So I wake, not awake, merely conscious that I am not sleeping, and I think: well, Warren Beatty isn’t the one who’s not going to get away with rogering. Now I am slightly more awake, and I think: what the hell did that mean? Why did I think of that, and why was it important enough to lodge me from this precious interval of unconsciousness?

I had been awakened very, very early by Gnat, wandering upstairs calling Mom? Mom? But Mom had left very, very, very early to drive somewhere and do some lawyering. She also has a hen party tonight, which means I’m doing one of those sunrise-sundown Daddy days. I look at the clock: oh no. Please no. I beg Gnat to go back to sleep, or hop in with me and snooze a while longer. She’ll have none of it. I get out of bed in a red mood; I am ANGRY. It’s three hours before I take her to her morning camp session, and I can barely stand without falling over in exhaustion. She senses my anger – for that matter, the nightstand and the window shade and possibly the fossilized remains of creatures who once swam the lake that covered much of this region millions of years ago sensed my anger. And it hurt. She sat down on the steps and sobbed, hands over her face. Now I feel like a heel. But not two heels. One heel. I console her, and we go downstairs. I make breakfast, loudly. I serve it with lots of smiles and hugs, feeling like a thorough jerk. Everything's fine now! Except it's not. I cannot wake up. Three cups of coffee: nothing. I looked at the clock - it's a little after seven, and I was up until 1:30 the night before. Must - blame - someome. I blame . . . you! I stayed up late writing a Bleat. Damn ye for your constant patronage! No, that won't do. Blame Tim Allen. I was watching "Joe Somebody," for no other reason than it was shot here in the Twin Cities. Every day I passed the strip mall where he took his martial-arts lesson; I even drove past when they were shooting some exterior scenes. It's odd to see your home town in a movie, and damn if Mpls doesn't look fine. Tim Allen's character calls his little daughter "Nat," which gave me a start. In one scene they had an argument on the stretch of highway I used to take thrice a week to take Gnat to her Nana's. Another scene took place in a parking lot I occupy often - and I smiled, knowing that the master shot was someplace else entirely. I couldn't turn off the TiVo lest I see another scene that looked familiar. Then I realized this was the equivalent of the visiting rock band shout out the name of your main feeder highway; you really can't take it to heart. And I went to bed.

I dreamed of bombs and running away and just before I broke the surface (
mom? mom?) I wondered exactly where my website server was, because if Minneapolis evaporated (mom? Mom?) everything I had ever written or created would be lost, and all that would be left of my life's work (Mom? MOM?) would be the website. Would that be enough?


So we haul ourselves through the morning. Three hours later I drop her off. Back home. I go back to bed. I nap for ten minutes, then realize I’m not napping, so I try again. Then Jasper Dog comes in the room wanting something; he sits on the floor and whines through his nose for ten minutes. Somehow I fall asleep and have bad dreams, culminating in the observation about Warren Beatty. And there’s no getting back to sleep after that one.

Right now it’s about one in the afternoon. I’m still not awake. I feel like a sack of cement, and somehow I have to write a column. After that? Chuck E. Fargin’ Cheese, don’t you know.

To make me feel more like a heel: when I picked up Gnat I told her that I took a little nap, but Jasper woke me up. “Everyone wants to wake up Daddy,” I sighed.

“Because we love you!” she said.

Ah, well. I know she’ll take a nap when we drive to Chuck’s. I can only hope I don’t.

Hours later. It's 4:37 PM. On hold. Did I mention the other day that the DirecTV guy came by and fixed everything in the pouring rain! Bless him. Did I mention that two days later I sat down to watch the other TV, and it COULDN’T FIND THE SATELLITE? Yep. Indeed. I call DirecTV. They send out another Laurel and Fargin’ Harvey team to walk around scratching nuts and noggins. They accomplished two things: they put a huge black mark on the wall leaning around the armoire, and they deduced that the wiring wasn’t the problem. The new receiver was the problem. So I called DirecTV. They sent me a new one – or rather, an old one “refreshed” at the factory. I hooked it up this afternoon.

“Failed to find satellite.”

Oh, Peter H. CROPES I cannot believe this. Call DirecTV. Kindly and patiently explain to the phone operator that I am ready to devote my life to the invention of a machine that locates your satellite and turns them into big chunks of fused metal. Then I guide them down. To your head office. Somewhere between space and your office I outfit them with rabid winged monkeys. I haven’t figured out the monkey part yet.

It's 8:31 PM. Back from Chuck E. Cheese’s. May turn the experience into a column, if I can wake up. Short version: we played a Star Wars vidio game, and tonight Gnat shot down her first TIE fighter. I am so proud.

Here’s a day-brightener. Good Lord. Do not read this if you’re flying any time soon. It’s making the rounds, but again, I don’t know if your rounds are my rounds. (Spats nod: Instapundit.) I tell you, something like this happens on a big scale – lots of planes dropping out of the sky, half the country is going to ask for detention camps. All because we didn't dare delay or inconvenience self-professed bands of Syrian "musicians" because it might suggest we were (gasp) dispositionally suspicious of a dozen Syrians clutching violin cases. Is profiling a good idea? Read the piece, put yourself on that plane before you answer the question.

It makes me wonder why any sane man would run for president in 2004, given what he might face. “Mr. President, New York has suffered an atomic attack.”

“Call the Security Council, and tell them – oh. Right. Is there still a UN?”

“It’s sideways in the river.”

“Hmm. Well. Is the League of Nations still answering the phone? I seem to remember they kept on a skeleton staff. Mostly janitorial. But we’ll have to make do.”

What then? The presidency is not the sort of job for which you volunteer unless you’re willing to do everything that’s necessary. If we lose a city (and what a mild, offhand term for such a horror) there isn’t going to be any debate about getting UN resolutions. At least I hope not. And what do you do then? Attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, hope you can flatten North Korea before they decide the game is up and it’s time to go first, oh, and incidentally the new missiles can hit LA – surprise! Do you pave Syria if they don’t roll over on day two? Damned if I know. I don’t have to know what to do. Not my job. But if you want the job, you have to be willing to open the tubes and order Slim Pickens to the cockpit. It’s always been that way, sure - yet these things have had an odd distant theoretical flavor predicated on an unpredictable escalation. That enemy would nuke us as a last resort, because that meant the end of everything - power, caviar, liquor, nice cars, good dentists, dames, those nice little cigarettes with the gold bands around the filters? The ones that burn evenly, and you can smoke a dozen in an hour without getting tongue fur? Heaven on earth.

Our present enemy will nuke us as soon as they can, because it means heaven, period.

I hate this; God I hate this. But I don’t have any longing for normalcy, as Noonan put it the other day, because normalcy was a delusion, a diaphanous curtain draped over the statue of Mars. Nor do I want a time out, a breather, an operational pause. I want to cut to the chase. I want Iran in the hands of its people and leaning to the West again, I want Lebanon independent of Syrian rule, I want Syria isolated and cowed, Arafat dead and buried in the land of his birth – or Paris, symbolically – and the Saudi Civil War done and over with pragmatists in power. I'd like this all tomorrow please.

Noon is fine, if it works for everyone else.


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c. 1995-2004 j. lileks