For no reason, here’s another peculiar ad. Working through a backlog of scans:


Maybe I'm wrong, but perhaps she wasn't having any movements because she hadn't eaten anything except watercress since 1952.


Column night, with the side bonus of excruciating dental pain from the grinding. Wearing a mouthguard tonight, which helped before. So it’s a bit hard to concentrate, and I’m in a lurid mood. Why am I grinding my teeth? There’s nothing bothering me, aside from the usuals, but everyone has the Usuals. Life is all about the Usuals. I’m not repressing anything. Far from it; every day the Usuals get paraded around like circus animals, with me in the middle cracking the whip. Heel, Simba! No, Jumbo! Is there some deep insidious Unusual lurking in the shadows? Given the range of my anxieties, I can’t imagine what. From small to large I have them covered.

(For what it’s worth, I know it’s grinding and not some flaming molar begging for removal because I had the same thing a year or two ago on the other side.)

So anyway, argh.

Daughter went to get an eye exam today. Needs glasses, for one eye. Wanted a monocle or a patch, but we went with contacts. And here we had a problem: overcoming the human body’s instinctive horror towards putting something in your eye. I’d explained that it was worse when I had contacts in high school; back then they were rigid and huge, and were akin to wearing a piece of Fiestaware on your retina, but that’s cold comfort when A) she couldn’t get it out, no matter how many times she tried to grasp it, and B) couldn’t get it back in. But we’ll try. She insists that she doesn’t need to wear them that much because it’s not as if she needs them; it’s just seeing words six feet away that doesn’t work well, and c’mon, when do I need to read words that far away?

It’s really a miraculous invention, no? Tiny pieces of plastic that restore your vision. And disposable, too. In my day you lost one, it was back to Benson Optical to fork over a wad of cash. I lived in fear they would go up in my eyeball and slice my optic nerve. Hated them, really, which is why I went back to glasses after they’d done their work. (The stiff contacts were supposed to shape my eyeballs, like footbinding.)

While she was getting examined I wandered around the mall to look at construction. Southdale is generally accepted as the first mall, so it’s always a bellwether for how these things are doing, what’s next. It’s been outdated for many years. The teal, my God, the teal. As I was taking pictures a mall employee came over and told me I shouldn’t, and I produced my press badge - not as a magic pass, but just to show “I am legitimate, don’t worry, I am a member of the Behaving Class,” but knew it was insufficient. I should have gone to the office and presented my papers and reasons and had someone come with me, lest I be allowed to take a series of photographs that either facilitated my terrorist plans or, more likely, enabled me to construct an exact replica across the street and drive them out of business. Or it was just a way of keeping all the construction details secret, since mind-sweeping beams over the exits blank out your memories so you can’t recall what you saw.

There was a hallway, and - wow, that’s weird, I can’t remember anything else. I know there was a subtle variation in the color scheme of the new flooring, but it’s completely escaped me.

But we had a chat about the renovations, what they’re planning, what steps are next, and she couldn’t have been been nicer! I lie. She seemed suspicious at most and bored at least with my question and interests, and before you say “why should she have to take time out of her day to talk to you?” she’d been standing by the railing talking with another employee before approaching me, and their chat did not seem particularly urgent.

She said they would be sending out a press release, and I said great, who do I call to get it? She said it would be going to the StarTribune, and she didn’t know who. At this point I got the message, and thought maybe she just doesn’t like me for whatever reason, and fine, fine, it’s mutual, have a nice day.

They have every right to bar photography; it’s private property. If they see a family taking a group photo in a spot where their parents took them forty years ago, they can walk over and shut it down. I get that. I understand. But the woman’s attitude was so off-putting that I walked away thinking oh, I don’t care about this place anymore. Why should I bother to document the overhaul and reconstruction when the company itself can’t be arsed to do anything but throw up a gawdawful generic webpage that doesn’t detail the history of the place, let alone the progress of the renovation?

Finally: what are they so damned afraid of? What do they think we’re doing?

A single new comic cover today. More tomorrow. See you (ouch) around. I’ll be this guy:


That's from the next picture book, by the way. Tooth gum! Yes, that's what I'd want. Not a drop. Something I could chew.




















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