Riffing on a Sunday Afternoon


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Hello, blog. I’ve little to report from the real-life trenches, but it’s nice to touch base.

Potential new trajectories seem afoot nonetheless. One required a Thursday afternoon haircut (awww), but fear not: Rather than sacrifice the length I’ve so lovingly cultivated, I instructed Herr Scissors to limit her butchery to the drapes against my shoulders. Those had indeed grown tiresome (my locks, not my shoulders), a curtain drop rendering me half-deaf whenever I strained forward.

“Down to the natural hairline,” I said. Many snips ensued. I kept most of the length — minus an inch and a half — and declined the Layer. As a curious result, my hair still believes it’s long. The back thatch curls into empty space, an abrupt cliff. I resemble a 19-year-old girl declaring adulthood after marrying her high school beau. My shadow is my body topped by a bell. I am sensible, with the potential for rogue.

In deference to my financial discipline, I’ve yet to purchase the Beatles remasters. Thank God they didn’t upgrade the catalog ten years ago, when I would’ve sighed at the Last Twenty cowering in my billfold and sacrificed it for Revolver (’cause tomorrow never knows), or stuffed as many digipaks down my Wranglers as possible and made for the nearest unwatched exit, Let It Be against my balls. Instead, the older, wizened me stood at the display, near picked clean, and admired the band’s ceaseless vitality. Not bad for four guys who called it quits two years before I was born. I get older; the Fabs remain timeless. Somewhere right now “Eleanor Rigby” is peeling a preteen’s id from its moorings, a phenomenon that will outlive us all.

My haircut and I spent Friday in Corvallis, sweltering through summer’s insistence on a late-game comeback. An impressive sweat took hold as I wandered through town, apparently befouling my mood as well as my body. I passed a bearded beatnik reclined on a bench, seemingly lost in a private reverie. Upon seeing my scowl, however, he raised a cardboard sign. “SMILE,” it read, so I did. In fact, I laughed. How could such a beautiful day render me glum? “How ya doin’, brother?” he asked as I passed. “Maintainin’,” I replied. “How ’bout yourself?” “Can’t complain,” he nodded, following his own sign’s request. My heart filled suddenly with rays of Dilla. If forever we gonna talk the talk we gotta walk the walk, see? Ladies and gentlemen, Pharoahe Monch as a funky Edward G.

The weekend’s consumed by a strange calm. I exhumed some old DVDs I ain’t watched in years, the highlight being Whatever Happened to Kerouac?, with its footage of a flask souse (Frere Jacques) clashing with an august rummy (William F. Buckley) and kicking some “Flat Foot Floogie” on his Ivy League bean. Time’s been benevolent for a change. Maybe it’s my reward for a semi-productive week spent dousing linguistic fires as in days of yore. “I need paragraphs!” came the call. Then paragraphs you shall have. What a simple pleasure: threading words together, clamping them down with verbs and adjectives. It’s a zone I call home.

On Friday, in an air-conditioned respite from the summertime beatdown, I got to shop-talk with fellow craftsmen, hang around slingers of the written word. Quite a change from my usual freelance seclusion: eyes fused to flat-screen, mind prowling for work, silence my only sidekick. Can’t talk. Must feed the coffers. Pitches, cover letters: a mad, endless science. But “SMILE!” says the sign, so I do. My hair continues its curl to nowhere. I will not.

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