Amazon Honor System


I’ve made an interesting discovery about the hours of my new job. There’s no quitting time. If I’m going to get comments approved in a timely manner, I have be on this thing from morn until midnight. And that’s fine – like I need an excuse to be on the internet. Oh, but how I ached – ached, I tells you – to expand the concept to, well, buzz in general, because we could have had Neil Justin host a 900 comment thread on “The Sopranos.” People are hating that ending, from what I hear; the best Sopranos message board in the world (probably because the critic is so danged good) is mostly positive, but I think that might be self-selecting; i.e., people who agreed with the critic’s take over the months have visited the site, and those from the less-yakkin’ – more – whackin’ school have gone over to AICN to gibber and zit-pick. As I said last night: the last five minutes were excruciating. I’ve never quite had that experience with a TV show before. My heart was actually pounding. Over what? People entering a diner, interspersed with some very bad parallel parking.


I’m with the school that says he took a pill in the temple, but it doesn’t matter. And that’s what is so remarkable: it doesn’t matter. You can make your own ending, if you wish, and there’s no end of possibilities – none of which end well. For anyone. Not that they might notice, if they manage to avoid specific consequences. A few months ago I said he had to die at the end, because he had to pay; that was before A) I saw all the other ways he could pay, and B) I realized that it couldn’t end like Little Caesar. It was apparent from the start that the entire show would let the air out of the balloon – Tony met the FBI agent, but didn’t flip; AJ got more pathetic but didn’t flip out; the family, previously sent into hiding,  moved back home to find all the mail had been piling up, and Phil turned out not to be unstoppable. If something had blown up, or someone been shot, it would have been exactly what everyone expected. I didn’t expect that ending, and it came like a thunderclap. A black, silent thunderclap. I couldn't get to sleep afterwards; I tossed and spun, thinking about it. And thought about most of the next day.


I ran home to get Gnat from the bus. She brought all her locker stuff home – last year I helped her clean out, and took pictures, and milled about with all the other moms, but this year the kids have their say, and it’s okay if you don’t come. Don’t want to miss the camaraderie of the last day on the bus. In her bag were some journals she’d written this year in class, absolutely precious documents. One was devoted to poetry: they read a poem each week, and illustrated it. She wanted me to read each aloud, so I did. Thirty-six poems in the same meter, after which I got up, looked at the site, decided to post something about the birth of sextuplets in a local hospital, and it came out like this. You can just hear me trying to purge the rhymes. Or not.

At some point she remembered that I’d sent away for a Chatot, a bird with a musical note for a head. It’s her favorite Pokemon after Pikachu and Latios, the latter of which speaks entirely in a high harrowing hoot that haunts my deepest sleep. Well, I checked the mail. Behold, a package from Amazon! and there was great rejoicing. Squeals that loosened the plaster.

She said it seemed a little small, though. I opened it up, and voila:

It's about 3/4" inch tall. Her expression was absolutely bereft. Turns out she had been waiting all these weeks for a 6” plush version. I’d ordered the wrong thing. I pointed to all the Japanese writing on the box – “it’s from Japan!” I said. “The land where the Pokemon are!” She looked at the Chatot, stared at the words on the wing (MADE IN CHINA), nodded and wandered off.

A few minutes later I wondered what she was doing, and found her in the sun porch, quietly sobbing.

Aw, geez. Well, I went back to the computer, found the plush, and ordered it. Overnight shipping was $25. Did I pay it?

Well, no.

Back to work – much to do. Here’s a multi-page Funny Book update; really, really peculiar stuff. See you at the buzz – like, right now. And register! It does a body good.