OK, so let’s just suppose I’m thinking of committing suicide. Yes, suicide—as in blowing my brains out. Now, what new things would that tell you about me? What’s that? My suicide would tell you that I’m unhappy? That I’m resentful? Scared? Self-centered? OK, so you know me well—but those are things you already knew, whereas I asked for previously unknown things that would suddenly come to you and confirm themselves as true about me, simply on the basis of me shooting myself in the head. What’s that? My suicide would tell you that I’m politically conservative? That I voted for George W. Bush for president . . . twice? That I go to church almost every Sunday? That I’ve lived in Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Alabama and West Virginia before I settled in Fontucky? Right on all counts! And that tells me something about you. Your name is Augustine J. Kposowa, you’re a professor at UC Riverside, and you and colleagues analyzed 131,636 individual suicides for patterns and the results of your study were published in the February issue of Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology. You found that with few exceptions states with the highest rates of gun ownership also tended to have the highest suicide rates. You also found that these states were carried overwhelmingly by George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election. Oh, and you’ve got a cool job.
THURSDAY, APRIL 25
The Press-Enterprise and the Inlandia Institute are teaming up to promote literature and writers from the Inland Empire, and I’m going to take this opportunity to commend the newspaper for tearing away from its traditional moorings, for imagining outside its institutional box, for teaming up with the area’s aficionados of the art of the written word in an effort that has already exposed more of us to the Inlandia Institute’s really cool logo, as well as . . . hmmm . . . I think that’s as far as it’s gone. I mean, for now. It’s gonna have a blog, it’s gonna have a weekly print column and it’s gonna have a weekly video program—all of them highlighting the Inland Empire’s literary life. But that logo . . . I mean . . . whoa . . . love-love-love it . . . I mean, I got nuttin’ but love fo’ ya, logo . . . it’s like, leggo my logo, know what I’m sayin’?
FRIDAY, APRIL 26
Hey, did that last bit—about Inlandia, the local literature-and writers-site that’s piggybacking The Press-Enterprise to get more exposure for, you know, local literature and writers—sound a little snarky? Sorry. It was a symptom of what too-commonly happens when my highest hopes collide with the hard shell of my protective cynicism—that is, when my craving for control in any situation meets the range of possibilities. This symptom is so common to me that I long ago wrote a parable about it, an original work that I have never shared with anyone, but which I suddenly find I have the courage to share with you—and . . . hey, Inlandia, are you out there? Can you hear me? Here it is:
SATURDAY, April 27
Uhh, I chickened out. But I’ve mustered up the courage again, so here it is: The Farmer’s Seed, By Allen David: A dude with a Christ complex left his house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, which freaked him, so he got into a boat. And thus began what seemed to be shaping up as a protracted standoff. Eventually, the Christ-complex guy began schooling the posse that had come for some vengeance, telling them all kind of stuff, hoping to lull them to sleep, then slip away unnoticed. Eventually, he told the story of a farmer who went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow, but the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Of course, the message of my little parable is that it’s easy to bash GMO seeds on a full stomach . . . or . . . Get the hell out of the agriculture futures market!
SUNDAY, APRIL 28
Speaking of suicide, the Lakers’ season concludes tonight at the Staples Center when the San Antonio Spurs complete a four-game sweep in the first round of the NBA playoffs, concluding a bizarre year in which some of basketball’s all-time greats encountered lots of adversity and did nothing to overcome it.
MONDAY, APRIL 29
Jason Collins acknowledges he is gay in an article he writes for Sports Illustrated, thus becoming the first athlete with an active career in America’s four major professional sports—football, basketball, baseball . . . and for some reason they include ice hockey in that group—to come out. In other news, Collins is already tall, dark, handsome, wealthy, articulate, a good dresser, very intelligent (or so his Stanford University degree would imply) and popular. And now he gets to be gay, too? Jeez, Jason, howzabout sharing the wealth?
TUESDAY, APRIL 30