Friday, August 10, 2007

If websites were people...

...whom would this one be?

The large sweaty man who catches your eye from across the room. Oh, and you're sorry when he does, because you can already tell that he assumes an appalling familiarity. See? Already, he's making his way across the crowded room -- nylon belly overhanging his khaki lap, bright blazer buttons that will never again meet their long-separated mates.

And when he talks, he talks close, whispering onion-scented atrocities hot on your ear.

Now, for a change of pace, tell me whom this site would be...

Monday, August 6, 2007

Mistah Greenjeans...he dead.

We, all of us, have our inadequacies to overcome. Whether shy or short...pallid or pustular, we learn to live with our shortcomings and, I suppose, become better people for it. But it sure does feel good to get one over on grim destiny.

I, for my part, have been corn-challenged.

Each year, for a decade or more, I've planted row upon neat row of Silver Queen, Chesapeake Bi-Color, Country Gentleman or another of their hybrid cousins, only to see them topple, wilt, become stunted, or turn into a sickening worm-infested goo.

It should be said, I'm not exactly a brown thumb when it comes to growing vegetables. For 20 years, my wife and I have been most successful with our tomatoes (last year, we put up 72 quarts), squash, beans, peppers, cucumbers...even brussels sprouts.

But when it came to corn, my motto was "Sure to die by the fourth of July."

Not this year, however. The ears have been fat, sweet and legion. I stand a-maized. (Insert polite chuckle here.)

Of course, this is all rather ridiculous, since I, like everyone, drive in this season past acre upon acre of towering corn stalks, interrupted by nary a runt seedling. And I suppose if I were a farm kid, the fact of planting a seed and producing a couple of dozen corn plants would be about as interesting as putting coins in the machine and getting back a candy bar.

But as a kid from the suburbs, it really does seem magic to me. There's more complex encoding in that little wrinkled seed than in anything merely architectural or digital. (Oddly, I never felt that way about producing children. But then, they don't taste good slathered with butter. Or maybe they do...)

For the next two weeks, in any case, I'm going to enjoy the marvelous and rare privilege of cooking and eating an ear of corn that's no more than ten minutes off the stalk.

Do you suppose I qualify for a subsidy?


What in everlasting creation could be worse than the first day back in the office after a beach vacation?

The dull, aching head...the itchy, sun-ripened skin...the weighty clothing (those aren't socks, by God, those are manacles!)...the 362 unreturned emails.

I was driving in to the office this morning -- knowing from 15 years of post-vacation depression -- that I was feeling that sense of placid inner peace for the last time. And I know that while everyone I see today will welcome me home, their faces will say, "Miserable now, aren't you? Just like me!" Poor deluded fools -- don't they know that the truth can only be found in a $4,000-a-week beach house?

What was I doing this time last week? Yawning as I put down the Tolstoy. Grappling with big questions -- 30 or 45? Ice tea or water? Who ate all the salsa?

And now...this. But which reality is real? And which one shadows on the wall of the cave?

I've got the next 51 weeks to decide.