Places to start

I saw a middle-aged man today pressing down hard with his elbow on the edge of his car’s hood. He was wearing a brown shirt decorated with patches, like a boy scout, but too old for that. The car was long and angular and black. He probably bought it when he was in his thirties. Maybe that’s when he got the shirt, too. As my bike approached and then passed him and his car, I could see what he was trying to do. The hood had been somehow compressed, so that it buckled and pulled away from the frame. He was trying to straighten it out with his weight. It wasn’t working, and he gave up. I thought to stop and say, “I saw how that happened to your car.” But I didn’t. I never tell any fun lies like that anymore.

It’s not inconceivable that I eat too much mayonnaise. Especially when nobody is looking.

I don’t smoke. But once, in the middle of a run, I stopped and asked a smoker on a corner if I could bum a cigarette. He lit me up. I ran off down the street sucking on the cigarette and hacking. I was wearing tight red shorts with a yellow stripe down the side. Just like a Chinese Olympian.

People who hate their jobs should stay up much later at night than they do to read and watch movies and distill gin. They should write poetry in small apartment chambers, pretending that they are Emily Dickinson. They should think about how Edgar Allan Poe died, and imagine him coughing violently with his head next to the curb. They should work with tattoo artists to paint their walls as well as their bodies, despite the landlord’s prohibitions. They should rouse their sleeping friends, who do like their jobs, on the phone. And in person if it comes to that. Then give their worst energy to the daytime hours just to see if the American Dream comes true anyway.

If you have plantar warts, an x-acto blade is the way to go.

 

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