Thursday, February 08, 2007

an early spring

Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow; apparently we’re on the verge of an early spring.

Just as well, Phil. Looks like you’re about due for the same fluoride regimen that my dental hygienist, Diana, has recommended for me. In fact, Phil, if you’re not busy on the 20th, you can come with me to Dr. Hamamoto's office; Diana is very open-minded, and I’m sure she’d be happy to do some pro-bono work on the right rodent.

Like most other small furry animals, I make a concerted effort to hibernate over the winter (with exceptions granted for dental visits). It’s safer and warmer to just hibernate. Thus I view spring with a mix of mild apprehension and guarded anticipation.

And sometimes I sneeze too.

I’ll have to re-emerge from my own burrow. Shit. So much to do before I can venture out in public.

Phil’s lucky. His fur is thick and glossy. His wardrobe is timeless. His contact with the outside world is mediated by handlers. I’d wager that the only thing he did to prepare for his 1995 appearance on Oprah was to decimate the goodies in the green room. Without a second thought. Without remorse. And without thinking that Oprah would reveal his greed in front of a live studio audience. He probably shit on the green room sofa too. Handlers take care of matters like that; they smooth things over.

Phil’s a natural celebrity, a furball without detractors. No scandals besmirch his record. He’s a groundhog with a loyal following and the power to control the weather. If you really want to halt global warming, talk to Phil. And don’t take your SUV with you; he’s been known to shred the upholstery and pee in the cup holders. I'd take public transportation if I were you.

He’s sufficiently intimidating that his handlers wear gloves.

Taking an example from Phil – the less contact you have, the more fabulous you become – I’ve very much limited my interactions with the so-called outside world (that is, anything outside of a ten-foot radius of my laptop, which is permanently stationed on the dining room table amidst a sea of newspaper clippings, lists, books, magazines, papers, advertising circulars, and unseemly crumbs and sandwich crusts).

Much like Phil, I’m worried that if I poke my head out, someone big will grab me around the midsection, put me out-of-doors in the cold, and expect something profound from me.

Best to hide in my burrow and stay out of touch

I’m careful to refrain from answering the tantalizing offers in my email, like the one I received from Ashley today that offers me an early peek at the thrilling “New Black Book of Accounting Professionals 2007 Edition.” No nude underage teenies for me. Buh-bye journal paper to review. So long, message from my company’s IT department telling me I have to install updates or be disconnected from the network.

Once you’ve replied, they know you’re in there. Being disconnected is no threat.

And the US Mail? Destined straight for the narrow intake port of my Fellowes Powershred Model 120C-2 (with several notable exceptions: hamster photos from Susie and Oregonian clippings from Sara – these only enhance my hibernative bliss).

Certainly it’s best to ignore all communiqués – major and minor, serious or spammy – from the outside world while I’m trying to hibernate.

Winter media should be pull, not push.


To: Cathy
From: The Outside World
Subject: We know you’re in there
You are not alone. Not only do we know you’re in there; we heard you fart. We know what you’ve been thinking about when you stare out the window at the smudged San Francisco skyline. We’ve implanted electrodes. And we know you’ve been drinking cranberry juice straight from the bottle. Didn’t you notice the new sensor array on the top shelf of the refrigerator? But we love you anyway.
We do wish you’d brush your teeth every morning. Just a bit of advice from those who care.

The outside world? Who needs it! As Divine/Edna Turnblad (may she rest in peace) would say: “Could you turn that racket down? I'm trying to iron in here.”

Or in terms Phil and I can understand (since neither of us is prone to iron anything): “Could you turn down that techno music on your iPod? I’m trying to hibernate in here.” I can sometimes hear music all the way from Castro Street.

So, wouldn’t you know it? As the hibernation season draws to a close – as I struggle to make the most of these last days of sanctioned seclusion – the other day I received the most disquieting magazine offer in the US Mail:

Obit magazine.

You can think of it as People for dead people. Us for the six-feet-under set. In Style for the recently embalmed or soon-to-be scattered.

I find it somewhat morbid. Are they hoping that the recently deceased won’t care as much about maintaining their images as the still living do? Do they trust that the dead will be less litigious? Does an end to the story make fact-checking easier?

It’s not that I’m unaccustomed to specialty publications: I can see the virtue in American Window Cleaner Magazine, for example, or the Oaksterdam News. The former features articles like "The Dangerous Facts About Horizontal Lines" and the latter is a periodical devoted to issues central to the lives of cannabis devotees: What happened to the channel changer? Who ate the last of the Doritos? [Note: Merely joshing. The latter has substantive articles about medical marijuana, including some by my old friend and award-winning journalist Bruce Mirken.]

Indeed, I think of such publications when I prepare for a P. Phil-style emergence from my increasingly burrow-like domicile by paying a visit to Evert so he can re-style my unruly mop. Evert usually has good magazines, but today he’s somehow down to a couple of Peoples, an oldish Details that I’ve already read, an In Style that scares me with its wardrobe and diet ideas, and a Jane.

I’d rather read American Window Cleaner Magazine than People, but am relieved that Evert has neither a Obit magazine, nor a Goodbye! The Journal of Contemporary Obituaries. Who would’ve thought there was a whole niche market in obituaries? And just when I had gotten over being appalled at the new New York Times video obituary feature.

Somehow user-generated content loses its luster when it’s an obit.

I would’ve thought that there are a lot better things to gossip about with Evert than dead guys, but Anna Nicole Smith apparently popped off today. In a Florida hotel room yet – fodder for tabloids to come, and no doubt cover material for the high-minded Obit magazine. After all, the New York Times, who referred to Ms. Smith as being “almost preternaturally blonde,” was right on top of the story.

Evert, Lyn (his receptionist), and I immediately cottoned to the TrimSpa. It’s gotta be the TrimSpa, doesn’t it? She was just 39.

What’s in TrimSpa anyway? I immediately went to their website to find out and discovered this.

I don’t suppose they’re particularly anxious for anyone to review their list of active ingredients right now. Judging from recent appearances of Ms. Smith on TV, TrimSpa has some psychoactive components similar to that old stalwart, Phenobarbital.
Yes, Anna Nicole was the living embodiment of Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls:

They drummed you out of Hollywood, so you come crawling back to Broadway. But Broadway doesn't go for booze and dope. Now get out of my way, I've got a man waiting for me.

But her hair always looked swell.

Mine looks better now too, not unlike Punxsutawney Phil’s lush winter coat. Evert still refuses to give me a mullet or make me go spontaneously blonde though; he believes it will reflect poorly on him.

I’m ready to emerge from my burrow now. Whenever it stops raining, that is.


Post a Comment

<< Home