United States president, Donald J. Trump… cough, cough, gag, choke…
Sorry, I still have trouble saying that without throwing up a little. Let’s try again.
President of the United States… “He Who Shall Not Be Named,” (yes, that’s better), has made headlines repeatedly by denying the veracity of headlines. Just about any time a story hits the airwaves or the pages of the many “Liberal rags” (New York Times, Washington Post, etc.), that paints anything other than a flattering picture of him or his presidency, #45 cries “FOUL!” Notable examples: the story that his own Secretary of State called him a moron, (“Totally fake, made up by NBC.”); climate change, (“Junk science, no credible proof); “Seinfeld” canceled, (“It’s on my TV right now! What are you talking about?”)
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. TTLA has come into possession of a document, in the president’s handwriting, entitled “All the lies and baloney I need to tweet about soon.” In the document, he lists a mind-boggling array of items that he considers “fake news” and/or “junk science.” The scope of the topics is staggering. Here are just a few of the literally hundreds of things President The Donald considers to be “made up.”
The American Civil War: “Made up by liberal wags to discredit the time-honored and repeatedly proven law of White supremacy, to which I’m totally opposed, (wink, wink!) “
European colonization of the United States, “Immigrants could not possibly have built this country because I won’t let them in. Unless they’re rich. Or hot. Oh, and by the way, so-called ‘Native Americans’ are probably radical Islamic terrorist who constitute a vast sleeper cell.”
Tobacco causes cancer: “Absolute crap science! How can any group that can write such beautiful and large checks possibly sell a product that is bad for you? When I was a kid they used to tell us 9 out of 10 doctors preferred some brand or another. Doctors never make mistakes, right? I mean, it’s not like they were paidto say that, right?”
There is a need for gun control in America: “Why do liberals insist on politicising mass shootings? Don’t they realize that it detracts from my party’s attempts to politicise things like universal health care (a ridiculous concept! everyone knows only the rich need healthcare!) and women’s health issues, (the all-male panel can’t be distracted by people being upset about mass murder! How are they supposed to deny women access to birth control and stop them from making decisions about their own bodies?). Besides, how can a group as skilled at check writing as the NRA be wrong in their belief that guns don’t kill people, and that if the fine gentleman (probably) who shot all those people in Las Vegas hadn’t been able to legally buy all those automatic weapons, he would still have been able to kill them by pointing his fingers at them from his hotel window and saying ‘pow!’ (probably)
The world is round: “Wrong.”
The Earth revolves around the Sun: “Wrong.”
The Earth is a planet, the Sun is a star: “Wrong! The Earth is the center of the known universe, and I and ONLY I am a star.”
Cancer research should receive far more federal funding: “Cancer is junk science. It’s a poor person’s disease. Republicans sometimes suffer from an ailment called ‘money sarcoma,’ but it’s totally unrelated to this so-called cancer. Name one wealthy individual other than David Bowie, John Wayne, Yul Brenner, Anne Bancroft and Steve Jobs who ever died of cancer. Oh, and Patrick Swayze and Farrah Fawcett and Peter Jennings and Ted Kennedy (liberal… deserved it). Oops, Paul Newman. Forgot him. AND Jack Lemmon. AND Dennis Hopper. AND Walt Disney. Like I said. Nobody!)
Water is wet: “Wrong!”
Black is black: “It’s white! And well it should be, as white is the superior color!”
That whole “grabbing pu**y” episode, caught on video and viewed by millions worldwide: “Fake news, never happened. Unless it got me votes. Then I totally said it.”
The crowd for his inauguration was smaller than Obama’s: “Fake! They just switched the photos. Mine was the one where the crowd extended from the Capitol to New Jersey, his was the group of the six hooded KKK dudes with sparklers and ‘Trump Furever! ‘Murica!’ signs.”
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote: “Emails! Benghazi! Bill was a perv!”
Sadly, the list goes on and on.
