Leon had taken his shirt off. 

He’d heard all the great moral and philosophical movements of history had begun that way—that in fact a movement could not withstand the usual karmic chaos if ushered into existence with a covered torso. 

So three minutes earlier, Leon had quickly but carefully unbuttoned his blue short-sleeve oxford and lain it on a nearby park bench, then fought his way out of a stained grey t-shirt. A squirrel eyed him occasionally amid its Autumn foraging, but a shrub of chickadees was in thrall. 

It was a promising beginning. 

03:34 pm: servileflatterer



We met a Zamboni driver at the Florida Room. Young, dumpy and evidently well into the night’s drinks, he was sitting next to us at the curving bar, right along the mirrored wall that people used to almost walk into before they hung signs there. Cole was the Zamboni driver’s name, and he won me over with a tale about the Canadian border patrol taking exception to a Zamboni driver having a tattoo that involved fire, as Cole does. I wrote the exact quote down somewhere, but don’t know what happened to the paper. Who wouldn’t love that notion, though — of Canadians challenging any American who might be ridiculing or denigrating the Zamboni, on the verge of refusing entry for the perceived profaning of its purpose? 

In reality, the proper operation of a Zamboni seemed to be relatively straight-forward, once you got the hang of it. Cole has been the principal driver at the rink in the middle of the mall for the last six years, he said, and over that time has become Oregon’s most-expert Zamboni practitioner. He told of an employment offer from the local minor-league hockey team — what we had supposed must be the Big Leagues as far as local Zamboni opportunities go — but said he’d turned the job down with no small amount of indignation. The pay was nearly non-existent, Cole said. They’d wanted to give him season tickets, which he already had. I asked him about a new interest in ice sports I could see being borne of his vocation, and he confirmed that he now looked on figure skating or curling with fresh and enthusiastic set of eyes — eyes unjaundiced by the relative tedium of those activities. He doesn’t even pay that much attention to the action, he said. He’s looking at the ice. 

We talked about the curling club that used to use the mall rink after hours, and how Cole would drink beers with them. We talked about Kristi Yamaguchi. All the while, Cole was getting more drunk, slurring tales of his exploits, but we brought him along to the fourth bar, anyway the always-empty karaoke spot a ways north. 

Cole sang the Beatles and Bowie and fell asleep at our table around last call. I bought him a burrito and he gave us passes to the ice rink. I wish him well.

12:15 pm: servileflatterer1 note

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03:31 pm: servileflatterer833 notes

Places we might’ve camped, had we camped

Lower Falls, Lewis River, Washington State

Those falls, which some government body or weekend woodsman or combination of the two named Lower Falls, have been better named. They are merely a sad example of the baffling mundanity that follows civil process.

They were called the “Rough Pools” around 1810, when an encampment of Finnish settlers dwelt briefly nearby. “Rough Pools.”

It is an overlooked facet of waterfalls that they impart distinct characteristics on the places they land. For Finns — who learn in their frigid homeland to fear stray patches of water; who get used to losing classmates in early grade school to the many hidden, icy sloughs that pock the Finnish countryside; who come to imagine how little Inka’s lungs seized when she hit the water, her new roughspun shawl billowing about and strangling her movements — the collecting water is given precedence. 

What maps refer to as the “Lower Falls” roil  with gorgeous efficiency, the ample breadth of the Lewis breaching a cliff at 12 distinct points during low water season. Up to 17 during the Spring snow melt. All of which lends a churning, boiling cauldron aspect to the pools below, the rock-rimmed “Rough Pools.”

Had we camped here, I’d have insisted on calling them that. Never a walk to the falls but a trek to the pools. We’d have drunk silty, bitter, redemptive coffee at dawn — still half-drunk — plotting fresh ways to view them. Maybe just forgotten ways, not attempted since they were “pools,” a word uttered with the reverence of a dead friend.

