Words XXI: An Aphoristic Polemic

Aphorism: a pithy observation that contains a general truth

Polemic: a strong verbal attack on someone or something

Aphoristic polemic: Not wearing a mask during a pandemic is as stupid as a Values & Beliefs Committee being chaired by the powers that be.

Pandemic Accomplishments: Week 18

I can now walk on my two new knees. There’s a long way to go, but rehab is in full swing and I’ve been able to get up the two flights of stairs to the roof.

I read John Elder Robinson’s Look Me in the Eye, an autobiography of someone living with Asperger’s Syndrome when there was such diagnosis. I knew I was some kind of misfit, but it was becoming apparent that some of the grown-ups who smiled sweetly and told me how terrible and fucked up I was were complete fuck-ups themselves.

I gained momentum on the writing front, mostly with these blogs, and plan to re-work Baller and Wave That Flag next week. Part three of The Cx Trilogy, Mina, awaits.

I reached Level 1208 of Fishdom, which means that I got through Level 1193, a level where bonus bombs, lightning and dynamite basically offer no help at all. 30+ attempts and I was finally moving on.

Haunted by Her Pandemic Laugh

One thing that will haunt me from the pandemic is the sound of my therapist’s laugh on-line. It is the most awkward thing, blurting, loud and constant.

It was odd because I had hardly noticed it when we met in person. And yet it was a monstrosity over the computer, so much so that I eventually stopped showing up for my sessions. I paid her, but I just couldn’t listen to that fucking laugh any more.

Pandemic Accomplishments: Week 15

It seems like everyone has decided to go outside now that summer has arrived. Not me. This is because of three things:

First, I got both of my knees replaced.

Second, I have reached level 1038 of Fishdom and am in current pursuit of the stripey, starry fish.

Finally, there is still a pandemic going on.

Sounds from a Hospital Room

A machine starts up and then stops. There is a long pause, and then it is there again, gaining power for a moment, stopping again. It continues over and over, unable to reach the critical point, like a fly dying on the window sill, buzzing to life, only to end up on its back, eventually dead. But this fly never stops. A technician checks on it. All seems in working order.

There is the air conditioner too, quietly rattling, surging, like waves coming into each other, briefly chaotic and then together, then spreading out. It is a normal sound, like the talk down the halls and laughter, wheels of a passing gurney, buckets opened, doors closed, indistinct clicks and things dropped. 

And then there are the two notes of another machine, a higher note followed by another an octave below. More is to come. But it never does. There are just these two notes and then silence, the air conditioner, the dying machine, and everything else. Food service is on the way.

The notes again, higher and an octave below, but the concert never starts. The technician edges back into my room. “Lunch?” “Just not hungry. Thank you.”

Train Platform Dream

The platform was crowded, people on their way home for work, a woman with her two girls, one holding a half-eaten apple, a man slouched forward over his phone, three young women talking excitedly to each other, a man walking through, all of them waiting with her, on the platform across the tracks, the local and express, some glancing up into the tunnel, others barely aware they were there, the electronic board stuck at three minutes and then flashing orange. Train Platform DreamAshe closed her eyes. The sound was distant, moving away, echoing out of the tunnel, and then it was above, heavy over the joists, coming through the cement block ceiling and walls. The train was here. It was odd, standing there, as if in a dream, going nowhere, dark and crowded, not scared, not anything, just there. They pushed past one another, some patient, and filled the train. She pressed back against the door to the next car, the cool of metal against her hip, and the train doors closed. It was slow at first, starting, only to lose momentum, starting again, slowing, and then began to gain speed, moving alongside the local train, pulling even, looking back at the people looking at them, and them moving ahead fast, swaying back and forth, clacking over the switches and breaks, flashing past the cement pillars, yellow lights and local stations, until it was almost too fast, and then braking, the woman’s mechanized voice announcing Grand Central, clicking into the station, slowing hard, stopping and the door’s opening for the swell to go out and in. Train Platform DreamShe stayed as she was and watched, the little man dash of the one empty seat, the older woman pause and stand over him, the young women, still there, rotating around their pole, still talking, the young man moving his head side to side with his music, the hand reach in to stop the doors, waiting him and then another, before moving again, deep into the tunnel.

What The Hamptons Is & Isn’t

When people tell you about their weekend in the Hamptons, remember that the truth of it is all traffic…neighbors blaring Katy Perry…the construction next door…as well as 45-minute deli lineups. And, only if they’re lucky, maybe 10 minutes of what they claim.

Overlooked New York: Knickerbocker Post Office

New York native Washington Iriving coined the name Knickerbocker in his 19th Century writing to exemplify the New York character – graceless, indomitable freethinkers – and soon enough the name dotted the city. Overlooked New York: Knickerbocker Post OfficeThe Knickerbocker name is ingrained, especially in the older corners, such as the Knickerbocker Post Office, an old brick building on East Broadway in Chinatown. Overlooked New York: Knickerbocker Post OfficeThe Google reviews on are less than positive: “Lack of Customer Service! wasted my morning!” “Very negative experience with staff” “The package was either lost or stolen in this USPS location.” Overlooked New York: Knickerbocker Post OfficeKnickerbockers one and all.

Lady Smashes Cell With Old-School Receiver

She didn’t look that mad as she turned toward the phone booth, cell phone in hand, and then placed it on the dirty metal grill where the phone books used to be. Lady Smashes Cell With Old-School ReceiverThat’s when she let it have it – one phone on the other – bringing the pay-phone receiver down like a hammer, once and again, until her cell toppled to the ground, appropriately smashed. She wasn’t done. The pay-phone receiver still swinging, useless, she picked up her cell, and walked ahead, muttering, all the way to the corner, and carefully, angrily, shoved it down between the grill of the storm sewer. “Try calling me again! You try that!” Lady Smashes Cell With Old-School ReceiverShe vanished, phone-less, into the subway station.

Overlooked New York: Liberty Park

Liberty Park has recently been opened atop the parking garage immediately south of the 9/11 Memorial in Downtown Manhattan.It has the same design aesthetic as the Chelsea Highline but is much less crowded, although it is also marred by an excessively almost angrily worded memorial, America’s Response Monument.And so, while the crowds of the 9/11 Memorial may not be here, this statue can give the feeling of impending doom