The Writer: Foreword
I was first aware of the peculiarities of Norman Potter's case when a guard told me he had made a pen of himself. I was then requested to turn over my own pens and notebook before seeing him.
In my 24 year tenure at Belleview Institution, I have learned to quickly adapt to avoid any of the nuances—unnecessary tapping or other noises, looking into the eyes for too long, etc.—that may trigger an adverse reaction in a patient. In a place so criminal, so volatile, it is a simple rule of survival. Even so, I had never been forced to relinquish my own tools. Going in with only my suitcase and a tape recorder made me feel stripped, almost vulnerable.
I entered the interview room, known as the "board room" to other staff in the ward. It's simple, white-walled, and nearly taken up by a long, executive-style table. It adds a small sense of grace to an otherwise sterile, fluorescent-lit box, but its real purpose is separation. The length limits my exposure to whatever ill wind might be blowing ac
Working Without a NetWorking Without a Net13 years ago in Humor More Like This
I did what any of us would have done when learning that my Internet service had been shut down. I cried.
Actually, that's not completely true. The first thing I did was frantically dial up the campus tech people, who told me the problem would be resolved in an hour. Anyone who has ever dealt with Electronic Device Repairpersons should already know that "an hour" in their language translates into "sometime between an hour and the rapture."
So I waited an hour. Then I cried.
How could I possibly function without instant access to news, entertainment, and all that other stuff that's just sort of there? What could I do in place of checking my e-mail every 20 minutes and playing Slingo? This was a major problem.
But after a moment of despair, I dried my tears with the hanky of determination. I would not let this defeat me! I had lived happily before without the Internet and I could live the same way now! I only had to remember how.
I first tried reading an ancient text recording from when p
Dear Honorable Mr. HolmesDear Honorable Mr. Holmes:Dear Honorable Mr. Holmes8 years ago in Humor More Like This
I bring to you hearty greetings from across the pond. However, as you likely have already surmised by the small smudge on the address bar of the envelope undoubtedly caused by a bead of my own sweat, I also deliver a quandary for the likes of your finely honed skills.
As you may know, a survey was recently conducted of 3,000 of your fellow Britons, asking whether certain figures were real or fictional. When your name came up, Mr. Holmes, 58 percent said you were real.
Isn't that preposterous? That means 42 percent believe you're a fake! I can only think that such hoodwinkery be caused by some sort of slanderous propaganda scheme.
The chigger of misinformation digs even more deeply into the skin of your fellow countrymen, sir. When asked of Winston Churchill, 23 percent believed he was made up. Am I, with most sincerity, being asked to believe that a staggering 77 percent of Britons actually think Churchill was real? The same Churchill who lit his cigars with
A Twist of HeroismA Twist of Heroism10 years ago in Humor More Like This
Every woman seeks a hero; a knight in shining armor to sweep them off their feet when they're in distress and carry them away to commit acts of sickeningly sweet romance found only in the backs of Fabio-approved dimestore novels. I have found this to be a universal truth hidden deep within the heart of every heterosexual female regardless of the number of times they deny it or the ounces of pepper spray they use on you.
The only problem with the heroic approach is that many of us guys don't believe we actually have the ability to defeat any foe that doesn't appear on a video game screen. We can barely sweep all the cheese curl residue off our sofas, let alone a woman off her feet.
But fear not, because God did not forget you. He has bestowed upon each of us a special gift that can win us the admiration and, dare I say, love of any female we serve with it.
Yes, men: we can open jars.
No matter how weak and scrawny you may be, you h
Biology of the Staple RemoverBiology of the Staple Remover10 years ago in Humor More Like This
The Staple Remover (Connectiva Chompicus), while one of the smaller creatures in the office, still holds the reputation as a much feared predator in the ecosystem.
The most prominent characteristic of the Staple Remover is its four long fangs that give it an almost menacing smile. Non-venomous yet quite sharp, these fangs are capable of latching on to its favorite prey, the Staple, even when it is firmly rooted in its most secure habitat. Its deathgrip secure, the Staple Remover crushes the helpless Staple's defense and drags it out for a viciously rewarding meal. Although more often observed as a solitary animal, a pack of Staple Removers has been known to strip the metal from a conference presentation in less than a minute.
