You've been running
re-runs CLASSIC COLUMNS for the last two months. Did you quit? Where'd you go?
Dearest Clinton Merriweather of Canada,
No, Dear Reader, I did not quit. Nor did my staff of trained professionals, who toil behind the scenes to bring you this fair Almanac(k) and her subterranean spawn.
August of 2010—can it really be so late, can I really be so very old?—was the tenth anniversary of this column and of the web magazine in which she resides. Ten years of precious advice and adventure flung onto the internet like rice particles at a wedding. It has been a good ten years.
I realize this has the sounding of a finish, but no Dear Friends and Readers, this is no finish. I am a marathiner, not a sprinter (I have not the legs for it) and our race is only partly done.
To celebrate ten years of bloody victory over the tubes of the interwebs, I gave my employees two months off and took to the streets of America myself. I donned a revised and improved anti-bathyspheric land-roving suit that Rob, my assistant, once called the "Mecha-Spider Nightmare Fuel" and which my lead mechanic Devo nicknamed the "Scorpion Tank" and which I will refer to—for now, my names change as the wind blows—as "My Good Suit." I donned My Good Suit and walked the highways and byways of this great land for weeks on end. I met fascinating people, some of which held poorly-proofread signage. There were adventures and jackanapes aplenty. Far too much to relate here.
In short, Dear Readers, I am exhausted. Is not this always the way with the holidaying? The break from one's normal schedule can be taxing to the very soul, and can weary a person like a millstone hung about the headsac.
My stories will come—they will arrive in droves and as single spies, arrayed in the night like stones in a brook. But my employees arrive even as I type this. It has been very long weeks since I have seen them. I shall let them each tell you of what they did during their time off.
Molly (lab director): He said it was vacation, right? Fuck. That. He goddamn furloughed us. For tax purposes. I spent two months living with my mother in Chicago and doing temp work at a real estate firm. I'm 39. I shouldn't have to live like this.Next time, dear readers, I shall break open a fine cask of remembrance and toast to you of my summer adventures.
Rob (unspecified assistant, boon companion): Molls is 39? Fucked up! Like, this in no way negatively impacts her total hotness, but—OWW! FUCK! That shit hurts, Ms. M!
Devo (head mechanic and garage manager): She's a fit and trim 39; I can totally see—SHIT! <laughing> Shit, I'm kidding sweetie! You know that! Anyways, me and Spider are sorta-kinda starting to drift back together, real tentative-like, so we had a couple dates, and all I gotta say is, for a tough-ass automotive Mexican, mi Araña Sabrosa is just unbelievably queeny for West Michigan antique shops and B-and-Bs. Honest, it was sorta sick; we spent four Sundays and a three-day weekend together, and it was nothing heavier than smooching-and-rubbing, and nothing more stimulating than me helping him restore a heat-blistered Victorian walnut curio cabinet with crazy-ass water rings all over the top—except for I nailed him on Fourth of July while the rockets red glare tore up the skies over Lake Michigan! ¡Olé!
Rob (ibid): Yeah, OK, so I went to Cedar Point, which I totally hadn't been to since before I was kicked out of Michigan State—which was, like, a whole lot of water under the bridge ago, you know? But, so, I totally thought it would be like old times, right? Getting back to my roots and all the shit I dug back in my flagrant youth, but the thing was . . . I dunno. Like, I guess what I'm gonna say is that I, like, crossed the line into grown up, you know? Like, walking around in the fucking heat all day sipping Mountain Dew from a 64-once commemorative plastic tumbler, that shit was just plain fucking tiring, you know? And, like, none of the seat-belts or harnesses or lap-bars on any of the roller coasters, or whatever, seemed to fit right. It wasn't exciting to ride the Iron Dragon so much as I felt like I was at some shitty three-floors-of-fun nightclub on Gratiot getting jostled by tall guys with hard-ass shoulders. Like, my fucking hip hurt after the Gemini; what up with that? Also, we went on Snake River Falls, right? Which is, like, one of those log rides: you're in this big, flat boat, like a roller-coaster car, and it gets dragged up this hill, then goes down a mega waterslide and splashes down in a big, long pool, and costs to a finish. And, right at the end of the slide part is this bridge that goes over the splashdown pool; kids always stand on the bridge, 'cause when the boat splashes down, it sends up this huge ass wave that soaks 'em, and kids think shit like that is a riot. Last time I was at fucking Cedar Point I thought shit like that was a riot. So, I go on this ride, right? And, like, we go down the big slide, and it's kinda splashy, but you really don't get wet. And then it splashes down, right?, straight into that long pool, right in front of the bridge where the kids get mad drenched, and I'm kinda shocked that we aren't soaked, because waiting in line, you see how big the wave is that comes up when you splash down, and I've got just enough time to turn to the kid next to me and say "You know, I thought we'd get wetter," and then that huge fucking wave slams down on us like a hammer. My fucking ears were ringing for, like, 20 minutes, and I ended up getting some weird-ass sinus infection that lasted until mid-August. Anyway, even though it was hot as fuck, I was cold and miserable for the rest of the day, my shoes squeaking and spongy, and got a fucking blister on my gut from the waistband of my wet jeans rubbing me weird. Like, I even listened to NPR the whole drive back just to try and fucking chill. What I'm saying is that I got old this summer, you know? Old. Man.
Jarwaun (my teenagéd typist): Me and Trael went to Cedar Point with Rob-o. T. didn't wanna do none of the roller coasters, 'cause he was scared, and then we convinced him to do Corkscrew, 'cause it's real old and tame, but then he wasn't tall enough to go on, so then we put Rob's cap on Tray's big puffy hair, and he as tall enough, but the harness didn't hold him right and on the last flip he almost slid out, and afterwords Tray mad puked, like, all over the place out on the concrete, and it was like 100-degrees and the puke fried up in, like, a second, and it was crazy funny. Crazy, crazy funny.
Trael (Jarwaun's elementary-agéd brother; my friend): True that. All that. Rob made us listen to Talk of the Nation Science Friday for two hours, and one whole hour was only about how there ain't nothing living on one of the moons at Saturn; a whole hour to say there isn't nothing happening someplace.
Editor-in-Chief of this fine publication,
The Giant Squid
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson