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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

No Complaints

I wake up, I get a cup of coffee, and I wait for something to tick me off enough to write about it. What will it be today? My coffee is too hot but by the time I’m a paragraph into that essay it will have cooled down to the perfect temperature. I accidentally hit the Caps Lock key and I typed the last sentence in capital letters, but Shakespeare couldn’t weave that into a 500 word essay. Look at that big jerk talking on his cell phone. That used to bother me but now I have a cell phone so it’s OK to talk on a cell phone now. This coffee is excellent, by the way.

I didn’t bother to pick up a newspaper this morning and from where I sit there is no internet connection, so I sit here in blissful ignorance of the horrors of the outside world. Life is pretty good these days, which would be fantastic if I were writing Christian rock ballads or I was a game show hostess, but I am a humor writer and all of the cheeriness around me is conspiring to strangle my muse. It may already be dead—at least for today. This is where I could just say, “Have a nice day,” and sign off, but I’m no quitter. Something will piss me off.

If I had to put my finger on what is most responsible for the good mood I’ve been in I’d have to blame my new piano song book, Best Songs Ever by Hal Leonard publishers. I defy anyone to be in a lousy mood when you are working through a thoroughly cheesy collection of torch songs and lounge lizard classics. I even put a tip jar on my piano and primed the pump by putting in a few bills, so don’t forget to tip the piano man. Sure, the country is going to hell in a hand basket, but when was the last time you heard a good piano arrangement of A Time for Us (the theme from Romeo & Juliet)? Would you rather bitch about the war in Iraq or sing along to Moon River? Just try to be grumpy when you are skipping around all day singing Edelweiss or My Funny Valentine. You might get beat up, but you won’t be pissy.

The usually grim weather this time of year has certainly been nothing to complain about here in Seattle. I had to trade my raincoat for a pair of sunglasses today. Mount Rainier loomed spectacularly large over the Seattle skyline this afternoon. This lack of annoyance is starting to really bug me. I need to start getting in a foul mood or I’ll have to start writing greeting card copy. At the very least I need to wake up hung-over tomorrow morning, because being in a great mood sucks.

Maybe I am still feeling the positive mental effects of visiting a friend who has two kids, ages 6 and 7. Their house is basically a three bedroom toy box with an amazing view of the water. I asked the 6 year old which of his toys was his favorite, which one he would pick over all of the others. He started getting worked up like a first grade Captain Queeg from The Caine Mutiny. “You aren’t going to take my other toys, are you? This is just pretend, right?” I find it hard to be around any kid under the age of about 12 without them doing something that absolutely cracks me up.

For the time being I’ll just have to wait out this phase I’m going through. I’ll find some dreary Chopin dirge to play on the piano instead of peppy show tunes. I’ll steer clear of kids and dogs. Maybe it will rain tomorrow. Things have to get worse; I’m nothing if not an optimist.

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