Once a year, the male Staple Remover instinctively returns to the office supply store where it was purchased to engage in a savage mating ritual: the capture and takedown of a Multi-use Color Copier. Many are lost
22-23-2222-23-2210 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
A loud rumble pushes its way in among my turned up radio. It doesn't complement the music well, so I pull off the side of the road. Sure enough, my right rear tire is shredded; a mile and a half from the school board meeting I need to cover, too. And my cell phone? Taking the day off at home, because it knew today would be the one day it'd be needed.
I limp the car to a nearby house, where thankfully the woman there knows me. As she goes to find me her phone, two little girls--I'm assuming granddaughters--run straight up to me. Haven't they learned not to trust strange men in slacks?
"What are you doing here?" one asks straight-out, surely a future journalist in the making.
"One of my tires blew. I need to use the phone to call for help."
"My name's Kaylie and I'm 6!" the other says.
"My name's Alison and I'm 8!" the first says, not to be left out.
"My name's Tim and I'm 22."
Both jaws drop. "Whooooa..."
I laugh. "Yeah. That's
A Literature QuestionQ: I dread writing a report for my Early British Literature class. Is there a piece I can focus on that will satisfy my professor while still keeping me amused with crude humor?A Literature Question8 years ago in Humor More Like This
A: You've come to the right place, friend.
In terms of mixing historical relevance, academic consideration and outright potty humor, one certainly can not go wrong with The Censure of the Parliament Fart, a 1607 masterpiece that has been attributed to a number of authors including John Hoskyns, Richard Martin, Edward Jones and Christopher Brooke.
The poem stems from a March 4, 1607 meeting of the Commons in which one Henry Ludlow let loose with a quite audible rip during the reading of a message from the Lords. The fart had the effect of breaking the political hall down into a room of snickering schoolboys, leaving the messenger quite flummoxed.
Like all great moments in history, this was recorded in a poetic form that wafted throughout the populace. Some changes were made over the years, but a soun
The HaikuThe Haiku13 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
Five syllables here,
And seven syllables here.
Now where's my money?
Quips for Bitter SinglesBeing a longterm single, my lack of luck in love has been a sore spot in my life. Loneliness, envy and despair have struck me on occasion, often serving as a brick wall to my humor production.Quips for Bitter Singles9 years ago in Humor More Like This
Recently, however, I've come to realize just how detrimental an effect this periodic wallowing has had in my life and those of my friends. Something had to change; I needed a new perspective. So I've fought back the best way I know how: turning my humor production onto the very thing that has caused me grief.
And you know what? It works! I haven't been this happy or excited to write something in a while. So what this is not is a cry for help or an excuse to throw a pity party for me. This is turnabout. This is therapy. And, above all, I hope to heck this is funny. Now, without further ado:
Quips for Bitter Singles
Women look for a sense of humor in men like they look for a ring in jewe
Reindeer PauseReindeer Pause10 years ago in Prose More Like This
[Santa's Workshop, the North Pole. It is Christmas Eve, and the warm glow of the shop illuminates the gently falling snow outside. Stillness hangs in the air, but also the weight of expectation; of joys soon to come. Any time now, the elves will walk out to the nearby barn and hook the reindeer to Santa's sleigh, where they will perform the time-honored duty of delivering to every good chil--]
BLITZEN: Augh, screw it! Screw Christmas in its cute little button-nosed face! (paws angrily at the warm earth of his stable)
PRANCER: Now, now dear. You know these outbursts don't do you any good.
BLITZEN: Out of my business, Prancer! You know it just gets worse every year!
CUPID: (peers out from the top of her stable) Is old Blitzkrieg firing his guns again?
PRANCER: No, Cupid. And if he were, you wouldn't be helping right now.
CUPID: Uh-huh. (shouts over) C'mon, Blitzen—cheer up! It'll all be over before you know it!
