Loser's Guide Loser's Guide

 Loser's Guide to Life

Friday, June 16, 2006

One last Thing 

Imagine that you are in the public library one afternoon waiting for your friend, who is engrossed in some business at the circulation desk. Of course, if you're in a library and want to sit down, you have to sit in front of a computer terminal, because there's no other place. Whoever would find a book now must first look at the computer. So you're sitting there and, in order not to look idle, you click on the screen and decide to look up—what? You can't think of anything offhand, so you type in your own name, even though you haven't written anything since your short monograph, Upon the Distinction between the Ashes of the Various Tobaccoes.

Immediately, there on the index screen, you see a name that happens to be the same as yours, distinguished only by the birthdate, some thirty years earlier than yours. In fact, you realize, this man was born in the same year as your father, in addition to having the same first name and middle initial. Well, what a coincidence. So what did he write? *Click*.

You find: ten records. Select one or more results to display records! And they seem to be slim volumes of poetry with fanciful titles. Ha-ha! Imagine your father, an impatient, cigar-chomping, heavy industry kind of guy, doodling lines of poetry on his clipboard.

Back home, a bit later, you head up to the attic to go through what's left of your father's things, that final, irreducible box of stuff that had no value and wouldn't easily fit into a garbage bag. What's in there? Technical manuals and some promising-looking broken parts. Oh, yes, a slim volume of poetry written by your father. Just the one: The Most Useless Thing in the World. Good title. And the first poem is interesting, if a bit demanding. Who knew that Dad was so interested in gnosticism?

But really, who reads poetry these days?


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Watching TV is a good way to tear yourself away from the computer.