Did you know that there are ten ways to separate a man's head from his still living body? There are probably a lot more, but I've only tried ten ways so far. They'd probably work for a woman's head too, but I haven't tried with any women. They are:
4.) Circular saw
5.) Piano wire
6.) Wood chipper
7.) Bear trap
As you can tell by the list, I'm prone to both whimsy and nostalgia. What's life without a few laughs? (Boring, that’s what.) However, I'm also into efficiency, progress. We crawled our way out of the muck, spent millennia evolving, and I figure we're either getting better or we're dying. Every day, every decision is an opportunity to step our game up. Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability; carpe the diem by its throat and squeeze until the noises stop.
It's all about the tradeoffs involved, both in life and in my hobby. For example, the piano wire is absolutely silent, but requires a lot of force; the wood chipper is instantaneous, but it sounds like I'm doing exactly what I'm doing. I think I peaked with the bear trap - tweaked just beyond the manufacturer's limits, it took the head clean off with nary more than a clank of metal. Inventive. Beautiful.
The zamboni, however, was a fit of madness. I saw the hockey rink, I heard the pounding in my trunk, and I just thought, "What the hell? This guy only lives once."
Blood's a little more complicated than water, so it doesn't just freeze. It doesn't stay a liquid, either. On the surface of a skating rink, it kind of...well, have you ever seen mercury? They used to let us play with it in class with our bare hands. It's a little bit like that. It's Christmas morning without the green, only noisier because of the screaming.
A lot of folks keep trophies, which is a dumb thing to do. A Polaroid here, a lock of hair there, and pretty soon you're giving a camera your best unstable grin while the press comes up with new ways to say "monster". Instead, I collect coins. I've got a good sized collection, and I even attend some of the trade shows. It's about the most boring hobby you can have.
And it's possible - though I'm not admitting to it - that I'm the proud owner of ten double-headed nickels. That's a funny coincidence, I know. One of those tricks of fate even a novelist couldn’t dream up, because it’d sound too hackneyed.
What makes me do it? Oh, that's a complicated question. What makes a person do anything? Genetic malfunction, childhood trauma, never hugged enough, picked last for basketball; take your pick! I don't think there's one root cause, one underlying issue. Much like the world around us, I think the problem I face is like a hydra - cut one head off, if you'll pardon the pun, and two more spring up. There's just no way to be done with the endless cutting.
Not that I'd want to be, of course.
There's this moment when I'm alone with my new friend. We've just met. We haven't gotten acquainted yet. As far as he knows, this is about his wallet, or his watch. Sorry, phone. Men don't wear watches anymore, they just have phones. That's dumb too. At any rate, that's when I take his measure. Does he fight back? Does he cry? Does he promise me anything I want if I'll let him go? Sometimes I do let them go. They don't see my face, so there's no harm in it. In those moments, I feel like God. Maybe I am.
There's a saying I've adopted. It's sort of a motto. It goes, "Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life." By those standards, I consider myself a man of leisure. However, leisure is a pursuit of its own. If you're going to do something, do it right. Pursue excellence. Reach for the stars. The more you know, etc., etc.
Which brings me to 11. I've been spitballing for a while now, trying to figure out how to top my previous efforts. Oh, that bear trap. It's like a great novel, or a movie - you almost wish you could forget it so you could experience it again for the first time. Everything I've thought of since - except the zamboni - has been derivative, variations on a theme. Did you know I actually thought about a snare? A Wile E. Coyote style snare? Pathetic. I got so frustrated I wanted to rip someone’s head off, which is a Catch-22 if I ever heard one.
However, all this talk about leisure and cartoons has given me an idea. Were you aware of the track record some amusement park rides have for malfunctions? Rollercoasters, especially? It's amazing what can slip under the rug, and what can slip back out again if you know where to look. Or what bolts to loosen. Could be something to look into. Could be.
Maybe it’s time for a vacation, give the brainpan some new surroundings.
Maybe I’ll bring a friend.