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February 28, 2005

Drawn With A Very Fine Camel Hair Brush

We turned the insects loose so that they might live and drove the big four wheeler over to the neighbors to jump on the trampoline. As luck would have it, they were having a large dinner party to which I was not invited. I was wearing a wife-beater t-shirt and blue jeans with the knees torn out. The neighbors on the deck sipping wine in their Sunday finest. I wasn’t sure what day it was. It doesn’t really matter that much when you’re not working. The only thing that really matters is that the garbage men come on Wednesday. Other than that, the days are pretty much the same width, height, and seem to taste alike.

Watching Jennifer play monopoly made me want to kill myself. If she had enough money to buy a property, she’d buy it every time. She never kept a cushion of cash on hand so that she could pay the mortgage if she landed on a property she didn’t own.

“Are you sure you can afford to buy that property, baby??

“Yes sir. It’s two hundred and I have a one and two fifties. See??

I thought about how I flew around the planet collecting military vehicles. I had enough money to pay for them, therefore, I could afford them. I was eating my seed corn.

“OK. Here’s your property. Give me the two hundred dollars.?

Later, Jennifer shivered outdoors in the cold May sun.

“You need to put a jacket on, baby.?

Jennifer is six years old. I still call her “baby? because she’ll always be my baby, no matter how old she gets.

“But I don’t wan’na wear a jacket, daddy.?

“Put a jacket on, angel. You’re making me cold just looking at you.?

She’s as thin as a rail. She doesn’t eat enough to keep a bird alive. You could count her ribs from across the room with the aid of a candle.

Eventually, she hesitated long enough for me to cloak her in a camouflage jacket, and then she was off again, running through the rocky mountain meadows, wildly flailing her butterfly net, maiming butterflies, grasshoppers, and other esoteric insects, known only to the reclusive etymologists.

“Look, daddy. A hummingbird.?

A hummingbird was haunting our feeder.

“What kind of hummingbird is it??

“A Broadtailed Hummingbird.?

“How can you tell??

“Because he whistles when he flies. Can we catch him, daddy??

“You can try.?

Fortunately, she wasn’t able to ensnare the hummingbird, and he escaped with impunity.

I followed along behind her, grateful that our paths intersected on this mountain field in the salad days of summer.

She managed to catch some moths, a grasshopper, and some other insects. I decided that it would be a good chance to instuct her in my most favorite classification system. The taxonomical classification system of which I speak, Michael Foucault made famouse an essay by George Luis Borges in which Borges claims Dr. Franz Kuhn discovered a “certain Chinese encyclopedia? entitled Celestial Empire of Benevolent Knowledge, which stated that all animals can be classified as:

(a) belonging to the Emperor
(b) embalmed
(c) tame
(d) sucking pigs
(e) sirens
(f) fabulous
(g) stray dogs
(h) included in the present classification
(i) frenzied
(j) innumerable
(k) drawn with a very fine camel-hair brush
(l) et cetera
(m) having just broken the water pitcher
(n) that from a long way off look like flies

We decided that everything she caught could safely be classified as those “that from a long way off look like flies?. I was glad she hadn’t caught the hummingbird, because I wasn’t really sure how well a male Broadtailed hummingbird would dovetail with the Borgesian classification.

As we perused the peculiar taxonomy the part about “having just broken the water pitcher? caused me some concern.

“Where’s the glass pitcher we made the Kool-Aid in, baby??

“Over there. We had a little picnic outside.?

“Over there on the concrete??

“Yeah…ummm…Yes sir, I meant.?

We turned the insects loose so that they might live and drove the big four wheeler over to the neighbors to jump on the trampoline. As luck would have it, they were having a large dinner party to which I was not invited. I was wearing a wife-beater t-shirt and blue jeans with the knees torn out. The neighbors on the deck sipping wine in their Sunday finest. I wasn’t sure what day it was. It doesn’t really matter that much when you’re not working. The only thing that really matters is that the garbage men come on Wednesday. Other than that, the days are pretty much the same width, height, and seem to taste alike.

I put Jennifer on the trampoline anyway, and as I sat on my red-neck four-wheeler in my threadbare wife-beater T-shirt, Jennifer’s little girlfriend came running up.

“Look. I lost a tooth!? Jennifer cried.

“A top one or a bottom one?? she replied.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on February 28, 2005 at 8:40 PM

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