and skin tucked and nipped. New makeup, teeth, and hairdo. She was beautiful; no one ever recognized her after that. She changed her name to Barbara Ann and flirted with men 20 years younger than she. She went dancing one night and met a handsome young plastic surgeon who told her she really would be even more beautiful if she only had a nose job and did something about that chin. They found her hanging from her second floor balcony the next morning.
02/13 Direct Link
Greetings from Friday the 13th land! Around here, it's Friday the 13th every day! After you get your daily car wreck out of the way (and they put the Jaws of Life away), you'll have a wonderful time at the doctor's office until she tells you you're eaten up with cancer. A friendly tornado whisks you home in record time, where you can spend the rest of the evening digging your possessions out of a massive sinkhole. Then a family of brown recluses in your bed finishes off the day. Yes, the sun never shines in Friday the 13th land!
02/14 Direct Link
Once again I found myself seated across from Death at the card table. Again we were playing Old Maid, I for pennies, he for souls. I was down to my last two cards. I looked into Death's eyes (or as near as I could get to them) and said, "Your turn."

His skeletal fingers reached out and hovered over one card, then moved towards the other, then back to the first. He finally chose the second card and looked at it. It was the Old Maid. But then again, so was my other card. It's so easy to cheat Death.

02/15 Direct Link
A vast wasteland. This is our mind. We think to cross it with a beautiful silver pen and a silky smooth sheet of lined paper, but the pen burrows into the sand and the paper ignites the minute we set sail. Quickly we climb onto a floppy disk that is floating by, but it crashes and burns. We bail out at the last minute and drift lazily down onto the ground. Night falls and it grows bitter cold. We draw sheets of Shakespeare around us and are comforted. We dream of words and the sons of words. We write again.
02/16 Direct Link
Zachary loved to eat. He rewarded a walk to the mailbox with a big bowl of buttered popcorn. When he got his laundry done he always ate a bowl of ice cream while watching Three Stooges reruns on TV. He never bothered eating vegetables because his mother had forced him to eat them as a child. In fact, many nights he slept at the kitchen table, his head next to a plate of cold limp broccoli. On the day of his mother's funeral, he celebrated afterwards by having supper (cheeseburgers, curly fries, and every flavor of milkshake) at the BurgerBarn.
02/17 Direct Link
The man stood in silence and looked out the window. He looked out on his front yard, which was filled with dozens of people, humans occupying every available square inch of the yard. Those that couldn't fit into the yard stood on the sidewalk, in the neighbors' yards, and on the street in masses that stretched as far as the eye could see. They all wanted one thing. They wanted him to come outside and fix their lives for them. The man wept bitterly. He couldn't fix their lives; he couldn't find two socks that matched in his dresser drawer.
02/18 Direct Link
It was a game they had played since they were children. Robert would start by pinching Ellen on the arm gently and quietly. She would respond by pinching him back, a little harder. They would trade pinches back and forth this way until they grew hard and painful. But neither child would cry out, because to do so would be to lose the game. At some point, when one of them decided the pinches weren't doing their job, they would progress to hitting. No holds were barred in this all-out contest to make the other person cry. Usually Robert succumbed.
02/19 Direct Link
It was an unexpected visit. When the doorbell rang, Tom was in the middle of his bath, so he had to rinse quickly and dry even more quickly (as the rings of the bell grew more frequent and persistent), and throw on some presentable clothes that would not get him arrested for flashing. He hurried to the door. On the other side of the door was Sharon. Tom stood there and just looked at her, his mouth open. She said, "You know why I'm here, I suppose." He shook his head. "Hell, neither do I," she said, turning to leave.
02/20 Direct Link
I looked out the window and there was Jerry, peeing on my front lawn. I stomped out the front door and confronted him just as he was shaking off the last drop of urine. "What the hell do you think you're doing, Jerry? Does my yard look like a big toilet to you?" He stared at me and didn't say anything - just calmly buttoned up and turned to walk away. I couldn't believe it. "If this is about the other night, I had to call the cops, you know," I yelled after him. He spit on my bed of tulips.
02/21 Direct Link
The phone rang. Her eyes moved to look at it, but she made no effort to answer it. It was him, of course. She didn't need Caller ID to tell her that. There was something about the way the ringing started boring into her brain, deeper with each successive ring, that told her it was him. After the tenth ring she picked it up, but she didn't say anything. After an eternity, he said a single word: "Why?" In the stillness after the word she knew she didn't have an answer. She replaced the receiver carefully, not making a sound.
02/22 Direct Link
Nagging worries scuttle about underneath my consciousness like roaches underneath a rotten plank. And I can't do much about most of these worries. That makes them all the more worrisome. There is a hierarchy of worries: tiny nagging worries that scuttle out of sight in the shadows around the edges, medium-sized worries that stomp around and sit in your favorite TV chair and won't get out, and humongous catastrophic paralyzing worries that are like a mighty oak tree that comes crashing down on your house and squashes it flat, except that it happens over and over again, every single day.
02/23 Direct Link
Jody was many things to many people. To his wife he was a devoted husband. To his children he was a fun but firm father. To his parents he was a caring son.