After the leak was made public, we tried to reach the White House for comment, but the operator who took the call had the phone ripped from her hand and all we heard was someone screaming the words “Wrong! Fake! Totally made up!” We have been thus far unsuccessful ascertaining the identity of the speaker, but we have our theories.
We folks of a “certain age” (100 to 200 years old), often enjoy music from a “certain era,” (the stone-age) which these days generally dwells under the heading “Classic Rock.” There are literally thousands of great songs included in this genre, and we are right to celebrate them and sing them even though most of us can no longer recognize our own reflections in the mirror. The cursed, evil mirror.
But I digress. What I want to talk about today is the fact that not all of the great songs we love were instant classics. Many had to be written, then rewritten, then abandoned, then uncrumpled and rewritten again before they became the masterpieces we know and love. My extensive research has uncovered several less-than-stellar first drafts to some of your favorite tunes.
The Rolling Stones had a timeless classic in the song “Paint It Black,” but Mick Jagger struggled with the opening line for quite some time, starting with:
“I see a red door and I want it painted a slightly different shade of red.”
Robby Krieger, guitarist for The Doors and composer of “Light My Fire,” was obviously one of the more civic-minded band members, as can be seen in the first attempt at his famous tune:
“Come on baby,
Light my fire,
Making sure to do so safely and within the parameters of local civic regulations.”
Led Zeppelin’s rock anthem “Stairway To Heaven” was no so heavenly in its original format:
“There’s a lady who’s sure
All that glitters is gold,
And she’s buying used sneakers
Paul McCartney, widely recognized as one of the most successful songwriters of the 20th century, was told by the other Beatles to sharpen his pencil and try again when he came to them with the first iteration of “Yesterday.”
Love was such an easy game to play
Now it turns out that women have feelings
And you’re supposed to ‘listen’ to them.”
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s celebration of the South, “Sweet Home Alabama,” needed a little retooling when the first version stated,
“Sweet Home Alabama,
Where my sister is also my mom.”
We could see where Isaac Hayes was going with his original lyrics to “Shaft,” but we’re thankful he toughened them up from:
“Who’s the black private detective
That is very highly regarded in his community
And has a Triple-A rating with the Better Business Bureau?”
And even the King of Rock and Roll didn’t always strike gold on the first try, as the original words to “Jailhouse Rock,” clearly show:
“Warden threw a party in the county jail,
But the new meat missed it because
Big Bubba had dragged him into a broom closet
Where he repeatedly sodomized him.”
Clearly not what we ended up with.
So we thank these musical geniuses. We thank them for not settling for their first drafts, and for not giving up on perfection. I think Neil Young said it best when he didn’t say:
“Hey, hey, my, my,
Rock and roll is on life support….”
My wife works out of the house. I stay home and write. It’s a delicate symbiosis which also involves me cooking and cleaning and walking the dog. And doing laundry.
I don’t really mind doing laundry. After you sort it out, it’s really just an activity characterized by brief bursts of action, interrupted by extended periods of time when the machines are doing all the work, and isn’t this just what we were hoping for, Mr. Jules Verne? It leaves plenty of time for other things. Like cooking and cleaning and walking the dog. And preparing to do more laundry.
We live in an apartment complex with a communal laundry room that is secured by a modern lock. I need to do a quick sidebar here. Two thoughts:
Modern locks are almost 100% effective if you remember to shut the door when you leave.
If you desire to ever retrieve your clean laundry, NEVER set your key on the folding table. Not even for a second. The instant the key hits the surface of that table, the section of your brain tasked with remembering that fact is somehow irreparably damaged and you will walk out leaving it behind. But you WILL remember to securely shut the door, (see #1).
