Wednesday, November 29, 2006
DOWN 29. Dad's Pail
Looking back at the posts for the last couple of days, I can't help but feel a little bit of the acid sting of shame. E-mail spam, movie reviews, making fun of people's last names (although, come on, the poor bastard is stuck with Fagg) and finally yesterday Britney Spears' shaved vagina. It's all been a bit shallow lately and for that I apologize. I know most of you come here for deep, considered minings into the secret bowels of life's darkest mysteries, hoping for a little glimmer of glinty reflected gold in the cold, all-encompassing metaphysical coal-black of mortal existence. You want that and all I can give you are more Tom-Cruise-is-gay jokes. I'm not proud. To be honest, I feel something of a shaved vagina myself: exposed, shameful, but a little exhilarated at the easy thrill of shock value.

But also like a shaved vagina, I feel shorn, renewed. Periods like this are when I know I'm on the verge of some new growth. Some itchy, itchy new growth.

To make up for it, today I have decided that I will talk about something meaningful, something illuminating, something that will tell you all something about your lives by revealing something deeply, meaningfully revelatory about my own.

Let's all get our heads right. Jai guru deva ohhhm. Jai guru deva ohhhhm. Nothin's gonna change my world...

Sorry, that's the only Hindu-y mantra I know.

OK, ready? Here it goes:

I cheat at crossword puzzles.

We all go through periods in our lives when we discover something new and exciting (to us at least). There is a normal period of agitation and excitement as we work through the first blushing moments of assimilation, participation, the warming tang of new possibility ever on our tongues, leaving us craving for more, more, always more. Whatever it is, if we're not doing it, all we want is to be doing it until we're left shaking, sleepless, knotted from the torment of trying to find some way--any way--to vomit the wild burning ferret of desire out of your chest and into the world. No mode of expression is equal to the task and you are left gibbering, drooling, awash in your own stink and filth, thinking at last that maybe Van Gogh hadn't gone far wrong when he put his ear in the mail.

Holy fuck, I hated high school.

The last things I kind of mini-obsessed about were blogs, when I found them. I didn't really get past that until... well, I'll have to let you know.

I found a Flash version of a crossword puzzle over at USA Today online and then another regular daily one (with the bigger Sunday version!) at the LA Times website. You have to pay for the NY Times ones (filthy money-grubbing New York media elite!), but they do give you ONE free one per week, just like the Dorm Whore when I was in school only not quite so wordy. She was an English major, if I recall. Most shockingly precise dirty-sex-talk ever. Sometimes I'd have to stop mid-donkey-punch just to write down a new vocabulary word. Like, for instance, "donkey punch".

My wife laughs at me when I do crossword puzzles because she says I'm like an old sad man, afraid of social interaction, with no job and a receding hairline, never did anyone any good in my whole life, worth more dead than living, and hey, why don't I make it a party and have that eleventh donut?

She also laughs because, since I do these puzzles online, I have multiple windows open to look up stuff I don't know. I cheat. I admit it. But in my defense, I mostly use Wikipedia, so there's a 50-50 chance that the stuff I look up will be wrong anyway. Is there no pending Constitutional amendment to add William Shatner to Mount Rushmore? It's difficult to say for certain.

I know I'm a dork because I'm excited about all the cool stuff I learn from crossword puzzles. Like, for instance, that another name for margarine is OLEO or that the notation for reversing an editor's correction is STET or that the sequel to Herman Melville's novel Typee is called OMOO. These are things I didn't used to know.

Or when I was looking up answers to the crossword puzzle they have over at the Onion AV Club, I found out there was something called the Ig Nobel Prize which is awarded every year for crap science. Past recipients include studies including "The Effects of Unilateral Forced Nostril Breathing on Cognition" and "An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep over Various Surfaces" or inventions like the alarm clock that runs away and hides or Neuticles, the prosthetic balls for your castrated dog. A full list of Ig Nobel laureates can be found here.

What I also found out was that once someone won for developing a teenager-deterrent in the UK. Apparently, as we age--even just past teendom--we lose some hearing, so there are some tones that can be heard by teens but are inaudible to grown ups. Shop owners would keep teens from loitering by playing a screeching sound only they could hear.

I've never been more disturbed. This is a hell of a way to find out that my body started to atrophy right around the time I finished puberty. And there was so much more I wanted to do to it.

Of course this magic technological and biological revelation has been adapted by the marketplace to produce cell-phone ringtones that only teenagers can hear as opposed to, say, doddering old post-pubescent teachers and parents.

Would I have known this had I not developed an unhealthy interest in word puzzles? Probably not. So my life is richer for it.

Now the larger question: What does this say about your lives? Well, you've read this far, so I guess it just means you'd rather be doing just about anything except work. As usual, I am more than happy to provide your regular useless distraction.

The horizon, she is broadened.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.99


PS- A brief shout out to Richard over there at Digital Digressions. In a general discussion of blogs, he cited the Bucket as an example of a blog. It was a frustrating non-committal mention (nowhere could I find the phrase "awash in the Awesome"), but it was a mention nonetheless. Richard is also a university English professor whom I would like to thank for not checking my grammar. Although I would like to point out the proper use of "whom" in the previous sentence.


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