03/01 Direct Link
Even as you read this, people are escaping. Other people, dissatisfied with their current situation, are plotting their escape. Still others are just entering into new situations from which they will soon desire escape.

An airplane to la isla de encanta leaves every hour.

Some people are escaping from la isla de encanta, and possibly going to start a better life in the city from which you've just escaped. They're moving into your old apartment, and will escape from it in a year.

Escape usually does not work, but I really need to escape.

I think you know the feeling.
03/02 Direct Link
What started as a despair-fueled refusal to shave has become a somewhat sexy one-week beard. WELCOME TO BEARD MONTH.

I was looking at the Web site of some insane beard club today. Their official position is that women insist upon the clean-shaven look because beards are a symbol of strength, and women want to emasculate us. *tsk tsk*, why are women always trying to keep us down?

Yes, March is beard month. If I get writer's block or something I will give you beard updates, and by the authority my beard gives me, I declare that you will like them.
03/03 Direct Link
Today I made the acquaintance of a small child.

It has probably been several years since I've met someone under the age of twenty-one, so it was an unusual experience. I was sitting on my cousin's couch when the child approached. It looked at me for a moment.

“Hey,” I said.

“Why are you wearing those shoes?” asked the child.

“Well, I don't know...” I said. “I guess I...”

I had lost its interest in mid-sentence, and the child wandered off to find amusement in the radiator.

My cousin said I looked “completely freaked out.”
03/04 Direct Link
The child handed me a red plastic dragon.

“Here, you can be the dragon,” he said.

“RAWR!” said the dragon.

The child picked up a small plastic knight.

“Get out of here, haha!” said the knight.

“No!” said the dragon, “I'm going to burn down your kingdom, hahaa!”

“No, no,” said the child. “You have to let the knight win.”

“I am, I am,” I said, “I'm just building up the suspense, see?”

The child looked at me in disbelief and sighed.

“Okay, now they're going to fight,” he said.
03/05 Direct Link
(this is actually me talking, not some wacky fiction thing)

Have you ever taken a personality test, like the MBTI? If not, I encourage you to do so.

In college a friend told me about the MBTI, and we took it together at the career center. The test took about an hour, and then we had a one-hour session with one of the counselors. I learned a lot that day.

I am very much an INFP, and we apparently make up a very small segment of the population. Sometimes it helps to know there are others out there like me.
03/06 Direct Link

First the puppies are born and ushered into the puppy room. There are black puppies and brown puppies and white puppies with spots.

After a month of observation, the puppymaster separates the puppies. He has a certificate for this. He puts the happy puppies into the grassy meadow, and the sad puppies into the enclosure.

The happy puppies are provided with tid-bits and are encouraged to frolic. They tumble and yelp and chew on each other, playfully.

The sad puppies sequester themselves into small crates, where poetry is read to them. They prefer Housman or Hardy.
03/07 Direct Link
My sympathies are with the sad puppies. Sometimes when I go to visit them, I bring corn-cake with raspberry jam in my pockets, and distribute it to them. The feeling of a sad puppy licking raspberry jam from your fingers is difficult to describe.

They do not chase the sticks I throw for them. They question the point of chasing after anything.

“What is the point,” they wonder, “since you will just throw it again?”

Those mopey little bastards really bring me down sometimes.
03/08 Direct Link

Today I made the simple conversion from concerned citizen to super-villian.

I'm not a patient person. A bad society makes bad, unhappy people. I've had enough of watching our civilization crack and crumble so slowly, bit by bit, and I knew it would have to collapse eventually. My invention is just going to nudge us over the edge so we can restart it and get it right this time.

(A little idealism can be a dangerous thing. When you go home tonight, have a beer and watch some sitcoms instead of building a doomsday device. Thank you.)
03/09 Direct Link
“Let's go, just for a little while,” she said, tugging my arm.

She'd been in a strange mood all evening and I was tired, but I eventually gave in. At the end of two hours she'd had way too much to drink, and started to dance in the middle of the crowded bar.

“Come on,” I said. “Come back to my place. I'll make you some of those noodles you like.” I gently started to pull on her arm.

She could barely stand up. “No way, get out of here, aaah, hey, get me another drink.”
03/10 Direct Link
“Please, let's just go, you've had enough.” I took her arm and started to pull her towards the door. She snapped.

Get the fuck off me,” she screamed, “don't touch me! I want to have fun!”

A couple of big guys with beers walked over.

“Hey man,” one of them said, “I think this lady wants you to leave her alone.”

I was glad to see that gallantry was not dead, but they had the wrong idea.

“No, see, it's not like that...”

“Get him away from me, he's so boring...” she slurred.
03/11 Direct Link
“Come on, why don't you just leave? We don't want any trouble,” said the more linebacker-like of the two.

“Guys,” I said, “I appreciate what you're trying to do, but this is my friend, I can't just leave her here alone like this...”