09:06 pm: servileflatterer

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10:27 pm: servileflatterer18,961 notes


I used to think cobwebs were just dust — tiny motes somehow cohered linear, spanning wall to window sill, crown molding to light fixture. For more than a quarter century, I thought this. I am 29, and I estimate that it was only in the last six to eight months that I realized cobwebs are not just dust, they are tales of lives lived, webs robbed of their adhesive and reason to be, abandoned for some other sill or brighter light fixtures and who could say why? Yes, there’s dust involved, but dust is involved in everything. Dust wins, eventually. Inexorable dust. 

But as I say it was only in the last six months or so that I realized cobwebs are greater than dust. As I say, I now see cobwebs as stories, though they are mostly stories I figure I can’t understand all the way. I’m not going to go anthropomorphizing some spider, here, and tell about how it wasn’t content in its corner in the attic and went onto bigger things. Who knows what spiders are thinking?

I will tell you, though, about my shower. It is in the lower-floor bathroom, one of those showers set in a clawfoot tub with a curtain all around. An older shower with an antiquated charm, I like to think. All of which means when you’re scrubbing and thinking and just in general enjoying the hard, hot spray, one of the places your eyes get drawn is the ceiling. I very frequently am looking up in the shower. Not that the ceiling is all that interesting compared to the creamy, slightly mildewy expanse of plastic curtain all around, it’s just my nature. And late last year, for what I would say was over a week — maybe closer to two — there was a spider up there.

In Oregon, the spiders are mostly fat and black. Even the ones in your house are big. You deal with it. But this one was different — small and very light brown, almost transparent, with very long, very spindly legs. It was non-threatening in appearance compared to the fat black ones, so I let it be. I saw no purpose in splashing it or spitting a hard, focused jet of water to dislodge it from the corner. I just watched. Once or twice I blew air at it so see if it moved. It did.

But I also wondered, all this time, about the small spider’s prospects in that particular expanse of wall and ceiling. I’ve no notion what a spider like that eats, but it would have to be tiny and I imagine it would have to be an insect of sorts, and I just didn’t see this being a high-traffic area for insects. Quite possibly I’m deluded as to the cleanliness of my home. 

Anyway, I showered and watched as the days progressed and still the spider sat, occasionally moving until the day it didn’t. One day he was simply dead. And, again, without anthropomorphizing here or trying to be cheesy, I will relate to you that I very seriously considered this a metaphor for life, and for my current existence. Probably everyone’s. 

Another thing about cobwebs I find intriguing is they’re never actually webs. The structure has broken down over weeks and months, and there is always just one stalwart strand remaining. One remnant of a past life so lovingly crafted it refuses to abate, even when abandoned. 

04:58 pm: servileflatterer1 note


And everything you’ve ever felt is relatable, and potentially important if you can isolate it and render it palatable to your fellow man. That’s why people get to be voices of generations — because they are able to make distinct the things which everyone else feels but doesn’t really notice or pay attention to. 

Perhaps it’s a matter of training yourself to think a different way. Maybe it’s something you are born with — a gift. Probably it’s a little of both. 

What are you doing right now? How are you feeling about it? 

You are on the internet, intermittently looking over articles and commentary that, in some small sense, could be considered productive in that you believe they are contributing to your overall mastery of a certain subject, knowledge of the idiomatic nuances of a certain subculture or understanding of an important world event. You are priming the pump, you fancy. Making the bed for serendipity. 

But this is a small portion of what you are doing right now. You are obsessively and pointlessly wandering through the various-shaped doors of facebook — deeper into faraway sites and Russian swordfighting videos, or into the profile pictures of putatively attractive strangers, or to obsess over the relative — compared to you — success of much-loathed former high school classmates. In addition, you are looking at twitter. Just sort of looking. Your e-mail inbox has no “new” messages, but you want to take a look at the pithy missive you just sent to an old friend. That was clever. And now Amazon is having a sale. 

You feel conflicted about what you are doing, and know you’ll feel vaguely depressed when, looking up from the abyss, you realize you’ve done this all day. It’s time to shower, to get food, to meet a significant other or watch a movie or grab drinks. The time for productivity is reasonably passed. You can hardly be expected to do anything at this point in time, and you mourn the precious minutes and seconds and hours you’ve wasted on nothing today. There is always tomorrow, and tomorrow things will change. 