So here are some of my thoughts and observations, which I share with you free of charge:
If you are using a commercial washing machine, the simple migration of a single sock from the left to the right of the drum is sufficient to unbalance the load, which you will only discover 34 minutes later, when your timer goes off to tell you that the cycle should be done. HA! You now have an additional 20 minutes to wait. For some reason the machine in our building which is famous for this always goes rogue with exactly 20 minutes remaining. I’m sure it has something to do with its childhood.
While you’re waiting for the washer, which you meticulously rebalance using a plethora of man-tools and the calculus, you have the choice of starting another load in the washer that did spin out and finish, or of waiting for the wounded child. Here is a natural law, which cannot be debated, because… science: if you do not stand there for the entire 20 minutes, the machine will unbalance again. If you do wait like a schmuck outside Betsy Farlow’s door on prom night, only to learn she left a half-hour ago with Tad Benson, it will run through the remainder of the cycle with an angelic “who, me?” expression on it’s flat, metallic face.
And even if you do start the other machine, your delicate timetable is now all thrown off. Your months of planning, (which, by the way, is why you have so much damn laundry to do in the first place), the countless spreadsheets, the Visio diagram, indicating the precise blend of chemicals and water temp to color ratios… all gone. All for naught.
Eventually though, you’ll get the second round started. For me the second load is where the bulk of my threads show up, as I always do the wife’s first, in case I am struck down between loads. Then I know that, at the very least, she’ll have clean underwear for my funeral.
I, however, probably will not. Not even if I get that second load done. Can anyone explain to me at what point in a man’s life wiping his ass no longer works? Without variation, every time I do laundry, I look at the inside of my drawers and I say, “this underwear cannot belong to an adult male human being.” [ed. Note: according to every female writer on the internet, that is exactly how you can tell it does belong to an adult male human being.]
There are times when I look at my underwear and I fear for the life of the person who wore them. This is not just soiled clothing. This is a crime scene. Murder most foul. I’m not kidding. Then I remember, that I am the person who wore those and the shame becomes almost unbearable. I shout at the unbalanced washer, “You think you’ve got problems, buddy? Did you see this pair of underwear?”
Invariably it ignores me, too concerned about its own issues.
Men who do laundry, and whose wives have taught you the beauty and mystery of pretreating heavily-soiled clothing, I have a tip for you. If you want your pretreating spray to last longer, just throw your underwear in the garbage. It will be less of an expense in the long run just to buy more. Pretreating spray is not cheap. And you only need two or three pair anyway, amiright?
Another thing: over-sudsing, that staple of the American situation comedy, is far funnier on TV than when it happens to you in real life. On TV you laugh, maybe Ed O’Neil gets a little suds goatee, and then the scene ends. If your machine oversudses (and I’m sure that’s not a word), it is never over. And I never get a cool suds goatee either. I get like an Oompa-loompa suds hairdo. It’s awful.
My wife has an elaborate series of rules for what can and cannot go into the dryer after it’s washed, and I have not memorized them, nor are the written down, nor are they even the same from minute to minute, from load to load. Apparently, there are certain things that will continue to shrink, no matter how many times they are washed and dried. I try to counter this feminine logic by pointing out that if this is true, they will eventually disappear altogether. I will one day open the dryer door, only to find that the machine is empty, save for a note left behind saying, “She told you we’d keep shrinking!”
There is at least one garment that is erroneously dried every time I do laundry, and this, I can report without fail, legally invalidates any brownie points potentially gained for doing the job in the first place. One mis-dried top, and I’m sleeping on the couch, possibly until the next time laundry day rolls around.
Also, there is a proper number of dryer sheets that must be added to every load dried. That number is two. If I somehow only put one sheet in, the entire load will fuse into a giant, angry ball, bound by enough static cling to light the Vegas strip for a month.
If on the other hand, two sheets stick together and I do not discover this, thereby placing three into the machine, any towels in the load instantly become 100% water repellant, and rubbing them on your body, even for an hour, will fail to remove one drop of moisture. You will air-dry long before this cloth absorbs the faintest trace of wetness from your shivering form.
