Archive for February, 2012
Milton Snavely Hershey and J.P Morgan were supposed to be on the Titanic. Hershey, of course brought delicious, calorie-packed milk chocolate to America, revolutionizing the fat industry. He evidently took a chocolate ship to Happy Land and J.P Morgan instead journeyed across the Atlantic on a yacht made of cash and investors’ souls.
In reality, Hershey had to return from France early and Morgan stayed at a spa in France, deciding to deal with his investors’ souls at some later date.
According to Greg Dougherty’s Seven Famous People who Missed the Titanic also among those supposed to be on the Titanic were radio pioneer, Guglielmo Marconi and the novelist Theodore Dreiser. Contrary to popular belief, Celine Dion was not on the guest list.
There is a full length mirror in the hallway near my office that I am almost always able to avoid. Once in a while I’ll check my teeth after a salad or check my beard’s progress as I walk by at a quick pace.
But sometimes, like this morning, I let my Inner Sadist out for a walk and take a good, long look at myself in the mirror. Normally, the Inner Sadist would focus on my belly or ridiculous nose, but before He can indulge in such a self-beating, we both realize I am wearing all brown. Every stitch of outer wear is some hue of brown. My camel brown pants complement my burnt umber shoes. In an unintentional breach of fashion laws that suggests an inability to discern colors, my jacket and hat are both chocolate-brown with olive trim. Adding cosmic insult to injury, my bag is the same.
Removing my coat reveals a seal brown shirt.
Oh the Inner Sadist is going to have a field day with this whole thing.
Two pigs are to be slaughtered today, which is 200% more pigs than I have ever seen slaughtered. The first one, who I secretly name Forsythe, is led out of her cage while emitting cries and squeals that are sure to make cameos in my future nightmares. These squeals are truncated when she meets her maker via bolt pistol at 7:14 a.m.
At 7:14:30 the first shots of domácí slivovice (homemade plum brandy) are passed around as everyone snaps into action like a reverse ER crew. Forsythe’s carotid and jugular are sliced and the women catch her blood in pots; then she is hoisted into a wooden trough and covered with resin to make her hair easier to remove. Then the men pour boiling water over her. We three Americans—Collin, Conrad and I—are immediately put to work. They scrape off Forsythe’s hair with metal bell-shaped tools and I scoop the water, resin and blood out of the wooden trough with a brown bowl decorated with cartoon hens.
After her eyes are cut out, Forsythe is hung by her Achilles’ tendons to a metal rack and her head is cut off. At 7:31 a.m. the next round of slivovice is brought around as Igor and a man called Uncle (no joke) begin eviscerating Forsythe. At 7:35 a.m. Conrad and I are assigned the task of going to pick up the second pig with an older man missing his bottom ridge of teeth.
A half hour later, we load the second pig into the cage on the man’s truck as it exhibits a clear sense of understanding that this is not going to be its day. On the way back, the man tells Conrad about his pet goats and I sit in the back of the truck, the slivovice rushing through my blood as I pledge a life of vegetarianism and plan out a tofu farm.
There are two of us doing the interviews for the study abroad program. One of us is the interviewer, the other is the assessor. I am the interviewer; I begin my rigmarole
“Good morning, I’m Mr. Galeone and this is Professor ———ova. Welcome to the oral test for the Unmentionable Study Abroad Program.” A vine of hives spreads up the candidate’s chest onto her neck as her pre-interview jitters get the better of her. I smile. “Just relax, could you tell us a little about yourself?
As this is the 300th interview I’ve been a part of in the last three weeks, this is where things start to blend together. Therefore, I slip into a kind of dreamy trance during the interview. Do I need bread? Would it freak this kid out if I just started vomiting right now? Look up on Wiki: Nipple Cancer.
A fact of life for any unknown writer is trying to get a book review from someone other than their grandmom. My grandmom thinks my novel is a masterpiece, much better than “that Southern fella who writes about all the lawyers,” but that doesn’t help sway the New York Times Book Review into taking a look.
Getting a review in Kirkus Reviews, which is a highly regarded literary review, costs a lot of money. A lot. And since I am an educator in the Czech Republic, selling my soul has become a necessary evil.
Below is a list of ten services I am offering to raise the money for a review in Kirkus. I based it on my strengths, people’s needs, and of course, porn.
8:15 a.m. I decide to start writing. I make a huge breakfast that takes over an hour to prepare and forty-five minutes to eat. After three cups of black, strip-your-stomach-lining coffee and singing along to the entire album Highway 61 Revisited, I sit down at the desk.
Computer Screen Status: Blank
My fridge calls to me all the time, but this time it’s not the normal lilting, sensual voice that bespeaks of Camembert and pudding. It’s not the dreamy song of sausages and fresh eggs and tomatoes. And it’s not the lute melody fairy songs of cold pizza, leftover fried chicken or ham off the bone.
Today, this weekend, the music is different; more like a satanic, death-metal bagpipe-fest played by angry Gary Coleman lookalikes. Despite this, I climb off the couch and shuffle up to the fridge.
I open the door and regard my enemy: a pound and a half of spicy chili. I let out a miniature war cry and remove the chili from the fridge. Then I grab the crackers. I have a job to do. I have one and a half pounds of chili to eat in one weekend.
Richard Harris is running across a meadow naked. Then Richard Harris, the first Albus Dumbledore for those of you who have never seen Camelot, courts a Native American girl by giving her a shoe. Then, the scene flashes to a mountain lion bringing down a white-tailed doe. This, I assume, is symbolic of Richard Harris’ incredibly poor acting performance bringing down this already painful film.
Finally, Richard Harris is hung from a ceiling by his nipples. This is clearly punishment for his poor acting skills. During his ensuing vision, we learn that he was also an extra on Bonanza and that his spirit animal is a white buffalo.
I let out a groan and press pause. I step to the liquor cabinet and concoct a remedy whose dual purposes are to improve Richard Harris’ acting and somehow clothe him.