BLITZEN: That's exactly it! We do this job for one night every y
my little heart of mine.dear little heart of mine,my little heart of mine.6 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
i need you to be brave for me. i know you're trembling on wires and clacking against bird-bone ribs, but i need you to set your teeth and stiffen that upper lip. i know it's scary and we aren't getting any medals for courage any time soon, but i think if we both hold hands and close our eyes, we can get through this.
i need you to know though that this is probably going to hurt.
i'm not saying we'll be bleeding and gasping on the floor. i'm not saying we're going to lock the front gates and shut off the lights and fasten the shutters, but i can't lie to you and say we will be living in eternal sunshine. we won't.
we can't hide behind the wall forever though. if we want to get what we love to dream about, we're going to have to step in the frontline. we're going to have to brave the machine fire and remind ourselves that it's worth it. i promise you, it might be. it might be worth taking the bullet.
and it will be okay, because we aren't the type to simply bre
Interview with the Cherub[A camera is trained on a small, chubby, man sitting on a stool. He winces momentarily, his wings spreading, as a light passes over his eyes.]Interview with the Cherub7 years ago in Humor More Like This
OFF-SCREEN INTERVIEWER: I'm sorry. We're usually set up well in advance for these, but this was on such short notice and we know you're very busy. We're very grateful you could take time at all.
WINGED MAN: Hey, no worries. No one's ever wanted to ask us anything before, like it's some mystical sorta thing, you know? It's really pretty basic if
INTERVIEWER: I've been told we're ready, sir.
WINGED MAN: Oh, right. Good to go, here.
INTERVIEWER: Right, then. Roll film.
[The camera's red light blinks on.]
Again, thank you for taking the time, Mr. ... Cupid...?
WINGED MAN: Kip, please. Cupid was our founder, so he's become our brand name in a way. Like Kleenex with us, but we all have different names.
INTERVIEWER: Kip, then. Sorry. There are many of you, then?
KIP: Yep! A couple million, give or take.
KIP: Think we'd sti
you're asking me.if you asked me who i am, i'd probably forget to tell you my name.you're asking me.6 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
instead i'd tell you that my eyes are blue and i'm shorter than most but taller than some. i'd tell you that i like walking better than driving because feeling the ground under my feet is somehow affirmation that i am alive and that i am connecting to something bigger than me. i'd tell you that i think the sky looks too big at night and not big enough in the morning. i'd probably explain that has something to do with the fact that i wake up with every intention of flying and go to sleep knowing my elbows haven't sprouted wings yet.
but don't worry, i'd say, because i'll wake up hopeful again tomorrow.
and if you were to wait around a little more, i might be persuaded to tell you i'd lost my mind seven years ago and would you be kind enough to help me look for it? i'd probably tell you about the boy with teardrop-eyes who chewed up my heart because he thought it'd be aspirin and was indignant when it burned a hole throug
A Guide to Good CriticismA Guide to Good Criticism12 years ago in Humor More Like This
There are few things in this world that are certain: death, taxes, "Love Shack" being played at a wedding reception and, if you're an artist, criticism.
Criticism is a very natural part of the creative process. As humans, we often stink with the odor of imperfection and need to be told by our peers so we can clean up with the long, hot shower of revision.
It's not a bad thing to give criticism, just as long as you're not an utter jerkwad about it. The first known lesson on providing polite, constructive criticism can be traced back to the oldest known cave paintings in Lascaux, France, where what could possibly be the world's first critic gave a particularly scathing review of a fellow Neanderthal's depiction of a bison. The artist was surprisingly gracious in giving a rebuttal for the time, waiting until the critic had fallen peacefully asleep before he smashed his skull with a large rock.
