Das Aha-Erlebnis

I’ve always felt short. If I’m talking to a tall person, I feel short. If I’m talking to someone shorter than I am, I feel about as tall as they are. Generally speaking. Personality matters too — if they have a large personality, I also feel shorter than them, no matter how tall they are.

According to my American driver’s license, long expired, I am 5’11” tall, but I always thought that was fudged upwards a bit — when I originally got that license I was about 5′ 10″, I think, but figured I’d still grow some so added the extra inch.

A few weeks ago, I was at the American Embassy here to renew my daughter’s American passport. The form she filled out asked how tall she was. She asked the clerk for a calculator so we could do the conversion, and the clerk pointed out a thing on the wall? What would you call it, a strip of paper six inches wide with feet and inches marked off. My daughter stood up to it and we knew how tall she was.

For fun I stood up to it and it said I was 6’1″ tall. Minus an inch for my shoes (which are not really that high) and I would be at least 6′ tall.

In an instant, I went from feeling short to feeling, if not tall, at least taller. It was what could be called in German an Aha-Erlebnis. Which could be translated as an epiphany, although I would not be completely happy with that translation. Literally it would translate as “aha-experience”. Something that makes you say, “aha.”

I may have even said, “aha!” Or I may have said, “hey, I’m tall.”

Since then, I’ve been living in a different world. I had always envied people who were six feet tall, and now I am one of them! All thanks to that paper thing on the wall of the American Embassy!

I’m sure it was accurate: surely, the Embassy does not want people putting inaccurate information on their passports. So there is absolutely no need to ever again measure myself. I’m six feet tall. At least. Even taller in the mornings when my hair is standing straight up.


Although Monday, today turned out to be a windfall day off for me, so I won’t be online much. One of the cats injured his left foreleg and has been spending the weekend in the office, and it smells like it, so I’ll be outside in the fresh air today, shopping for new kitty litter boxes and hedgehog food, working out, taking a cello lesson, driving kids here and there, going to my shrink, in general doing all those things one does on a windfall day off.

To demonstrate what a nice pre-autumn day it is here today, here are a few pictures of the flowers growing in front of my house. They are ten feet tall.



Did the Twilight Zone ever do an episode about a guy trapped in a children’s book?

Wait, before I start: guys, go get your prostate checked. Fucking another Ramone just died, of prostate cancer this time. I went a while ago and the doctor did it via ultrasound, no invasion at all. It was almost… I hate to use the word “anticlimactic” but nothing better occurs to me. Anyway. Seriously.

Now, the guy trapped in a children’s book: he comes home and the helianthus patch is growing ten feet high in front of his living room windows, in full bloom and glowing golden in the setting sun. A happy little girl with glittery trinkets in her tangled hair runs out to greet him, dancing in her pyjamas. He forgets his sore back and the story he had wanted to tell about having to unload a vanload of luggage at the airport and how fucked up he is from the pain pills. Instead he eats his food until he’s called out into the dark to watch the antics of a new hedgehog, Little Black Face, son (?) of Black Face. No, wait, LBF is in the left house, this one’s even smaller and in the far right house. Look, he’s tipped over his food dish. Look, he’s climbed underneath. He’s totally manipulating the food dish. It must be the Little Guy. LG is playing with his dish. The man goes back into the house and finishes his food. Cats are snoozing on the kids’ beds. He snuggles with the smaller kid and tells her a story but falls asleep in the middle of it and wakes up and moves to his own bed. In the morning it is reported to him that LG has taken up residence in the far right house, to which the man added extra straw the previous day as LG had been tearing up the newspaper and moving straw and leaves inside for a nest. LG has figured out how to use his food dish as a door, rolling it in front of the entrance to keep others out. LG is the Einstein of hedgehogs.
The man feeds the cats. He looks like he is wearing furry boots, but it’s just cat hair on his suit. He goes outside and calls the tortoise. It responds, climbs out of its new house (deeper, tapered for a greater sense of security, better insulated) and comes over to eat some lettuce and protein pellets.
Tom Waites probably has pets too, the man tells himself.


My absentee ballot arrived in the mail yesterday and boy is it complicated. I’ll sit down eventually, with a pot of coffee, and try to figure the damn thing out, but I can imagine stuff like this is a real barrier for some people. The envelope is full of computer-card type cards, in various colors, with little holes to punch out. And what appear to be several instruction booklets. I just glanced at them last night and quickly shoved them back into the envelope, promising myself to study the material soon when I was less tired.

I’m not sure whether Washington State is a hotly-contested state in the upcoming presidential elections, or not. I have heard that Kerry has pretty good chances there. Just in case, though, I thought I’d announce that I will be taking offers to sell my vote(s) during the next week for the local and national elections.

Small request

My sound card works now, and I bought some speakers yesterday, and I have a fast connection at work. I would appreciate music suggestions, when possible with a URL from which I could download interesting MP3s.

So these two deer walk into the rain

The sky couldn’t decide what it wanted to do this morning. It started out raining at my house, but by the time I got my umbrella packed into the car it had stopped. Then it restarted and rained off and on as I drove to work. The clouds were low and not really serious about raining though and by the outskirts of Vienna it was like, fog or rain? Mist or what? The windshield wipers worked most of the way. When they stopped, all I had to do was wiggle the wiper lever and they’d restart every time.

It was good deer weather and I saw two in a field by the road.

My thoughts on the way in revolved around two or three ideas that I forget now. One thought I remember was looking forward to a pain pill. I don’t take them until I get to work since I consider the Dobl

Never read that little piece of paper in the package your medicine comes in

When I was a boy, I thought “Playboy photographer” would be the perfect job.
More recently, I thought, “guy who builds fun habitats for animals.”
Now I’m thinking “test subject for side-effect studies,” because I’m experiencing just about everything listed on that sheet of warnings that came with my painkillers.
Disorientation? Crankiness? Hornets flying out my ass? Check.
Flatulence? Sorry.

What would your ideal job be?