Napoleon III and ‘the stone’.

I am pleased to announce the first in a series of short pieces focussing on famous people through history and their ordeals with kidney stones.

* * *

Cast

– Emperor Napoleon III

– Dr. Henry Conneau, Napoleon’s personal physician.

– Marshall MacMahon, an eccentric fellow, (62 y.o.) quoted as saying, “Typhoid fever is a terrible sickness. Either you die from it or you become an idiot. And I know what I’m talking about, I had it!”

– General Ducrot

Sedan, France. September 1st, 1870.
After being caught and bested by the 3rd Prussian Army at Beaumont, the French Army of Chalons withdrew to Sedan, hoping to rest and resupply there.

Chateau de Sedan, Chamber room’s ante-room (Morning)

MacMahon: I say, one good thing about this turn; bivouacking in a Chateau’s a bit more comfortable than tents.

Ducrot: I would agree with you if we hadn’t spent the entire night sitting in this wretched little room.

[Dr.Conneau enters from the chamber room proper.]

MacMahon: Well Doctor, how is the old boy?

Conneau: No better I’m afraid. The stone moves slowly.

_[Faint moaning emanates from the next room.]_

MacMahon: I say, what’s that?

[Marshall MacMahon, spritely for his age, hops up, whiskers bristling and opens the connecting door but doesn’t look in.]

MacMahon: What are your orders, Emperor?

[Napoleon, still only heard but not seen.]

Napoleon: Oooh Gawwwd… you sort it out.

[MacMahon closes the door.]

MacMahon: Very well then. Where’s my man? Prepare my horse! I’m off to the field.

[MacMahon marches out. Ducrot facepalms.]

Ducrot: When can we expect the Emperor back on his feet?

Conneau: It’s difficult to say. He experiences great pain when passing water and the gravel by all accounts has not yet moved through the kidney organ.

[Several hours pass. Ducrot waits in the anti-chamber. The doctor passes in and out of the room from time to time.
Suddenly much louder wailing and moaning comes form the other room.]

Napoleon: OOOOHHHH! God in heaven have mercy on me!

[Napoleon is heard stumbling about, followed by the sounds of strenuous vomiting and wrenching. Durcot, dismayed, goes to the door, opens it and looks in. Emperor Napoleon III, his breeches down around his knees, is crumpled over the hollow wooden seat that serves as a toilet. The doctor stands beside him, hand on shoulder, looking concerned.
Marshall MacMahon abruptly bursts into the the antechamber, dirty and dishevelled. He is dragging himself on one leg but heads straight for the chamber room door.]

MacMahon: By Jove! What is this devilry, Doctor?

Conneau: The gravel is moving.

Ducrot: What news from the field, Marshall? Good God, look at your leg man. What happened?

MacMahon: Got us from both sides they have, Ducrot. Prong manoeuvre! I don’t like our chances.

Conneau: Marshall, you better let me take a look at that leg.

MacMahon: What this? It’s just a flesh wound.

[The wound is now bleeding steadily.]

MacMahon: However, I do believe I’ll lie down and have a glass of brandy. General Ducrot I’m putting you in charge.

Ducrott & Conneau: [simultaneously] What?

MacMahon: Oh? You like to have a stab at it Doctor?

General Ducrot: We are in a chamber pot, and we’re going to be shit on.

[The wrenching in the other room turns back to moaning. Several minutes later the Prussian Army bursts into the Chateau amid the hysterical wailing of Napoleon III finally passing his stone.]

… and the rest is history.

Mind Control, and colonisation–again

Maybe it’s my conspiracy-fueled mind at work, maybe I’m reading between the lines too much, but when I saw this article, block-quoted here ad infinitum, I began to wonder… could that smart-but-casually dressed Zeta Reticulan standing behind the Federal Treasurer have anything to do with it?

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5455509652/” title=”mind_control by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5175/5455509652_53fe256eb9_o.jpg” width=”285″ height=”192″ alt=”mind_control” /></a>

The Federal Government will use the Budget on Tuesday to outline plans for a major review of Australia’s taxation system.

