Tuesday, April 19, 2011

VOCATIONS: 9 Micro Essays


Why is it so seldom acknowledged that one is disliked more for one’s good fortune than one’s bad behavior?

It is easier to be forgiven for a bitter quarrel than for a tour of Europe. It is more charming to vomit on someone than to tell them you have received a scholarship.

If I really wanted my acquaintances to be happy, I’d buy them all a round of drinks. I’d call my husband a motherfucker and he’d call me a gimp-legged slut.

How I Think.

Some people think in pictures. Others, I am astonished to learn, have feelings in their body. I think in words: my thoughts arrive typed, and punctuated. Of course, my thoughts may not make any sense -- but they are, virtually always, extensively punctuated. My life, therefore, is like drowning in fortune cookie fortunes, handcuffed to one of those wingnuts who absolutely believe what their cookie is saying to them. (I also think extensively using italics.)

Not even.

Save your life in secret, taking care to be so surreptitious that even you yourself don’t notice. Schemes for one’s own revival must be conducted as cunningly as the pursuit of addiction -- until you find yourself in an entirely different part of town, one where you’re not at all sure you belong.

Plant small unpredictable acts in the day like exploding seeds. Don’t tell anyone where you are going. Not even yourself.


I specialize. To those who are like me, I give. Because my leg is crippled, I give to those with crippled legs, to the amputees and to the maimed, to the men who crawl like crabs across the street.

According to this logic, I should also give money to anyone who is spectacularly neurotic.

But that would be very expensive.


People plan their lives like they are multiply handicapped octogenarians and everything must be just safe-to-death. And the interesting thing is how they strap this all to morality, like the very worst sin in the Bible is to live in your brother’s spare bedroom.

Therefore, she must work forever at the job she hates, take no vacations and no risks. She must always be available to her family. (Who could not care less.) Should they think of her, they should be able to find her, double-locked within her carpetted paid-for home, all her medical exams up to date, her skin and mind untouched, available and unchanged, already more or less embalmed.

One Hand.

I just remembered that in India the left hand is the one designated, not only for ass-wiping, but also for “sexual caresses”. And I would like to know: does anyone actually abide by that?

Like, are there pious young Brahmins just incredibly adept at beating off with their left hand?

Are there wives who shout, “I don’t give a damn what the rulebook says! Either you use both hands or you’re gonna have to make your own tea and curry, buddy!”


One of those things that almost never occurs to me:

the chance that I might possibly be doing it right.


Not at all uncommon. Somewhere around hour four, after fucking and sucking, after slaps and spanks and spitting, after hours of porno dialogue, this word: daddy.

Then he wants to be held, for fingers through his hair, for delicate kisses and to be told, over and again, that he is loved. Until he begins to whimper and then, uncontrollably, to sob.

Prior to this I was unaware perversity could achieve such profound and beautiful purposes.


No one seriously questions his right to drink himself to death. In fact, it is considered extremely rude even to mention the fact. We must accept it as his vocation: an intensely focused self-directed practice of anesthesiology.

Therefore, I too have rights to exercise. A vocation. Though it seems clear the world would receive more benefit if I were doing dishes or working coatcheck.

I cannot fill a page with the same elegance with which he empties a tumbler full of gin. Nonetheless. If he may drink, then I may write.

Notecards are my vestments. This is my job.

When I am dead – what could be simpler? Light a fire. First, the body. Then, the cards.

1 comment:

Kamaya said...

It's true; your observation of accomplishments. Mark and I both remember being shocked the first time a classmate in school discovered a high mark on our test, and their response was to scowl and say, "I hate you." Even more surprising was finding out that some people _like_ to get this reaction from people! It just made me confused, and I quickly learned to hide my grades.