Friday, December 28, 2001


Well, we’ve been away but now we’re back— just in time for the end of the party. The temptation is strong at this time to compose lists: best records, films, etc.
Who cares? As Scrawl sings, “Was it a good year do I really need to know ‘cause now it’s behind me forever/It was a good year because it was such a bad year that this year could only be better.”

In this spirit, we at WHEN AARONS ATTACK! bring you


(Please note that initials are not consistent from dream to dream. One A is not necessarily the same as

Saturday, January 27

I had just moved into a large house. It wasn’t in England but P.’s roommates T. and E. and also K from Canada, lived there, along with some others. My room was little more than a crawlspace. On my first night in the house there was a large party, with Innerpink scheduled to play. Apparently tour place was at the top of some large resort-like house on the side of a hill (I think the whole thing took place in Maine), and as one ascended the hill, each part of the building had its own entrance. We were hanging out in some bar somewhere near the house before the show eating buffalo wings. There was a gorgeous girl with jet-black hair, who apparently I was hanging out with.
I offered her the last wing, and then was so drunk I had to take a lurchy walk around the building. I found a funeral party on the lower floors, and I didn’t want to get in trouble, so I disguised myself by wearing all black, including sunglasses and a balaclava. I guess I passed out because the next thing I knew it was morning and I hadn’t heard any of the band. And because it was my first morning living there and I was hung over, I couldn’t find anything, including my way back.

Wednesday, February 14

I was driving M. to some mountain where he was due to meet his friend’s family for hiking and camping. He was worrying that a rash on his hand might be a symptom of diarrhea. I asked him if his stools were messy and he said no, they were big and firm. Told him it couldn’t possibly be diarrhea. Then we were at the base of the mountain and he was worrying about not being able to drive the family’s car, an old Ford. I told him not to worry, that old Fords were like (something very clever that didn’t stay with me upon waking). Suddenly the scene changed and we were in a bed on a stage, about to perform in some play called “Romeo and Juliet” (not the Shakespeare one). He was all the way at one end and I at the other and he made a farting noise. I couldn’t tell if it was real or not, but a customer who had just bought his ticket saw us lying there and heard the noise and tried to return his ticket on moral grounds. I said “Oh, fuck you” and he got very agitated and despite my groveling apologies informed the manager. A small riot began to form and the manager, who apparently was also the director, pulled me down off the stage and started waxing pompous about my horrible deed and preparing to fire me. But a horrible noise sounded outside my window and I woke up before he could!

Tuesday, March 13

Parents & I were visiting my brother’s family, who were in China doing missionary work. We all ate in a Chinese restaurant with very good noodles, as well as pornographic videos at each table, and I tried to explain to the waiter the phenomenon of “pan-Asian”
noodle shops. Then we went outside and started climbing the hill next to the parking lot, except that there were bears, so we turned back. Except Dad, who didn’t see the bear, which pushed him off the cliff.
The rest of us ran: my brother and his wife off somewhere, and Mom and I to the Volvo, though we were unsure if that was the proper way to handle bear attack.

Thursday, April 12

I moved into a new house, and one of the roommates was a girl who started hitting on me immediately. It went so far as for us to get naked and for me to go down on her, an unusually vivid sensation: I had to be certain to go slowly because she had been somehow burned during the waxing process. Then things turned into some kind of John Irving story: by moving in, I had entered a family of sorts, and all of us were high-school age or younger, looking out for each other… strange and complex and very nice and close-knit. It also rained a lot.

Wednesday, May 23

At boarding school somewhere rural, when the U.S.
imposes martial law. Students resist in various ways, overt & covert, and resistance is dealt with summarily. Film student at crafts fair tries to get me a copy of his documentary about the takeover, is caught and removed, I end up in a play by a revolutionary classmate, but nothing seems to come of it.

Thursday, June 7

My bootlaces turned into a king cobra. The snake not the 40.

Monday, July 23

I was at DB’s house – he had moved to Somerville – and he was cooking dinner. He asked me to deliver a coffin to Out of the Blue for a group exhibition. But when I got there I realize I had lost it (it was about the size of a violin case). Couldn’t find it anywhere.
Went to the Sligo and checked the bathroom, where I met the producer Scott Litt. He couldn’t help me but was very amusing.

Tuesday, August 7

Childhood sandwiches personified as living cartoons.
Mr. Peanut Butter was changing his name to Mr. Peanut Butter and Jelly because he had “an infection.” And Ms. Marshmallow Fluff was nothing but a two-bit whore.

Monday, September 24

A. & I were driving in her vehicle along the coast. My arm on the back of her seat. The road was flush with the beach. We came upon a section that was clothing-optional. People were in various states of being garbed. We parked and watched the ocean. I said, “I wish I had my bathing suit” and she dove straight out the door into the water. Her clothes had suddenly been replaced by a black bikini. I followed her, naked, and we swam a bit before I woke up.

Thursday, October 18

I fell in love. There was a girl and we’d had one date. I’d liked her but never heard back, so I wrote her off. When the dream started I was floating on a not-to-be-used-as-a-lifesaving-device air mattress in a pond. I saw her and some of her friends on the far shore, and they yelled and waved me over. But I was embarrassed to meet them with my shirt off, so I returned to my own. They found me anyway, and she said, “Didn’t want to be seen with us, eh?” in a half-joking way. I tried to explain that actually I quite liked her, but was too awkward and embarrassed to say so, but before I could she took off her belt and started playfully spanking me. I “pretended” to enjoy it. Then we were sitting on a couch, also at the beach, under a blanket. I was rubbing the sole of her bare foot. She kept kissing my cheek, and so I turned my head, and she kissed my mouth, and we both said, “This is cool.” Then we were walking in a stiff wind up College Ave. in Davis Square toward Tufts. I put my arm around her and at first she resisted, but then yielded, saying she had to “remind” herself that it was “for real.” I asked when she knew it was for real, and she said, “I got off four times while you rubbing my feet.” I decided that I loved her.

Tuesday, November 28

Singing. Turned into screaming. Woke myself up doing this.

Saturday, December 1

I went to hike Monadnock, and on the way down I saw two speakers and a receiver that I had left there five years before. Somebody said to me “They want to hang you for littering,” and I laughed but in the lodge LF stepped out from behind a pillar and warned me not to try and run because the guards – a pair of camels – would get me.

So apparently I was to be tried for littering. Various members of the community, including G., had prepared speeches against me. The community contained people I knew from college as well as UFE. The trial began with people reading long, rambling, not-strictly-relevant speeches about me. We mostly sat on the floor of a coffee shop. Nobody seemed to be on my side, though K.
continued to be as friendly as he could. And there were a few speeches that were neither pro- nor anti- me.

Finally it was lunch break. I wandered around campus trying to marshal my thoughts. At one point I saw a bear, and went down a path to the Music Festival to ask if anyone knew whether or not to run from bears. A nice hippie woman said “not anymore” and a guy said, “you’re supposed to display rage.” Then the bear pulled its head off to reveal that it was really some dude in a costume. I felt silly, but as it was a very good costume nobody seemed to care, and I patted the hippie woman’s thigh and moved on.

