Or Opus 222, Pity Our Poor Proofreader
there's a kind of thing i need to say
i'd like to say it if I may
there's a little talk i'd like with you
if it's something that you'll let me do
there's a subject i need to talk about
i hope you'll hear me and you won't run out
it's a subject that requires the utmost arts
i need to talk about our --
-- how can I be delicate here? People make certain smells. The smells are accompanied by certain explosions, sometimes. At other times, they are silent, stealthy. Once, I could swear I felt one crawl up my back before it circled my neck and tried to strangle me.
I love cheese. I love beans. If I weren't a social creature I would eat rice and beans twice a day, covered with cheese. I would have eggs and cheese for breakfast, beans and cheese for dessert, eggs and cheese when I get depressed, beans and cheese whenever I wanted to celebrate. I would be so full of methane I'd have to wear one of those triangular "inflammable" signs you see on gasoline trucks.
It's not just because I'm eight days older than Anitra "too bipolar for you" Freeman that she refers to me as "her old fart". She is also using synecdoche. That's a poetic term that means allowing a part to stand for the whole. Anitra should know, she's suffered all my parts. Still, with all that, I must say in all modesty that I am not the fartiest old fart there ever was. Not by a long shot. I could introduce you to some guys that'd blow your nose-ring clean off. And they're not all that old. Some of them are just in their twenties, living lives of unpromising futures.
Flashback to four years old: Mommy and Daddy are going "out" and everybody gets in the car except the dog. It starts out being a big adventure ("we're going out! yay!") until the car rolls up to a one story puke green building connected to a playground surrounded by chain-link fencing. You find out that while Mom and Dad will be "out", you will be "in", in a prison they used to call a nursery. Since your parents have done what you thought at the time were far worst things, you imagine that they are abandoning you to this place, to spend the rest of your life there. In other words, eternity.
You scream, you kick, you threaten to stop breathing, but nothing works. They drive off without you. It's only after they are gone that you start to notice the smell. It's the smell of rancid milk mixed with essences of diaper pail, Pine Sol, and Clorox. But that's just the beginning.
Three hours later you're still there, and the wardens inform you and all the other inmates that it's beddy-bye-time, and they set up the beddy-byes, and there be the wailing and the gnashing of teeth. For the beddy-byes be only six inches apart from each other, and it be Poot City in that hell-hole. You try to sleep not because you want the rest but because you know that sleep, the little death, brings a deadening of the senses, and Oh do they want to be deadened.
But alack, sleep never comes! Oh, it comes for the OTHER, with their stinking extroversion, their relaxed approaches to social mores, their loose sphincters. Sure, THEY sleep. Not you, not the sensitive one, not the one in agony, the one who really needs it.
Back in the future: you've been homeless for weeks. Someone finally tells you about a homeless shelter you can go to. Something in the back of your mind tells you to be wary, but you go anyway. They make you sit through a sermon to get dinner. While you wait for the sermon to start they hand you a sheet detailing the rules. You find out you will be sleeping on mats.
You get a peek into the room where all the mats are laid out, six inches apart from each other. Then you hear the others, whispering the bad news.
"Bean stew for dinner tonight. Again."
-- Why shelter is not enough.