“She won't be alone,” he said, exchanging a look with his friend. “She'll be with us.”

At that point I realized that gallantry was dead after all, and had been replaced by scumbaggery.

Meanwhile, she started to sway back and forth. “I wanna DAAAAAANCE!”

The linebacker looked at her and grinned.
03/12 Direct Link
Just as my head hit the pillow on Monday night that memory jumped into my head and kept me awake for five or six hours. It could have ended pretty awfully.

Fortunately, just as things were getting ugly she realized that she was exhausted and asked if I'd mind if she passed out on my couch. I said that would be fine. Seeing no shortage of wasted girls, the guys left us alone.

She was really embarrassed the next morning when I explained what had happened. She apologized, had some orange juice and toast, and never spoke to me again.
03/13 Direct Link
She is my muse and my temptress and my tormentress and my codependent and my friend.

I've tried not to write about her this month, but how long did you really think I could last?

Whenever I write about a girl, I am writing about the same person. She is a real human being who lives and breathes and laughs and dances, and God damn, she is beautiful and funny and smart. I am in love with her, and being with her hurts like hell, and tomorrow we are going shopping for spring jackets. That's all I know for tonight.
03/14 Direct Link
I dip my toe into the chilly stream of self-destruction that has carried so many away, including an acquaintance or two, but I do not dive in.

I just stand there, dipping my toe in and out as if to check the temperature, and craving escape. There is longing and fascination.

I towel off my toe and walk away. A bottle of wine, an order of tofu with garlic sauce, and a bad zombie movie does not count as self-destruction, anyway -- it sounds like a pretty decent Saturday night.

God, I am so lame. I must change my life.

03/15 Direct Link
difficulties in communication:
(an actual overheard conversation)

“In the end he turned out to be a coward and a monster, actually.”

“I dunno, he suspected her of cheating on him... he was mad with jealousy... I don't think he can really be held accountable for his actions, that's all I'm saying.”

“Couldn't he have said something? Could he have just asked her what she was doing out so late?”

“My God... how can you... I mean, imagine! I can't imagine accusing my wife of that right to her face...”

03/16 Direct Link
I told a young man to pull up his pants. I told a young woman to keep her voice down when speaking on her cellular telephone. I told a group of youths to stop loitering outside the delicatessen and help their parents with household chores. I told the chief of police to stop accepting kickbacks from Jimmy the Rat. I told Jimmy and his gang not to throw their trash on the sidewalk, and to stop it already with the crime. I told the mayor to wear his top hat every single day.

[let's call this 'social engineering, part 1']
03/17 Direct Link
Let me at that prefrontal cortex. Let me alter your DNA. Make me your king. I want to shake things up. It will be the politest reign of terror you've ever seen. Come on, trust me, I am so nice.

If altering human nature does not get the job done, I could arrange for an angel with a sword of purifying fire to pay us a visit.

[Let's call this 'social engineering, part 2'. Alternate title: 'Steamed Dumpling Probably Needs to Chill the Fuck Out.']

(Humorous / Terrifying side note: I almost decided to get a Master of Public Administration degree.)
03/18 Direct Link
I usually love the beginning of the warmer weather and the arrival of Spring. (If you want to be embarrassed for me, see what I wrote on 3/14/07.)

Not this year. The warm weather brings people outdoors, where I have to see them.

Within the past few weeks I have seen men being bad to women, mothers being bad to children, and the general jerkiness of the human race that is partially concealed from me during the winter.

If we have three months of blizzards, people will be forced to stay indoors and may learn to live with each other.
03/19 Direct Link
What are your greatest strengths?

I'm extremely punctual. If I'm late for work, you can be sure that something terrible has happened, like an angel with a sword of purifying fire has set the earth to waste.

Can you explain that last comment?

Certainly. Sometimes when I'm in a bad mood I invoke pseudo-biblical figures to destroy the earth, in part or in its entirety. I'd like to assure you, this would not interfere with my work. Furthermore, I do not at this time seem to be capable of actually summoning the aforementioned figures, so there is no real danger.
03/20 Direct Link
He wrote in to tell me that if I want to write, I need to write about reality, otherwise I shouldn't waste his time.

He says I need to get down in the mud and the shit and the misery of life if I want to say anything that is worthwhile.

I peer down into his hole.

“Hello!” I shout. “What are you doing down there? You seem to be wallowing in filth.”

He looks up at me and squints, obviously unaccustomed to the sunlight.

“Bah! You're wasting my time,” he mutters, and returns to his sludge.
03/21 Direct Link
“It's me,” I shout. “I got your message. I was wondering if we could talk a bit. I brought a ladder; would you like to get out of your hole for a few hours?”

At my insistence he bathes fifteen times, puts on some clothes, and we head off to the local falafel shop.