After lunch things were a bit more organized. My professor, B., was due to speak, though whether for or against I don’t know, and I told him I had recently read two books that he’d bee interested in. He guessed that one was Giles Goat-boy, and when I told him the other was Freddy’s Book he laughed. Then he gave a long speech, concluding with the perhaps-facetious proposal that my littering was actually a form of site-specific art.

I kept trying to figure out how best to express my outrage without actually using the words “kangaroo court,” but woke up before I was given the chance.

Happy New Year!
Correspondent Aaron T.

Wednesday, August 22, 2001


An alligator attacked Edna Wilks, 11, over the weekend in Orlando, Florida, latching onto her arm and pulling her under water. Amanda Valance, also 11, who along with two other friends had been swimming at a lake with Edna, pulled her to shore as the gator followed.
Edna was treated for a broken arm, had surgery to clean debris from her arm muscle and received blood transfusions. CNN's Colleen McEdwards spoke to Edna and Amanda and Edna's doctor, John Ciccarelli of Orlando Regional Medical Center.

COLLEEN McEDWARDS: Edna, I see that you are out of your hospital bed this morning. ... How are you feeling?

EDNA WILKS: I am feeling a little bit tired. I am a little drowsy right now. And I’ve gotta wear this thing. In about an hour, I'm getting ready to go into surgery again. And I was attacked by a friggin’ monster yesterday!

McEDWARDS: Yes. What are you having done?

WILKS: They are just going to open me up again. To reclean my arm and just look for infections, and shrapnel and hopefully they won't find any.

McEDWARDS: Shrap . . .? What do you remember about the attack?

WILKS: I remember everything. It was amazing. I mean, he first
-- when he first grabbed onto my arm, I thought it was my strong, scaly friend, Mark, and I actually said, Mark, stop playing.
And then I had
looked over, and then I kind of rolled my eyes, and I looked over, and I realized it wasn't him at all. And he immediately pulled me under -- the alligator, not Mark, pulled me under and started giving it the old classic “alligator death spin”. And I was like just twirling, twirling, and I heard my -- something crack – you know, something. And I thought to myself, This is going to be it. But - and he bit onto my arm, where I have this huge gash, and I thought I was going to drown. And I thought, This isn’t how I imagined it at all. I’m 11 right? So I have this like very, young girl like, imagination.
So, I’m thinking, Wow, I thought I might die on my Scooter this summer. Mom always says I’m gonna. Or like, sometimes I daydream about fighting with my friend, Amanda, about who Brad Pitt loves more, me or her, and she like kills me, because she’s fitter, and probably right about Brad Pitt. But, The Death by Alligator Death Spin; I never would have thought. And then he stopped spinning, the Alligator, not Mark, because I like when Mark spins me, just like that, and I went back up for air. Is my mom gonna see this?

McEDWARDS: And then, what did you do then?

WILKS: Well, when I went up back for air, I was just
-- all I
could think of was just to try to get him off of my arm. So I used my fingers to try to pry open his mouth, and I friggin’
nearly cut my damned finger off, put a big gash in it, and got some scratches on my thumb and on my palm of my hand. And I lost my “friendship” bracelet Amanda gave me. Don’t leave out the quotes.

McEDWARDS: So he is still on your arm, when you get to the surface, and you used your right hand to get yourself free?

WILKS: Uh-huh.

McEDWARDS: Now, Amanda, you're watching all of this happening.
What did you do?

AMANDA VALANCE “The Friend”: I just immediately went over and pulled her away from the gator once he let go of her. ... I went over and just tried my best to get her away from it once it was turning around and coming back.

McEDWARDS: It was turning around and coming back?

VALANCE: Yes. And then, she got on the boogie board, and I Looked behind us, and it was just gone. It just disappeared under the water, and I have no idea where it went.

McEDWARDS: So what did you do then, Amanda? You've got the alligator going in the right direction. You've got Edna up on your boogie board. Are you pulling her to shore at this point?

VALANCE: Yes. Every once in a while, I would get behind her and I would push her. Then I thought it might be better to be in front of her, on the shore side. And I'd get in front of her and look behind to see if anything was behind us. You know, I had a better view from the front. And then, I just gave her encouragement.

McEDWARDS: And, Edna, what are you thinking at this point?

WILKS: I just thought -- I looked at my arm, and I tried to lift it up, and all I could see was my arm from my shoulder to my elbow. And I thought he had -- when I heard that crack, I thought he had bit my other half of my arm off. And I was screaming, "My arm is gone, my arm is gone, you bitch!" And then I was swimming, and I noticed I was wiggling my fingers.
And then, I knew right then and there that my arm was still attached, so I just tried to use my good arm and supported my other arm and just tried to lean on the boogie board and swim in. No thanks to Amanda who was blocking my way, splashing hysterically.

McEDWARDS: Now, Dr. Ciccarelli, what kind of condition is that Arm in?

JOHN CICCARELLI: Fair to midlan. No seriously, it's in pretty good condition right now. The Snap she heard was actually the alligator breaking the lower part of her upper arm bone when he was probably doing the Death Spin thing. And she has several cuts to her forearm from where he had grabbed onto her arm, the biggest only being about 7 inches long and about an inch deep. And it was nearly down to the bone, and he just missed one of her major nerves that helps control her hand. That’s it really, that’s the extent of it.
You know, she’s 11, and if you’ve ever been an 11 year old girl you KNOW what that’s like. You know, self-aggrandizement, exaggeration, the rest.

McEDWARDS: So is her prognosis pretty good?

CICCARELLI: It is. Like I said, our biggest concern right now is the risk for infection, because of the bacterial contamination that was likely in the lake, as well as the alligator's mouth.
Filthy, filthy mouths alligator’s have. Our biggest concern is keeping that under control, which is why we're taking her back to surgery today to go under the knife and get in there and clean out everything again.

MCEDWARDS: Do you think other surgeries will be necessary? Or will you -- you'll know more after today, I imagine.

CICCARELLI: Yes, we will. Once we cut her open and get a look in there and see how the wound is doing, that's what our biggest concern is at the time. We don't foresee any further surgery, but that's always a possibility.

McEDWARDS: Now, Amanda, as you were watching all of thishappen, you can see it's an alligator. I know a lot of the otherkids you were with sort of wimped out and left the area, as one might understand. Everybody is panicking. Everybody is afraid. But what went through your mind? I mean, did you ever think, you know, I can't get involved in this, there is nothing I can do?

VALANCE: No. I knew I was just -- I had to be there for her,Because I couldn't see her die. And I don't know. I put it in God'shands and everything, and I just...

McEDWARDS: Well, that is courage, my dear. It really is. Edna,what do you think about your best friend now?

WILKS: Oh, it's like we’re supposed to have this “bond” now. Like “She saved my life, and now she’s my hero” kind of thing, and I’m supposed to be forever grateful for that? Look. She’s the pretty one between us and now because I would have died if she didn't come to my rescue, it’s like everybody’s all . . . Do you think I need this? I’ve gone from just being the fat girl to being Alligator tapas that Amanda coolly snatched from the jaws of death! She always has to be the Goddamned hero! If she hadn’t got involved I would have just drowned on my own, or he would have just came -- definitely came back for me and just got me and taken me away, far away.

McEDWARDS: Thank you all for your time this morning.