But two sheets! Two is the God-molecule! It is the ticket to Valhalla, not glorious death in battle; two damn dryer sheets! Your clothes won’t even consider clinging to one another. It’s like a family reunion where everyone comes, in spite of the fact that they all hate each other. Your towels could drain the ocean, just by laying them on the beach for five minutes. And the aroma! Don’t get me started on the sweet, undefinable scent of the dryer sheet. The ones we use claim to be “fresh linen” scented. I wonder though. Doesn’t the linen take on the scent of the dryer sheet anyway? Isn’t fresh linen actually “two-dryer-sheet” scented?
And what of the other varieties? “Springtime?” Depending on where you live this might not be a pleasant odor at all. Springtime in the Bronx, when the Bronx River swells and washes up all the unfound dead bodies from winter… not what I want my laundry to smell like. “Garden Fresh?” What if I’m allergic to the flowers in that particular garden? Could be a nightmare!
Let’s call a spade a spade, and start naming all dryer sheets what they really are anyway: “Undefined Pleasantly Scented.”
A final word about dryers. The coin-op dryers in our building cost $1, and for that you get 45 minutes of drying time. This is never enough. I could have one lace doily, drying all by itself, and after 45 minutes it’s still damp. Fortunately, in a rare act of altruism, the manufacturers of our machines allow you an extra fifteen minutes if you deposit an addition quarter upon startup. But you have to do it at the outset, there’s no provision for the extra fifteen if at the end of 45 you find that your clothes are not done, (and you will, my friend, you will). In that case it’s another whole dollar, buddy. Hard cheese to you!
I get heat from my wife and, oddly, my daughter for doing this, but I ignore them because I know I’m right.
I say “oddly” concerning my daughter because until 2015 she never washed a single article of her own clothing. Daddy took care of that. And let me tell you something people: teenaged girl humans make adult male humans look like models of spotlessness. I know, I know. You guys are dealing with that special circumstance which marks the end of childhood and the commencement of womanhood, and gives you the legal right to torture, maim and kill male human beings on a monthly basis. (When they tell you that you can only be killed once, they lie, and they have never lived with women when that “thing” happens). So yes, I get all that. But I was under the impression that there were products designed to help deal with that situation. Isn’t it, like, a multi-billion dollar industry?
But I digress.
Once all of the washing and drying is done, you’d think the job was finished, wouldn’t you. But it’s not. Because now there is folding, and in the case of socks… matching.
Folding is not too bad really, and I do it right in the laundry room. Remember the folding table? The one that causes you to forget your key? Well, brainwashing is not its only function. You can actually fold clothes on it. Imagine! (The top of the dryer also works nicely for this, in case you want to use the folding table for something else, like to store your key). [ed. Note: DON’T!!!]
But sock matching. That is another beast altogether. This is again an area in which my wife is very particular. Every sock has one exact match. Even if I have five pairs of identical socks, I will always, in her eyes, pair them up incorrectly.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there’s is not some validity to her position. Socks are a mysterious and dark-hearted race. How else can you explain their propensity for one of the partners constantly running off, abandoning its mate to a dreary existence in that black hole known as “the sock-bag?” (We’ve had one for nearly 30 years, which my wife still holds out the hope will one day be emptied by the tearful reunion of every broken relationship represented therein.)
Even when one does not go off, to join the circus probably, they still are malicious and mischievous. For example, I have a cohort of socks with a nifty black logo identifying them as being related to all the others from the same bag. However, after owning them for several months, I began to notice that some were fully two inches longer than some others. How in heaven or hell is such a thing possible? They all came from the same batch, out of the same plastic bag, and have been worn by the same person (me) on the same two feet (mine) which are (I swear to God) approximately the same size. There is certainly not a two-inch difference between them. Like one is bound geisha-style, but I ran away before they did the other one.
