My Daily Day

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

he learned that at Hiroshima, many victims who where standing outside during the blast had the patterns of their shirts burned into their skin like a tattoo, because of the tendency of white cloth to reflect the heat and black cloth to absorb it and conduct it into the flesh.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

he learned that napalm actually melts the skin in clumps, so that layers of it run down the victims face or arms, and accumulate on the chest or wrists. Years later, if the vicitm survives, the skin continues to grow in these places.

Monday, March 29, 2004

the most beautiful day of the year thus far, he stood in Library Mall in a sport coat, admiring the sunshine, the clouds, the eye blue sky, and it was enough.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

he sat in the Orpheum theater, watching anthropomorphic teeth dance behind a dentist in a gold suit, waving a five foot tooth brush.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

On Saturday,
he wondered, if Walt Whitman were alive today, what would he choose for his AIM user name?

Friday, March 26, 2004

the Human Race reclined on a psychologist's couch. Dr. Evolutionary Biology sat crossed-legged in the chair opposite, listening intently and taking swift notes on a legal pad.

"We've talked a bit about your adolescence," said Dr. Evolutionary Biology.

"Yeah," said the Human Race, "the whole empire phase. I had so many hormones coursing through me. I was noticing changes in my social body, and started noticing other cultures, and all the dreams about invading and conquest . . ."

"Yes," said Dr. Evolutionary Biology, "but I want to press back further than that. Tell me about your childhood."

"That's tough," said the Human Race. "I can't really remember that much. I fear I might have endured some traumatic experiences. The past is so hazy . . . so dark. So many memories blocked out."

"Why do you think the blocked memories are traumatic?" asked Dr. Evolutionary Biology.

"I get fragments sometimes," said the Human Race. "I vaguely recall killing my brother, Homo Neanderthallus. He moved out of home when I was an infant. I found him living in Europe. I have dreams, sometimes, where he's talking to me, his corpse mangled and I look down and see blood on my hands."

Dr. Evolutionary Biology glanced up from behind his round spectacles. "What about your father?"

"I don't remember my father. He left a few things, but nothing conclusive. I used to think . . . get this . . . I used to think he was God, but now I suspect hominoids. Anyway, whoever he was, he left home before I can remember. I never knew my father. I was left to fend for myself. My mother was occasionally nurturing, she permitted agriculture, but mostly she was just abusive, pelting me with hurricanes and earthquakes and drought. I had no mentor, no guide, I was confronted with all these difficult, unanswerable questions, why suffering? why death? and no life line, no one to turn to for help." The Human Race started crying. "You have no idea how difficult it is, being the only intellectually advanced species in the universe! You have no idea how close I've come to suicide, especially this past century! I found the key to Dad's nuclear fission cabinet in an Austrian patent clerk, and that almost did me in right there. Here I am, posed on the brink of adulthood, and I . . . and I . . ."

"There there," said Dr. Evolutionary Biology, handing the Human Race a Kleenex. "There there."

Thursday, March 25, 2004

while trying not to stare at the breasts of the woman behind the coffee shop counter, he remembered a slightly chauvenistic friend from Door County, who believed without shame that women wearing sexy clothes wanted men to scope them out. Pete remembered this and thought, well, maybe . . . for some women, sure, and some men, but what about this girl in front of me with the low neck shirt three sizes too small for her? Is it just a shirt, or am I going to inadvertantly offend her if I don't look at her breasts? He started sweating.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

he purchased a used three piece suit at a thrift store for $40. As he admired himself in the dressing room mirror, Karl Marx tapped him on the shoulder.

"What do you want?" asked Pete.

"Your vanity disgusts me," said Karl Marx. "You are not what this suit pretends you are. Part of the sickness of a market economy is this hegemony of appearances, identities bought and sold and cast aside like used condoms. But I see your corrupt substance beneath the facade, this sophisticate image you would project. You buy that suit and you buy into social conceit!"

At that moment, Kate Moss, small as a Barbie doll and dressed in a tinkerbell outfit, descended from the heavens and perched on Karl Marx's shoulder. "Don't listen to this raving lunatic," said Kate Moss. "Dressing well improves one's self-esteem. Fashion is empowerment, and in any case who suffers? That suit is no detriment to anyone's well-being."

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

he attended a lecture by Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Why Is Sex Fun? Afterwards, he played darts with the Jills and drank a beer with his friend Matt.