Friday, July 27, 2001


So a comedian walks into a bar with a free newspaper under one arm and a heep load of sadness in the other.
He says to the bartender, here’s my free beer ticket and can I put my stuff somewhere? Here’s what

Enters stage left. Squints into spotlight. Tries to adjust microphone. Can’t. Takes microphone in hand.


Hi ya how is everyone? Heyyyoooooo!! (crowd
repeats, Heyyyyoooo!!) Good? (laughs) Good. Anyone drunk? Ha ha. Bear with me here. I’ve had a rough nite. (laughs) That’s right, go ahead, laugh. (more laughs, a whistle) Comedian glares at audience sideways with eyebrow arched (laughs) That’s not funny. (general laughter)

So did you hear the one about the unfunny comedian?
(giggles and laughter) Comedian relaxes. I love my wife, I really do. (giggles) But I don’t know . . .

So uh, on the way over to the bar, my girl calls me a homo bitch. (laughs, some hysterics) I says to her, I say, listen: Number one, Who’s the bitch and number two, If I’m a homo what’s that make you? (silence)

Is it just me or is it hot in here? (laughs) Comedian sweats.

Anyone drunk tonight? Heyyyoooooo!! (coughs,

So uh, my girl, on the way over to the bar, she says, Keep your material fresh tonight, Bobby. So I say to her, Listen, I say, I could say the same to you too.
Booohyyyyaah! (glasses clank, ice is chewed) Then she says to me, So how long you been out of work?
(laughs, woops)

Yeah so uh, (more laughs) Listen I don’t mean to interrupt anything here. (laughs, coughs, retching on
cocktails) All right, Okay! (whistles, hoots)
Comedian inaudible I AM looking for a job, really,
its hard. I mean . . .(hollers, hysterics) OKAY.
already! (coughs, whimpering hoots)

So what is it with FRIENDS these days? . . . I mean REALLY! And I’m serious.

This isn’t funny. So I’m talking to my friend, and he says to me, he says, did you forget how to write?
(laughs) I say, no, I’m just taking it easy now. I have other things on my mind. (moans) And he says to me, Either that, or you forgot how! (cheers).
Comedian stares at shoes. Then addresses audience.
That’s not funny. (hysterical guffaws cheers, bravos, standing, hollering) Then he says to me, I think your wife’s pretty. I say, yeah, so do I. Then he says, you gotta funny way of showing it. She told me she thinks you’re milk toast in bed! (uncontrollable
laughter) But what’s that make her, I say to him, What’s that make her? (laughter dies) And what’s that make you?! Comedian’s voice trembles and raises.

Anyone in the house DRUNK tonight? Hayyoooooo!

Oh fuck it. Don’t make me quit. (claps, shouts Do It!
Do It!) I’m serious I’m about to give up. (cheers, heckles Give up what? What was it you were doing?) I mean I thought, Hey a little job, a little wife, a friend or two . . . (laughter) What is it with life these days? (Crowd sing-songs: I MEAN REALLY!)(hoots, hollers, mayhem) That’s not funny. (roar crescendos, standing ovation, whistles, shrieks, snorting, winneing, squeals)


Comedian drops microphone (KERGUNK!). Walks behind red curtain and kicks over plastic cup of beer. Drops pack of cigarettes out of breast pocket, into beer puddle when reaching for plastic cup. Leaves through back door into alley. Too dark. Dead end. Turns around. Notices, though cheers are dimmer from the outside they still posses a passion he himself can never seem to muster. Forgets his free newspaper.

Aaron L.

Tuesday, June 19, 2001


There are a few things funnier than this. Nude models in art class. Male nude models in art class. Male nude models in art class if you too are male. Male nude models in art class if you are a heterosexual male. Male nude models in art class if you are a heterosexual male who is also homophobic.

He dropped his pants and the absence of gasps and snickers filled the room.

Then we all jumped in and got our hands dirty. Feet and hands; foreshortening and perspective. Dimples and tattoos. I learned his name and he spoke to me.
Both intimacies I hadn’t counted on. He had two first names and they sounded Catholic and saintly; at the same time like a porn star.

So there he stood, on the art school desktop, with the art school fabric folded beneath him - a cross between David and a cigar store Indian. A broad sloped nose, tobacco skin, a scar for an appendix, and not so recently shaved down there. I couldn’t not look. And the Greek Indian held council with a stick in his hand and two tattoos wrapped around his arm inside a brick and glass tower with busses, trains and cars following each other down the street outside, six stories below.
From the window you could see men playing baseball on a gigantic-screen TV that’s been erected for fans at Fenway Park. A blimp floated by at eye level.


One thing funnier than male nude models is going into the men’s room directly after wrestling with the male nude model’s figure for over two hours. Charcoal is dirty. Burnt wood and chocolate. So we we’re all there, the men of the class, in the bathroom. Boys.
Another loud silence. Then, ‘That was so gay!’, one said. I give him the benefit of the doubt and laugh because it is funny to say that. But then, ‘In a couple of weeks we get a girl!’, laughing like a sly dog. Now I act like I’m laughing, and wonder if this is what passes for locker room talk at art schools.
And I’m sort of wishing I had a towel to snap his bottom with. Then he pretends to be worried and bends over peering under stall doors. He pretends to find the Greek Indian’s legs with his pants around his ankles. The funny one’s fairly hysterical now. He doesn’t find the model or his pants.

I ask the funny one where he lives; then for a ride to a club, There’s music, Did you want to go? Can’t. He doesn’t balk on the ride, though I think he might. We talk work, not sports. We’re both laid off. I learn that he’s the master of an almost-porn sight; of the ‘odd things in vaginas variety’, but that he doesn’t see himself as the Porn Guy or anything. His web site has gotten over some-odd million hits and he’d have to pay more money to maintain this kind of traffic, and even though he has a fat severance package from being laid off, he doesn’t want to pay. He also gets paid $20 for every time someone clicks on a particular ad that’s running on his web site. And he only pays $300 rent because his fiancé’s father just died so they get the fat house and only have to pay property taxes.
He’s optimistic, and not funny anymore, and I want to sexually harass him. But instead, I tell him I like to write, maybe I can write for his new web site.

He drops me off at the club, which has an upstairs and a downstairs stage. I know where to go because the people in line for the downstairs stage don’t look like me. And the ticket taker says she hasn’t misread one yet. I meet the woman I love and will have children with. We can’t hear each other so we mouth words re-enacting a conversation one might have with another. I mouth a ‘So a guy walks into a bar . . .’
joke. I watch one boy caress another’s nipple. The rock and roll singer caresses himself and cries out.

-Aaron L.

Thursday, June 14, 2001


For those of you uncomfortable with the unusual format and content of some of past emails, I have decided to give you all a little something that you are probably more willing to let enter your inboxes and your lives.

If it helps, you can also think of this as “forwarded”.

For your comfort.

1) A man walks into a bar carrying 14 ripe apples in an old pillowcase and a half-eaten mincemeat pie balanced precariously in his left hand. The bartender, upon seeing his peculiar new customer, nods his head and inquires as to his taste in intoxicants. The man gingerly sets the pie on the bar and empties the apples from the pillowcase onto the floor. They roll deliberately into the clearly defined image of a crucifix, arranged so:


The bartender smiles curiously and shakes his head.
“I would have never taken you for a Baptist. Well, if not for them apples, anyway!”

