- The smallest man in the world is twenty-seven inches tall and a little bit.
- The smallest man in the world stands in the hallway outside his 13-year old daughter’s room. He knocks for a while. “Honey?” he says. “Honey?” Sometimes he pretends to be a cat and scratches the door, and meows. “Honey? Would you mind opening up for a minute? Honey?”
- His record for standing at her door is forty years.
- Time moves differently for the smallest man in the world than it used to.
- Like everybody, I know.
- The smallest man in the world has a unique theory of time travel.
- Time travel was eventually developed, is his theory. And ever since, time travel inventors have spent all their time traveling around in time to prevent other inventors from inventing time travel, too, because everyone wants a monopoly on it. And even if they don’t want a monopoly, they have to travel in time anyway, fucking with history, just to keep others from keeping them from inventing it, and as a result all of history is basically one giant war among time travelers, which explains a great deal.
- The smallest man in the world calls it his Red Queen theory of time travel. Copyright Mig Living 2010.
- “Honey?” says the smallest man in the world.
Monthly Archives: October 2010
Due to our morning schedule several days a week, my wife is on her way to work and my daughter upstairs getting her hair nice and flat while I shower downstairs and the cats get into trouble, with the result that a clean but naked male person deals with the cat issues at this time of the day.
I think of you, neighbor, I truly include your peace of mind and sensibilities in my operational equations. If the situation appears likely to require more than a minimal amount of running around, as it did this morning, I am always careful to close the kitchen curtains (with the light off as I do so) in order to avoid subjecting pedestrians, for example, or you there across the street to involuntarily witnessing my activities.
This morning, grey cat made a funny noise outside on the welcome mat, a sort of muffled meow. Since it sounded urgent, and was not his projectile vomiting noise, I let him inside. As he passed me on his way into the kitchen, a shady expression on his face, I noticed a tail sticking out of his mouth.
I did what psychologists advise you to do in these situations and praised him while I turned off the lights, closed the door to prevent the escape of the mouse (because he had set it down and it had darted into the corner beneath the onion and garlic rack thing where the cat couldn’t get to it), closed the curtains and went through the cabinet looking for the proper Tupperware container (small enough to wield easily in tight corners, yet spacious enough to avoid further traumatizing the mouse), finally selecting one of the smaller microwave containers. I also took an unopened issue of the Japan Times from the counter, with which to hold the container closed once I got the mouse inside.
The important thing at this point was preventing the mouse from diving through the air vents in the moulding beneath the refrigerator. Because if it did that, it was home free. It could build a nest beneath our cabinets and have its babies and evolve.
I moved the onion and garlic rack, the mouse began sprinting along the edge of the wall, moving closer and closer to the air vent. The cat batted it around a little. I got the dish over the mouse, slid the newspaper under it, et voila.
Opened the front door, threw mouse in fairly gentle, low arc into the driveway, observed that I was naked on my front porch wearing only a Japan Times and a Tupperware microwave dish, expressed thanks that no children were walking to school yet and went back into the house, where the grey cat was having an existential crisis in the kitchen, which looked like this:
[Picture old grey cat torturing an invisible mouse.]
Oh, wait. Then I got dressed and took Gamma to school, whose hair was now perfect but expressed some dismay at forgetting both her lip gloss and her perfume.
That’s maybe your subconscious telling you that there are more important things than lip gloss and perfume, I said.
Yeah, mascara, she said.
Also, the red cat was playing with a mouse in the back yard.
The smallest man in the world is twenty-nine inches and a little bit.
The smallest man in the world wasn’t always the smallest man in the world. He woke up one morning and suddenly was, because the other smallest man in the world passed away.
Also the smallest man in the world wasn’t always small. He was a normal kid. He was six feet tall, once, as an adult. But then, one day, he woke up noticeably smaller.
Perceptibly smaller, as opposed to imperceptibly smaller. He woke up about a percent smaller. If you’re six feet tall, that’s over half an inch. He woke up five eleven and almost a half. Still an okay height, you think, but enough of a difference to feel it.
The next day, another percent. He was only five eleven, or just under.
The doctors told him he had retrograde enhancement syndrome. He said it sounded like a spam header. The smallest man in the world said, why don’t they just call it “shrinking”?
The specialists said, because “shrinking” isn’t in the book, so the insurance companies don’t cover it. But RES is in the book. Count your blessings.
What was happening was, everything dissolved while he slept, bones and stuff, and then gelled again before he woke up. It was an entropic process, so a little was lost each time. About one percent. Not sleeping didn’t help, either, he tried that. The only difference was he was tired and shrinking.
And now here he was, in specially tailored clothes, twenty nine inches and a little, walking down the street. Otherwise he looked about the same. A little flatter. Kind of pale. Black hair. Sometimes he thought, put on red lipstick and he’d look like Robert Blake in that David Lynch movie.
