Friday, January 14, 2011

Collecting Turtles

Collecting Turtles

I'm going to snap one day and become one of those people that collects turtle figurines. Not Hummels. I'll laugh at the Hummels people. I'll collect little turtles covered in rhinestones or taffeta or - is taffeta a cooking thing? It's a cloth right? Like maybe if a turtle had a veil. Maybe it'd have a veil made of taffeta. Little sad lady turtle. I'd have a shelf just for little sad lady turtles. Or something. Wait. Not a shelf, display case. Maybe some kind of display case. Even the phrase "Display Case" is full of little shiny turtles. Display case. Sounds nicer, something that implies you need to get in there and see what's going on. Shelf. Shit just sits on shelves. Hummels. Hummels sit on shelves.

I want to become one of those people but then I get depressed because I know I'm not one of those people because if I was going to be one of those people I'd already be one of those people. I'd have to be the guy who snapped. I do not have repetitive interests. I don't obsess. I don’t know how people do that. Obsess. The guy who cracks safes as a hobby - is that a hobby? Safe cracker? Maybe I could crack safes and put the fucking turtles in. Maybe I could have my lady go buy turtles - where is she anyway - what if I send her out to find the little things? Then I could stow them in safes I could stack like Rubik’s blocks and try to solve in order or something - I ever tell you I met a guy named Bob who of all goddamned things solved Rubik’s Cubes for a living? For a living. That's what he did to eat; that's how he put food on the table. One day he was able to sit down and figure out a Rubik’s Cube and then he couldn't help but attach the rest of his life to it - couldn't turn it off - because it's a colorful math problem. Or something. He got all the colors right and boom, this is it, this is who I am, and this is how it goes.

I know a guy who knows a guy who is a professional juggler. Nothing could possibly be more vacant - is that the right word? I'm trying to say that the very job is based upon it being temporary, which is pure madness. Things that you threw are falling. Your job then is to make things fall -- the job is impressive because -- the act. The act is impressive, it's not a job, I don't care how much money that guy makes it's not a job because it can’t be a job. I have a job. Juggling isn't a job. It's an act. It's a skill I guess, but even then I feel like we're getting away from things. We're winding that down to its least important parts. Look, whatever you call it - it exists because it can't exist. It cannot be. Juggling is the act of fighting against what must be. Things fall on the ground when you throw them in the air. That's as if -- it'd be like if you made a living by keeping things on fire. “Look at how much on fire this still is!” I don’t know – it’s just nothing. It's all just nothing, I guess, but this guy, the juggler, he's good at it, he keeps things in the air for a good while and he's got dangerous shit flying everywhere and all the - juggler, you've seen jugglers, I fall into these weird pits where I can't not explain things-- anyway it's stunning. It's stunning but I'm stunned for it being stunning - stunned for him having enough money to buy so much shit to toss around that it requires a van. He's got a van. A robot in Detroit welded together a combustion engine -- which is a wonder of the modern world -- never mind the fucking ROBOT -- I wonder if they have safe cracking robots - anyway - robots put a van together so that a man with a lot of education he's not using can fill it with things he can throw three feet into the air one two three feet in the air and then put them down again – puts them down again! The nerve! "I'll decide when this is over!" The act of putting everything down is a whole separate astonishment. The second the pins are down, something else needs to start flying or the show hits the floor and everybody scatters. But when he does it right - some dummy pays him very real money and he gets to eat very real food in his very real van. Food, water, shelter. Bowling pins, torches, psychopathic commitment. “Good enough. That'll be fine. I'll be fine. Everything will be fine!” He had to quit another job to decide to pack the van. Do you understand? He had to say “Honey, today is the day!” He had to remember to lift with his knees when he was loading his box full of weird, otherwise useless objects into his van and I can't even get out of bed in the morning. Isn’t that something? Depressing, but sure is something.

And it's not like I'm not trying. I am. I'm just not obsessed I guess. I don't have that. I don't obsess. I click on things for a living. Have I explained that to you? That I just click buttons that aren't really there. You can't touch them. There’s not even a name for it. You'd dent your fingertips on the glass if you tried, I never have, but you'd just get a kind of prune hands from pressing into it for hours. Not prune hands. Screen fingers? Sad knuckles? Who knows? I don’t know. Just keep clicking. A lot. All day long. Constantly. Quickly. Fucking job ruined my attention span. Wait. Where would you get safe cracking gear - is that for sale? Is that legal, seems like it should be illegal. Black market, I bet. I bet you could buy it on the black market. I'd have to find the black market safe cracking gear. Is that something I juggle at and then own? Can that juggler just juggle at things - why the middle man? Why not? I'd let him. If I owned a store and was happy I'd let him come in and say "For this sandwich, I present to you these three torches...annnnddd here. We. Go!" and then guess who's got sandwiches? Juggle Joe or whatever his name is. The Amazing Whomever. I wouldn't even mind that he brought torches into the store.

My job manages to be even more nonexistent than one that is fundamentally based on the impossibility of its own existence. I click on things and then they disappear. Sometimes I make Excel Sheets. But mostly it's just clicking. How do you justify that? I can't -- ready? Here, look:

“Hello, I'd like this sandwich. Well, I don’t have any money but I could Excel Sheet at it. Would that be something you'd be interested in? I could click near it? No? But sir, I lugged all this stuff!” No, of course not. I'd be there forever. A juggler would walk over my bones and eat my sandwich. Outclassed! Outclassed in every way. I can't get --- the turtle thing. That's just to sink into. I don't even know what to tell people I do for a living. It’s just clicking. The safe cracking would replace the clicking. Like the men on the beach with the metal finders. Metal finders? Metal detectors. Also - let me be clear - I'm not looking for money - those things don’t even find money. They detect metal. But never mind. Turtles. I'm talking about the tur - Look, it's just about hearing the beeps to make sure that you're still hearing them. Guys who got it figured out, they listen for beeps near the ocean and that’s the very point of existing. It's about being warm near a plentiful food source and using your senses to confirm constantly that you exist.

Or something.

But no beeps for me, that’s nonsense. I will press a black market stethoscope against the steel and listen for the tumblers to finally fall into place and when it opens I will have to shield my eyes from sad little turtles blinding at me from every surface that matters until she shakes me out of it or brings me a lemonade.

Or Something. Anything. Anything that is something.

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