Category Archives: Graphomania

An Open Letter to the Lab Mouse, Presumably Deceased, Upon Whose Back Scientists First Grew a Human-Looking Ear

earmouseNote: Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency has a section called “Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond.” Many of these are amusing, some less so. But after I read a few, the Muse descended, and, aflame with divine inspiration—the gods whispering in my hearing aids—I wrote my own epistle. In a puzzling lapse in taste, McSweeney’s rejected my letter. Bums! They’re wrong!

Or are they? Since “Open Letters to [Etc.]” is a feature that is unique to McSweeney’s, as far as I know, I can’t shop this around at other publications and prove that editor C— (not his real name) made a grave mistake. Instead, I offer my multitudinous readership a chance to vote on whether, inexplicably, this famous publication blew it. (They did.) Here’s the letter to the earmouse:

Dear Little Friend:

True, we have never met, but I hope you’ll forgive the familiarity, up there in your nest of shavings in that great cage in the sky, where you certainly now reside, the average lifespan of a mouse being only two years.  But as you nibble your eternal supply of unsalted sunflower seeds, I feel as if I could lean over and confide in that human-looking ear on your back.  You would listen.  You’d care.  I say this not merely because you won worldwide sympathy as a hairless rodent who, without signing any consent forms, was caused by scientists to grow a wrestling coach’s cauliflower ear on its back.  The thing is (and I will admit this is selfish), I keep hoping someone will grow a new set of ears for me on some mouse’s back, and I can get rid of my hearing aids. Continue reading

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Filed under Graphomania, Rodents

Women, books, Dr. Tom Dooley, and quality IKEA furnishings

Kid ponders "Before I Sleep: The Last Days of Dr. Tom Dooley" at IKEA furniture store.

Kid ponders “Before I Sleep: The Last Days of Dr. Tom Dooley” at IKEA quality furniture store.

Yesterday we celebrated International Women’s Day by visiting a Swedish store that sells furniture you can crumble into kitty litter in your hands, with a cafe famous for its horse meatballs (or horsemeat balls?) served with lingonberry jam.

Why? Did we go to IKEA, you mean? If the furniture’s so cheap? Because Nonna wanted to, that’s why. And they do sell other stuff. So we got her International Women’s Day present there. Plus, the 99-cent breakfast was free, which means we drove 48 miles round-trip to get $2.97 cents’ worth of food. But there was horse sausage, so it was worth it.

Pictured, the kid drops into narcoleptic state with prop: a copy of Before I Sleep: The Last Days of Dr. Tom Dooley, by James Monahan. It was stuck in a stack of books supporting the base of an IKEA lamp, because it’s cool and stylish and Nordic to place lamps, salt shakers, TVs, gerbil cages, diaper pails, and so forth on books. I was shooting pics of our kid to tweet, as we were suckers for a contest that offered a coupon for a thousand dollars’ worth of furniture you can beat into sawdust against any household surface, pet, or family member.

Tom Dooley. Physician working among Vietnamese and Laotian refugees in the 1950s. Humanitarian. Saint? Spook? Or not? Lord knows. Not the same guy who was supposed to hang down his head and die, but dying young, anyway. He succumbed to cancer in 1961 at 34 years old.

I can feel guilty about anything, so I chose to feel guilty for joining Crümbleables of Stockholm in disrespecting both books and a great humanitarian with my photo-mockery. Tom Dooley would have absolved me, though. I was sure of it. Had a sense of humor. Paused while vaccinating children long enough the crack up over jokes involving the final days of once-famous people.

So instead I felt a little sorry for Dooley biographer James Monahan, even more forgotten than his subject, the book that he wept over, as he wrote it, now sitting on a plank of IKEA shelving that doubles as a hot breakfast cereal (crumble in your hands; add milk, salt, horse grease, and brown sugar; boil), all in order to appeal to the aesthetics of Norsemen who like roasting themselves pink in banyas and whose most famous export is a vodka whose name is a synonym for arbitrary, autocratic, tsarist, despotic, dictatorial, monocratic, tyrannical, arrant, blank, blooming (chiefly British), bodacious, categorical, complete, consummate, cotton-picking, etc., per Merriam-Webster. Absolut, I mean. Is this the eventual fate of all books in the end? To sit on an IKEA surface that might be crushed to talcum powder under their weight? Then again, Monahan’s Dooley book is probably read more often at quality Swedish furniture stores than mine are in the libraries. That made me feel better.

Also, Nonna got two things made of iron. Which you can bend, if you’re Superman, but doesn’t crumble.

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Filed under Books, Graphomania