Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Failure of the Day: HB 1215

Best thing I've heard in ages. Maybe ever.

Get out your checkbooks.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Failure of the Day: Former Life Tourism

I had my first experience with Kaiser today, and I have to say, I am well pleased. The facility is nice and the internist I chose was a real trooper. She managed to keep the smile on her face even as it began to dawn on her what she was in for with me. The look of wild panic that most doctors get in their eyes at around two-thirds of the way through taking my medical history was nicely disguised, and she helped me schedule all the other appointments I would need for my various annual checkups.

I was sadly unable to continue the tradition of only seeing doctors whose first name is James—Kaiser doesn’t have quite so large a list of practitioners as some of the other insurance companies I’ve had, and anyway, it was never that great an idea, especially vis-à-vis gynos. Instead I’m insisting that each doctor see me on a day that I specify, according to my convenience and per my schedule. I had three today and I’ll have four more on May 4. Oh yes, I line them up like Rockettes.

After the GP, I saw my new dentist, a nice enough guy who I chose because of all the choices offered by my dental plan, he had the nicest Web site. As with every other dentist I’ve ever had, he told me that my mouth is a black hole of death, and it’ll take $1,000 of work just to get it ready for the real work I need to have done. On the plus side, one can watch TV during one’s dental procedure at this place thanks to large monitors hovering over each chair. Oh well, as I always say: It’s the little things…especially when your mouth is full of blood.

Finally, I spent the remainder of my afternoon in the very pit of hell itself, the social security office. They insisted that I had some remaining business with them, and they’ve been pestering me about it for the last five years or so. I am happy to report that I finally was able to resolve it to our mutual satisfaction. Seeing as how even if the social security administration still exists in 25 years, I will certainly never retire, so I look forward to never having to deal with that loathsome, soul-annihilating place ever again.

Thus concluded my visit to the sights, sounds, and sensations of my life circa 1995. And not a moment too soon.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Failure of the Day: Me, Again

Where I went wrong, probably, was in trying to write a love poem about the trains. It’s clear from the winners that what they were really after was a love poem more or less near the trains.

And I don’t suppose it helped that my poem was pretty sexual in its about-a-train-ness. Or that I thought it would be fun to write the world’s only train sex poem that didn’t use any phallic imagery at all. No, I don’t guess any of those things helped.

Here’s my poem:


It’s coming:
The press of air that raises my flesh,
That rushing throat,
The sound that swallows all sound.

It comes in the shudder that passes
From the wet ground to my ready
Skin, pressed hard against the pavement,
Strong enough to worry my balance

Big enough to fill its roiling path
With the culmination of its presence;
I am held in the mouth of that power
Hastening, trying to catch it.

I press the penny of my heart to the rail
And wait.

And OK, it’s bit stunted (there was a 100-word limit) and it slips into sentimentalism, to say nothing of a strange fastness/slowness thing at the end, but overall, it’s an OK poem I thought. But then again, I also thought there couldn’t possibly be more than a dozen entries—who reads the Caltrain Web site anyway?—and there were over 300, mostly, I understand, from schoolchildren. Which I don’t guess helped my poem seem any less like a sex-with-a-train poem. Oh well. No free dinner on a boat for us.

Anyway, the winners.