2) Jenna Bush, Federico Fellini, and Judge Reinhold are all stranded in a rowboat in the Bermuda Triangle.
Ms. Bush keeps hounding Judge to look at her fake ID and tell her if it is passable. Over and over, she keeps asking him and pestering him, and touching him incessantly on the shoulder, which he dislikes most of all. Finally, Judge Reinhold grabs the ID from her hand, glances in its general direction, proclaims it unsuitable even if it didn’t have a picture of a 43-year-old Chinese man on it, and throws it overboard. Jenna, struck to the bone by the conviction with which Mr. Reinhold delivered his lines, bids the actor and the director goodbye, and dives overboard.
Federico, watching her sink into the blue depths with more than detached amusement, excitedly grabs Judge by the cheeks and looks him in the eyes, screaming, “Where were you when I was filming La Strada?”

3) Snow White and the Seven Dwarves are sitting around the dinner table, talking about the events of the day.

Doc says, “I spent the day in the Diamond mine, looking for Diamonds!”
Sleepy says, “I was there too, though I was too tired to find any!”
The others also say predictable things.
Then, Dopey lifts his heavy-lidded eyes and proudly proclaims, in a voice not unlike that of Richard Attenborough, (Which is surprising, given that most people who knew Dopey thought that his speaking voice, should they ever hear it, was probably going to be like Lambchop’s) “Do you all think that my haircut makes my ears a bit too prominent? I just don’t think that this hat is really working for me anymore.”

4) “Knock knock”
“Who’s there?”
“Supply-Side Who?”
“Supply Side Economics are for dreamers and ballet dancers, if such a distinction even needs to be made between the two.”

Rest at ease, ladies and gentleman. This one’s over, and you can know move on to the more important emails in your inbox. Hey, did you get that one about the donkey? Yeah, I think it was fake too.

Aaron M

Wednesday, May 23, 2001


Today, May 23, 2001, marks the 30th anniversary of the disappearance of the great American poet Lew Welch.
Welch was a college friend of Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen, and was also good friends with Jack Kerouac.
Relatively few have heard of him but all are familiar with his most famous work, the advertising slogan that former Poet Laureate Robert Hass calls “a modern
classic”: “Raid kills bugs dead.”

Lew disappeared into the woods off of Gary Snyder’s property, with only a gun for company. I have been thinking about this since I first read him (Spring of ’96, I believe), and in honor of his memory I decided to hike my local mountain and reflect on the matter.


11:15 a.m. About to ascend Monadnock from Old Toll Road off 124 in Jaffrey. Bringing notebook, flannel, orange, 48 oz. water, Italian sub (no hots), 2 pkg.
jerky, 1 power bar, lots of thoughts.

Lew: On a disappearing road
among crenelated mtns.,
Thinking of whores. (Trip Trap)

11:36 a.m. Beginning of White Arrow trail, the start of the rocks. All my deep ideas seem to have been left in the car, and any inspiration has turned to idle wondering. Also beginning to suspect I will need more water, sunblock, bug spray than I have – but then, I always think this.
It is a perfect day to do this. Probably about 70 degrees, with a nice wind blowing up (whichever direction that may be). Very dry, so no mosquitoes.
The blackflies are not severe but their awareness of me grows. I have just been passed by two descending men talking about their faith. Quoth one: “… and I’ve always thought of the Catholics as a cult. But they’ve got healing practices, they’ve got things going on…”

Lew: “Why is it,” he said, “that not matter what you say,
a woman always takes it personally?”

“I never do,” she said. (Circle Poems)

11:56 a.m. Sidefoot Trail, the best way to avoid the excessively rocky portions of White Arrow. Voices guided me up an uncertain portion. Encountered a taciturn, distant man, perhaps mid-30s, with longish grey hair and beard. In response to my stock “Nice up there?” he replies with a strong, scary NH accent:
“Don’t know, not been up there yet. In no hurry to get there.” I half expected him to laugh in a high wheezy voice and start chanting in a long-dead tongue. His apparent companion, a red-sweatered gent of about 70, added something about it being “mostly clear” atop the mountain. I wished them good climbing and hauled on.
About 15 yards later I came across a pile of bone-white broken branches. I heard the distant man growing less distant. Something susceptible in me moves me, fast.

12:35 p.m. Head throbbing, heart pounding, wind blowing— at the top. Only two other hikers. No sign of Distant Man. 1 bottle done, and half Powerbar. I have managed to find cool rocky shade, and will let my nose stop running before I eat.

12:53. I seem to have sweated off all the Coppertone.
Ate sandwich, rest of Powerbar, some jerky (oddly distasteful—too salty perhaps). There were a few minutes of tranquility before two small crowds arrived. From my crouch I see no one, but the nearest to me seem to be oldsters predicting boom-boxes from the younger hikers.
I am bothered but not startled to find my lover more prominent in my thoughts than Lew. Figures, really.
Think I’ll walk some.

Lew (speaking as the Red Monk): Anyone who confuses his mistress with his muse is asking for real trouble from both of them.

1:05. Could it be that my deep hiking thought about Lew Welch is that I have no thoughts?
I have managed to get away from the noise of my fellow hikers, and am sitting down facing the north.
The sun is nice and the wind a little less. Except for a slight headache, due possibly to allergies, my body seems to have returned to normal.
When hiking, I never feel as I wish I did. I feel:
tired, vaguely edgy (though not in a bad way; more a grim yet lightheaded acknowledgement of the labor ahead), and occasionally uncertain as to my direction.
There is no apparent consciousness of tree or stone, except in terms of how they help or hinder me.
Occasional thoughts of potential interest, but I don’t want to risk precious momentum and so let them go. And today I experience no particular awe of nature or cosmos; instead I think how silly we are, to knock ourselves out so we can lie around on a rocky, scraggly, mostly unshady peak; drink warm bottled water; and stumble down again. These thoughts do of course vanish in the windy solitude and the glimpse of two hawks gliding through the trees below.
As I walked up the Old Toll Road –the worst part of the climb, except maybe for the pre-summit deception—I thought of Lew walking into whichever woods he walked into, and I thought of the clear air and the birds whose names I don’t know, and I thought of the pleasures of natural solitude, and I realized that no matter how low and wild I have been, I have never hit the point where these things would not keep me from ending it. Though I suppose it is a short step from there to wanting to end it in such surroundings. I can see that step but can’t figure out how to take it.
Hopefully I never will.
But this image of Lew walking deep into the woods in just the company of his gun and the trees, it gets me.
Was it clarity that took him there? Or was it clarity he sought? I think of “A Very Important Letter”:

“I just can’t figure it out. But I think the problem is in my mind, now, and only there. I’ve looked everywhere else and it certainly isn’t to be found anywhere.

“I’m going to sit beneath that tree and use my mind to find my mind, even if it means I crush my mind.

