I wrote a story once

It was an odd tale; it started as sleep-deprived ravings but grew on me. It was an odd world, an agrarian culture, but without horses. Giraffes were the beast of burden.

There was a man in the village who no one liked. He had a bad temper, and sprayed saliva when he talked. No one mentioned that to him. He was out working his fields one day when his giraffe had a heart attack. That must be common among the swift ones; the heart has to maintain enormous pressure to keep the head nourished, perched way up there.

The man’s giraffe died and he sat there, out in his field, next to his dead animal, for three days. Then he packed what he could carry and left the village forever. The story was not about him.

In this world of odd mammals and random blinding rainstorms, metaphors had a disquieting concreteness. Promises were trees, and lies were death. I was big on the truth back then. Wombats would pursue their victims relentlessly across the grassland, but neither hunter nor hunted would voluntarily enter the forest. I think they were wombats. They sound more dangerous than platypuses. The plainsmen raised them to be particularly nasty.

I’m thinking of that story now, wistfully hoping to recapture its unfettered randomness and heavy symbolism. Fifteen years later, I seem to recall some good prose as well. Tonight I have been sitting, groping for some of that silliness, my prose prosaic. There are only so many hours you can spend editing your own work before you turn into a pile of dependent clauses and dangling participles, with nary an idea in sight.

It’s time for action! It’s time to recapture that old-school mild schizophrenia. All nighter! Yeah! Rock on!

25 thoughts on “I wrote a story once

  1. Not to mention fire up the chatter from the peanut gallery.

    Seems my brief stint as MOH will be remembered for the lowest ratio of comments to visitors.

    There is hope, however: I could hang on a la John if an egg frier or someone seeking pitchers of the fresh prince of bel air gets 23003.

  2. Buck up Keith. It’s not your fault that Jerry won’t get off his chicken lovin’ a$$ and give us anything to talk about.

    Mayhaps I’ll hijack this punk-a$$ blog and drive it to NOLA. Who’s with me?

    Mmmmmmmm, beer. The cause of and solution to all of life’s problems. Is there anything that the amber liquid is incapable of? Bob, just don’t get jiggy with the pale ale as it might spill.

  3. Of course it’s Keith’s fault.

    When the comments dry up, the buck stops with the MOH.

    Everything that happens on his watch is Keith’s fault.

  4. Still, I am happy to help fire up the peanut gallery. MR&HBI has had its dry patches before. We just need to “talk among ourselves” until Jer is ready to roll.

  5. How about this for a topic:

    The best “unofficial” benefits you have enjoyed in a job.

    For me, and I realize that not everyone has quite as many former employers form which to choose, a few possibilities come to mind:

    1.) While working at a seafood company, I took home more value in product samples (honestly, we were encouraged to try the products) than I did in wages.
    2.) After I was done working at Lincoln Savings and the FBI came to visit the Emmadome, Jer (this one is really more of a perk for him) answered all the phone calls with “I can’t talk now, the FBI is here.” He and John were very helpful … to the FBI agent, not to me.
    3.) Lastly, there was my short but undistinguished tenure with T, G & Y (the only job from which I have been fired) when I was given the task of throwing away all the leftover 4th of July fireworks. Since it seemed a shame to just throw them away, I put them behind the dumpster, instead. After work, I loaded them in my car, picked up some beer and friends (some of whom are probably reading this right now), and found a nice dry river bed for a spectacular summer bon fire. Who would have thought that the sparklers (entire boxes busting into clounds of red, green, or yellow fire) would be the most fun?

    Let’s hear from all y’all.


  6. For the spellcheckers keeping score at home, a clound is a mass of burning material that is part cloud and part mound.

    If the “unofficial” benefits idea doesn’t work out, we could try a game of blog based dictionary. Keith could supply a word and, during the course of the fictious proposals, provide the real definition using a nom de plume.

