Saturday, January 13, 2007

Oddments, Part I

I found a copy of The New Yorker in a Ladies' restroom. It was there two days in a row, which constitutes abandonment. If a magazine is in a public restroom two days in a row it's fair game. Bonus: It was the winter fiction issue. I know what you're thinking, but don't worry; I was in the ladies' room for a good reason. I'm a janitor by trade, you see, scrubbing toilets for a living. I tell people I don't mind because the bathrooms I clean are used by conscientious people. There's hardly ever a mess left behind. The worst I usually get is a toilet that was in need of a double-flush. People are impatient.

I like The New Yorker. That probably sounds funny coming from a conservative Christian, but I don't mind. I like making people laugh even more than I like the New Yorker. I enjoy the cartoons very much. Who doesn't? But the best part so far (I'm not finished yet) has been Louise Erdrich's story "Demolition". I keep trying to figure what I like so much about the story. I know the story hangs together well. She actually uses honey to unify it from beginning to climax to end. Not that there is actual honey stuck to the pages 70-81 of The New Yorker. That wouldn't ship well. I fell in love with her closing sentence as well. I don't want to spoil it in case you want to read it so I will say no more. But I recommend the story highly.

A friend,whose last name is Honey (no lie) has worked with our cleaning crew for the last two days. He temporarily replaced Pablo, who went home to Peru. Temporarily. Pablo's last name is not Honey. That's a Radiohead album. Mr. Honey and I are both displaced West Virginians living in St. Louis. Earlier tonight we were discussing the finer points of the song "Take Me Home, Country Roads", which was popularized by John Denver. He didn't write it, though. That honor belongs to Bill Denoff and Taffy Nivert.

Mr. Honey was singing the song as he emptied trashcans, and I wondered aloud about the lines, "Life is old there/Older than the trees/Younger than the mountains". Did Bill and Taffy mean that the mountains are older than trees in general? That struck me as false. Shawn said he had asked himself the same question earlier that day when he heard the song on the radio. He wasn't kidding. Sometimes hillbillies are weird.


Scott said...

Hey, what kind of people leave clean bathrooms?
When I cleaned bathrooms it was like hibernation season for family of five had just ended.

Joshua Duncan said...

Well, I clean bathrooms at a Presbyterian seminary. I think there must be some kind of requirement in the Westminster Confession. I'll have to look that up.

garrett said...

yeah, dude, it's in the catechism. "what comes out of the chief end of man should not be left for the slaves." and amen. so, let me see if i got this straight. life is older than the trees, but life is younger than the mountains? or is it that life is older than the trees and the trees are younger than the mountaints? at any rate, how is it that this differs from ohio? from all i can tell, life is old in ohio too, but they don't have to get their cars inspected. oh, and i don't remember the mountains ever "blowing in the breeze." just a thought. . .