I know of no other way. Goodbye.”


and think that surely such words can come only from the mind that’s known satori. There is so much evidence of satori throughout his poems, in fact, that after several years’ lack of practice I read them and am left with the feeling that once I understood them better. Did he who wrote “O Youth!//Who feared Yourself//so much alone!” ever stop?
Now there are five or six hawks circling below. One or two of them have passed over the summit, about twenty feet above.
I wish I had written what Albert Saijo wrote in his introduction to TRIP TRAP: “I sometimes believe… that there in a pine-oak woodland or coniferous forest you reran your life and came out ahead of it.” I didn’t know Lew Welch, and to contemplate him is to contemplate a myth. All I can say is that maybe he has joined Han Shan, laughing and scuttling in the shadows. I hope his demons are down and that his ghost runs free.

-Correspondent Aaron T.

Monday, May 14, 2001


5-8-01 1:37 p.m.

-Standing in HMV, headphones on, looking at four screens playing The Virgin Suicides.

-Finishing coffee drink before returning to office.
Feeling guilty about supporting Coffee Giant.
Now stealthily incognito; posing as a DJ (one earphonestyle).

-Thinking of Stella McCartney and Sofia Coppola, and more briefly Chloe Sevigny.

-Listening to Beck's contribution to Mulin Rouge soundtrack. Not liking it.

-Thinking Nicole Kidman has been in a couple of weird movies. And listening to her contribution to the Mulin Rouge soundtrack. Haven't ascertained whether or not she can sing. Forgetting to listen. Beginning to think about Kirsten Dunst.

-Wondering if the Virgin Suicides was a true story.

-Thinking, Kirsten Dunst and Tom Cruise: Yuck.

-Realizing that compensating for the fact that sugar does not dissolve quickly in iced coffee drink by adding twice the amount of sugar is a shit ass solution.

-Feeling Linda McCartney’s death is one of the saddest things I know.

-Concluding that best track on Mulin Rouge soundtrack
is by Rufus Wainwright. He sings in French. He is
Canadian I will nickname my cat Rufus Wainwright when I get home tonight.

-Remembering that I read this morning that Jackie O.
was a Francophile, Dylan was very calculating about his success, and there is a Wings movie upcoming on Network television. Its About Fucking Time!

-Thinking Kirsten Dunst and the Host for Survivor have the same parenthetical smile. And Ewan McGregor and Kirsten Dunst have the same teeth. Ewan McGregor also sings on the Mulin Rouge Soundtrack.

-Wondering if anyone besides Bryant Gumble shed tears for the 1st contestant voted out of the Outback this year. Nicole Kidman is Australian.

-Now drinking Iced sugar grains with green straw; extra long. Listening to Destiny's Child.
Involuntarily loud, but not unhappily so.

-Going to buy a Rufus Wainwright CD tomorrow and stand in the W’s at the HMV.

-Realizing that you don’t notice a TV is red tinted or blue or green tinted, until you see a bank of TV’s all in row. Like at the TV store. Then you begin to see
red tinted TVs and blue and green tinted TVs Then
one TV is blank and its like a knocked out tooth.

Correspondent Aaron L.

Tuesday, May 01, 2001


April 30, 2001

My Dearest little Karl,

How these years pass like sand through an hour glass. But it seems just like yesterday when I was kicking a Football at you and I asked, Are you foreign?
You said, I'm French, and you're my Father. And then it clicked for me:
My son, like me, is French! I probably should have known. The way you inhaled, the way you fried, the way you wore your beret and spelled your name with a K. That endearing K, that nod to brother Marx; I wasn't sure the Frenchmen were Communists but now this confirmed what I always
suspected: the French are Communists.

My dearest Karlova Vary, my Charlemagne. They say years make the man wiser, and why does this make me want to ask: What kind of an understatement is this? Because it is understatement to say that you are wise. Was it Charles the Great that said, You Make Me Want To Jump, Jump? Because you do Karlito, you do.

I remember the day you were born just like it was yesterday. On the day you were born it rained. On the ride back from the City hospital to our village, Mother said it was God crying tears of joy. I must've agreed. And when I racked my knuckles between lug nut and tire iron on the side of the road and cursed God in all his glory as I staggered, up to my sock garters in mud, forehead clinched in agony, I thought out loud (very loud), Thank You for Caring So Much God.

As my vision cleared (somewhat), I made out, through the blinding rain, what appeared to be mother, beautiful and serene, inside our silver Citroen (damned half wheel wells) holding, in a baby blue blanket, our baby baguette, King Karl. I was so happy.

Bloody knuckled and eager I assured Mother, No, this tiny black spare tire will get us back home through this muddy French country side. And I will smoke unfiltered cigarettes to that end. Do you have the wine Mother?
Because this will be one of the greatest celebrations in all the land. We will get this boy home. Karlito, your people need you. Star-crossed fate will not keep you from your destiny.


When the Railroad men are not striking in our country, never let it be said that our rail system is not one of the most reliable. Your mother is a trooper, Karly. It is not only your beauty that you owe to your mother. It is also a dogged determinism and dry wit. My chinos already messed, there was no need to pussy-foot. That's what Mother said, anyway. So we all enjoyed a frolic through the increasingly dangerous countryside on the day you were born my little Charlie.

So we rambled and picnicked on your first day in the world. It was our
usual: sausage, brie, anchovy, Mom's Famous crepes, hard boiled eggs, olives, and what I call Three Livers (delicious!).
Oh and a baguette, of course! And wine! Mis en bouteille. Magnifique!

So we arrived at the train station satisfied, muddy-faced, and smiley. The Conductor welcomed us with open arms and said, Your filth is not welcome in my cars, even in coach! Reliable: certainly, service with a smile: less certain.


The rain had not let up and darkness was soon upon us; and we were so happy
to have you, my little Krumb Kake. So we walked, for what seemed like days,
except the sun didn't rise again so . . .
Until, at last, we crested the hill that overlooked our fair hamlet,
Karlville. We could hear the swell of the crowd's roar. It was a sight
that could only be described as amazing. How is it that so many ant sized
people can make such a thunder? And what was this! Was that the sun I saw
piercing the dark horizon? It was! Mother! Mother! We can set our
baguette out to dry! What an incredible day it was, my son. To top it all
off our little village had just beaten the neighboring rival village in a
football contest.
My pride was not easily concealed on that day.

So what is this I'm trying to say to you, my posterity? It is, For all you
do, for all these passing years of doing what Karl does, I say, Today
Kaptain Karl, today is your day. Do what you will on this day, Karlton.
Eat your Pommes Frites right inside your Kabob sandwich. It is your day.

With Love and Pride,
Your Father,
Karl Sr.

Aaron L.

Thursday, April 26, 2001


Today, in the food court of my favorite urban shopping center (but not my favorite single court of food) I met a beautiful new friend. “Friend” may not be the best terminology here, as she was singularly direct and, as a result, unforgettable. Our relationship began rather brusquely.

“I told you to go ahead and put the chicken in the fridge to thaw”, she said in a manner most uncharacteristic with the fragility of our acquaintance. “Yes, I did…. What? Well, that’s fine, but what are we supposed to eat until then?”

I really didn’t have an answer for her. In my embarrassing density, I had missed the cue outlining my responsibility for our collective nutrition. Not today. Not with such short notice. Before I could suggest she try the Panda Express, (which was, as usual, excellent) she interjected.

“Honey, I told you last week that I would be in a meeting until late. I was hoping to just be able to grab a quick bite and then go.”