Unfortunately, some do not seem to know how to provide constructive criticism. They timidly appr
we are a sunrise.we are no more than a softly whispered if.we are a sunrise.6 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
we are smoke rings in the dark, soap bubbles on the lip of the water. we are bright eyes and shy fingers touching through the veil of introductions. we are racing side by side down separate book aisles, not calling out to one another but comforted in the echo of each others' pulse. we are strangers who aren't strange to one another at all, promises scrawled in folded pieces of paper, slipped under door cracks in the middle of the night.
possibilities are glowing iridescent between us, eyes overbright as we dance circles around one another. we're shoved into rooms filtered with sundust, lips praying as palms, fingers caught into oil-dark curls and tracing faintly dimpled cheeks. futures are unwound on the spin of a syllable, one second breaking everything we thought we knew about how our lives would go.
whole existences are leaping forward from the shadows with the power of a freight train, knocking out everything we've ever known to be
hello, beautiful.these are the times i will always remember:hello, beautiful.6 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
walking through crowded coffee shops to see you sitting in the corner, steaming cups on the table and bright eyes lighting up the room. hellos tripping over my tongue, shy glances and bitten lips, toes curling in my shoes. hearing your baritone voice for the first time, tying my lips into knots as i fumbled over the introductions.
sitting on my bed, shaking the walls with laughter, your arms holding me close into the curve of your body. driving with the windows down while holding hands, the wind painting butterflies on my neck.
not knowing a thing about you but wanting to pick up the candle and explore. finding the most breathtaking mosaics on hidden walls, you taking my hand and laying it against your scars. your trust that i wouldn't break them open, promises sealed with virgin lips.
i will remember the anxiety and the fears and the wonder. i will remember the dreaming and doubt and finding answers that only birthed more questions. i will r
can't wait forever.because, boy, you know im looking for you, but im not sure ill ever find you.can't wait forever.6 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
im spending my days watching the different eyes that go by but they all have the wrong angle or the wrong shape or theyre a little too gray instead of the blue that i know youll have. there are too many creases where theyve frowned too many times and are a touch too red from too much alcohol when i know youll have at least some idea of moderation. theyre all wrong because theyre not yours.
and im spending my nights listening to the different laughs riding the airwaves but theyre all the wrong pitch or on the wrong frequency or theyre a little too hoarse when i know youll be all smoke. theyre a little too strained because they dont find life funny at all and theyre a little too loud to cover the cheap tongue wagging behind them when i know youre nothing but genuine. theyre making my ears bleed list
Cosmo UndercoverCosmo Undercover11 years ago in Humor More Like This
So I was watching professional wrestling while working on my hot rod when my Three Stooges back hair cheese-in-a-can Pamela Anderson armpit flatulence.
Are all the females gone yet? Good, because I need a private word with you guys, specifically you young, single guys. As a member of your tribe, I know that we could all find the girl of our dreams if we could only understand one thing. Unfortunately, that thing is girls in general. We could take that girl we yearn for in our arms and hold her like there's no tomorrow, but we'd eventually be beaten off or arrested because we have no idea what else to do other than cling to her like a barnacle.
But I have discovered a ray of hope! A lot of girls like to huddle around magazines with names like Teen Tiger Girl Beat Fashion Vogue Party Monthly. These publications are filled with instructive opinions on what girls should be, often giving them explicit advice on how to look, eat, sleep, walk, act, flirt and other essentials
A Death in LiteratureHe didnt enjoy killing, or even violence in general; it disgusted him. It was something the world could do without entirely, and he wished more than anything that he could escape it. He knew, however, as we all know, one cannot escape violence in a world that lives for death. He didnt want, in any part of him, to kill another human being. Of course, that did not mean for even a second, that he wasnt going to do it.A Death in Literature10 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
Purpose; generally, this is accepted as the one thing every human wants and needs. In our society, and our world, no person wishes to be seen as nothing, or negligible. People always do what they do for a reason; they are driven by purpose. This time, though, there would be no purpose, no answer to the why?. The act would defy general understanding, crashing reason into a metaphorical sea of confusion. He had no reason to do this; no reason at all. The choi
CensoredCensored11 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Boy hops, skips, tromps inside,
dirt-water dripping into a sentence
on the linoleum forum beneath:
"The mud is especially good today."
strikes the statement from the record,
appeal to Mop v. Glo denied.