The 18-month review will look at all aspects of federal, state and local government taxes, other than the GST.

The review team will be led by Treasury head Ken Henry and will include prominent academics and business leaders.

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has told Channel Nine changes are needed to ensure Australia’s economic prosperity into the future.

“We will look at personal taxation, we will look at the transfer payments system, we will look at how that effects individuals, how it affects families, how it affects retirees,” he said.

“We’ll look at–we. will. set aside large amounts of funding in preparation for. . . The Arrival. Vast nitrogen-filled domes will be constructed in the Woomera desert as part of Stage One. A new plant form known as Plankflora will be sewn into the Australian soil to make the air more breathable.

“It will be a comprehensive takeover.”

Mr Swan says the Government is likely to take a series of reforms to the next election.

“Certainly we will go to that election with a–_New Overlord_,” he said.

“I can’t predict what the review might say … I mean the review might say that–_All Hail Zeta Reticulum!_.”

Opposition treasury spokesman Malcolm Turnbull supports the review but has questioned the Government’s move to appoint the supra-intelligent, 2.3m tall praying mantis named Vasscorm, to lead the review team.

He has told ABC TV’s Insiders program the Government’s review cannot be considered independent.

“Vasscorm is a very smart man(tis) and we all respect him, but he is the head of the Treasury and the bureaucratic side of things,” he said.

“One would think that a review of this kind should be independent so this looks like a very in-house and insect controlled review.”

On why easter has some egg in it

One sweet day jesus was crossing the road at the zebra crossing and got mown down by a silver Honda Civic.
The difference between alive and dead, here and there, was really quite distinct. Reflective white paint / dust-covered black-blue gooey stuff. That is, except that actually getting from one to the other took a while.

There he lay, several feet from the curb, all crushed and torn up inside. His back was broked and his lungs were poked. His ribs were smashed and his spleen was mashed. On that day, a child called Billie, took her trike for a ride.

She stopped near the dying jesus and got off. His worldvision was starting to blur and was gaining a purplish butcher’s shop-window hue. One of his eyes had swollen shut, he had blood in his beard and some road debris– wire– had caught in his hair. He’d been lying there half an hour and didn’t have much longer.

“Oh great. I’m saved”, thought jesus. “This kid’ll see me and get help. An ambulance will come.” He quit his slow crawl and stretched a shaking arm up toward the kid. He tried making noise but not much made it past the bile and blood flooding his mouth. It made a bubble.
He was making this effort but because someone had finally found him, he felt like he would be alright.

Billie frolicked about and then sat down on the curb near jesus. She looked at him.
“WANNA PLAY BARBIES?”

She wedged a doll into jesus’ outstretched pain-wracked claw. Billie played, talked and sang to herself.
He expired like that and as he did, a hard-boiled egg, that he was taking home to his mother, slid gently from his other hand and rolled to a stop in the gutter.
Billie picked it up and put it in the pocket of her dress. Later on that day she gave it to a woman who she thought was jesus, because the woman had long hair the same mouse-brown colour as his.

From that day, it has become custom to receive an egg if not from a girl-child, then at least from a girl (or woman) younger than you.

for less than a dollar a day

Dear Pulika,
Sorry I haven’t written sooner but it’s just been a fucking madhouse aroound here of late. As if chistmas wasn’t enough, then my older twin sisters decide to have their weddings on the 9th of Jan! I get to be a bridesmaid but there’s stacks of stuff I have to do for it like get fitted for a dress and mum says that we have to do *2* complete test runs of eating the whole banquet just in case the first one is a fluke. :barfs: I’m so full.
Mum said I could invite a friend because all the reception speaches n junkk will be fully boring so I said to my friend Imogen could come and she’s like she totally freaked coz she’s got a crush on my brother Grant who is a year older than me. I said to Immy like, he likes you but he’s just not that into you.
My brother is a totall pain but sometimes he is ok, like, he did something to the onboard navigation computer dealy in the Toyota Prado so that the talking woman in it so that she says Would you like mme to talk dirty to you? and it said it to mum and she totally freaksvilled and says back to it How is that going to help me get from Chadstone Southland back to Armadale?

