The good-looking one, the one in need, the one that almost was
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2/9/2018 I’m cat-sitting for my friend Dana, and this morning one of her cats demanded food. I had forgotten the high-pitched voices of cats. These creatures should sound sultry and low, like Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep. It’s as if eating rodents for centuries has caused them to develop the voices of mice.
2/10 Republicans have loyal dogs. Democrats have haughty cats.
2/15 Have you ever had a completely incompetent substitute teacher? That’s what Donald Trump is: a “substitute” president.
2/18 At ten o’clock on a Sunday morning the bell of the Dutch Reformed Church in Woodstock, New York, solemnly tolls, as if attempting to fill me with guilt for missing church. But their tactics are fruitless. I am not a Christian. I am prepared to go to hell, where, if their theories are correct, I will crouch with my fellow Jews — plus philosophers, politicians, and great artists — while a few thousand angels sing ceaseless praise to the narcissistic Lord above us.
2/24 I just found a note I wrote two weeks ago on the back of a bank statement: “Do animals pray to us?”
2/26 The New Age seems to have quietly ended.
3/5 The right-wing militias claim they’re stockpiling weapons to fight the government, but they’re lying. Their real plan is to put down a black revolt.
White racists vividly imagine an African American uprising. Their AR-15s are destined for this race war — because even they are not stupid enough to believe they can defeat the U.S. Army.
3/7 If you made it through February, you’ll survive March.
3/11 When I was a kid, schools had air-raid drills in anticipation of a nuclear attack. Now they have drills to prepare for an exploding student.
3/15 Loud men should study meditation; quiet women should attend shouting classes.
3/16 Trump was elected because most Americans live in the suburbs. They’ve never met a con artist.
3/19 I admire how deftly New York City dog-walkers bag up their pets’ excrement — with an elegant twist of the wrist, as if it were the most natural thing in the world to pick up dogshit with a plastic bag.
Certain people are unloved — entirely
unloved — even by their mothers. Such a
person is Donald Trump. Yes, he has
millions of adoring followers,
but a follower is not a lover. Stumbling
through a universe that offers the
brief satisfactions of money and sex
— nothing more — Trump finds love impossible.
No wonder he’s angry all the time! Trump
is furious at a God who would chain
him to the cold, uncaring rock called Earth.
He avenges himself with outrageous,
cruel, sullen, nocturnal poems known as “tweets.”
This poem has only thirteen lines, which means it isn’t a real sonnet. But that’s what makes it a Trump sonnet.
4/8 God speaks to us through rain, but we haven’t learned the code.
4/10 Donald Trump is a clear example of the dangers of positive thinking.
4/15 When I joined Facebook, I had to give a first and last name. I tried “S. Parrow” and “Sparrow Sparrow.” Both failed. “Iam Sparrow” succeeded.
Years later I received a message from Facebook: “We have reason to believe your account is fictitious. Please send proof of your identity. Until we receive notification, your account is suspended.”
I was given an elaborate series of instructions on how to prove my identity.
I’d been busted, caught up in Facebook’s attempt to remove “bots” — fake accounts created by corporations (or by Russian intelligence).
Defiant, I refused to revert to my legal name. I enjoy being an invented character, like Batman. I tried Sparrow X, in emulation of Malcolm X. That was rejected. In desperation, I took my wife’s last name and became Sparrow X. Carter.
Last night I was telling this story in a coffee shop in Montclair, New Jersey. The barista said to me: “The young people have a word for what happened to you. You were ‘zucked.’ ”
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, has become a verb.
4/16 Angels do their work silently; devils make headlines.
4/18 Mark Zuckerberg inadvertently discovered a truth about people: they want their data “mined.” It’s flattering to think that major corporations will pay money to know your likes and dislikes.
4/19 To “overlove” is to love someone or something too much. The Grateful Dead are overloved.
4/20 If alcohol didn’t exist, would strangers ever have sex?
Small Protest II
4/28 Daffodils don’t close up in the dark. They just stand around grinning all night.
5/16 Who decided to dress all UPS employees like Boy Scouts?
5/17 When I was a kid, I’d sometimes visit an Automat — a cafeteria where the food sat inside glass boxes. You’d put a quarter in a slot, the door would open, and you’d remove a slice of pie or a BLT. Then you’d take a seat among all the other people who wished to buy a meal without facing another human being.
The Automat was the ancestor of the Internet.
5/24 I have combined LOL and OMG into OMLG (“O My Laughing God!”).
a tax bill
to grab more
money will die
6/3 Americans dislike politicians, so they elected the one guy on earth who lies more than a politician.
6/12 The Washington Post reported on Monday that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump together made at least $82 million last year while working for free as nebulous advisers to the White House. To quote from the story, Kushner drew income from “dozens of companies tied to his father’s real-estate company.”
Dozens of companies? And how exactly are they tied to his father’s company? What does “tied” even mean?
Why is it when you read about the massively rich, you know less about their business dealings at the end of the article than you did at the beginning?
Eighty-two million is a lot of money to make for doing nothing. You know how much money I make when I do nothing? Zero.
6/19 Cats use silence like Cézanne used blue.
6/20 People rhapsodize about sunsets, but rarely about sunrises. Why? Because no one gets enough sleep. If everyone went to bed at 7 PM, we would all adore dawn.
6/21 The word fascist has lost all meaning. We need a new term to describe people who build detention camps for infants at the Texas border.
7/7 History is written by the victors, and rewritten by the victims.
7/11 Living in the city, one forgets about dew.
7/12 Last night I stayed over at my friend Paul’s house in Woodstock. The bed was small, warm, and not too soft. The room was large and airy, with lovely parquet floors and a grand piano. A quiet and philosophic tabby cat completed the picture. The only problem was the wind chimes.
It was a windy day, so they played ceaselessly. For the first twelve minutes it was quite charming; they sounded almost like Bach. But after that, their ceaseless song became maddening. Clearly some malevolent hippie invented this clanging torture.
7/13 I despise people similar to me and fear people unlike me.
7/15 Like a cat who climbed a tree and can’t get back down, Trump has ascended to the White House.
7/19 I cheat on my diet, but not on my wife.
8/8 I know it’s inevitable to make mistakes, but I keep making the wrong mistakes.
The insects are calling:
“Trump’s guilty! Guilty Trump!
Trump’s guilty! Guilty Trump!
Trump’s guilty! Guilty Trump!”
8/30 I wrote a new bumper sticker: I FOUGHT THE 1% and THE 1% WON.
8/31 Young people like big crowds. Older people do not. You never see 100,000 sixty-seven-year-olds standing together.
I hate Trump
me his superior.
I’m just as
much of an
9/2 The term “pill popper” has disappeared, now that virtually every American is one.
9/4 Standing right outside my door is the entire world.
Thanks for another entertaining and insightful essay by the clever, Trump-despising, Facebook-antagonizing Sparrow [“Small Protest,” April 2019]. If I ever form a rock band, I will name it the Malevolent Hippies and give him credit for coming up with the phrase.
If there is a God, I think She can handle a bit of criticism.
After years of enjoying Sparrow’s writing, I was taken aback by his essay “Small Protest” [April 2019]. Perhaps I am hypersensitive, and I understand it is only his opinion, but I was saddened when he said the Lord is narcissistic. As a person of faith, I refrain from putting others down for their beliefs, out of respect for them and their culture.
Sparrow says he is prepared to go to hell. I hope his attitude doesn’t take him there.