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The ennui continues, a message from The Trees...

It's turning into a bad week. Don't know how, don't know why, but things were cruising along swimmingly and somewhere along the line, things started to fall apart. I went from being happily content sitting in front of the TV after work playing Tekken Tag Tournament to wondering what the meaning of it is all about (life, not Tekken Tag Tournament) and whether or not any of it is worth a damn thing.

What is it about winter that makes me so moody? I lived in Germany for three years where 80 percent of the time the weather was stark and cold and I don't remember feeling much ennui. So then I come to Texas, where it was 112 degrees for about six months, and the first few weeks of cold cloudy weather start making me feel like Steven Wright on quaaludes. What is the fucking deal?

I think part of it is tied to my making a decision about my next writing project. That always fills me with anxiety. I started writing seriously when I was 13 with the full intention of publishing my first bestseller by the time I was 17 and retiring to a tropical paradise where I'd write two novels a year from age 19 on. It hasn't quite worked out that way, although I do count myself lucky for being able to make a living at writing and editing. I see so many people struggling to make a buck doing freelance work as a side gig to whatever horrendous day job keeps their rent checks from bouncing and I feel glad that it wasn't that kind of struggle for me.

But it's another kind of struggle wondering what to do with what you have. I know I can write. But what the hell do I do with it?

At least I made a decision on what to write: The short story/possible novel won out over the play. It's just sitting down and doing it that will be the challenge.

So here's something that pissed me off in a completely disproportionate way: I was eating lunch at Fresh Planet, an add-on restaurant that sits on top of a nearby Whole Foods supermarket. I'm all set to pick up my vermicelli bowl with crispy chicken (it's delicious, by the way), and there on the rack of napkins is this little sign:


Oh, it's from The Trees! Well, shit, I feel bad taking any napkins now. I mean, that's like using a tiger's spleen to wipe up soda from the carpet, right?

In fact, I should probably go into hiding because I work for a newspaper, and we kill The Trees like there's no tomorrow. I throw away wads of The Trees every day and sometimes they don't even end up in the recycling basket. I am a sick, murderous motherfucker, say The Trees.

But before I could truly wallow in the guilt, I found a second note buried inside the napkin holder. It was folded, and unlike the paper on top of the holder, this was rough, pulpy paper with barely visible rings going from the center outward. I opened it, curiously, and this is what the note said:


Dear Whole Foods/Fresh Planet:

To the Birkenstock-wearing, ponytailed employee who put up the sign about not taking too many napkins. While we appreciate the concern, would you please stick to flipping tofu burgers? As it happens, we don't really give a shit about all the napkins because they actually contain a lot less wood content than, oh, say all the wood beams that are holding up your crappy little frou-frou restaurant.

In fact, I consulted with a few of my pals up on the West Side and they say that back when Whole Foods first started building, a whole patch of my cousins were uprooted and taken off the lot to make way for your veggie enchiladas and whole wheat pancakes. And I know all about those hundreds of little non-recycled-paper notebooks you use to write your shitty-ass couplets for poetry slams and notes that you stick on SUVs telling people to "Simplify." You know what? Your poetry sucks, man. "Stupor" does not rhyme with "two-fer."

So you leave preserving nature's bounty to the Sierra Club and invest in a new Dave Matthews Band T-shirt, okay? Because you smell, Jack. I don't mind tree huggers, but if you come near me, I'll find some way to vomit, even it means losing half my leaves.

Are we understanding each other? Good.


One of The Trees


No Third Watch recap this week. NBC pre-empted it for Dateline and their Biblical Miniseries, Thou Shalt Grabbeth Low Ratings. There should be a new episode and recap next week. Read Pamie and Stee's recap of the Pepsi Girl's TV movie, The Miracle Worker. It's funny. Does anyone besides me think she looks just like a mole? She's going to grow up to fear all light sources.

Stay sane this weekend. Don't piss off the trees. They can fall on your car and kill you.



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