The dissident is thrown into prison (porcelain)
and Mother ensures freedom of speech
is revoked, even behind the ears.
letters to me.dear five-year-old-me,letters to me.6 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
i hope you know that life is a gift. i hope that when you walk out on the back patio and see the hills and the deer and the creek you know that life is marvelous. i wish for you to run through the mud and roll around with your dog and climb up trees with bleeding knees. i hope for nothing more than for you to swing until your legs are tired from pumping and your hair is snarled in knots around your face.
and listen to me: i know it isnt always easy. i know that you cant eat american cheese because you were born with high-cholesterol, i know you have to share your room and your sister broke your favorite doll. and i know it hurts when they sell your horse, when your dog dies, when you move away from everything youve ever known.
but youre five, you're resilient.
life will continue to bless you.
i hope you know that you are beautiful. i hope that when you look in the mirror you dont lament over round c
the fear of falling.i'm living my life with fear bubbling up my throat.the fear of falling.6 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
i'm guarding my heart with iron lace and gritted teeth because even the prospect of getting burned is enough to leave me on the porch. i'm trembling like autumn leaves, my spine cracking like an age-worn book, eroding at a hundred words a minute into a pile of rubble that is getting lost in the wind. i'm putting my toe in the water and easing around the edge, keeping my back to the wall and running like hell when i reach the exit.
because i'm pavlov's dog and when that bell strikes, i'm already diving for cover. because your eyes look like an earthquake and i only know one surefire way to avoid falling down the fault line. i can't get hurt if i never play the game, i can't get scarred if i never approach the flame. i'm tasting the arsenic with the tip of my tongue but i'm not able to brave downing the entire bottle. because i've been down this road before and left bloody footprints on my staggering way home. i've been at this cross po
write me a story.If you ask, Ill spin you gossamer-words into the horizon.write me a story.6 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
Sit next to me and listen to the water gurgle, listen to the creek singing hymns along the bank, the wind humming around us as dusk begins to fall. Sit next to me and rest your eyes, lay down for a moment and let me find words to tuck around you like a blanket. Let me slip into your bloodstream and warm you from the inside out, smoothing the aches and chills out.
Hush, close your lips, let me find your story.
Dont stir when the nightingales begin to call, just relax your muscles one by one. Let my voice burn away the fever and try to find strength in the quiet. I know you are weary, but you dont have to walk much longer. I have a place for you, so stop a minute, put down the weight and breathe. Breathe in the remnants of the night, breathe until your spine is melting and the tension is gone. Breathe until the world has dissolved and all that is left is your pulse enfolding you.
Ill search all night long t
i can't see the sky.i hate the word lonely.i can't see the sky.6 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
it dries out my mouth like i had tried to swallow tumbleweeds, it scratches the back of my throat like i'm trying to regurgitate memories from an empty stomach. it leaves me sitting in the middle of an empty room and wishing the ceiling would cave in because then at least i'd be able to watch the stars.
instead i'm just laying on top of the covers pretending to count them in the drywall and imagining what it would feel like to have your arm behind the curve in my neck. instead i'm closing my eyes and listening to the suction in my veins because i am hollow and caving in. i keep painting you with rich, lush adjectives, but you're just a cardboard pipe dream that falls flat and leaveleaveleaves me without air.
i keep spending my nights sketching your eyes on the ceiling, but i still can't see the moon.
and you know, i keep my hands busy during the day to ignore the faint shaking they do when i know they want to be holding yours. i keep my mouth talking to ignore t
if you keep getting under.i saw you today and said heyif you keep getting under.6 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
but what i meant was:
holyhell, youre beautiful. you look like sunshine trapped in mason jars and fireflies stuck in moonbeams. you have a smile that punches straight to the spinal cord, did you know that? i just spent the last five seconds rebooting my heart, training my lungs how to breathe again. exhale, inhale. it should be simple but youve snarled it all in a giant mess. im unwinding the ball of yarn into a straight jacket and youre as unaffected as the sea. id say im a boat but im hardly as sturdy. im a feather. its almost funny how little a chance i have of staying afloat. im soaked and matted and sinking into the undertow. and youre just churning on and on and on.
i saw you today and said how have you been?
but what i meant was:
have you lost as much sleep as i have? ive spent 3256 hours trying to piece together the exact curves that m