My Daily Day

Sunday, February 29, 2004

On Sunday, February 29, 2004
he and two friends walked around the Cherokee wetlands preserve in muddy sneakers. The day was warm and bright, the birds were back already.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

On Saturday, February 28, 2004
he resisted entombment in a 20 foot basement by exploding.

Friday, February 27, 2004

On Friday, February 27, 2004
he debated the quality of "The Celestine Prophecy" with Kari. The stilted dialogue, uneven pacing, poorly developed characters, and excessive use of past passive voice all contributed to Pete's poor opinion of the novel. Kari felt that, poor grammar aside, the book's message merited a favorable review. In her opinion, the Celestine Prophecy's positive message about energy and relationships between people redeemed the work. But Pete found flaw with the novel's content as well. "It's kind of new-agey," he said. "Auras? C'mon!" "Pete!" said Kari, "you're taking it too literally." Pete thought to himself, "Perhaps I could take it metaphorically if the writer had the grammar proficiency of, say, an eighth grader."

Thursday, February 26, 2004

On Thursday, February 26, 2004
he walked State Street, watching the faces behind the windows of restaurants and coffee shops, and thought, "I am losing all of you."

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

On Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Mississippi called on the phone. "Tell me Pete, how do you endure those oppressive northern winters?""Coffee," said Pete. "Keep the blood pumping and the circulation circulating. This brown, steamy beverage single handedly prevented 2,789 suicides in Wisconsin alone last year."

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

he noticed that Low's album Trust didn't have a bar-code on it.

Monday, February 23, 2004

On Monday, February 23, 2004
he saw a male college student at the intersection of Park and University, who sang "uh-huh oh yeah!" at the top of his lungs to the music from his headphones. Passerby stared.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

On Sunday, February 22, 2004
his ego called. "Pete," said his ego, "I am at the root of all social inequality. The ability to recognize oneself as an entity leads inevitably to self-evaluation. Self-evaluation leads to comparison with others. Self-esteem does not develop in a vacuum; its construction occurs socially, assembled from interaction, conversation: our flawed perception of how others perceive us. I am the drive behind most human activity, from sex to politics, my gratification rules nations. By the way, these last few journal entries of your have been particularly witty and brilliant. The novel protagonists bit . . . choice!"

Saturday, February 21, 2004

On Saturday, February 21, 2004
he lied to the Kissers about his purchase of the "Lost In Translation" soundtrack.

Friday, February 20, 2004

On Friday, February 20, 2004
while crossing library mall, he heard someone shout his name, "Pete!" Pete turned and saw two strangers embrace. A few vigorous backslaps. "Hey Pete, haven't seen you in a while. How've you been?"

Thursday, February 19, 2004

On Thursday, February 19, 2004
he met Greg at the Blue Moon. Greg looked about 45, 50, and for an hour he entertained Pete with obviously fabricated stories . . . flying fighter jets against George W. Bush . . . the time when John Kerry intervened on his behalf to pre-register Greg to vote at a Madison ward in which he didn't live. "I'm a sexy guy," said Greg, who complained that he not yet found a Valentine. "These women today, they're too busy."

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

On Wednesday, February 18, 2004
he encountered two girls in the stairwell of humanities, singing the theme song to Super Mario Brothers in shrill, harmonized voices.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

On Tuesday, February 17, 2004
he received a letter from "the Swede" of American Pastoral. "Dear Pete," wrote the Swede, "you asked me about change. Transition and change mark the borders of life. We cannot preserve from time any notions of order or control, we cannot protect our normalcy from brutal, violent, incomprehensible change, swift and unexpected change destroying certainty, decimating the luxury of any absolutes. The United States of America is an idea, Pete, that of turning your back on tradition, of breaking the chains of old ideas. We are a nation unlike any other because we crave change, we covet the madness and bright noise of untested futures. This is not a country for the decent or the placid. America makes an illusion of contentment."

Monday, February 16, 2004

On Monday, February 16, 2004
he received a letter from Lieutenant Henry of A Farewell To Arms. "Dear Pete," wrote Lieutenant Henry, "you asked me about courage. If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."

Sunday, February 15, 2004

On Sunday, February 15, 2004
no mail arrived, but he rolled around on the floor in the middle of a pile of complete strangers.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

On Saturday, February 14, 2004
he received a letter from Charlie of The Perks of Being A Wallflower. "Dear Pete," wrote Charlie, "you wrote asking whether you're loved. People accept the love they think they deserve."

Friday, February 13, 2004

On Friday, February 13, 2004
he received a letter from Harry Haller of Steppenwolf. "Dear Pete," wrote Harry, "your letter concerned the nature of identity. At times, you feel simeltaneously drawn in two separate directions. One part of you yearns for the visceral, the physical, for wild spontaneity and brute force. The other pulls towards the cerebral, towards music and philosophy and literature, towards the transcendant. One part craves chaos, the other craves order. One part would inflict its will on a stale world, the other would withdraw into the mind. This dicthomoty breeds a misconception that has plagued Western civilization for centuries, Peter, the misconception of man's dualistic soul, of a base animal nature to suppress and a spiritual nature to exalt. But in truth, we carry a thousand souls, we project a thousand compromised and cross-referenced selves all fighting for recognition, expression, and apology."