It was a beautiful fall day. The leaves were golden, there were no dogs or leaf blowers. Just sunshine and blue sky.
Sunshine and blue sky.
The smallest man in the world was also going deaf. He was trying to learn a Marcello sonata for cello before he went deaf or got too small to play the miniature cello he played.
It was kind of a race.
The smallest man in the world figured everyone was in a race of one kind or another.
But at that moment, he was digging the golden leaves, and the blue sky.
The man is in the shower. The girl is in the kitchen. The girl is home sick, second day in a row.
The man finishes his shower and is drying off when he hears the following two things:
- The girl making panicky noises, yelling and stuff.
- Gray cat making a noise like it is trying to yack a knitting needle.
The man has heard these noises before. Noise one means the girl is upset about something. He assumes she is upset about noise two. Noise two means the cat is about to vomit. The man knows he has about one second to throw the cat outside.
The man does the following in less than one second:
- Finishes drying off, more or less, so he doesn’t track water through the house.
- Runs naked into the kitchen and grabs the cat the way you do in this situation, sort of like an automatic rifle that is firing at random.
Then the man runs with the cat to the front door, opens the door and throws the cat outside.
Too bad for the man, though that #1 and #2 used up his second, so when he’s running through the kitchen and entry way naked, holding the cat like a rifle that is firing, the cat is spewing its breakfast on everything. It was not a dignified moment for anyone.
Too bad police weren’t kicking the door in to arrest me, the man tells the girl. Or missionaries knocking at the door.
Waste of a cat.
The man got dressed. Then he cleaned things up.
So I composed some music. You may remember, I asked people here for recordings of them reading their receipts in various languages. It was a composition for soprano, recorded voices and theremin. And cash register. The English title is The Cashier’s Ascension. It is about a cashier who goes to heaven.
The people who organize the composition workshop at the local music school are my heroes. They work hard and, more importantly, accomplish a lot. Imagine how cool it is for kids to have composition demystified, and have their compositions taken seriously and performed no matter what.
The workshop has been going for about five years now, and a selection of compositions from that period were played at the Klangturm in St. Pölten last week. Compositions, I gather it’s a big deal if your composition gets performed more than once. And here we were getting performed for the second time!
The Klangturm also has a facebook page here. And there are photos of the concert here. The one of the guy with the theremin, that’s me. The woman next to me is the soprano who sang for me, and the woman in the yellow jacket is the heroic organizer, Cordula B. (After the concert, she performed with Wolfgang F. who played two turntables, while she played a flute with microphones attached inside and out. It was really fantastic.)
(I generally don’t list people’s names on my blog in case they don’t want to be associated with it, is the thing, google searches and all).
Anyway, so I really did this. I wasn’t just making it up. I still have to check whether a recording was made. It didn’t look like it, though.
I almost didn’t get to play, I was supposed to go to Slovenia on business again.
But then I got to go after all. And I found the place, and we played and I didn’t get tangled up in all my cords and cables. I had two effects pedals (chorus and reverb), and they had power cables as did the theremin, mixer and speaker, etc.
The singer has a really nice voice. She’s quite good. I’m always surprised when she agrees to sing with me.
The piece starts out with cash register peeping (recording) and voices reading receipts in various languages. Most prominent at the beginning is Muireann reading in Irish, and novala in German. And several English voices. And then a big mix of everyone.
And then the recording stops, and it’s just theremin and soprano, going to heaven after suffering and dying. Now and then some weird clicking sounds that result from attenuating a recording of less than one second of a Danish singer saying the “T” sound out to several minutes.
In the beginning, we just stand there for 2 minutes while the recording plays. The audience doesn’t know what’s going to happen. Then, at the end, they’re not sure it’s over. That’s kind of neat.
Then, after the concert, kids come up and ask about the theremin. I feel like Johnny Appleseed Thereminseed. They ask how it works and I say it was invented by accident in 1920 when Lev Theremin tried to make a burglar alarm, and I try to explain about radio waves and antennae and more or less resist saying stuff like, “Well I don’t know how Lydia Kavina does it, I just wave my hands and noise comes out.”
So, anyway. That was that.
A recent visitor to this site (from Redmond, WA) got here via a bing.com search for “fluffier sourdough.”
Until I find out otherwise, I will imagine the following:
“Goddamn it, Melinda.”
“My sourdough’s not fluffy again.”
“At least the crust ain’t hard as a rock this time, Bill.”
“Grr. Also it ain’t baked all the way through.”
“Again. Well, why don’t you Bing it, darling? Look up fluffier sourdough or something.”
“I’ll do just that, dear.”
Something like that.
After all these years, I still look at my stats. Such a masochist.