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3:44 pm | 23 July 2004 | three pairs


You know, perhaps my habit of tossing an Excedrin or two into the twelve-vitamin cocktail I swig every morning isn't such a good idea. Today, for example, I thought to myself, "Whuh, it's only 11:38am, and already I am experiencing pain in my right shoulder and both forearms. That usually doesn't kick in until 2 or 3 or so." OH WAIT. Pain exists as a red flag, and by pre-emptively medicating my insane chronic typer's decay claw-grappling hands, I'm probably letting myself make it worse. Except for the fact that I won't make my sweet $12.50/hour[1] without excruciating clawpain. Oh well.

The other claw

We grew up with large dogs[2] and so I've always roughhoused with them, but the best game is The Claw, wherein you (human) contort one hand into a pincer configuration and go at the dog's face/snout with it, while hollering gruffly "Oh here comes...THE CLAW!" It absolutely makes your housepets (caveat player: do NOT try to Claw any strange, large dogs, unless you want to get declawed) go apeshit batty, and is one of the greatest games ever, IMO, far superior to "fetch," which is a boring, one-sided, Imperialist game for slave-traders. When Guinness finally got over being all freaked out and abused--the first day she responded to The Claw--well, that was a banner day. AND NOW HERE IT COMES!!!


So, I haven't had a TV in a long time, and when my laptop comes back from the hospital (SO SAD) I will be able to watch DVDs, but there is something comforting and brain-numbing[3] about having just plain telly on, you know, the three-to-five channels you can get reception for, using only a bent hanger[4]. But though I am not adamantly against the concept of TV, I am adamantly against the idea of paying any actual chunk of change for it. So I keep hauling all these TVs in from the alley out back, thinking one of them will work--hauling them in, plugging them in, ascertaining that, in fact, they do not work, and then having to haul them back out. Seriously, I have done this like four times. And I bring it up at lunch, all "ha ha, I am dumb/broke GIVE ME A RAISE ALREADY," and my boss says, very blithely and around the fronds of her spider roll, "I just threw out a twenty-four inch TV. I didn't want it anymore."

Alleyed forces

Okay. Mentally scrolling through my house, here is the sum total of the furniture /large household features I possess, and their respective origins. Bear with me.

Easel: inherited from dead uncle
Paintin' stool: IKEA crash & dent section, $3.
Bed: IKEA.
Cherry coffee-table/storage/bookshelf/bench/headboard thingy: Sidewalk (and it weighs 800 pounds so I probably looked 100% cool dragging it inside).
Two chairs: Goodwill, $8 each.
Two oak filing cabinets that came with locks and keys and folders: Sidewalk.
Dog crate: Craigslist.
Formica kitchen table: Alley.
Two 1950s nightstands, awaiting possible transfer to Pants: Alley (and I dragged them in using an empty recycling bin, since they are heavy and I was afraid they'd get snatched up in the time it would take to get the car).
Two robin's-egg blue Corona-Smith typewriters, one 1950s, one 1960s: Alleys (one Chicago, one Long Beach).
30-pound brass-and-wood lamp in shape of a parrot, shade made of wood, tagged at $700 from vintage store: $50 at auction.
I'm not sure what I'm trying to say with all this, except that if you keep your eyes open, the alley is a world of riches, ripe for the taking. I got a big pine box-shelf-crate thing today, and who the hell knows what I'm doing with it, but I couldn't just let it sit there, could I? Hell no! The garbagemen were coming!

Other uses

My dad: "Back when I was at Kroger (late 1970s), [poor] people used to steal our grocery carts and use 'em for grills!"
Me: " . . . "
My dad: "Sure! You put the charcoal in the bottom part, and set your meats[5] in the basket. Grills 'em right up!"
Me: [laughs nervously]

Regional differences

People here say "APE-ricot," not "APP-ricot," and I've heard a lot of "Toyota" being said without the first "o," as so: Teeyota (of course, Richard Petty, legendary Nascar don, always said "PONY-ack" for Pontiac, so who am I to judge?). I have noticed, too, that people here say market, not grocery store[6], and call them shopping carts (or baskets, while referring to carts), whereas Midwesterners tend to go the whole-hog grocery cart (shopping carts are for, like, Target). The weirdest thing yet, though, is from my friend from Florida, who calls such carts buggies. "Giyut a buggy," she sort-of drawled improbably, and I'm all "Uh, wha?" Like always. clm.

[1] I accepted this ludicrously low contracting rate as a "trial run" of sorts, but considering that I pretty much run half of the crap that goes down here, I think it's raise-askin' time.

[2] At first I typed "dongs." Rad!!! "I grew up with large dongs."

[3] Which is precisely why I don't have one, of course: the urge to "tune in, tune out" is pretty strong with me much of the time, and this way I am forced to make cool stencils (or, as Dr. J. J. likes to remind me of once having said, "laying on the floor, doing crossword puzzles and eating cheese").

[4] When my sister and her crew visited me in '01--when I lived in Los Feliz, up in LA propah--I had that setup with my television, but it only got, like, one channel, and that was the Korean news network or something. So I remember coming home from work and seeing an incredible armature of wire, terminating in a ploppy wad of tinfoil, extending vaguely tentacularly out my window and drooping across the sidewalk--via which they had managed to watch I think it was Maury Povitch.

[5] Note plural. Sheeaw, like my dad is ever going to grill just one meat.

[6] Isn't this redundant? Like, it's a grocer-y. We don't go to the Bakery Store. Shouldn't it either be the Grocer's Store or the Grocery, period?

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