I was taken aback. Her frivolous use of the endearing “Honey” was so off-putting (and perfect – why must we always dance with formality when life is so short?) that I was hesitant to remind her that she was mistaken. I didn’t speak to her last week. Did I? She had reason to be a bit terse if I had wiped that encounter from my mind. How could I forget that? I searched frantically for something appropriate to say. Perhaps I could absolve myself gently, so our budding friendship could grow without the tint of such an embarrassing miscommunication. It was too early to throw this away on such pettiness, no?

“Well fine, then. I’ll meet you at John and Martha’s around nine, and we can just leave straight from there. Yeah. YES. I’ll get a snack on my way.”

What in the hell was she talking about? John and Martha? Surely she must remember that Martha moved from Boston last spring. I didn’t even know that Martha had moved back to the city. No one let me know. Must be this John character. If she’s living with him, anyway. I understand. Regardless, I was afraid to ask my new friend about the specifics. I couldn’t. The lines of her face were too soft. Her hair veiled her features like gauze over a painting, her mouth a rumor too vague to address.

As I watched, she raised her left hand and swept her hair behind her ear, revealing a single black earphone. The slithering wire, now exposed, ran unabashedly down the curve of her neck, over her breast, and disappeared from my view around her far side. What music could she be listening to at a time like this? Verdi perhaps - to fit the season. Or Dvorak. She looked more like a Dvorak. Or possibly some jazz. Nothing fancy. Some Coltrane, or Davis. A flitting, framing score to our conversation.

“I’m afraid Martha’s moved away,” I said. Low. Sincere. My voice best suited to signal my sustained interest in her while gently awakening her to her errors in assumption. “I don’t know where Martha lives anymore.”

She smiled at me then. Pristine, like she was seeing me for the first time in that moment. Her left hand pressed again to her ear, directing the sonic assemblage soothing her ear to play a little louder. She understood the emotive qualities of a good soundtrack. I wish I had thought of that before.

“I’m sorry, baby. I lost you there for a second. What was that?”

I cleared my throat gently and spoke again. Stronger. The steadiness of my voice surprised me, given my weakness of stomach. “I believe Martha’s moved away. Perhaps we could just meet at Park Street?”

I couldn’t bring myself to be so bold as to use her terms of endearment. That was it, really. What was so attractive about her. Her directness. She cut to the quick. Elegance. And here I was, floundering in my little pool of ineptitude.

She was shaking her head now, as if watching a metronome. “I’m sorry”, she said laughing a little, “it’s a little loud in here. What? Oh, I’m still at Copley –pause- Yeah. Yeah. I know….”

What? Jeezus. I knew where she was. Did she think I was blind? That would explain her lack of eye contact. Perhaps her sighted eyes couldn’t gaze at the blind, for fear of making them jealous.

I moved my head slightly to the left, hoping something in my gaze could reassure her that I was indeed sighted – that her every move was not wasted in this cacophony of commercial display. I was watching. I was listening. Still, her powers of concentration worried me a bit. Her thoughts wandered. Her speech patterns a bit unusual. I faded in her distance.

“I guess I’ll see you then, hon. Yep. Yeah. Sure. OKAY. Okay, bye.”

Huh. Her speaking style did leave a bit to be desired. No accent though. And she was a good smiler. A minor objection to an otherwise faultless creature. Like eating honey from a wooden spoon - the sweet eased the rough.

She stood. In one motion, she turned full towards me, swinging her bag onto her shoulder. Panic rose sour in my throat. Was she leaving? Our plans were hardly firm.

She looked at me again. A curious smile revealed the pink of her tongue, the wetness there reminding me that I was incredibly thirsty. I cocked my head, squinting my eyes to implore her to say something more. My dry lips parted just enough to begin voicing my concerns. At this, she smiled wider, exposing her teeth. A freshness rose through her cheeks again, as though we had not just met. She turned and slid past my chair into the aisle.

I could smell her shampoo, and suddenly knew what I should have realized many moments before this one.

“Park Street,” I whispered to her back. She turned, almost startled, that blank pristine smile still tied to her cheeks as she disappeared into the melee near the beeper kiosk. Her shoulders told me I was right.

I wouldn’t keep her waiting.

Aaron M

Monday, April 23, 2001


There are trash cans in the hallway at the building where I'm temping, that have handwritten signs on them that say, White Paper Only.

They remind me of the sign, that my father remembers as a boy, above the water fountain, at the gas station where his father was a mechanic (specializing in Fords), that had black smudged finger prints smudged fingerprints that were his father's.

Then I think back to the trash cans, in the building, where I temp, that are for white trash only.

Then I'm remembering my grandfather's funeral last week. Lying in his coffin, comfortable, but two-dimensional, his face was too white. He was neither drunk nor angry.

Then I'm thinking about my Sunday morning's hangover. And wondering what my grandfather's favorite drink was, and hoping it's not mine.

Then I recall the bar-b-qued ribs, green beans, hotdogs, potato salad, one good conversation and two bad conversations of Saturday night's party.

Then I remember that before he was born again my grandfather used to sit in his Ford, outside of The Church of God, until services were over, waiting to pick up my dad and his brothers and sister and their mom, his wife.

And then more bar-b-que (Lexington style), fried chicken, sweet tea,
prayer circle, several bad conversations and a touching moment. This at my grandmother's before the funeral.

And back to the party a friend of mine asks me where I see myself in 20 years. I say With kids, she says She won't be with the guy she's with now.
She wants more out of life and wonders Why presently things aren't so meaningful? I wonder too.

After my grandfather's religious upgrade, he gave the devil and drinking a black eye. I'm not sure if he ever gave my father a black eye.

Remembering again the lunch before the funeral, after the bar-b-que, and after the conversation with an uncle about The new economy that has just changed so much with the integration of new technologies, Everything is done by e mail these days, Yes, my aunt who had been busy making sure everyone was fed, and every paper plate thrown away, stopped me and my sister, and with tears suddenly said, I pray for ya'll everyday on my way to work, I want you to know that I love ya'll.

And now I'm in the building where I'm temping. And thinking about the building where I'm temping and remembering transoms and thresholds.

Aaron L

Friday, April 20, 2001


skeptical of being "part" of a group

weary of stepping out of his "zone of comfort"

too willing to take chances with his body

second guesses every move he makes

won't talk to strangers

concerned with contents of nose

not excited about new spring style

used to joke about re-occurring zit on forehead being entry point for the aliens who make him feel "not like himself"

doesn't joke about alien entry point anymore because starting to believe its true; but doesn't want people to think he's "crazy"

moderately involved in comings and goings of local professional sports team.

mood swings beginning to mirror teams wins and losses.

becomes distraught when team loses

becomes distraught when forgets to listen to team on a.m. radio and game turns out to be one to remember

wants to be a smoker but is mildly allergic to smoke; interrupts nasal passage, promotes increase of contents in nose

believes his cat is sometimes spiteful

wants art to set him free

likes romantic strolls through moonlit parks

believes one's relationship with their cat mirrors one's relationship with world

likes pina coladas and Coolattas; doesn't prefer Dunkaccinos

dreams about a dog that will fetch

likes making love at midnight, preferably in the cool summer rain

has always yearned for acceptance

skeptical of "nice" people

dream job: mailman, reason: uniform

wants life-long love

not sure if life-long love is obtainable goal

sometimes mature, competent, self sufficient, s/w/m, seeking . . . .

seeking . . . .

