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the latest waddle:

good morning, wordpress - 10:36 a.m. , 2009-07-03

elaborate murder attempt - 2:56 p.m. , 2009-07-01

building a tractor in the basement - 10:42 a.m. , 2009-06-19

ask no questions tell just a few lies - 3:17 p.m. , 2009-06-09

my long lasting flavor really lasts long - 1:10 p.m. , 2009-06-04

2003-06-12 ... 10:53 a.m.


When I was little my favorite letters were ones that had their own completely enclosed spaces: A, B, D, O, P, Q, R. I wanted to get inside that space and sit there. To be inside the O! Would be O so nice! The A would be like an attic room, and with the B you get a two-story house. When I learned about lowercase letters I was vaguely troubled that some letters lost their safehouses (like r) but happy that more had gained them (e and g).

I don't remember not knowing how to read. I learned on my own, at some point, definitely by around three years old at the latest. Sometimes I look at pages of dense foreign text to try and taste the soup of pure alphabet (what a great Campbell's spinoff that would be---vegetable broth with NOODLE-SHAPED GLYPHS or GLYPH-SHAPED NOODLES, TAKE YOUR PICK). Unfortunately, my brain always starts picking out words I know in that language, or zooms to the one English word, or finds some root that is enough like another root so that I am back to puzzling out meaning. Not that I really want to forget how to read (god, what a nightmare), I just want to leave words behind temporarily and spend a little quality time with the alphabet, which is not always easy to do, what with both of us being so busy and all.

Particularly with nouns, I often try to enjoy the shape of a word just as a shape, but meaning comes creeping in. (Stupid meaning, always creeping in.) Which came first, the shape or the meaning? The double oo in book like a pair of reading glasses. Or even the word cunt, which sounds so ugly but looks so nice, with those first three rounded, cupped letters with the openings to the side, up, and down. It looks like a series of little caves next to a tree.

You can have words without an alphabet (pictograms, hieroglyphics, Chinese) but if you have an alphabet words will inevitably follow.

During a group photo for the previously-mentioned family reunion thingy, I started singing the alphabet song for no reason and got about twenty-five other people to spontaneously join in.

A particularly dorky period of my life found me writing in my journal in a fake "code" that was just English written in Greek letters. When I write notes to myself I often use a made-up personal shorthand where I leave out all the vowels. Sometimes I forget what I was driving at and then I have to play a mental version of Wheel of Fortune to figure out the note.

The Russian "zheh" is neat-looking.

I never liked those classroom decorations that went AaBbCcDd etc because that messes up the order and it looks awful. Imagine yourself running along the tops of the letters. You would keep stumbling and falling in the holes.

I wish there were thirty letters in the alphabet, and that every month had thirty days, because it would make having a Letter Of The Day a hell of a lot easier.



The other evening, still light out, I am on the couch watching some dumb television, some TiVo'd Sopranos rerun or nature show, and LT is in the study working, dropping mad code all over the place. Then I hear him call, "Mimi? Come here for a second?" and he says it in this weird way like something is really going on. I go in there and he is making "shhh" motions and pointing out the window, and there is a SKUNK in our side yard. Waddling along, nose to the ground, doing his or her skunkly thing, right here in the city.

Sometimes in the morning I run into my neighbor across the alley, who owns a small taxi company, and we always wave and say hello. Today, he said something extra to me, but due to his thick accent and my stuffed-up head I am not quite sure what it was. At first I thought he said, "Full speed!" That is a bit obscure, but still a nice, encouraging thing to say in the morning, so I smiled and waved. Then further down the alley I decided it had sounded a bit more like, "Horse meat!" Or "More sleep!" No wait, I am pretty sure he said, "Corn gene!" Maybe he was trying to engage me in a biotechnology debate and I just smiled and waved like an idiot.

The high-school boy waiting for the bus next to me was studying some big math binder with all these drawings of cones and cylinders and conic sections on the pages (isn't school out yet?), and he had labeled them with things like GYRO and SNO-CONE and SAUSAGE. It seemed so much like something I would do, I nearly fell in love. (He had also written THIS SUCKS across the top of one of the pages, and there I totally agree. Remember how HERmione opens, when Hermione Gart has just failed math at Bryn Mawr, because of conic sections? Let's just say I can relate.) I like this kid in general, even though we have never met. He is a skinny kid who is good friends with this other skinny kid, and whenever they meet at the bus stop all they talk about is weightlifting, and every morning during the school year, when we take the same bus, I overhear them comparing how much they lifted recently. Since they each weigh about one hundred pounds it is especially charming somehow.


The International Federation of Competitive Eating.

Do you like it when rooms smell like bacon?

From the guy who is sometimes Lemony Snicket: you should read Watch Your Mouth. I am only one-third through, but it is good. And funny. When autumn comes I am looking forward to stealing his line about the maple trees dropping Canadian propaganda everywhere. Watch for that bit of seasonal plagiarism! Coming soon!

---mimi smartypants leaps from branch to branch.


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