Writing

When laughter is outlawed only outlaws will laugh

Did you know this fascinating tidbit about dental offices: the laughter of children is prohibited therein. They may have all the sugar they want. That’s part and parcel for the business. But laughter is relegated to elsewhere.

It’s a serious business.
Dentists number your teeth. That’s so, later on, they don’t get lost inside your mouth. Woe to those who return to the dentist only to be lectured about their teeth being “out of order. All out of order.”

Sometimes they also leave graffiti on some of the back molars. Way in the back, where you can’t see.

The state of healthcare

IMG_0348 by Raffin.David
IMG_0348, a photo by Raffin.David on Flickr.

The good news is that I have neither the rocking’ pneumonia or the boogie woogie blues. The bad news, as explained by my doctor, is that I am in love with a ghost. “We refer to that as ghostly melancholia,” he said. “Always unrequited,” he added, “as ghosts are insubstantial.”
“What is the prognosis?” I asked.
“We usually treat this with ice cream and the collected sad songs of Johnny Cash. However, I must advise you that this almost always causes the condition to spiral into melancholia caused by eating too much ice cream and listening to too many sad songs, making one forget, but not entirely, the original malady.”
“You know,” I said, “I came in here to see about my hip impingement.”
“Who’s the doctor here?” he said, handing me a quart of vegan ice cream and a Johnny Cash box set.
– http://davidraffin.com

Lunar living

The first three moon bases broken down: Luna A: old and staid; Luna B: the one to see, but I wouldn’t want to live there; Luna C: The place to be.

No Excuses

No Excuses

by David Raffin from the book Rhyme or Treason 

Dear friend,

If ever I use you as a personal reference, please do not tell the interviewer about the time I burned down that orphanage.

If you do, at least have the decency not to tell them I laughed.

I do not think I am asking too much.

You know I had my reasons. While you understand that my heart is not hardened, you also surely understand my sense of fiscal responsibility. While I am not made of stone, neither am I made of gruel. When a child asks for more sometimes it is just too much for me.

I try to avoid all such issues completely during job interviews. I find it is best to focus on the positive. My track record. My accomplishments. My hobbies. I mean, I do tell them about the orphanage—I just don’t tell them I burned it down. And I certainly don’t tell them I laughed. All I’m asking is that you follow my lead. Back me up here.

If it comes up, when it comes up, I try to handle it to the best of my professional abilities. I wonder aloud who was really harmed by such an action. I mean in the big picture. I also pose the question: who was harmed more by my action, the children or me? Who’s sorrier now? On whose shoulders did the repercussions fall? I think we all know the answer to that.

Luckily I am more well suited to bear this burden than the children ever could’ve been, with my greater maturity and grander sense of purpose and civic duty.

Really. Just don’t tell them. It will work out better that way.

They are never happy to hear about it. You wouldn’t want to make someone, some stranger, unhappy for no real reason —would you?

Frankly that’s not the kind of person I thought you were. I know that’s not the kind of person I picture myself as.

[amazon asin=B002OHD220&template=iframe image]

 

Portland’s communist bench

Disclaimer: This article is about a communist plot.

Recently in Portland, OR I waited in line to sit on the communist bench. The bench is so popular, at least it was that day,  I waited an hour and the  man on it never left. He sat there, reading a newspaper, like he owned it. This might require revolution.

The problem is, there are not enough communist benches to go around.

John Reed Bench, Portland, OR

John Reed Bench, Portland, OR

This bench, which looks just like the other, empty, benches in Washington Park is communist simply because it is dedicated to Portland’s homegrown communist revolutionary, John Reed. Reed was a journalist who traveled the world covering war and strikes. When in Russia in 1917 he wrote a book about the Russian Revolution 10 Days that Shook the World. He returned to the USA and formed the first of two rival Communist parties in the USA, which soon merged.

The bench says little of this. It just says he was a writer and bears a quote about the beauty of the local area. It mentions his book but provides no context. It should bear a quote more in line with the spirit of Reed:

“All I know is that my happiness is built on the misery of others, so that I eat because others go hungry, that I am clothed when other people go almost naked through the frozen cities in winter; and that fact poisons me, disturbs my serenity, makes me write propaganda when I would rather play…”

[via Marxists.org]

Reed died in 1920 in the Soviet Union, at the age of 32, and is buried at the Kremlin Wall. The Multi-Oscar winning 1981 film Reds is about his life. Some of the action in my short story More Than One Day in the Life of Igor Igoravitch takes place “at the Kremlin wall, near the grave of John Reed.”

John Reed Bench plaque

John Reed Bench plaque

[See also A Taste of Justice by John Reed, a short article.]