Aaron L

Monday, April 09, 2001


written by Correspondent Aaron T
no code

COMMON, near the gazebo.

You are standing in the rain on the Common at the beginning of your lunch break. Before you is a large white gazebo. To the west is your office. To the east a grassy hill covered in leaves leads to a statue of mysterious origin. The Common sprawls indiscriminately in all other directions.



You are standing in the middle of the gazebo on Boston Common. There is some graffiti on one of the posts.

>read post

"Geo lived here two years - no one cares in Boston - going south for winter - maybe Califas."

You notice some other graffiti nearby.

>read graffiti

"what about life"

You are hungry.


You are carrying:

a lightweight parka (being worn)
a can of ginger ale
a can of mountain dew
a Drake's Apple pie.

>eat pie.

Are you sure?


You have eaten the pie. You feel slightly better, except for a toothache.

>drink can

You can't do that!

>open can. drink ginger.


>l rain

The rain is wet and falls down like mist on the empty Common.

>l common

You're looking pretty common already!

>l at common

The Common is empty. Even the homeless seem to have largely fled the drizzle. Days like this make you feel as though you are in the world of some text-adventure game, where everything is ancient and beautiful and abandoned. It is a good feeling.


You are no longer hungry or thirsty. You have a small toothache. Your spirit is subdued but pleasant. You are very tired.

Wednesday, April 04, 2001


Aaron M has recently moved his place of residence.

I guess this message deserves some explanation:

This note may be the first many of you have heard from me in a long time, and as far as "long lost salutations" go, a blanket email stating that I have moved is about as personal as, for lack of a better metaphor, a one-size-fits-all donor kidney. (I'm sure that MUCH better metaphors exist. This one doesn't even really make sense, but gets a basic gist across. Please forgive me.)

In an effort to defray your legitimate concerns about my true commitment to our personal friendship, I have devised a plan that shows each and every one of you that I think about you daily, and hold each of you in the highest regard (as individuals, of course, not as some cheap collective) that can possibly be afforded another human being without falling under those hastily labeled categories of "weird" or "unnatural".

Following, you will see a list of statements that are tailored to address you just as privately as a personal email or handwritten letter could have done. For the sake of privacy, of course, I have to leave it up to you to identify your own statement. This should be no problem, as you will see by the incredible tenderness and intimacy of each message. Here goes:

1) My first true love. If it is impossible to duplicate this experience, take comfort in the fact that you and I were lucky to have shared it. Try not to lament the fact that we were silly enough to walk away, looking for something else.

2) Unfortunately, I never loved you. At best, our relationship was a lie based on a myth that we were both as interesting as we were eager.

3) Sorry about your dog. I hope he has kept up his spirits despite the unfortunate lack of balance. He is blessed to have an owner as understanding as you. You are a credit to pet-lovers everywhere.

4) I have been meaning to tell you that your hair has always really looked ridiculous. I'm sorry for letting you out in public like that. It's just that I have a really hard time hurting people's feelings. To their face, anyway. Which reminds me....

5) You ignorant jackass.

6) Congratulations on your discovery. I hope that it all works out with Him. I envy you a little, but not as much as I fear you.

7) I will always be sorry that I missed your wedding. Know that I love you just the same. Forgive me.

8) You already know that I moved, so that makes this whole email redundant. Just like you. Just like you.

9) Sorry I missed you in New York. We would have been great together. Keep trying, as will I.

10) We should have slept together when we had the excuse of circumstance. We still can (and should), it's just difficult to make a special trip.

11) Your quick humor and infectious laugh always erased any bad patches that we may have had. I hope you remember our time together as a good patch. Take care of my Valentine.

12) I owe you a birthday present. Here is it's intended dedication: For my greatest comrade, especially in times like these. Your wit and talent are ever-present. Too bad it never helps.

13) I am not sure about the Army. The Coast Guard either, now that I think about it.

14) I don't know why I am afraid of you. Or Us.

15) My taste for postcards has forever been tainted. I'll never be able to go to the beach again. Oh. I've been meaning to tell you. Pinkerton is now my favorite.

16) I should have stayed, and we should have got that trailer.

17) "Movies" will never work as a substitute for a real relationship. Not that we should stop trying.

18) I barely even know you, and met you only once. I wish that it had worked out better.

19) You should quit school.

20) Someday, we should start a company together.

21) I was always impressed with your confidence and composure. That, and you are one funny motherfucker. (sorry about the language, Mom. I felt it was necessary to convey my level of conviction.)

22) I don't know your email, so you aren't even reading this. Shame, as I am quite impressed with how it is going. You would appreciate this more than most.

23) You are too good for this kind of bullshit.

And finally,

24) No, Mom, I haven't cut my hair.

And for all you Clever-Charlie's out there, I do in fact have more than 23 friends. There are some of you who are confident enough to know that our friendship will always transcend the fickle happenstance of regular communication. I trust you all know who you are.


Aaron M

P.S. (This means all of you) in no way should this message be misconstrued as an invitation to call, write, or - should your sense of decency fail you completely - visit. However, if you owe me money or would like to finally try that thing we could never work up the courage to try, by all means contact me.

Monday, April 02, 2001


It had been four days since my last shave and as I tumbled into bed last night I hoped that sleep would come quickly, so that I would be rid of the itching which had beset me in my last few hours of coffee-swilling, paper-writing, tension-wanking consciousness. I knew that whatever time I rose, and no matter who else needed the bathroom, today I would shave.

Ignoring Philip Larkin’s dictum that all writers ought to shave at the sink, I brought my Sensor Excel II into the shower with me. The blade is newish; this was perhaps my third shave with it:
enough time for me to get used to its efficiency but not enough time for that efficiency to be replaced by familiarity.

I lathered with Lever 2000. The keen observer of my toilet might wonder why I passed up the Tom’s of Maine Gentle Honeysuckle sitting on the shelf—after all, it has moisturizing glycerine. The answer is simple, though perhaps revealing nothing but my own idiosyncracy: for several weeks I have been obsessed with the notion that despite the complete disparity between their labeled contents, my Gentle Honeysuckle Shaving Cream and my Gingermint Toothpaste are in fact identical in makeup.

The first cut was not the deepest, but still a satisfying rake against my imperialist whiskers. I approached the right cheek from the side, to clear room for the downward sweep, and that sweep went smooth as could be. Hair cleaved fell, and thus began the shave. Forgoing the ordeal of wiping off the foggy mirror, a combination of touch and intuition was my guide as I scythed the unwanted fields of manhood.

The rhythmic up-and-downing of the frontal neck –where most of my Semitic roots manifest— progressed as ruthlessly as the right side had, and as the left side would. I left my what we will call my moustache (though it qualifies about as much as it did when I was a swaggering
eighth-grader) for afterward: something about the unseen razor’s proximity to my lips unnerved me.

Concluding my shower after approximately twenty-five minutes, I did in fact use the Tom’s of Maine for the upper lip area, but due to improper lathering I was horrified at its graininess. ( did my best not to ingest any, and largely succeeded.) I remembered to whisk away the errant wisps midway up my neck (a frequent irritant), and a visual check brought me a much-needed dose of morning
pride: as I had hoped, my jowls were clean, and DEVOID OF BLOOD.