Perhaps not everyone feels like this, but the majority of them do. Figure out a way to communicate it to them in a way that’s interesting, maybe funny, and people will appreciate this. Do this everyday, perhaps sometimes in video form and sometimes in the form of drawings, but also in a mixture of short-form and long-form posts, and you will have a popular blog. Do it long and hard enough and you will have a book. Make yourself relatable; the world wants a piece of you. 

They just want to know you’re like them. They want to know what they’re like. Who will define all these people if not you? 

02:48 pm: servileflatterer1 note

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Bookshelf Wallpaper

And now I’m a wallpaper person.


Bookshelf Wallpaper

And now I’m a wallpaper person.

03:05 pm: servileflatterer496 notes


My go-to fall asleep thought scenario is as follows: I can teleport.

I can teleport as much as I want without any loss of physical energy. It is a reflexive mind ability. I am not restrained in the places I can teleport. I am able to teleport into space, though stellar exploration rarely enters into the scenario. At most I might teleport myself to the moon or something for a split second to cool off on a hot day. Seems like it would work. I have the ability, never truly defined or hashed out, to foresee where I’m teleporting, so that I’ll never end up inside a wall or tree or person. In fact, this innate ability is so fine tuned, it almost has a mind of its own, as if I was telling a computer: “Teleport me to that ski resort in Italy I liked.” The computer would do all the presumable triangulating necessary, and might even contrive to make sure I teleported into an out-of-the-way sort of alcove, so that people wouldn’t know of my ability and I could continue living a normal (but superior) existence among my compatriots. That’s the type of thing my mind would be able to do for me.

The possibilities are very near limitless. Of course there are the fantasies involving bank vaults, but someone with my ability could just as easily make vast sums of money on the up-and-up. Transporting valuable objects or documents for the idiosyncratic wealthy, for instance, or assassinating difficult and brutal heads of state (” the up-and-up” being, as always, a relative term). It would be impossible to arrest or detain me, absent a lobotomy. Of course I’d be susceptible to sniper fire. I could live anywhere I pleased. The cheapest, shittiest home in any backwater would do fine, because what’s outside the door doesn’t matter. I can be in New York or Paris or Buenos Aires instantaneously. The savings on gasoline/cab fair/air fare/public transit frustrations alone are staggering. 

Of course, there is the thorny specter of obesity. A man possessing, as I do, the ability to teleport wherever he pleases has no real need to walk, even. There would need to be discipline, some commitment to exertion, and I’m not convinced I could bring that off. Heart disease would be my arch nemesis. 

Another thing — and this sometimes feels like cheating but frequently enters into my bedtime scenarios nonetheless — is that I could probably be clutching or merely touching things and bring them with me. This includes people and largish objects. Again, my mind would have the ability to discern the things I wanted to bring without me explicitly saying anything, and would leave behind the many things I might be touching that weren’t welcome along. This would earn me a great many friends and the admiration of women. We would stay in the world’s finest hotel rooms and no one would know. We would plummet, laughing, into any body of water we pleased, tumbling from an ideal height of ten feet or so, kicking and splashing around for a moment, then popping back to shore. If we were presently concerned about weight, maybe we’d swim back. We would picnic at night on the top of all the world’s great buildings. We would see more of the planet than any other person in history, and this would give us a sense of superiority possibly maddening to peers. Cars are too dangerous; we wouldn’t travel in them. Maybe we’d ride bicycles, though, to stave off the heart disease.

It would never have to be too hot. Life would never have to be anything but gorgeous views and sunshine, though it invariably would. Reality is like that. 

And by the time I come to that conclusion, I’m usually asleep.

03:04 pm: servileflatterer2 notes



“Probably a crab would be filled with a sense of personal outrage if it could hear us class it without ado or apology as a crustacean, and thus dispose of it. ‘I am no such thing,’ it would say; ‘I am MYSELF, MYSELF alone.’”

William James, Varieties of Religious Experience

12:14 pm: servileflatterer6 notes