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An answer in Ten parts

By Max Burbank
March 16, 2001

1.) The WTF is having a ‘Smackdown’ at the local arena, which shares a lobby with the commuter rail station you use every day. Your train, which is scheduled to depart about one half hour before the ‘Smackdown’ begins, is late. Consequently, the lobby is very crowded. A thicknecked young man is making his way slowly through the crowd. A Cell phone is pressed to the side of his lightly sweating head. He keeps saying the word ‘Dude’ over and over. "Dude, Dude, Dude, Dude" The crowd forces him to move so slowly you can actually measure the pause between ‘Dudes’ which is remarkably uniform. "Dude, One Mississippi, Two Mississippi ,Dude, One Mississippi, Two Mississippi."

2.) The girls had the flu for so long you were sure you weren’t going to catch it. You were proud, proud you hadn’t gotten the damn hoax/racket flu shot. Then you caught the flu. You take a few days off from work, but when the fever goes away, you go back. Whenever you close your eyes, you feel like you’re falling. No, no, it’s slower than falling, but faster than an elevator going down. Sinking. It feels like you’re sinking.

3.) It was right around the time they started putting Enya behind promo’s for ‘Friends’. Someone out there thought of that. And they pitched the idea. And the idea went over. And they got paid for it.

4.) Your Supervisor, who has been standing in front of you for God knows how long, says, "What are you doing?" And the way she says it indicates it’s not the first time she’s said it since she started standing there. And the truth is you were thinking about the dream you had last night. Where you were in this dusty, small town library. And a glass case had a live Pygmy Owl in it, like the ones they have in Arizona, the ones that live in holes in Cactus. But in the dream it was tiny, about the size of a hummingbird, and mostly head and wings, hardly any body at all. And in the case they’d mounted an antique magnifying glass, and if you looked through it, you saw into this segment of cactus where the owl had its nest. And in the nest were chicks. Pygmy owl chicks no bigger than the tip of a Baby’s finger. But you can’t really tell your Supervisor that. So you sit there and she stands there and you stare at each other.

5.) They weren’t Waffles. They were only like them.

6.) You laugh at a funny commercial and say to your wife "Isn’t that kind of funny?" and she says "We’ve seen it before" but you know you haven’t. Maybe she’s seen it, but you haven’t. Then she says when you saw it before you laughed and asked her if she didn’t think it was kind of funny.

7.) She took the diaper off herself. Just like that. She’s standing on the changing table looking you right in the eye, naked from the waist down, holding one end of a diaper full of crap.

8.) Suddenly all you want on God’s green earth is a pair of bad ass black boots with sterling silver stars on the toes. But wouldn’t you look like a jackass if you had them? Oh, yes. You would look like one hell of a Jackass.

9.) You can put butter on them if you want, and syrup. You can put powdered sugar or walnuts or any damn thing. It doesn’t magically make them Waffles.

10. ) You’re thinking about that guy with the corpses again, aren’t you? And how things just get out of hand, how things kind of snowball. That’s the tendency of things, right? To snowball? First it’s just one corpse out back and you know you’re going to get to it, and its dead winter so what’s the big deal? And then suddenly the cops are yelling at you and there are hundreds of dead bodies all over the property. It’s like you blinked and there are literally hundreds of dead bodies. And there’s just no good way to explain it. You’re staring off into space and whatever you tell me next, I know you were identifying with the corpse guy. And we both know that’s not good.