Friday, July 27, 2007

The Long and Short of It

Today being Friday, things were more casual at Peet's; some of us had jobs to go to, notably Jocelyn and Doc (who doesn't practice dentistry any more); Mike had some interviews he had to file, and although a freelancer, that still counts as work. Jerry has an obligation to get his editor the final fifty pages of a novel, but he didn't seem to mind too much; Paul has done his last class until September; Susan, Diana, and Melinda have chores in mind, but they do not count as work; ditto for me, with things I could be doing, should be doing, but free in a Friday free kind of way, and Jim Alexander wears a blue t-shirt which means he is at leisure, possibly even thinking of sneaking in some literature.

Even Dr. Koper, although suited and dapper, is clearly headed for a day of patients as opposed to a day of surgery, and Gregg Newman is looking as though this will be a chemo-less Friday for him, perhaps consultations, but no preparation of cocktails for his patients.

It is a Friday of ease and mischief, a day where the tease is on, the good-natured, easy-with-only-a-slight-edge tease.

But first another latte, the grind today being the mild, slightly fruity Major Dickinson's.

Soon enough, the tease is on me, with suggestions being offered on the word length of my weekly book review. It is the reverse of an eBay auction, the numbers starting around 700 and quickly heading toward 100 from the usual 1250-1500 words. It is a balmy, sunny morning and although I am somewhat sleep deprived, I'm in good form. Perhaps too good. Blown up by my own torpedo, hoist by my own petard, etc, I venture: If you had any originality at all, you'd limit me to a haiku. Five, seven, five. Syllables.

Somehow, the tease has slipped off me as though it were a spray of water on Sally's back, the focus shifted to Paul, who is challenged to teach an entire class without once using the pronoun I, and then to engage in a critical discussion where he cannot use the word genius for twenty minutes.

But I am frozen back with the notion of haiku book reviews and so I neither join the tease on Paul nor climb on board when the subject switches to house painting and the fact that Jim Alexander's painting arm is more articulately muscled than his TV baton arm.

As Jack Benny was wont to say in reflexive moments, I'm thinking, I'm thinking.


Awake, O great whale
To employ thy splendid tail.
Ahab's comeuppance.

The Catcher in the Rye

David Copperfield
Had a great issue of self.
Me, too; kid. Me, too.

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