Secret Pop

Jul 21, 2004

Drug of Choice

I like to call people things that aren't their names. I like to call people things that make no sense. Especially when addressing them in email. I like to call people Pegleg and Daisy and Cuttlefish and Slapstick. Jonny-O. Fruit Loop. Scallywag. Heartbreaker. Snowcap. Handheld. Jawbreaker. Gold Doubloon. Crowbar. Tiger. Linchpin. Latchkey. Vortex. Popsicle. Loverboy. Lawgiver. Patterson...maybe it's something about the unsatisfying dearth of syllables in what most people call themselves. And what of those who shorten their names? I can't get used to the single-syllable. It might as well be a sneeze. I like it when syllables take on a lyrical quality. I like it when your name is something I can sing at you.

I like to call myself things, too. Not so much in name but in title. If you look through old emails of mine, you might find that I professed a post-closing claim to the throne of Cereal Magnate or Purveyor of Teas and Sweets. Or I might have adopted an ad slogan for myself. Something like "good to the last drop," or "4 out of 5 dentists agree." And even more commonly, if I've bothered to take any time at all, there will just be some phrase at the end. "Mary, cold in the shoes," "Mary, up from the ashes," "Mary, to the infinite power," "Mary, shape of a billfold," "Mary, not much of a leprechaun," "Mary, wish I had an elephant," "Mary, a toothbrush a day if necessary." Sometimes they mean things. Sometimes they don't. Mostly, they just point to the fact that I never seem to think "Mary" is enough.

Some of these words occurred to me last week. I was sad and trying not to be. I am only a little sad today. But plenty overwhelmed and the blue that comes from tired and taxed. I worked until 5:30 A.M. for the second night this week. And I'm not where I need to be workwise. I let movies play while I toiled. Good ones. Crap ones. Late in the night, I put the second season of The Office in the DVD player and let that go. And when all the episodes had done, I called it a night.

And I was thirsty in the wee hours, so I drank a Vitamin Water. They're full of sugar, so I haven't been drinking the ones I have in my fridge. But I didn't want any more Diet Coke. So I drank it, and it was delicious. And I awoke this morning with the worst possible headache in the history of headaches. How's that for a sugar high?

My sleeping was done in a typical fitful cadence. And the dreams I had are just beyond reach. Like nearly everything else.

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