Anyhoo the agency said I should tell you a bit about me so here goes.
the most disturbing things that i can think of are scalps, they are disgusting, flakey, porous, smelly, just writing this is making me gag. i also get really sickened when i see drawings of hair follicles. i hate seeing ants clustered together, vomitworthy, and so are things like fish eggs and cell walls, ground beef, things like graph paper makes me sick a lot. the fish eggs on finding nemo were horrifying. my friend was the first to talk to me about this disgust with clustery beasts and sometimes when we’re on the internet, we battle each other by looking up pictures of sick things like chicken pox and fish scales and mushrooms to see who gives up first. she is horrified of birds and the way that their feathers fold over each other and their wrinkly eyes both gross her out, she’s also scared of bald spots, and when it comes to clusters she hates poppy seed clusters the most. she is also throughly disgusted and horrified with the thought of things embedding themselves and she has had horrible dreams about poppy seeds embedding themselves into her arm and then someone scraping the seeds out with a potato peeler. we also get really grossed out by words that sound sick. words like, moist, fineagle, ointment, blithe, just gross sounding words. other things that make us want to puke are stout things, like the sugar pot on the movie the sword and the stone, and the 6 oz soda cans. anything that people try to make miniature so that its “cute” is just really wrong. i get really grossed out when i have to feel fabric that is worn and it has little balls on it, especially sheets, i almost die if i have to sleep in a bed with pilly sheets, it is sick. also people sipping makes my skin crawl along with strings of sticky things, we’re talking pizza cheese that won’t stop stretching, people that pull their gum out of their mouths and spit, spit is the worst, spit that won’t detach, bleck. i have a big problem with eating things, especially turkey, if i think about where they came from before i eat it, with turkey, i think of a dead road kill turkey on the side of the road with its feathers puffed and there’s lice on it and you can see its raised pores and… *barfs* i’m also scared that toilets won’t function correctly… but i think that’s enough confessing for now

In geog class they told us the average temp for addis ababa now is 38 degs. Surfs up dude! Maybe ur a bit little for surfing but boogie boards is kewl too. If its 200km from yor village to the coast then that, like, 2 hrs drive or something as long as theres no traffic jams. LOLLZzz! Addis abiba sounds like adidas. I hope that means you don’t have Adidas becuz Fila rox.

I’m glad I got u as a sponsor kid b/c in the photot the agency gave me you look nice. Braids went out here last year, but I guess you guys will catch up soon. Immy got a boy blecch! from gwatamalla and he has a thing on his face that looks gross..
The OC is gonnna start soo I gotta run! 🙂
laters
Genny

employee of the month

I’m totally turned around on the whole Flight Centre thing. Hung out there twice this week and will probably go back again saturday. Troy (the american) is my man. I walk in there and all these eager faces look to me and say, “can I help you?” and I hold a hand up and say Nah nah, I only want to speak to Troy. But he’s on a call, they say. I’ll wait, I say.
In the middle of my powow with Troy, some guy rings up from Vietnam because Vietnam airlines is trying to screw him for too much money. Troy rang em and sorted it. Then we talked trash about how Vietnam airlines are always trying to do that to people when they just want to get home. Yeah, down at Flight Centre we’re always baggin’ vietnam air except that we call it VA because we don’t have time to say it longer, or if there’s no customers around then it’s “Vi Ai” (Veee Ayyyee) which is fun being stupid.

Something pt.nothing

The Scorpio detective agency company car is a black Leyland P76 with the likeness of a scorpion roughly stenciled in red onto the front-door panels. Digby and Dexter Poindexter are in it. Digby is driving and Dex is talking:
DP: –I mean to say, the Swiss Army? They haven’t been in a war since … never! And what are they going to do if they did get in one? Pull out their knives and uncork your bottle for you? Open your can of baked, beans?

