Our Hero Insty has been singing the praises of Amazon’s non book/CD/DVD aspects, and I have to agree. My wife and I came upon a toaster whose aspect and features pleased us greatly, but yea it was somewhat pricy for a bread-burner. I looked it up on Amazon the other day: two-thirds the price. I bought it. This is like going to the bookstore to buy a hammer. But hey: if it’s a good hammer, and it’s cheap, why not? And next time you need a wrench, you might keep them in mind. Then you learn they sell cars, and milk. Well, why not?

One of Gnat’s friends came over this afternoon for a playdate. The entire panoply of human emotion was manifested in those 120 minutes. Hissy fits, jealousy, the boundless glee of friendship. Let’s paint, kids! Here’s some pictures, here’s some new paints.

I want to use this color, says Gnat’s friend.

I WANT TO USE THAT COLOR, Gnat replied. Note: there are 48 colors. Take child aside for a lesson. When you go to Livvy’s house, she lets you play with her toys, right?

Head shake no.

Oh, right. I’m sure she does. Look at me, Gnat. Look at me, kid. Would you rather have all the colors for yourself and have no friends, or share your colors and have a friend?

She chews that one over for a while; clearly, each position has merits. We return to the Watercolor Staging Era; they paint. I return to troubleshooting my internet connection – earlier in the day I just lost everything, and nothing I did seemed to work. Having eliminated every problem on my end, I broke down and called technical support. The tech said the problem was on their end. Whoa! “It’s so nice to hear you say that!” I said. By now the girls were best of friends again, painting with gusto. I returned to my newspaper.

“Let’s put our hands in the paint and paint the floor,” said her friend. “Again!”

What the – I looked up, and sure enough they were on hands and knees spreading paint on the floor, giggling like – well, little girls define the essence of giggling, so any analogy would be insufficient. You need an old-fashioned steam-whistle in these situations, something that says QUITTIN’ TIME. I delivered a stern lecture, took away the paints, cleaned it all up. They went off to conspire. A few minutes later they returned, contrite: “we’re sorry we put paints on the floor,” said Gnat’s friend. “Yes, daddy, we’re sorry,” said Gnat.

“You’re forgiven,” I said. “But remember, putting paint on the floor, or walls, is a big nokey-dokey.” (Yes, I speak in Rolie Polie Olie lingo. Especially since Gnat has rebounded with Olie in a big way.)


“Can we have the paints now?”

No. So it was dress-up for half an hour, then horsey, then pretending to sleep, then some complex drama interrupted every 90 seconds by the assertion that NO I AM THE MOMMY. Gads. At five Gnat’s friend left, and it was time to make dinner. Broiled salmon, made mashed potatoes, made fishsticks, put out the salad, brewed the coffee. Cleaned the kitchen. Wife arrives just as the salmon’s done. Pour wine, present dinner, switch satellite dish to the Big Band music feed.

It’s a wonderful life. And when dinner’s over I tell my wife that I’m going to walk the dog and smoke a cigar, because if I don’t get out of here right now I will take a baseball bat to the armoire just to work the stress out. She understands. I say that every night.

Anyway. It’s a column night, so I had best turn to the paying work. As usual for Wednesdays: a site update link, which is simply more First Day Covers, and a short piano piece.

I always hated piano recitals; who didn’t? Everyone’s watching. Even worse, everyone’s listening. You couldn’t use your sheet music, which added another element of terror to the event. To this day then second I start recording something I play, all the old flop sweat returns; my fingers get stupid, and what flowed so nicely just a minute ago now comes out sounding mannered and full of inappropriate inflections. This wasn’t the piece I intended to put up – it’s about 17% less banal, so I thought it would be a good introduction to my “compositions.” Musicians in the audience will have a wince-fest if they try to keep the beat. So don’t. It’s called “8:37 PM” because that’s when I wrote it, years ago, at the old house on Girard. There was a little utility room at the top of the stairs, and that’s where the electric piano was stored. You looked out the window when you played, and this tune always reminded me of the fine strong summer sunsets you get in June. So here you go.
Amazon Honor SystemClick Here to PayLearn More
c.. 1995-2004 j. lileks