  7. Just out of high school in Chi-town, but still living with the folks, I had a draftsman job in a small office and had the keys. The benefit was that I could take my girlfriend up there and bang her on my drafting table rather than a chilly back seat of my ’74 Nova!

    /my boss knew that I was using the place.
    //building manager broke in on us one night!

  8. Speaking of MOH’s, another 2th just passed unnamed. It’s never been officially made part of the MOH’s duties, but the whole thing was suggested by a pervious leader.

  9. On Thursday I got a tentative offer to transfer with the FAA to Anchorage effective Sept 18. It is not an Air Traffic job and it will only last about a year and a half, but I have accepted and expect the firm offer soon. I don’t expect any change in the effective date. I have a lot to do over the next 2 weeks.

  10. Wow! I don’t know if that’s good news or bad – Anchorage will probably be cool, but what comes next? How many more days until you retire?

  11. If I can get 4.5 more years in an air traffic control position, I can retire at age 50. President Bush’s big privatize the government initiative has resulted in my job being given to Lockheed Martin. So I was facing being laid off on Oct 4th. Even though this job is temporary and not air traffic, it will keep me in the system for another year and a half. At that point when I am looking for a job, I will be competeing against 5 people rather that the 1000 I am competing against now.

    On a more general note. It seems that many of our nation’s leaders seem to think that the government should be emulating some of the more “sharp elbowed” business tactics of some of our nation’s less reputable firms. I am sure that some people are making lots of money by pushing their employees, customers, and suppliers to the wall whenever there is an opportunity. But those companies aren’t going to last. Their victims will eventually decide to stop doing business with them. Their victims will try to sabotage and boycot those businesses. And when this nation’s citizens start thinking that way about our government, It will be the beginning of the end of civilization.

  12. Hey, if you’re working for Lockheed Martin, you may get a chance to transfer to Albuquerque — that could be nice!

    Talk about a convergence of meanings … Yes, Anchorage will probably be cool. It might even be cold, although there is a warm current in the Pacific that keeps it from being as cold as it otherwise would be.

    Funny coincidence, a friend of ours in Albuquerque just got a job, not FAA, but for a contractor (Raytheon if I remember correctly), doing airport operations in Antarctica. This is a guy who, for “fun,” sailed his 26-foot sailboat from Vancouver to Anchorage and back. At an age at which most people would be contemplating retirement in someplace warm, he’s choosing to go to cold places.

  13. Best “unofficial” benefits.

    I don’t think any of us will beat Brian.

    Ten Thousand Waves: free after-hours soaks with female friends, if I was on the closing crew.

  14. Interesting. Of the eight New Mexico places featured in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, the only one I haven’t been to is Ten Thousand Waves.

    Those after-hours soaks definitely sound like a fantastic perk.

    The best unofficial perk I ever got was trivial in comparison. When I worked on the sports desk of the Journal, we’d get showered with free tickets from event promoters hoping for positive coverage. There were also the annual ten-pound bag of peanuts from the Portales Chamber of Commerce, and a box of chocolates from I don’t remember whom. However, the Journal also placed a value limit on gifts, so the peanuts were about the maximum.

  15. Jerry,
    For the record, can I get a ruling on whether Bill’s “beginning of the end of civilization” occurred during my time in office, or the following MOH’s. That’s just the type of little detail that new administrations try to blame the pervious for.

  16. Job Perk:
    My current office location has a sand volleyball court where I can go to display my white belly and decaying skills twice a week year round.

  17. Wow.
    No more whiskey and posting comments. I always manage to come out looking a little easier than I mean to.
    All I was trying to say is that I miss working with Andrew. He was a job perk….sometimes.

  18. lew, if I gave up on posting after drinking, you’de never get the good stories out of me.

    Same job – different perk. The boss used to bring in a joint to share at the morning break and one to share during the afternoon break. Oh, and we would sit around on Friday afternoons and drink beer whilst watching the highway traffic go by. One afternoon, we saw a woman slide off the highway and into the boss’ car. Ah the good times, drunk, stoned and underpaid.

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