Monday, March 22, 2004

he paused after typing "www." into his browser, confused suddenly, remembering he had no website to visit, nothing to search for.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

On Sunday, March 21, 2004
Morgan Freeman stared forlornly through a snow dusted window and invoked America as the land of Chevy, Wal-Mart, and Friends re-runs.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

On Saturday, March 20, 2004
on a 3 x 5 index card, he drew a diagram of choice

Friday, March 19, 2004

On Friday, March 19, 2004
he dreamt that Freddy Krueger followed him home from a folk dance in the basement of the Methodist Church on University Ave. His dream took the geography of Madison and amalgamated it with Merrill, so that the campus buildings on University were replaced with the old homes and well kept lawns of Merrill's residential neighborhoods, say, Sixth Street. Somehow, Pete, found a hunting rifle with three cartridges in the clip, and stalked his way from backyard to backyard, always on the lookout for Freddy Krueger, staying low to the bushes and darting across open yards. He finally made it home, and locked himself in the attic with the rifle, when Freddy called Pete's cell phone.

"You think you're pretty clever, don't you?" Freddy's voice was sinister, threatening hiss. "You and that hunting rifle. Didn't see you on the streets; must have taken the back route." Freddy started laughing, until Pete realized the laughing wasn't coming from the phone, but from behind him. He turned and fired. A flash of steel. Some red and black. Colors bleeding into one another. Fear. Silence. A face. Someone crying. That was all.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

On Thursday, March 18, 2004
his sister Kerry treated him to lunch at Perkins.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

On Wednesday, March 17, 2004
the Kissers surmounted seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

On Tuesday, March 16, 2004
he watched American Splendor.

Monday, March 15, 2004

On Monday, March 15, 2004
he purchased a round of three beers for $2.25 at the Gesundheit. The Gesundheit is Merrill's oldest bar, continuously operated since 1874.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

On Sunday, March 14, 2004
he finished reading Life After God by Douglas Coupland.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

On Saturday, March 13, 2004
he traveled back in time to 1998, re-inhabited his 17 year old body, armed with knowledge of the future. For six years he could predict, he knew what came next around every corner, each "new" person to enter his life already familiarized with background knowledge. What confidence! What past errors amended! What sins atoned!

Friday, March 12, 2004

On Friday, March 12, 2004
while walking through a humanities hallway, he saw an acquaintence approach him with raised arms, saying "good job." Pete almost replied thanks before realizing the acquaintence intended his praise for a girl behind Pete's back.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

On Thursday, March 11, 2004
he stood in an empty, darkened classroom, facing the vacant speakers' podium and asked, "When will it end?"

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

On Wednesday, March 10, 2004
he listened to Barber's Adagio for Strings and thought, I am saturated.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

On Tuesday, March 09, 2004
a lightbulb in the lamp on top of his desk burned out. He immediately noticed the light flicker dead as he read, and an irrational panic momentarily seized him that perhaps a friend had died. He chastised himself, thinking he'd grown beyond these superstitions by now.

Monday, March 08, 2004

On Monday, March 08, 2004
he woke, washed a load of laundry, ate breakfast, practiced the piano for three hours, rehearsed with a violinist for one, an hour updating web pages, read for two hours, and after night fell he dressed in layers of long underwear, ran past rows of houses in the lightly falling snow, staring in through the windows and warmth and the yellow, wounded light of empty rooms, fell in love with the unseen occupants, wondered at their tragedy and tiny effort, their brief gasp of existence on an ancient planet filled with dead generations and a history as uncertain as its future, ate pasta and vegetables for dinner, debated whether to make a phone call.

Friday, March 05, 2004

On Friday, March 05, 2004
he asked the model on the cover of the magazine, "why do I desire you?"

"Mere biology, perhaps," replied the model. "I am thin, young, healthy. Millennia of inherited biological imperatives have programmed you to equate my physical appearance with reproductive success."

"It's not that," said Pete. "I do not want children."

"Perhaps status then. You would validate your social standing through acquisition of a culturally defined object of desire."

"No," said Pete, "this has nothing to do with culture. It's personal. I do not understand your vacant and bored expression, your blank stare. I cannot equate sexuality with boredom."

Thursday, March 04, 2004

On Thursday, March 04, 2004
he asked Happiness, "are you an illusion?"

"I wonder," responded Happiness, "would you a
sk sadness the same question?"

"Maybe not," said Pete.

"You cannot equate sadness with honesty, or you have already lost," replied Happiness.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

On Wednesday, March 03, 2004
he drank some coffee.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

On Tuesday, March 02, 2004
he told himself he wouldn't drink any more coffee.

Monday, March 01, 2004

he drank too much coffee.