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Anachron 58:36 

Wednesday, Sep 8 1999
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Dreamed I was 58. Older than I am. Woke up and reminded myself I‘m 38. What a relief. Brushed and flossed and spat and got all the way to the kitchen before realizing I’m not 38; I‘m 36. Do the math: By the time I arrive at work, I’ll be 9 -- too young to work in America. Must arrange to have myself kidnapped and taken to the East, where some multinational corporation will “hire” me to make shoes or area rugs. Began longing for the time when I was 58 and asleep. Shower; stop worrying about it.

In the shower, hairs fall out of my head and into the drain trap. Fifty-eight, 36, 9. Morning. Coffee. Get out of the shower. Mirror. I‘m in pretty good shape for someone naked my age in a mirror steamed from the neck up. From the steam line down, I look 28. Or 26. Always looked young for my age. When I was 14, I looked 11. When I was 3, I looked as if I’d never been born. But now I work two jobs and rarely get enough sleep, so I return to the kitchen for coffee before the steam line can rise.

Lightly fermented in a cold French press: last night‘s Peet’s Madura Blend (microwaves do wonders for used coffee). Newspaper. Headlines make no sense. Can‘t remember how to read. Too young. Two years old; drinking coffee, reminiscing about my life at 58, wondering what my business cards will say when I’m 9 and kidnapped into the Malaysian sweatshop.

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At work there‘s a going-away party for an employee who is either retiring or has been fired after either nine years that seemed like seven or six years that seemed like eight. I have two jobs here. Three, actually, if you count how much time I spend trying to decide whether to die sooner of a heart attack (by keeping both jobs) or later of cancer or exposure to the elements (quit one job, lose health insurance, lose apartment, lose mind). If I were 58, I wouldn’t have to worry about it -- I‘d be fired and replaced by a 9-year-old intern.

People at work saying encouraging things. To each other as we eat cake to celebrate the quitting, retiring or firing. You’re only as young as you are. A penny saved is about right. When the tough get tough, the going get going. Early to rise and early to bed makes a man healthy, wealthy and dead. Bleached flour, malted barley flour, thiamine mononitrate, sugar, water, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, nonfat milk, sodium acid pyrophosphate, eggs, dextrose, natural and artificial everything, and so on. Soon the cake is gone and we‘re back at work.

Cake is bad, cake is evil,

If you enjoy it, we’ll make it illegal.

In 1974, I discovered a hair growing in the immediate vicinity of my penis and began to cry. I told my big brother -- a four-year veteran of puberty -- that I was afraid of growing up because most mean people were adults, and I didn‘t want to become something mean. My brother told me not to worry. He said I’d still be me; said even though I‘d look and sound different, I’d still be the same person. I felt a whole lot better after that. For 25 years. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like bananas.

#If you have a Macintosh, open your Extensions folder, turn on Balloon Help and let your arrow hover over the QuickTime™ extension. A balloon appears with the following text: “Time n. A nonspatial continuum in which events occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.” Eric‘s Face Morph (www1.bocklabs.wisc.edu cnotesmultimediamediaqteric2yoda.MOV) demonstrates time’s popular shenanigans by turning some peppy, David Spade--lookin‘, tuxedo-sportin’ chap of perhaps early-20s persuasion into the eminently wise and Ernest Borgnine--lookin‘ Yoda.

#First published in a 1915 issue of Puck -- an American publication known for ripping off stuff from England’s Punch, the original monthly satire broadsheet -- W.E. Hill‘s cartoon “My Wife and My Mother-in-Law” has become a classic optical mindfuck, sometimes used in clinical psychological profiling. The reproduction at http:barus.physics.brown.edupeopleneskovicyoung-old.html beckons, “Young or old woman?” and offers, as ostensible rejoinders, hyperlinks (a) and (b). Depending on your state of mind, you’ll see either a young woman with a lovely, delicate jaw line wearing a chic, dead mink stole, or an old woman with a Richard Edson schnoz wearing a shabby babushka.

#Not far from where I grew up, there‘s a town called Arthur, Illinois. Most of the residents there are Amish. If you thought the Amish -- sort of uncircumcised Hasidim, visually -- tend toward anachronistic tranquility and horses, you might want to check out the Amish Resistance (http:home.earthlink.net%7Edemainznewframe.htm), where terribly written text but enchanting imagery provide whelming evidence of an impending Amish uprising.

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