{Beat}

DP: I mean, for Pete’s sake a nail file?
[Digby doesn’t appear to be interested in what Poindexter is saying. He looks bored.]
Dig: Uh most tin-cans have a ring-pull now.

{Beat}

DP: So do you know what this contact looks like?
Dig: No. He’s going to approach us.
DP: Well… I just hope he’s got the information we need.
Dig: I just hope this thing’s catered.
[Cut To-
A large, dimly-lit, pattern-carpeted hall. Paintings and sculpture are spaced out along the walls and spot-lit in glowy golds from distant sources. The gathering of about forty people including Digby and Poindexter is ushered into one area and encouraged to sit on the floor. A man wearing overalls stands before them and starts talking with a slight French accent.

Artiste: Nothing
is forever
let us drift our minds to believing nothing
drift your mind into believing nothing
start repeating in your head, and mind — nothing
now, just be happy and want it to continue
you are nothing
but please don’t be disappointed — sometimes nothing doesn’t even work for me
say in your mind — nothing
people are strange
holding within them, nothing
only now, we are on the threshold of opening another mind and discovering nothing
everything is nothing to you when you truly believe–

Dexter Poindexter: [quietly] Which nothing is he talking about?
Digby: [Also quietly] Nuth-thing
DP: Nuh-thing?
Dig: No. NO – thing
DP: So when he says ‘nothing lasts forever’ he actually means something. Something like, er enegizer batteries?
Dig: No man, just nothing
DP: Like the anti-batteries – or anti-whatever he’s talking about …?
Dig: Batteries is something. Bubonic plague is something. Even dental floss is something. This [Digby motions forward at the performance] is nothing.
DP: I thought this was an art gallery.

[Cut To]
The pundits and critics chatter, mill about in clumpy groups and circulate loosely around past the art. Digby stands by a table with an array of food laid out on it. He has a paper plate in hand and is eating from it in a methodical fashion while visually scanning the crowd. Poindexter stands nearby reading a catalogue.
Digby spots another table with a single plate of biscuits on it. He moves to it, picks one up, mutters ‘anzacs’ to himself and chomps on it. He eats a few more, unaware that the plate is spot-lit in the same way the pieces around the walls are.

From one of the clumps of art-goers a woman notices Digby and screams. Moments later her friends figure out why. A man points at Poindexter and Digby and yells, “Get ’em, Eric!”
A white bunny rabbit hops daintily toward them. Dig and DP momentarily forget that they are about to be harranged by an angry art-mob and instead are grinning dumbly, transfixed by the rabbit.
It reaches Poindexter and starts nipping at his ankle. DP chuckles at first and then says, “ow, he’s biting me”. DP backs up a step or two against the wall, the rabbit hops playfully around his feet and keeps biting him. DP starts yelling, “Ow! ow! ow!”, although doesn’t make any attempt at what would seem to be an easy get away. Digby watches and laughs a bit, still holding his paper plate and eating anzac biscuits.

When people start to move in on them, Digby grabs DP, saying, “Let’s go”.

[Cut To –
Scorpio Headquarters. ]
Vulcan Conray: What!? You’re saying you didn’t make the contact?
[Digby shrugs. DP is sitting on a chair, gingerly pulling down his sock to examine the bites. Conray catches a glimpse of the injury, squints and moves in closer. The bite marks forms letters and numbers.]
Conray: Hello what’s this? 22, J9. Sounds like a Melways [street directory] reference.
DP: So Eric the bunny rabbit was the contact!?
[Digby shrugs]

Total Knee

This ph. no. I’ve got is like a vortex for wrong numbered calls. I return to all kinds of garbled messages. “Penny this is Peter calling from Doikin, your school placement starts tomorrow.” “Penny please call me as soon as you get this message. It’s Peter.” “Is Mr.Lewellyn there?” “Vuh vuhvuh vu vuhvu va vuhvuh n’ vuhvuh, vuvuh?”
“Hello this is Mary from St.John of God ringing for Peter. I was given the message that you handle the deliveries from the Werribee clinic? We’d like to place an order for six knees please. Could you get back to me on ________?”