The ritual of shaving is a trying one for many a man; it is mornings like this which transcend, and transport.

Correspondent Aaron T.

Thursday, March 29, 2001

Office Chairs Putting Me in the Bad Mood (On-Line)(!)

Office chairs are expensive. The office chair that sells from the back of the New Yorker is really expensive; "The Breather" I think it's called. And it's ridiculously expensive. So you see, I'm already getting irked. has a very nice "manager's chair" for about $98.00. It's actually leather; not the nappy airplane seat fabric you're likely to find in lesser chairs. They are usually featured in unappealing colors too.

Some "executive" chairs listed on are ridiculously expensive as well. Not as ridiculous as "the breather", but you don't get that certain something that you get when you know you ordered an office chair out of a literary magazine.

I sit on a wrought iron breakfast room table chair at work. It does have a cushion that ties on to the back of the chair with bows. I think the chairs were bought at Pottery Barn. I think Pottery Barn is closer to Talk than it is to the New Yorker.

You could by an office chair on for $42.00. But I don't think anyone would want to do that. Usually when something is the cheapest thing on a list it is of low quality. Never order the cheapest bottle of wine at a nice restaurant. One caveat; do order the cheapest beer at a bar (especially Pabst, Schlitz, Black Label). There is a certain cred. in that.
I'm not exactly what kind of cred. A combination of creds I suspect.

I know a little bit about office chairs. This is because I "researched"
on-line (you can get anything on-line these days!) for them, for my boss, for his company. I found nice chairs and good chairs and many chairs that I wanted to sit in. He never gave me the "go-ahead" to purchase the chairs on-line(!). Then he laid me off. And then he told the company he was going to buy office chairs next week. Everyone cheered. I won't have an office next week.

But I will have a lot more time to shop for the "breather" in the back of the New Yorker for my imaginary new " start-up" (everyone's making money doing just about anything on-line. have you seen the sock
puppet!) for which I am the C.F.O. (Chief FUN Officer!).

Aaron L

Tuesday, March 20, 2001


The day I became redundant was not your typical day. And it was different. It was beautiful. It was far too beautiful for mid-March in New England. It was so beautiful in fact that many good people in the office said things like, Beautiful day isn't it. And before 2:43, Friday, March 16, I said in turn, Yes, it is isn't it.

And it was, a beautiful day. God it was sunny, and beautiful, and just gorgeous. And when my boss said we should meet outside on the porch, I was thinking to myself, What a beautiful day, that we can have our little meeting outside. Isn't that really a-typical that we can meet outside?

And the last words that he said before we sat down on the still cold and damp red brick steps under the warmest sun either one of us has felt in at least 6 months to begin our meeting properly were, Oh, what a BEAUTIFUL day, just gorgeous. And it was 2:41 at the time so I had to agree, Yes, Steve Kmetko (that's not his real name), it is a gorgeous beautiful day.

Then 2:42,2:43,2:44,2:45 etc.

My first thought was, My God, and just before St. Patrick's Day! Then Fuck you, you monkey humper (that's not his real profession). Then, Fuck, just before tax season. Then, Damn it's really nice out here. Fuck, I want to pack my shit and ride away right now.  Damn, I need to collect my pay checks. It mustAte, what? at least 50 degrees out here. Monkey humper, tax season, what time is it? 2:43. Are you still talking? He was saying, -small business, we just can't absorb . . . I was thinking, He sucks as a monkey humper anyway, I don't need to learn monkey humping from this one. Leave me alone, go away, then I got up and left.

And I packed my shit and rode off, home, into the wonderful, gorgeous and beautiful, Feels like Spring, doesn't it?, laid off, pink slipped, and beautiful day.

Aaron L

Tuesday, March 13, 2001


You Carhart wearing, soft hands having, SUV driving, clean fingernail displaying, trustafarian, working-class poser, fuck-o!
I read somewhere recently that "to play at what you are not is the highest form of disrespect, the lowest form of condescension".

After reading this, I wiped the cappuccino froth from my lip, then from my non-calloused finger onto the double-ply foresection of my Carhart pants and rose my fist in solidarity.
Then, like you smart reader, I began to see the multi-dimensional quality of my life. I am a complex person. So i was torn. Torn like my Carharts would never be.
So are we expected to walk around all the time "being ourselves". I'm not convinced that any of us wants to, or should see each other's real selves.
Ew. Gross.


What would I wear if I were actually my self? A North Carolina Tarheels basketball jersey with snoopy pajama bottoms? Though this conjecture is fun, very fun, it may not be helpful in this debate with myself.

So, I have two rebuttals to justify/apologize for loving my Carharts so

1) The first argument that comes to mind is this: imitation is the highest form of flattery, no? No. Like most 'first things that come to mind' this thought is useless and should be discarded.

2) The second argument is better. It is this: If we cannot play at what we are not, then just what the hell CAN we do? The need for creative couture, fashion sampling if you will; playful dress that cross contextualizes everything is so necessary and cool, isn't it. Yes.
Don't listen to that Nipsy Russell Comedy LP, he is not you and you are not him. Don't eat that Poo Poo Platter, you are not it and it is not you. And please don't laugh at Garfield, you are not a cat.
(insert other forms of art if you in fact are Nipsy Russell, Poo Poo, or Garfield)
. . . And furthermore . . .Take the Dashiki for instance. The Dashiki as worn by young African-Americans in the 70's as a show of Solidarity with the pro-African, Black Power movement supports my final submission to this argument that I have cantankerously started. And that's this: Why can't sharing proletariat garb be an assertion of solidarity. If the post college temp gun for hire who plays in a band or something wants to wear a gas station jacket (though oh so '95, and inappropriate for data entry) why is it that he's a poser and not a sympathizer?

So that's enough on this probably. Actually probably too much.

Aaron L

Saturday, March 03, 2001


I didn't even always like you Christopher Lydon. I didn't always even agree with you, either Christopher Lydon.

Like that time when you said you didn't like the movie, O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?. What was that about? That was one time when i didn't like you Christopher Lydon. Or those times when you had that grammarian guy on the show. You love him, it seems to me, unnaturally. But I dont go for his snooty ways and neat sayings that sum up grammatical rule with pith. So, Christopher Lydon, that was another time i didn't like you.

And those times, which were more often than not, when you a. cut callers off, b. cut guests off and c. reminded everyone just who's goddamned show this is and who's the smartest host around! And all the grand standing.
Yes, I admire it, yet still I don't like you for it, Christopher Lydon.

But alas, Christopher Lydon, I feel curiously about you. I don't really like all these things about you. But, I'm fairly devastated you're leaving.

I hate you, now hug me Christopher Lydon. Tell me you are not leaving my on again off again love affair with public radio. Don't tell me that a clean break is the only way to end ourco-dependence (the dependence being mostly on my part). Don't cut our public conversation that I know is really private, Christopher. Don't cut to that permanent station I.D. You ARE the smartest host around Christopher Lydon. I didn't even always like you, Christopher Lydon, but I'll miss you dearly, man.

Aaron L.