Thursday, February 12, 2004

On Thursday, February 12, 2004
he received a letter from Okonkwo of Things Fall Apart. "Dear Pete," he wrote, "you ask me about the nature of tradgedy. Let me tell you, tradgedy knows two parts. One is the part of chaos, beyond our control. The other is the part of malevolence, of cruelty and hatred, and this we must fight. When the gun exploded and pierced the boy's heart with iron, my own life fell to shambles. This could not be helped. But when the white missionaries came, I could not fight them and I could not change. Death resulted from inflexibility. But the story of subjugation did not end with me."

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

On Wednesday, February 11, 2004
he received a letter from Will of You Shall Know Our Velocity. "Dear Pete," wrote Will, "you wrote asking about the appropriateness of emotional restraint, about how we know when to leave ourselves vulnerable and when to play it cool. I decided at age twelve, after first getting the whole thing explained to me, that I would no longer express or be party to any human emotion. I watched the TV news and wanted to disassociate myself. I renounced my membership. I would be a better human by stripping myself of human weaknesses. I would be a better human by not raising my voice, by not crying, by not being angry, or sad, or annoyed, or excited. I was tired of staying up at nights waiting for dawn, wondering what would happen if I slept, who would come to kill me."

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

On Tuesday, February 10, 2004
he received a letter from Atticus Finch of To Kill A Mockingbird. "Dear Pete," wrote Atticus, "you inquired as to the nature of futility. Let me elucidate the boundary between hope and insurmountable obstacles for you. Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win."

Monday, February 09, 2004

On Monday, February 09, 2004
he received a letter from the fictional protagonist of one his favorite novels, Jurgis Rudkus, of The Jungle. "Dear Pete," wrote Jurgis, "your letter concerned the nature of despondency as a primary theme in human experience. You wondered whether despair is inevitable, if indeed hopelessness is the only sane response to a callous, brutal world. Let me assure you, my dear reader, that your modern day woes and vicissitudes are but trifles compared with those I've known. You have never starved, nor froze, you have never known hard labor. I came to this country a poor Lithuanian who spoke no English, with eleven compatriots including my teenage fiance. It was not the land of opportunity I'd hoped for. I believed that the strength in my back and the willingness to work would secure my future. I quickly learned the cruelty of industry. My world is completely foreign to you, you with your cozy college education and hours of reading and music making. At what cost, Pete, at what cost?"

Sunday, February 08, 2004

On Sunday, February 08, 2004
he whipped out an electric guitar while walking down a University Avenue sidewalk crowded with students between classes. When he tore into the first few face melting chords of a song, hundreds of students for blocks in every directions congregated in the middle of University Avenue, ripped off their winter coats, and thrashed to the ear shattering groove. Traffic crawled to a standstill while the kids tumbled into one another with raised fists and banging heads. Fortunately, everything was captured on digital video, and it became a smash hit music video airing daily on MTV entitled "Rock My College Socks Off, Mr. Awesome Extreme Loud Music Performer."

Saturday, February 07, 2004

On Saturday, February 07, 2004
the Kissers adopted a monkey for their mascot. The monkey toured with the band and danced onstage during their shows. As a consequence, the Kissers grew extremely popular among 8-12 year olds and their parents. After one show, a little boy and his mom approached Pete asking to see the monkey one last time. Pete got cocky. "Well, nooooo! The monkey's already put away! He's in the van, outside! What do you think about that?" The boy started crying and the mother told Pete "You're a bad person."

Friday, February 06, 2004

On Friday, February 06, 2004
he passed Pygmalion on the street. What's up? Oh, not much. That statue ever come to life? Yeah, you know, Aphrodite came over one afternoon and did her thing. You were quite hung up on that maiden for a while. Yeah, you know, she's hot. How things working out? Oh wonderful, wonderful, in fact, we're getting a duplex over in Middleton.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

On Thursday, February 05, 2004
he shook it to the east, but collapsed from exhaustion when he tried to shake it to the west. He was reincarnated as the girl that he loves best.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

On Wednesday, February 04, 2004
he invented a new word: interflict. As in, to interfere, or conflict with. Example: My job interflicts with my social agenda. The phone rang.


"Is this Pete Colclasure?"

"Yes, this is he. With whom am I speaking?"

"This is Webster's Dictionary. We understand you invented a new word. We want it. We'll pay any price. You're going to be huge baby, huge! "Interflict" will be bigger than, say, "manifest."

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

On Tuesday, February 03, 2004
he found himself locked in a dumpster with the Foundations of Civilization. "Oh great," said Pete, groping blindly at McDonald's wrappers and discarded pizza boxes. "Whose bright idea was this again?"

"Don't blame me," said Development of Agriculture. "I merely suggested that a consistent source of food might be preferable to a hunter gatherer mode of existence."

"We're locked in a dumpster!" Pete punched the plastic lid. Chains and padlocks rattled in the dark. "Refuse everywhere! Waste and depletion!"

"You damn hypocrite," said Domestication of Animals, "would you really go back? In your self-righteous desire to cast off all modern amenities and conveniences, you've forgotten the brutal reality outside this cozy little cocoon of human existence. You do not know that the price of life is death. You do not know that the price of peace is war. You are not ready for that level of truth."

Pete heard soft whimpering and a rustle of garbage in a distant corner, and knew his tirade had offended Opposable Thumb/Tool Use.

Monday, February 02, 2004

On Monday, February 02, 2004
he learned that in 1880 one in two Americans lived on a farm; today, one in fifty does.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

On Sunday, February 01, 2004
he swallowed a poisonous spider. He was reincarnated as the Pythagorean Theorem, and granted stewardship over all mathematical laws of the universe governing the proportions of triangles.