All random, but as Burroughs said, How random is random?

The first job I got after getting out of high school was with a small business concern here in Geelong. It was called Total Knee and is one of many jobs regrettable enough to leave off today’s resume.
Owned and run by Jimmy G—-, a short, gruff man and in some ways little more than an Italian stereotype. There were some memorable things, like, he’d say he was a beatboxer “and a damn good one too!” but really all he’d do was put his hand over his mouth, cough a bit and clear his throat.
There was also his ‘motorchair the world’ rant, which all of us eventually learned not to argue against or even interrupt once underway. This was back when those motorised chair-things were still relatively rare and expensive. Total Knee was taking them on as a new area of sales but the lion’s share of business came from high-tensile aluminium knee joints, and crutches.
Jimmy would rave on about how one day everyone would be riding in motorised chairs. Ramps everywhere, extending into the sky. Battery recharge stations. The way he saw it, every1’s a winner. The chair manufacturers, the insurance people, ramp builders, people because they didn’t have to walk anymore, and most of all– Total Knee Pty. Ltd.

When things got slow sometimes on a Thursday me n’ a few of the lads would strut down through town wiv a spanner or a bike chain tucked up the sleeve and drum up a bit of business, literally. Thursday being when all the old people come out.
Hey I never said I was no Saint.
(By the by, this is what happens when you put a kid in prep when he’s only 4 and a half, rather than letting him wait for the next year — just because his birthday falls right on mid-year)

At some point I got jack of the knee replacement game and went on to other things. I still see some of the fellas in the mall now and then. They’ll be walking one direction and I’ll be going the other. I nod hello but don’t stop. Some of them don’t recognise me at all anymore.

1. yang
2. the idle mind
3. action
4. guilt
5. pain
6. time
7. max. span of memory tissue
8. pendulum
9. the hidden
10. circular nature
11. yin

First Wednesday of the month is when the Historical Society meets. They always have some guest-speaking old biddy going on and on about some pointless and obscure topic but I like it because they’re all so polite and I always hear something that’s a bit of a cack; the other month one of em says, ‘Now here’s some music to get you in the mood“ except he pronounced it ‘mewd’. Plus I’m by far the youngest there and I like it that way.

The other Wednesday I was sitting in there, 2nd row from the front, same as usual and they’d just turned back on the lights after a series of wacky little films from the mid-1960s doing things like boasting the burgeoning industrial sector of the town (all but gone now) and explaining the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works, ”Them’s those blokes who dig ditches inthey?“
And I sat there for a moment letting some wave of unrequested endorphins flow, probably set off by the large meal I was digesting. I stared into the sun-worn spammy complexion of the mostly bald head sitting in the front row, and the way the thin white-grey hair on it was encouraged to run in ordered, clumpy lines via the use of Brill Cream or some such.

Eventually I got up and started helping put away the chairs. I stood there for a moment in the middle of the theatrette. Then this old boy, squinting slightly comes up to me and says, ”I say do you remember me?“. Me hearing that phrase has always meant it’s time to get the fuck out of Dodge. I started reversing toward the door, hands out and fingers up in a gesture of ‘Hey not me, man’, but a small group of cronies had gathered behind me, one of them putting a foot out and tripping me.

The next thing I know they’re laying into me from all sides. Tan patent-leather Hush Puppies, gleaming darkly varnished hard-wood walking sticks, glass bead-embroided handbags. I balled up but it didn’t help much. There’s several bits I don’t remember, although through an ear filled with blood I did hear the old boy’s muffled voice (presumably to the ambulance guy) ”Took a bit of a tumble down the stairs I’m afraid”. Even in a near-blackout state I thought it interesting that they’d beat me to an inch of my life then see fit to call an ambulance.
I’m sure the injuries look nothing like a fall down stairs but who’s gonna get sus on old people? I suppose I had it coming…

Anyway, I’m in hospital, mending. They have laptops here that you can rent. I didn’t know that.

les classifications en fer et tringles en m�tal brillantes

I don’t know why they did it but the ridge on tin cans has become deeper. It’s bad news for people like me with old-school can-openers because they don’t latch on properly. Night after night I’d stand in my little house, over the sink, struggling with a can and opener. After half an hour I could generally get a knife in there and lever it open enough for most of the stuff to come out.
The other night I got these frightful pains in my torso. I put up with it for about 6 hours, thinking I didn’t want to bother anyone with something that was probably only in my head. Eventually I called the 000, reasoning that having a healthcare card would cover the ambulance ride. But the hospital sent a taxi and I did have to pay for it.

