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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Eight is Enough, And So Is Everything Else

Several times this week I’ve been finding that, whether you know it or not, often times you get exactly what you need when you need it. That happened to me today.

The day started rough and rainy. I had a headache to match and about as much desire to get out of my bed to go to work as I had to get out of bed for a root canal from a drunk dentist (an image I think I’ve used before in writing, because really, I cannot think of anything more horrifying). Once I did overthrow the comfort-garchy of my bed (yes, it was an undercovers uprising) and make it to a state of “nearly acceptably dressed for public consumption” but left the house anyway, there were hurdles around every corner, including the first one. The street next to my apartment was flooded, so going to get my morning caffeine fix from my favorite lady at McDonald’s drive thru window #2 (
ref. day 6) was out of the question given that blocked route. Then the seeming majority of drivers in the Los Angeles area with whom I was sharing roadways neglected to use their headlights in the rain, which drives me batty.

Then I encountered things like a fire truck doing a U-turn in the middle of a road for kicks, without sirens blaring, by the way, which somehow produced the surprising effect of being more startling than if it had it done so with sirens. And oh yeah, there was also an 18-wheeler backing into a driveway across four lanes of traffic. Adventures, all of them. When it came time to exit the highway, after I finally made it on, I purposely drove away from my office to try to go to the lady at drive thru window #2 of another McDonalds for some coffee. [Don’t tell my original #2 lady that I’m a coffee whore.]

That plan quickly became a choose your own adventure like the kind when you turn to page 64, you run square into the killer, and he kills you and your best friend – adventure over. I found more traffic, and, while still two and a half intersections away, realized that the McDonalds was also on the wrong side of the road and would require even more backwards maneuvering to bring my coffee dream to fruition. Seeing as I was very late for work, and in the wrong lane for feats of daring, I opted for coffee from the Wendy’s in the shopping center (high-crime area ref. day 6) in which I work.
Things were shaping up. No line in the drive thru, I went straight to the talking box.

“Can I get a medium coffee?”
“Medium frosty?’
“No, medium coffee.”
“Oh, we only shrmermmsne hershrmm’mize.”
“HUH?” (that really came out. I was totally bewildered by what had been said)
“We only have coffee in a small size.”
“Ok. That.”

That was like a drug dealer saying, "Sorry, I know you’ve already waited way longer than you usually do before your morning fix, but I’ve only got a few little crack pebbles today, not the rock to which you are accustomed. Do you want that?"
YES I want that. I am addicted.

As I drove around to the next window I thought, Wendy, only having small coffee hurts you and it hurts me. What is your thinking on that one, because I just don’t get it.

If anyone at Wendy’s cares to respond, the crockpot (not a Ray Croc pot, though McDonald’s is mentioned frequently), welcomes your feedback.

I took my small coffee and one cream and lugged myself to my desk, sloshing coffee as I went, feeling the difference in the weight of the cup and wondering if this meager pour would be enough to get me through. Soon though, my luck would change.

Neil Diamond was so depressed when the Dodgers left Brooklyn that his mother bought him a guitar to cheer him up. And the rest is history.

What he needed when he needed it.

Firmly entrenched in my desk space, coffee cup empty, but my caffeine fixation fixed, I learned a new word today. And like most worthwhile things in life, it was all thanks to Neil Diamond. The word was opprobrium. According to, and for those of you who may not already know (I don’t think I’d even heard this used in a sentence before) that is a noun describing:
1. the disgrace or the reproach incurred by conduct considered outrageously shameful; infamy.
2. a cause or object of such disgrace or reproach.

How did this new word connect to Neil Diamond, you ask? I was listening to music online (and yes, I was still using the crappy broken earphones ref. day 6) and reading a description of the career of the featured artist of the song, Neil Diamond. (The song was Heartlight, for the curious). The blurb talked about his stardom – his acclaim as a songwriter, reputation as a showman, and then his divergence into soft songs, which earned him OPPROBRIUM. Based on context clues in the sentence that followed, I knew this strange, big word could not be anything positive.

To the online dictionary I went! And that’s when I learned the word that defined my fear.

I am afraid of earning opprobrium for something I write. Or that such a bit of writing will be my opprobrium. Am I using that correctly? Anyway – that is my problem right there. Fear of opprobrium. And yes, even trying to write sentences using opprobrium and wondering if I’d done so correctly gives me fear of opprobrium. Making a joke about Ray Croc I don’t think anyone will get gives me fear of opprobrium. Knowing that this will be available to be read, even if no one actual ever reads it – F.O.O,
I’ve got some major F.O.O. issues to work through.

But to take a phrase from Spiderman's uncle and weave it into a different tangled web, I suppose that like “with great power comes great responsibility,” so too “with great success comes great opprobrium.” There are far more chances for opprobrium of any scale worth mentioning if there is some actual success mixed in their by which the horrendous stuff worthy of infamy may be compared.

And with that, I should embrace the chance to gain opprobrium by my own merit! Look that F.O.O. right in the eye and say Yes I DO want to watch an animated program about Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney – and others might too!

After all, what brought opprobrium to Neil Diamond brings joy to me, as evidenced by the list of songs on day two. Just imagine the soft songs that would not exist if critics ruled Neil’s day – Soolaimon? Play me? Holly Holy?

What you need when you need it.

The very word for what I am afraid of already exists.


p.s. - At about 2:05 in that video, does anyone else think Chris Noth should request a paternity test?

1 comment:


    maybe paul will join him :)