Then there are the far more insidious ones that look the same except maybe the elastic band at the top is a few millimeters different, or one has a lavender toe and the other also has a lavender toe, but two shades lighter. The older I get the more I’m inclined to agree with cavemen and hillbillies: socks are overrated.
I know I make all of this sound fairly horrendous, and that’s because it is. But the fact of the matter is that eventually it comes to an end. You fold the last pair of inexplicably undefeated men’s underwear. You match the last demonic sock, (sidebar: it’s no coincidence that the evillest team ever to play baseball is the Boston Red SOX). You attempt to restore your wife’s last tiny shrunken shirt to something resembling adult clothing, as opposed to a newborn’s onesie. You’ve done it! You’ve finished the job! You’ve won!
And then you take of the clothes that you sweated up while doing the laundry and throw them into the hamper. And like a black seed planted in forsaken soil, it begins again.
One of the unfortunate things about having a blog is the tendency to get locked in, a little bit, topic-wise. I have two that I maintain, more or less. One is my gracefully aging humor blog, and the other is the SJV-Author site, established, ostensibly, to talk about writing.
But making people laugh and talking about the books I pen are not the only things that crawl through the twisted cavern that is my mind. Sometimes I think about other things! Sometimes it’s twisted caverns!
So, what do I do? I know I’m probably going to crack wise at least a little. Do I post it on the humor blog? I’m writing it, so is it out of place on the author’s blog? Do I launch a third blog called “Stuff That Doesn’t Fit Thematically with My Other Two Blogs?” This last is tempting, but no.
I’ve decided to solve this high moral dilemma by posting it to both blogs, knowing in advance that my Facebook followers are going to call me bad names, because they’ll get a notification about each and they’ll say, “Dude, how many times are you going to tell us about the same thing?”
Twice, I guess.
Alright, here we go, kids.
I say “kids,” because anyone younger than 30 or so may have a little trouble relating, because I’m going to talk about music. And no, I’m not going to launch into a tirade about my music vs. your music. That was my dad’s gig. He pretty much thought everything after Benny Goodman was crap. To make a point, in the 1970’s I started listening to Benny, though he refused to listen to the Beatles. He did bring me home a Monkee’s album from the thrift store once, though, so that was progress I suppose.
What I’m talking about today is a little more ethereal: the concept of “owning” music.
With the advent of subscription music services and streaming music services and services that bring you to services that stream and/or subscribe you, the need for owning a physical copy of an artist’s music is passing into the mist. I heard someone say on TV that our kids and grand-kids will think the fact that we owned music will be insane. My daughter, for example, subscribes to Apple Music. When she wants to hear something, just about anything, she types in an artist or an album title, and wham! She has it. Sometimes to delightful comic effect, such as when we took my six-year-old niece to see the Trolls movie, and upon getting back in the car, my daughter downloaded the soundtrack, so that every song that came out of her “radio” for the duration of the ride was from that movie, much to my niece’s amazement. “Your radio is broken on Trolls!” was her reaction. “This is crazy!”
It is, a little.
I suppose there is a liberating experience in knowing you can listen to whatever you want whenever you want to do it.
But I grew up holding my music in my hands.
Originally, we held big old vinyl record albums, their dark black flesh beautiful to behold, their cover art large and legible, a whopping 12″ x 12″! If there was a lyric sheet insert or liner notes you didn’t need a magnifying glass. New records had a distinctive scent, like new car smell only completely different and for a lot less money.
The first album I ever bought for myself was “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel. It was followed by a couple thousand others. I think the last album I bought was “So” by Peter Gabriel. By then albums were already passé, as the compact disc had arrived.
I have always considered myself something of an audiophile, which is just a nice word for “music snob.” It mattered to me that the music not only was good, but sounded good when I listened to it. To that end, the CD was a godsend. Sound quality was head and shoulders above vinyl, even the special edition discs that were touted as being sonically superior. I actually only sprang for one of those. It was “Abbey Road” by the Beatles, and when I dropped the needle on it I convinced myself that I could tell the difference from my old copy, which had cost me about ten dollars less.