There was a bunch of tests. Gaps in memory. I woke up not hurting and some medico said that they’d recovered metal filings to the volume of half a tin-can’s worth. They asked me if I knew how this could’ve happened. In the heat of the moment I lied and said I’d swallowed parts of a kids’ chemistry set to spite someone. I didn’t want them to think I was too cheap to spring for a new-fangled can opener — and you may indeed come to this conclusion, but at this stage, why would I bother buying any more kitchen stuff?
Anyway, they have laptops you can rent in here, so that’s what I’ve done and this is where I am.

100% happy

Billy supposes that the first defining moment between them and the first moment of clarity within himself about it came while they stood facing each other in a pub, hopping sideways in alternating patterns.
That moment was triggered by the one before it, when a strange little man who looked like a half-strength George Negus somehow tripped and hip-and-shouldered his self on the back of an older woman. Billy didn’t even actually see it but heard the “oof” as air escaped him. And it sounded funny, so Billy smiled.
The next moment he and The Penguin turned toward each other and he could see she also was smiling. He couldn’t see his own smile but he knew there were several shades of darkness between The Penguin’s and his own. She didn’t perceive this, Billy thought.

A milliion thoughts in a millisecond. He looked down to slightly below his own eye-level to that of The Penguin’s. He had always reasoned that it wasn’t that the eyes are the window to the soul, it was just that when looking into someone else’s eyes, it centred–everything else like facial expression and frame became almost subliminal. Like after-image.
As always, The Penguin wore black shirt, pants, shoes. Dark brown hair, feathery with sometimes the illusion of a rainbow sheen to it as if from an oil-slick. Elongated but finely-wired black-coloured glasses frames and dark-brown eyes — in the gloom of the tavern much more could be seen than in day.

That moment Billy received confirmation of a familiarity between them that Billy wishes wasn’t there. Sharing a smile, a silent chuckle, brought about by the misfortunes and patheticicism of others.
Growing up being a freak – adolescence and dealing with the taunts and the ostracism of one’s peers. Some arseholes, Billy thought, said it builds character but he knew first hand that it was mostly a soul-destroyer. He’d hung tuff and got to the other end of the teens with only a battered self-esteem. After that, barring the odd really bad day, it stabilised. He’d never done anything about it.

In that moment of connection, Billy could see that those years had affected The Penguin differently, created a dark and maybe dangerous edge to her. She kept it hidden so well; hidden behind a polished mesh of politeness and the appearance of actually caring. It was as well hidden as his weaknesses. Their sicknesses had already begun to feed one another.

Billy realises that the effects of that causal moment will drag out for years and he wishes he’d never stepped out this night.

true confessions of a gum fiend

Oh god dear reader I’m sorry my proofreading is so shit. I suppose I’m just not one of those people that can do that. I made all kinds of excuses for myself, like my fingers not being good at targeting the keys accurately or being hampered by the size of this little box that I type into but really it’s just me.
If education is the new Church then I thank the local cathedral for not accepting me for their job. I’m no good at it and somehow they had the divine foresight to know it boo-hoo, boohoo, o god thankyou.
The truth is editing and fixing up mistakes, mine or other people’s bores the fuck out of me, and that’s why I don’t do it good.

I have a confession to make. Considering the painful detail in to which I retell the pathetic nothingness of my life on this here website, you’d probably be surprised to know there’s something I haven’t been letting on about for the last 16 or 17 months. Probably shame is why.