“Life is sometimes muddy and shitty and miserable,” I say. “If you even want to call those the defining characteristics of life, I won't be the one to contradict you. But to voluntarily (and literally) immerse yourself in them is totally unnecessary.”
03/22 Direct Link
“Up here at least we have puppies and sunshine and cupcakes and falafel. There is more than enough misery to go around, but those little things, as temporary and unsatisfying as they are, are sort of nice.”

To drive the point home, and to be a pretentious prick, I pull out my little book of sad poetry.

All thoughts to rive the heart are here, and all are vain:
Horror and scorn and hate and fear and indignation—

“We're all immersed in those things,” I say, “but sometimes it's nice to focus on something else.”

He nods.
03/23 Direct Link
One month later I got a letter from his lawyer. He had been found dead in his hotel, and I was his sole beneficiary. He was a billionaire.

The coroner couldn't tell whether it was the heroin overdose, the overexertion from the troupe of acrobatic prostitutes he had solicited, or the fact that he had tried to eat a dozen cupcakes at once that had killed him.

Had he died happy? Was he happy in his hole? Was all of this my fault?

Feeling foolish and more confused than ever, I crumpled up the letter and stared out the window.
03/24 Direct Link
the long-awaited
(which you can take or leave, because the beard is gone)

When asked a challenging question, I stroked the beard and looked thoughtful; a pleasant alternative to the stammering and head-scratching which was a common pre-beard behavior.

It looked pretty good. The word 'professorial' was thrown around by a few co-workers, who recommended me to a tailor who could add pleather elbow patches to my tweed jackets. I laughed heartily and slapped them collegially on their backs.

It gave me the air of a mysterious stranger with a mysteriously itchy face, and I will miss it.
03/25 Direct Link
How much coffee does it take to kill an elephant?

I ask because that's how much coffee I want to drink. Walking around half-dead is not fun, so I want to either wake up or get it over with.

The woman in the coffee shop, though, seems to consider herself my non-biological grandmother, and I doubt she would serve me that much coffee anyway.

“Why don't you just get more sleep, dear?” she would say. “All that coffee is bad for you.”

I wouldn't have the heart to give a withering stare to my fake grandmother, I think.
03/26 Direct Link
“More sleep, yes, I know. Listen: for the past five minutes, completely delirious from exhaustion, I stared at my screen and argued with myself about who was the king of the root vegetables,” I'd say. “In case you were wondering, it is the potato.”

Without pausing for a second, she would say, “not the rutabaga? Did you really consider the rutabaga?”

“I did, of course I did,” I'd say.

“I've always considered the rutabaga to be the most regal of the...”

“Oh,” I'd say, interrupting her. “I'm dreaming. I'm asleep at my desk.”
03/27 Direct Link
(like the preceding story about root vegetables, the following is between 85-95 percent true.)

There is something “in my system,” and I want to get it out, and I don't know how.

I can't tell you how much of a relief it would be to go actually crazy for a short while. I'd run through the streets in my bathrobe gibbering and chewing on the pavement for a few hours, and it would really do me some good.

Going crazy is a way of escaping while staying in the same place. It is the most convenient form of escape.
03/28 Direct Link
Maybe you've given up on something important to you.

No matter how hard you try, perhaps, you can't really like your job. You've realized that love, although wonderful, is as impermanent as anything else, and is probably not for you anyway. You've decided that newer and shinier cell phones and more fashionable pants do not really make you happy.

Bourbon gives you a headache, movies disappoint you, your friends forget you, and who is this God person, anyway?

Maybe you've held on to one or more of these things, and must find something to replace them. I don't envy you.
03/29 Direct Link
[5 percent true]

I was given a “boost your brain power” DVD as a birthday gift.

Primary message behind the gift: You are a dumbass.

Also, the person who gave it to me probably got it for free with the purchase of some cool thing, which is evidently not my real birthday gift, and which is probably doing something amazing in his living room right now.

Secondary message: I like you enough to unload a freebie on you as a birthday present.

Now, I don't want to sound ungrateful...

I am, but I don't want to sound like it.
03/30 Direct Link
We can't all go crazy whenever we feel pressure building up inside of us. If you are very reserved, or if you have a job, or if you care what your neighbors think of you, that option may be closed.

You need to find a way to express yourself. You're not doing it for an audience – I have no illusions that anyone wants to read about my burgeoning depression. No, you do it for yourself, because it makes you a little bit less crazy, and it makes you feel a little bit more human.

That's why I'm here, anyway.
03/31 Direct Link
[a list of birthday surprises which you couldn't possibly care about, but i am old and want to go to bed]

Birthday surprise 1:
My temporary job, in which I am paid to be a smartass, may be extended because they like me.

Birthday surprise 2:
My brother sent me a photo of a fish wearing a chef's hat from a restaurant near his office. He invited me to visit the “suicidefood” blog and I hurt myself laughing.

Birthday surprise 3:
She made some vegan birthday cupcakes for me, and they were so good.

Birthday surprise 4:
Still bewildered.