Then I got the CD and realized I’d never really heard the album before.
The first compact disc I ever bought was [gulp] Journey’s greatest hits. I was married by then and was not the sole arbiter of musical taste in the household anymore, so… compromise.
The SECOND CD I bought was “Dark Side of the Moon.” I still have this disc, and whenever we’ve moved and I’ve set up my sound system, this is always the first album that gets played. It’s tradition. Like Benny Goodman. The Journey CD got lost, and has not been replaced.
As so often is the case when one begins to attain a significant collection of years, I tend, in certain areas anyhow, to like things my way. So, I still like compact discs, and I do not subscribe to any music services. I like taking the disc out of the jewel case, or with your more environmentally conscious performers the 100% biodegradable cardboard container, which will decompose one day, leaving the 100% chemical CD behind. I like pulling out the little booklet and straining to read the liner notes and the lyrics.
I liked records even better for everything except the sound. They used to even come with posters sometimes. The aforementioned “Dark Side” had something like fifty of them. I had a copy of “Chicago at Carnegie Hall” that had a poster so huge it covered almost all of one of my bedroom walls. We’ve lost that with CD’s, and no streaming music gives you posters or liner notes or lyrics or even cover art. Well, okay, maybe cover art in a one-inch square rendering on your device’s screen, but dude! It’s not the same.
Sadly, when Kim and I moved into our apartment, after seventeen years in a three-bedroom house, I had to finally let go of my record collection. There was no room to store it at the new place, and although I still own a turntable I don’t really own an honest-to-Pete stereo system anymore. I listen to CD’s in the living room through our Blu-ray player, which gives me the added dimension of surround sound, or in my office on a self-contained RCA stereo that was my mom’s then my bro’s and eventually mine. It has an aux input, but the turntable needs a pre-amp to be heard, so, ultimately, it was a lost cause.
The good news is I gave the entire collection (minus a handful of albums that I just could not let go, two of which are now wall art), to my brother-in-law who does have a sound system which allows him to enjoy them. Sadly, however, he’s sold off, or attempted to sell off, a significant portion of the collection. I didn’t put any stipulations on his ownership of the records, so they’re his to do with as he see fit, but I’ve been to two garage sales where he’s had several hundred offered for sale, and I always want to wrap my arms around them and bring them back home.
But I stay strong.
There is probably something inherently wrong with wanting to possess so much music. My CD collection is far larger than my album collection was. It probably speaks to a deeply ingrained Capitalist running-dog mentality, which while once again in vogue is nonetheless unsavory. There are children in war-torn nations who probably own no more than a handful of CD’s. As my kids used to say when they were little and still functionally illiterate, I have these many:
That’s just the rock music collection. This is the jazz collection:
The classical music collection is currently in six plastic totes waiting for me to build them their own rack.
My daughter’s music collection takes up considerably less real estate. In fact she can fit it in her purse.
As owned music passes into the same mist that claimed the vinyl album [ed. Note: vinyl is making something of a comeback, but in a way that makes my former audiophile snootiness seem boorish, they actually advertise the weight of the album now, as if more grams means better music!] and the remotely-housed digital file becomes the gold standard, I wonder what will become of the music I’ve collected when I pass, in two hundred years. Will my kids have to go to garage sales and thrift stores to locate a CD player in order to listen? Or will they just rent a couple of dumpsters and toss them?
I think at my funeral I’m going to be a pain in the rear and request that someone track down a high-quality turntable, an ass-kicking amplifier, and a set of gigantic, liquid-cooled speakers, and play a record over my lifeless hulk. And since, technically, it will be the first music played at my new home, it will have to be “Dark Side of the Moon.”
