Sunday, October 16, 2005

tough cookies

Extra special super prizes for the best solution to this sticky situation:

How do you tell a man wearing a sidearm and cowboy boots that his fly is down?
[here's a hint: yes yes all, to the beat y'all.]


My bookcase is falling apart. Currently, the contents of the bottommost shelf are squished under what was formerly the shelf above and the contents of two middle shelves are stacked haphazardly in front of the case. The top two shelves are still intact, but sag ominously under what must be immense weight.

There are books, of course. Odd books with stupid titles and only so-so content, books that are really not worth mentioning. Books that, if they're not overt fiction, might be wrong. There's a picture frame (no picture in it), a sheaf of random snapshots--not even of people, just a backyard and a small tree-lined square and maybe a dog--and one of those squishy, squiddish kush balls that were ubiquitous sometime not long ago. Those green tentacles are crusted with dust and detrius just like a 10-year old sea anenome stuck to the bottom of the ocean would be. A can of Super Silly String, green. An empty tin that still reeks of the breathtakingly strong peppermint chewing gum it once held. [There might be a couple of green stems beneath the paper liner inside.] Incense.

Then there are the toys, my favorite part! There's Batman [Would you like to ride with Batman?] and the green alien Frank and the puppy dog and the bunny rabbit and another kush ball that's really a cute little duckie. He's held by Ahnold, the pighead-wearing, chainsaw-wielding naked bad guy from Manhunt, who is standing next to the panama hat-sporting floatie toy from Erin, Bruce. It's mainly because of Bruce and Ahnold you can't see the top of the closet over the bookcase. Below those guys and the Halloween Monster are some HotWheels and some Disney characters and The Angry Nun facing off with the Happy Valentine Squeeze Toy [You're gorgeous!] vs. Hingey the Anime Toy and his Menacing Dead BiC Lighter Squad.

The outer faces of the bookcase are stickered. It's sporadic for the most part, but a concentrated effort at covering the entire outer area is hinted at by the upper right side, which is thrashed with juxtaposed black, white, and red stickers. Lower parts of the outside still display my pathetic efforts to prevent the inevitable--brown packing tape wraps around the sides, disappearing to the back and conspicuously hacked over the front shelf faces. The whole thing has a bowlegged look, and cants to the right.

What happened was the back fell out. My one room apartment has a hidden secret compartment behind my bookcase. It's a linen closet, I guess, but doesn't have any shelves installed. It's really shallow, too, and kind of narrow. With a bit more depth it'd be the perfect place to stash my TV. As it is I had no idea what to do with it, so I covered it up. I remember thinking about The Cask of Amantillado and suffocating screaming/laughing dust bunnies when I moved my bookcase in front of it. The bookcase is a piece of crap, one of those cheap jobs where the back is flimsy particleboard tacked to a tenuously doweled frame. Without solid wall behind it, the back gave way a bit each time I rearranged things, or tried to fit more books on each shelf.

Once that started happening, it was just a matter of time. The backing didn't just keep books and innocent toys from plummeting down into my hidden secret linen closet/dustbunny graveyard; it gave the whole case stability as long as it was tacked to all four sides. Over the course of the past year I've been slowly sorting and organizing the mind-boggling pile of crap that's accumulated on the bottom three shelves of this case. Little did I notice that each time I straightened my things, I nudged the whole apparatus closer to destruction.

Finally, last week, I went for broke. The whole thing was gonna look straight, books all lined up, Important Folders neatly arranged, I just had a little bit left to organize. It was then, just as I was finishing, that the house of cards came down. The third shelf crashed down, snapping cheap plastic L's into the air at an eye-deadly velocity and triggering an avalanche of shelves. The bottom half collapsed, burying me under piles of crap--pure crap--and clouds of dust.

And that's basically where I stand. I'm working up the resolve to move everything that didn't fall off of the shelves and scrap the case alltogether. I keep thinking I'd be better off with some bricks and lumber in the secret hidden linen compartment, but I can't bear to give up this case. Those stickers! those carefully arranged characters! those slowly sentinent massive piles of bunnydust cadavers! Plus, I think a pack of oreos fell behind the case at one point early 2003, and I'm not eager to see what's made of 'em. In the end it might be a sneaking suspicion that a portal to Narnia will open up in my linen closet that makes me move the damn thing.

Truly, everybody's living quarters should come with super-secret hidden linen closet escape routes guarded by gnarled figurines and dust-urchin bunny corpses. They're way better than plasma.

Currently Listening:
The Ephiphany of Glenn Jones
By John Fahey & Cul De Sac

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