But Jody knew he was really none of these people. Deep down he was Joe Marimba, that dashing, daring adventurer who traveled all over the earth in search of rare jewels. He had cheated Death so often that they were on a first name basis (Death's real name was Eugene, which he had never liked, but it was a family name so he was stuck with it).

02/24 Direct Link
Wandering... is there anyone who isn't wandering in their life's path? We look into the future and see a supposedly straight line; we look into the past, however, and see a zigzag path that even doubles back on itself several times. We try to be careful but we splotch the page with ink. We chip the rim of the heirloom china teacup. The pieces of our lives that are our mistakes lie there, embarrassed even to be our mistakes. They hope no one sees them, but they are the speck in the eye for our brother to eagerly point out.
02/25 Direct Link
Don't put those ashes on my forehead. They're messy. You know I have acne, too; I'll probably break out if you smudge ashes on my delicate skin. Who thought this up, anyway? It's silly and embarrassing, another one of those rituals that sounds good on paper but leaves me cold in practice. Afterwards, I can see everyone else's mark and it makes me wonder what mine looks like. Is it bold and dark like hers? Is it faint and shadowy like his? Maybe the darkness is a sign of your holiness level. If so, I'm sure mine is almost nonexistent.
02/26 Direct Link
I dread visiting him in that place. I dread running the gauntlet of the women sitting in the foyer. Observing who comes and goes is their only entertainment, I expect. When I go in I give them a quick smile but I know they want much more, even from a stranger like me. Then when I get to his room, I'm depressed by thinking of the long hours he lies there, hours broken up by only the arrival of meals or a nurse or a therapist. So when I go, my main function is to listen. He talks a lot.
02/27 Direct Link
I have journals going back to junior high. They're not complete; sometimes I don't remember to brush my teeth every day, let alone write down my thoughts in a journal. But taken as a whole, these books sitting on the shelf describe the general arc of my life. They're all different shapes and sizes. I seem to have a horror of the constant and the ordinary. I have mixed feelings about them too. Part of me wants to read about that person I once was. The other part shudders at what I thought was worth pen and ink back then.
02/28 Direct Link
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step... unless your shoelaces are untied, in which case you bend down and tie them. You're ready to go again when you recall that you left the oven on. You check, and although you did remember to turn off the oven, you didn't remember to blow out a candle in the bathroom. You're thankful you caught your mistake before the house burned down, and suddenly you have no interest in any type of journey. What's wrong with your comfy chair and your fluffy houseshoes? Besides, "Diagnosis Murder" comes on tonight!
02/29 Direct Link
Since you never gave me a chance to explain, I thought I would leave this note in your underwear drawer where you would be sure to see it. Unless you don't wear underwear any more. By the time you find this, I am going to be halfway to Vegas where I will be joining a convent there, the Sisters of Perpetual Sevens. They minister to down-and-out gamblers and float reasonable loans to them out of their significant bingo revenues. I'll be very happy with them. You know I have a special talent for rejuvenation of the soul, involving lap dancing.