Since our first post with Mr. Science, we’ve received sevens of email questions, snail mail questions, and questions written using words cut out of magazines, glued onto napkins from Denny’s and tied to bricks, much like the one shown here, which were then thrown through our expensive plate glass windows. Out of excitement over the enthusiastic response, mixed with a healthy dose of fear, we’ve decided to answer a couple.
Dear Mr. Science,
My brother says babies come from the stork, but I believe they are the product of sexual reproduction. Who’s right?
You’re both wrong. Babies come from Overstock.com.
Dear Mr. Science,
I recently watched a giraffe cam on the internet for, like, three months waiting for some stupid giraffe to have a baby before I gave up on the whole thing. Did she ever drop her kid or what?
Bored With Giraffes Forever
I believe you’re referring to April the Giraffe, who thrilled millions with months of not having a baby. To answer your question, it all turned out very awkwardly, as she finally had to fess up to her alleged “baby-daddy” that the whole thing was a ploy to keep him from moving to Milwaukee. She had to return all the shower gifts as well.
Delivering the hard facts,
And this final, brick-borne query:
Yo, Mr. Science,
If a train is traveling west at 75 mph, and another train is traveling east on the same track at 80 mph, how much money will you pay me to make sure you’re not tied to the tracks at the exact point where they meet in a fiery collision?
Doctors across the country are calling for a re-think of current government policies, in terms of allowing medical research on medical cannabis, as elderly patients see dramatic results to treat pain.
Recently NBC News visited a “senior living facility” (i.e. reefer flop house), where correspondent Harry Smith interviewed 95-year-old Edith “Burner” Hepwilder. Below is an excerpt from the interview, which presents the unedited conversation, as opposed to what was shown on television:
Harry Smith: Do you feel any benefits from the medical marijuana?
Edith Hepwilder: It’s reduced my pain, and I’m more relaxed.
HS: I see, that’s very good. Have you noticed anything else?
EH: Yes. I’m hungry all the damn time. If there is a box of Bugles in the room, I need it in me. Immediately. Pizza too. Slab after greasy slab. You don’t have any on you, do ya?
HS: Um. No, but I could order some.
EH: Hell yeah. [Turns to orderly] Tyrone, lend a bitch your cell phone. [Hands phone to Harry]. Pies Guys is the best. Call them. Get the Deluxe. It will change your life.
[Harry gets on the phone, orders a pie, and returns the phone to orderly].
EH: We should blaze up before it gets here. [Reaches into knit bag hanging from her wheelchair and extracts a bong shaped like a snarling dragon]. This is Nidhogg. Don’t worry he doesn’t bite. [Lights bong, takes long, long hit, then passes it to Harry].
HS: Has anything else changed for you since you’ve begun your treatment?
EH: I listen to the Dead a lot more.
HS: The Grateful Dead?
EH: Day. And. Night. Every damn day. [Turns to orderly] Tyrone! My tunes! [Orderly points remote at the stereo. “Mars Hotel” begins playing.]
HS: Have you noticed any side effects at all?
EH: Not really, except I can smell colors now. Does that count?
HS: It might. I’m not a doctor.
EH: [Singing] I’m Uncle Sam, that’s who I am, been hiding out in a rock and roll band.
HS: Mrs. Hepwilder…
EH: Call me “Burner.” Everyone does. [Points to bong]. You gonna hit that? Otherwise, pass it back, Bogart.
HS: Burner, how do you feel about the federal restrictions on the use of marijuana.
EH: Fuck the man! Goddamn Nixon!
HS: Um, Mrs. Hep… Burner, Nixon’s been dead since 1994.
EH: Good! Goddamn narc punk bitch! He’d still be alive if he’d been hittin’ this! [Lights bong, takes even longer hit than the first time].
HS: So is it fair to say you favor less regulation?
EH: [Hear’s knock at the door] I favor some slabs! Tyrone! Pizza’s here!
HS: This is Harry Smith, reporting from Burner Hepwilder’s room.