Tuesday, 26 July 2011

ugly? yes

Do I own the ugliest chair in the world?
Seems a sweeping statement, doesn't it -- a grand claim. In the world? But you know, it might be true. It's pretty darn ugly. Ed found it in the Goodwill store, and came home and told us, his eyes alight with the joy of the true philosopher. When something is a perfect platonic example of itself -- when it ideates a single pure form -- you are drawn in a way you cannot resist or comprehend.

We have to get this chair, guys, he said. We have to. It's perfect. It's big and ... words failed him here ... there's blotches and blobs and it's squishy when you sit down and it's so ...
Imo was looking a little dubious.
Um, I said.
And it reclines, said Ed.

Imo turned to me. She was getting it now. She was on the trolley. Like all my kids, she loves a reclining chair. I've never owned one, but when we are in a mall we spend a lot of time in the free test chair section
A recliner, Dad, she said. A blobby squishy recliner....
They were both giving me the eyes. Ok, I said. Ok.
Actually, I was getting intrigued myself.
They went together to buy it, and when they carried it through the front door fifteen minutes and about as many dollars later, my mental staggers matched their physical ones.
Wow, I said.

There can be a fine line between beauty and horror. With some high-fashion models you don't know if they are so ugly they're gorgeous or so gorgeous they're ugly. Well, this chair is not like that. It's way over the line, way over any line. It crouches, squat and menacing, the colour of fear and ice tea. It is warm and soft to the touch, like fresh vomit. It reclines with a groan and a snap of tired springs when you pull the lever at the side -- a lever which wears a matching fear and ice tea sock over its polished wooden handle.

Days later, I am still giving the chair a second look every time I enter the living room. It still makes me laugh. It is the world's ugliest chair.

Monday, 18 July 2011

really fake

Going to talk about essence today. What a thing is. (Is that ontology? My philosophy has been picked up second-hand in mystery novels. It's cheap but shabby, and sometimes it doesn't work.)

Imo found a package of gummi worms in the junk drawer. Oooh! she cried, taking a couple and chewing appreciatively. These are the real ones.
I was puzzled. What other kind would there be? I asked.
Well, there are those all natural ones, she said. My friend's mom buys them. They're not nearly as good.
I spend a lot of time in my mind. I don't get out much.
All natural gummi worms? I said.
Yeah. You know. You get them at the bulk food stores. They're kind of good for you.
I shook my head. No, I said. I don't know. I don't know at all.

Which brings me to essence. Can we agree on some basic definitions? A thing is what it is, and not something else. Right? Right. So what in the name of all that's advertised is a natural gummi worm? Surely the term is self-contradictory. Taking away the thing that makes it a gummi worm and calling it a gummi worm is an affront to sense. Who are these manufacturers? It's like pushing a breadless sandwich (less caloric) or a noiseless car alarm (easier on the neighborhood). If you eat gummi worms, then you want an instant hit of sugar and gelatin and chemicals. You are not craving something healthy. That would be an orange.

Imo caught the idea right away. The gummis in our junk drawer are the real kind, because they are not all natural. Real because they are fake.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

me and tommy lee

So I made my course selections yesterday. Couple workshops, couple lectures. That's right, I'm heading off to school in the fall. Time to catch up with the kids and their fancy degrees. I wonder if I'll get along with my dorm mates? I hear that one of my profs is a real hard case. I hope she likes me.

Okay, I'm kidding about the dorm, but everything else is true. I'm going to crack me some books (not the ones in the picture -- those books would crack me). It's been a few decades, but I'm sure college life will start coming back to me. Keggers, all nighters, maybe some embarrassing experiments. I might even remember how to write an essay. And when it's all over I'll have some extra letters to write after my name. Totally worth it.

Oh, and I was kind of lying about the prof too. She seems really nice.

Got my room numbers. Got my knapsack, and Hilroy notebooks, and some freshly sharpened pencils. I'm good to go. I haven't quite decided how to handle frosh week. I'm okay with drunk and disorderly, but what if there's hazing? I'll buckle -- I know I will. When the going gets tough I fold like origami. My best chance may be to convince people that I'm some crazy kid's dad, come to pick them up.

(Speaking of kids and craziness, I found my i-pod in a Kleenex box. Whew. But I am still a prank pin cushion. Imo's latest involved unplugging everything in the house. I came back late last night and nearly killed myself stumbling around in the dark. One of these days that girl will go too far. No, wait. She already has.)

Saturday, 2 July 2011


I'm carless and elder-daughterless for a bit. The one has left me with the other. For the next month or so Thea will be exploring highways and byways and (knowing my car) transmission service centers and brake specialists across this great land of hers. Of course I went through the usual sentimental Dad visions of my little girl behind the wheel (see picture) but on the whole I am neither worried nor terribly bereft. I figure it'll do me good to walk or bike around, and when I have to go out of town I'll have Messrs Go and ViaRail and Mesms Hertz and Budget lining up to help me. I'll be fine. Odd to look out my front window and not see the car, though. In a way, odder than not seeing the daughter.

Speaking of whom, my other daughter, the practical joker, has finally got my attention -- by hiding my iPod. I'm not plugged into the thing but I do use it regularly, and noticed its absence yesterday. After the picture moving incident, I figured that this was by design rather than chance. I called Imo this morning and was rewarded by (and rather moved to hear) her squeal of delight.

Come on, where is it? I asked.
Keep looking,
she said. You'll find it. It's not far away.

Got a cold?
she said. You sound all stuffy.
I'm fine. Where's my iPod?
Another squeal.
Does Ed know where you put it? Does anyone?
Thea knows. She thought it was a great hiding place.
I sighed. Thea had driven off about a half hour ago.