I chew gum. Bubble gum because aspartame scars the brain, but that’s another story. Hubba-bubba.
It started off a bit before the end of first semester, last year. In off-campus anchorite mode I’d get out of bed, eat a meagre breakfast then sit down here to write assignments only to find that by 11am I’d be very near to dozing off.

Caffiene? Of course that was always around but it wasn’t having any effect at all anymore. Somehow I got the idea to chew some gum, remembering that the motion of the jaw helped to keep blood flowing through the brain.
It worked. It wasn’t like some hallelujah Praise Be thing, because at that stage I was still smoking and would also duck outside for a fag which kept the blood pressure up. After I gave them up I found I was chewing a lot more.
I joked to some friends who came to visit that I thought my jaw muscles would grow enormous and mishapen, like Popeye. I was secretly very worried about this, but it didn’t happen.
Through the dark dead drag of winter and semester two I countinued with the Hubb-bubba — strawberry, apple, vanilla-cola, even blueberry when I could lay my hands on some.

I’d do stuff like incise it into two parts in my mouth, then chew in stereo so my jaw wouldn’t ache from lop-sidedness. I’d squish it into the gaps between my teeth and drag it through with my tongue. I thiink this is why there is now a visible gap between my top two front teeth, where there never was. I’d blow the odd bubble too, but mostly it was about the chewing.

It got so that one piece wasn’t enough. I’d only start out with one, but a few hours later I’d chuck a second bit in. I’d mix flavours… all kinds of shit.
I’d tell myself it because I didn’t want to get diabetes from all the sugar, but I started taking the gum out of my mouth and putting it back on its little peice of wax paper. This would only be when I had to do something as unavoidable as eating. Then … o the shame … I’d pick up the gum and starting chewing it again. The truth is, these are the bizarre and unhealthy kinds of habits that emerge when something as heinous as a gum-habit goes unchecked.

Things like this spread into my external, social life. I noticed that eventhough I was always at it when I was out, I’d never offer anyone else a piece, ‘If you wanted some, you’d get you own’, I’d think. Sitting on the dead-quiet but rather full (don’t ask; Geelong people are just like that) morning bus out to uni, chewing well-hard, two-day old gum… I’d work it up warm enough to get a bubble on, blow it and CRACK! — it’d pop like a Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band Snare drum, unsettling my dead-eyed peers in the process. It was my way of saying, Fuck You society, Fuck You Geelong, Fuck You Deakin Uni. Sociopathic is what they call it.

There’s this Jerry Seinfeld bit about how it’s basically impossible to chew gum and not look belligerent at the same time. It wasn’t until I saw someone else chewing gum in class that this occurred to me. I chewed in lectures and tutes all the time. No wonder no one approached me to say hello.
Plus there was these things I was totally unaware of, like when I had to say something for more than a sentence or two, I’d actually pop the gum out, wrap it in its little bit of paper and stuff it in my pocket. Then pull it back out ten mintues later.

I’m still chewing, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m chewing right now. I’m conscious of it. I think about it a lot.
Lately I’ve been thinking that, see, I used to have this perception of myself as having a very low threshold of amusement. It means that I can be amused by very small or simple things for an abnormally long time.
But it turns out I’m wrong.

The reality of the situation as I understand it, at this point in time, is that I’ve no idea what bores me and what doesn’t. I’m like one of those freaks who has no sense of pressure-touch in their skin nerves. Put me in a black box, turn me upside down and I wouldn’t know it. It’s like that with me and interest.
I experience no sensation as to whether something is interesting or boring. People can talk me me into thinking something is interesting — and I’ll go along with it — this happens all the time. In fact, there’s undoubtedly many things I’ve done in the past that I’ve thought were interesting but were actually really boring. Hindsight provides no clarity. There is no learning from trial and error. No progress. A flat line all the way out.
This pursuit and you, reader, bore me to death. How can I be sure this isn’t true?

I’m going to take the gum out of my mouth. If oxygen stops getting to my brain and my head falls dead onto the keyboard, then I guess you’ll figure it out. mhn uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuubnj bnm bnmfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffcr