Thursday, April 29, 2004

ole ritin of buddy don:
furst chaptur of that novel name of crap notes

whenever me n emily wuz thankin bout whut we wuz a'gone do once we gut back home frum west germany, twuz all bout her needin to finish her masters. i dint know whut kinda job ye could git in 1980 with a degree in college skolars with a emfasis on flossofy, so i figgerd twood be bes to study english. the nice thang bout gittin a masters is how they wont ye to read everthang in 'the canon,' witch they mean the wurks of literchur thats been deecided are grate fer sum reason. bein as how i still had the dream of makin my livin by ritin, i figgerd twood be good to study literchur sos i could git a idee bout whut the competishun wuz up to.

i hate to put it thataway, but the plane fack is, all these thangs is competishun. twuz true bout the group, once it gut a'goin n purty much deefined grad skool fer me. i dint real eyes how i had sum add vantages, mosly thangs i dint thank wuz add vantages lack bein older n havin 'wasted' a year in west germany studyin a nuff flossofy to know i dint wonta spend my life trine to be no flossofer or even in havin writ a novel i cunsidderd a failyer on a counta how it dint git published by the one publisher (name of alfred a. knopf) i had sent it to.

one day in that literary research class whenever we wuz larnin bout them computers, sumbidy sed that she had give up on ritin on a counta how she figgerd them that kin rite duz n them that caint teaches ritin. i sed sumthin bout how i figgerd a bidy could do bofem. everbidy sed ifn that wuz true, whar wuz my novel? i ast did that mean they wonted to read it. turnt out they wonted to show how i wuz all talk, but i lugged in a box of paper that wuz the novel at that point n folks wuz amazed by sumthin they hadnt never read.

so whenever the group gut started, i tride ritin stories n rote two or three badns witch i aint even willin to put in here (lease not yet). then sumbidy ast my why dint i read my novel to the group? that turnt out to be a lucky questchun on a counta how it turnt into the thang folks wuz a'cummin back to hear. yer short story has its beginnin, middle n end all in one readin, but yer novel kin leeve folks wontin to hear whut happens nex. so i gut in the habit of readin a chaptur or two ever week n since sumtimes folks wonted to here a lil more, i gut in the habit of being the las to read n fer sum reason, folks figerd this ment i wuz the leader of the group, witch that gut to be trublesum, as i hope to splain by n by.

innywho, i figgerd twood be a lil hepful ifn ye gut a idee whut crap notes wuz lack, so heres the furst chaptur. ye kin see how i wuz yer knowtall undergrad flossofy stoodent, speshly how the beginnin is a sorta pairdy of aristotles metaphysics.

Crap Notes


All men by nature desire to crap. An indication of this is the revulsion we feel when confronted with our own private matter; for even apart from its uselessness we hate it for itself; and above all we hate its smell. For not only when we have great actions to perform in life, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer not having to smell crap (one might say) to almost anything else. The reason is that smelling our personal waste makes us sick and brings to mind what rotting, temporary beings we really are. And we desire to crap so much because we think we can thus rid ourselves of our imperfections, crap included.

At this very moment, in fact, I am sitting on the crapper I habitually use — the one located right outside of the computer room — and I am crapping. While doing so I am making this note. Why in the world, the repulsed reader may wonder, would I do such a thing?

To begin with, I feel the crap has received a bad rap. If my high school biology teacher can be trusted, everyone must crap in order to live. For some reason, however, most everyone acts as if this were not the case. Everyone is embarrassed by having to eliminate waste. It's considered poor taste to discuss the consistency of one's stool or its length or the thoughts which floated through one's mind as one struggled to relieve oneself of one's smelly burden. Why is this so? We all crap. I sometimes wonder if that's all we have in common.

Let me tell you brother: I understand your crap. I, too, am faced with the disgusting task of finding a place for my crap.

The second reason I am making notes while I crap has to do with a strange problem I've noticed about myself. I am becoming constipated with various thoughts, ideas, images and other bits of mental crap. One load in particular begs for its freedom. I suppose it's only natural, but it's something my high school biology teacher never mentioned. I mean, in regard to the better known physical crap, one can understand that the body, having filled itself beyond capacity with various types of food, must eliminate that part of the food that it cannot use. But what happens to the mind after having loaded itself with all kinds of impressions: Shouldn't it have to eliminate the part of those impressions it cannot use?

So I decided to give my mind a place to dump its unwanted load. I further reasoned that, metaphorically speaking, there could be no better time or more fitting mental and physical posture than that I assume while crapping to relax the mental sphincters which tightly hold in the crap of my mental life.

Thus, here I am, straining to relieve my body and my mind of their wastes.

There's a third reason I chose this mode — or should I say, this commode? — for making my notes. Having carefully surveyed the day to day routine in which I am irrevocably stuck, I realize that only during those times I am taking a crap am I truly alone. Only then can I expect any real privacy.

Thinking further about this, I realized something very amazing about the crap. Though it is universally despised and hidden, the act of crapping is universally respected. No matter what may be going on, no matter how important one's presence in a given place at a given time may be, if one needs to crap, one is immediately excused.

Just the other day, for instance, my boss Ralph was hounding me for a budget. Since I once upon a time wrote the program which computes and prints the budget, the responsibility for its execution is mine. Every fall Ralph's department begins generating budgets of every description: budgets which assume further governmental support, budgets which assume a change in administration, budgets which assume an end to governmental support, budgets which use the assumptions of the previous fiscal year, etc. We do all of this so the big bosses can make up their minds how much money we should claim to need to keep this place operating for another year. As Ralph has pointed out many times, if it weren't for work of this petty nature, we wouldn't have any work at all.

At any rate, Ralph had given me the fourth set of final assumptions. He wanted me to plug them into the program and run off another list of expenditures. Unfortunately, however, this set of final assumptions included a new category for which my program was not designed. I had to rewrite a section, punch up the new cards and recompile the program before I could finish.

"You white people all alike," he moaned, "lazy, shif'less, no good."

I'd already stuffed my deck into the card reader before he'd started getting all upset. Nothing I could do would speed the situation up, so I took a convenient out.

"Ralph," I said, "I've got to take a crap."

"Again?" he groaned. "OK . . . I'll see you in a few minutes."

And everything was fine when I got back from the crapper.

The sacred act, the profane result: crapping. Thus I sit, combining the sacred and the profane, spilling my crap into the water and my words onto the page.

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