Ernie at work announced that his wife was expecting their first child, and to celebrate he brought a moist lemon cake and some candy to share with the staff. Everyone gathered round to pat Ernie on the shoulder and give their best wishes to his wife, with the traditional talk about baby names, the expected delivery date, the happy grandparents, etc.

In a couple weeks I'd like to come in with a cake and tell the whole staff with a beaming face that I finally got some girl pregnant! Yay Bill! I sense, however, that the same mood of goodwill and fellowship might not prevail in my case.


From an interview with Steely Dan, in which Walter Becker is asked if anyone has ever misunderstood their lyrics:

Interviewer: Can you remember any favorite misinterpretations, Walter?
Walter: I seem to remember that somebody thought that the line "the sparkle of your china" in Bodhisattva actually said something like, the spark of your vagina.


Gapers and flamers

It must be really boring for drivers to commute to work in Chicago. The average one-way trip is about 33 minutes and the day-to-day routine is so dull that drivers slow down for anything unusual, like a car accident in the lanes headed the opposite direction. I hear about these delays every morning on the local radio traffic reports before I take the train to work.

There is a solution: stage flaming car wrecks along the expressway every quarter mile or so. When these sights become so commonplace that drivers can see 80 different calamities during the 20 mile drive to the office, crashes will no longer be a distraction.

Not only will commuters minimize travel time, but the actors and support staff required to populate and maintain all the car fires and artificial mayhem will decrease the local unemployment rate.

This could provide another decent job for the pyromaniac guy from my high school class. I still don't understand the impulse behind his setting that umbrella on fire but the last I heard, he was working for some town's water department, so maybe he's got his urges all worked out.

Gee, I didn't foresee this post ending there, but there you go.

Lucky charm

Last week I went to see a real estate agent and put down a written offer for a condo, knowing that there were two other people bidding on the same property. The agent was a nice young woman who happened to be a newlywed. She said that she wasn't allowed to tell me what the other bids were; I just had to make my best offer.

In times of uncertainty I think of superstitions or ways to improve my luck: should I have my offer end with a "7"? Should I have worn some lucky article of clothing? I didn't have one.

I met with the agent , filled out the purchase contract with my best offer, signed a bunch of papers, and the whole thing took about half an hour. Then while I was in that neighborhood I stopped at a record store and later picked up a few things at the grocery store. Then I headed home.

As I got back to my apartment door I looked down and saw that my fly was open. Shiny zipper all the way down. It had been like that the whole time I was out with the real estate agent and at the stores. Did she see? She didn't say anything. She didn't act weird, although I didn't know her so I didn't know what it would look like for her to act weird. She seemed very professional.

The next day I found out I had the high bid, I'm getting the condo, and now I know what I need to do the next time I need a burst of good luck.

Hope never dies

"When are you gonna send me a sexy young man?"
-- Overheard at work, spoken by a morbidly obese grandmother of seven talking on the phone


In the past month:

Dad (to my mom): I'm impressed with how organized Bill's place is.

My real estate agent (on viewing my condo for sale): ...I can already tell you're the well-organized type...

My apartment manager (in her office during my application for residence): Whew! William's got it goin' on! Aren't you organized!

It's unnerving to hear three times in a month that I'm so organized because I don't think it's true. Just because I go to apply for an apartment with my papers sorted by subject in a three-ring binder with folders doesn't make me especially organized; that's just common sense. But if that means I've Got It Goin' On, I won't argue. It may be the only time I'll ever be informed that I Had It Going On at a Particular Place and Time.