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#361 :: Gel caps

February 10, 2005

order physician ‘popup’, here dosage ‘width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0’); return false”>Wind the key, and it goes – a self-locomoting toy, the culmination of myriad simple technologies in a complex, palm-sized plaything: Wheels – once just logs used to move other logs, now advanced to trim wheel/hub/axle design. Tin lithography – the semblance of color, depth and detail printed in Benday dots on machine-cut, rust-prone sheet metal that’s folded and slotted together, tab A to slot B and so on, until it takes shape as a bus. Clockwork – spring-driven cogs and gears store energy pumped in by a few revolutions of the key, then convert it to be pumped out as hundreds of revolutions of the axles. It makes a clicking sound when being wound, a ratcheting sizzle when released to glide across the kitchen floor, invisible passengers hidden behind painted windows – tiny avatars to your rapid transit fantasies. The “Blue Giant” is made in China.
cost ‘popup’,’width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>A brain tremor emerges from childhood, a submerged snag in the deep, slow-flowing river of memory: I was probably three or four when I put my forefinger and thumb together, tight, pinching nothing and imagining a whale in there, its full tonnage trapped between my fingerprints. It was a huge concept for a kid – tiny density, microscopic mass – and to this day I don’t know where it came from, but I would revisit it every now and then with a sort of breathy little “whoa.”

As I grew, the sensation recurred in odd places: On the job as a reporter: A treeful of egrets, looking delicate as tapers in a cathedral candelabra, perched in the path of a 400,000-gallon oil spill on the Delaware River that was headed their way from the breached hull of a tanker run aground upstream. In pop culture: Frank Miller’s Miho, the tiny, ruthlessly lethal street-waif/assassin who fends off the entire Mafia on tiptoe and sword-point. In nature: swollen, phallic stalactites hanging impossibly in the gaping maw of Carlsbad Caverns, tapering to a point the width of a molecule that grows with near-infinite slowness, a single drop of mineral-laden water at a time – and the huge colony of bats that swarm up out of the cave at night like a seething, black tornado from which they peel off at the top – single file – to hunt for food at sunset.

So it is with this thing. The fortune cookie is a confection of frothy whimsy and deep portent, of crunchiness and clairvoyance. It’s jsut a snack, a crisp trifle. It’s also your fate. You know it’s mass-produced, you can never tell whether you’re going to get a real future-predicting fortune or some worthless aphorism like “It is better to be wise than to be rich.” But it’s your fortune, a tiny oracle to be heeded with some reverence or at least a snicker, as you munch the vessel in which it arrived to stop ever so briefly your headlong rush through life and make you think: Is this true?
shop ‘popup’, visit this ‘width=500, viagra 40mg height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>Problems. Solve my problems with a thing. My problems are in my head, they’re in my life, I can’t touch them or put a dent in them or even make sense of them or time for them. But my problems run my head. And my head runs my time and my time runs my life. So I have a thing, a thing I can use to make them stop. Stop them with a thing. It’s a miracle. Father’s little helper. See how? I put this thing in my mouth and in a little while, my problems aren’t problems any more. A dull roar, nothing more. I have more things now. One for each problem. But sometimes they can’t stop them. And I can’t think.

I’ve never been one to use this kind of drug. My back acts up or a toothache starts murdering me and I’ll pop aspirin to sleep, maybe a really big painkiller for a day or so post-surgery. But it’s a cycle. Like all artificial chemicals (and half the real ones) sooner or later, the cure goes away, and the hurt returns, twice as bad.

I’m in a peaceful space now, having just come through a hard time in my professional life. I’ve found some clarity: I’m able to look back, see what happened, see where I am, and realize that everything’s going to be all right. So, in this playful head suddenly there’s room for the bogus lyric above, and the real ones below. And this little pile of gel caps – left over from a futile, months-long attempt to cure my daughter’s horrible eczema with nightly doses of weird naturopathic chemicals after modern medicine seemed to have failed (we’ve since found the real allergen and gotten a grip on it) – put two lyrics into my suddenly copascetic mind:

From David Byrne and Brian Eno’s glittering “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts,” (scroll down there for soundclips) a snippet of found-radio preaching by a raving clergyman:It’s no BIG thing, it’s a SMALL THING …What … people … THINK …

He’s so HIGH, you can’t get over him!
He’s so LOW you can’t get under him!
He’s so WIDE you can’t get around him!
If you MAKE your bed in HEAVEN, He’s there
If you MAKE your bed in HELL, He’s there,


HELP me somebody…

HELP me somebody …

Iiiii IKNOW!

From Courtney Love’s glorious, elegiac mess, “Sunset Strip“:

They’re for real life
They tried to steal my soul
I’ve got pills when Famous
I got pills when you’re old
I’ve got pills cause I’m bored
I’ve got pills cause you’re dead
I’ve got cause I am the worst and best dressed
I’ve got pills cause I feel more than twentyone
Got pills cause I know, baby, you’re not the one
I’ve got pills for my coochie
Cause baby, I’m sore
I’ve got pills cause you’re mad
I’ve got pills cause I’m bored
Cruising down the Sunset Strip
And there is nothing that’s not,
That’s not within my grip
Oh tonight, I got it right
Just one time

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