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That's Not How You Wash A Squirrel: A collection of new essays and emails., page 1

 

That's Not How You Wash A Squirrel: A collection of new essays and emails.
 


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That's Not How You Wash A Squirrel: A collection of new essays and emails.


  THAT’S NOT

  HOW YOU WASH

  A SQUIRREL

  Copyright © David Thorne 2015 All rights reserved.

  That’s Not How You Wash A Squirrel

  A collection of new essays and emails

  [email protected]

  This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, re-produced on the internet or otherwise circulated without the author’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. Activities and vehicle modifications appearing or described in this book may be potentially dangerous.

  Also available by the same author:

  The Internet is a Playground

  Published by Penguin, The Internet is a Playground is the first release by David Thorne. Making its debut at #4 on The New York Times bestseller list, it includes articles from 27bslash6 plus over 160 pages of new material. It makes a nice present, protects against tigers, and can be read while hiding in small places.

  I’ll Go Home Then; It’s Warm and Has Chairs

  Featuring articles from 27bslash6.com along with brand-spanking-new material, I'll Go Home Then; It's Warm and Has Chairs is the second book release by author David Thorne and is available now.

  Look Evelyn, Duck Dynasty Wiper Blades, We should Get Them

  A collection of new Essays.

  Foreforeword

  “Have you finished the book yet?”

  “No, Holly.”

  “How’s it going?”

  “Fine.”

  “Can I read it yet?”

  “No you can’t read it yet. Why would I let you read it if it isn’t finished?”

  “How close to finished are you then? The deadline was two weeks ago.”

  “Yes, I realize that. It’s not easy you know, not with the dogs barking and having to go shopping and things.”

  “Perhaps you shouldn't have spent spring and summer building a multi-level amphitheater in the backyard.”

  "It adds value to the house."

  “I’m just saying. If you want me to edit it for you, that’s at least another day or two.”

  “Yes, I know all this. Telling me I should have finished two weeks ago doesn’t make words magically appear on pages. You’re meant to be helping.”

  “I am helping. How many pages do you have left to go?”

  “About twenty. Give or take twenty. Give mostly. Plus I have to write a foreword about something.”

  “What’s the foreword going to be about?”

  “Who cares. Nobody reads the foreword. I’m only adding one to flush out the pages. If I knew anybody famous, I’d ask them to write it for me. Lots of books have ‘foreword by such and such.’”

  “You know a couple of famous people. What about the Bloggess or Matthew Inman?”

  “Famous people, not famous on the Internet people. Besides, they’re both dreadful. All the Bloggess does these days is go on about how depressed she is and Matthew Inman is a bit of a dick. ”

  “How so?”

  “He’s short and annoying. Plus he looks like the son from Hardcore Pawn. Will you write it for me?”

  “The foreword? No. I’m not famous.”

  “It doesn’t matter. I’d rather have you write it than Matthew Inman. I read that he once sucked off a goat.”

  “Where did you read that?”

  “On Reddit.”

  “Did you write it?”

  “No.”

  “I can tell when you’re lying, you look slightly startled and you flick the tip of your tongue out like a lizard.”

  “If you write the foreword, it will give me time to finish the rest of the book.”

  “I don’t have time to write the foreword and edit the book. Some of us work for a living.”

  “Editing shouldn’t be that hard, I’ve used a spell check.”

  “It’s not the spelling that’s the issue. You don’t know how to correctly write possessives of plurals or understand that words that end in vowels aren’t pluralized with apostrophes.”

  “So the spelling is pretty good then?”

  “If I did agree to write the foreword, and I’m not saying I will, what would I even write it about?”

  “About how awesome I am. If I write about how awesome I am, I’ll just come off as a bit of a dick. Like Matthew Inman. They’ll believe it coming from you. All you have to do is say how hilarious I am and what a pleasure it is to have me in your life. Also, something about my writing process and maybe a bit about how brave I am. Remember that time I flicked a snake off the patio furniture with a stick? That’s probably worth mentioning. ”

  “Right, well I’m definitely not writing it then.”

  “Fine, you can write whatever you want. Just don’t go off on too many tangents. That’s my thing.”

  “Convolution is a ‘thing’ most people avoid. So I can write whatever I want?”

  “Why? What are you going to write about?”

  “About how awesome you are.”

  “You can’t write anything mean. I won’t put it in if you just write mean stuff about me.”

  “I’m not going to be censored before I’ve typed a single word but I wouldn’t just write mean stuff about you. Do you want me to write the foreword or not?”

  “No, not if you’re just going to write shit about me.”

  “Good. I’ve got better things to do.”

  “See, this is what I mean about not being helpful. Are you going to write it or not?”

  “No.”

  “Just write the fucking foreword, Holly.”

  “Fine.”

  “Okay. Thank you. Just don’t make it too much better than my stuff. Nobody cares about purplisedpossessions or who owns all the vowels. Do you think you could have four pages to me by tonight?”

  Foreword By Holly Thorne

  You may wonder why I am writing David's foreword instead of someone better equipped. I am too. I haven't even read the book yet. I will however be expected to proofread for content, grammar and syntax at 11pm on a Monday. The fact that I have a meeting at 7am every Tuesday is of no consequence to David; those fortunate enough to be in the writer's circle must accommodate. I will be tired but I will edit my heart out and deliver his marked up manuscript on time. I will also feel bad about myself when one of David's readers emails him asking whether he’s ever heard of the

  ‘I before E, except after C’ rule.

  There are many terms that could be used to describe David’s writing process but none as apt as procrastination. He has it down to an art form. Procrastinating for nine months on a twelve-month deadline is not something most people would even consider in the real world. Responsibility, pride and self-respect are barriers not everyone can just run around.

  David’s level 10 ability to procrastinate is not confined to writing of course, he dwells outside the timelines generally accepted by society in all areas. Creative genius cannot be rushed. If you need him to pick you up from work, be on time for a doctor's appointment, or show up before your party is over, ask him to arrive three hours earlier than required. Even then, you will still have a stretch of time to wait as David will have last minute doubts about which of his 140 identical black t-shirts goes best with his hair that day. After changing several times and thinking he should probably also change his watch, he will notice the time, rush from the house, turn on all of the lights as he exits rooms, and leave his wallet
, cigarettes and keys resting on a hot stove top. Rather than use the spare Hide-a-Key to retrieve his belongings, David will break a window to get in, grab his stuff, turn on a few more lights, and finally leave two hours later with the stove still on.

  David does have a stressful job but let’s be honest; he’s not clearing landmines. Even on my worst days I’m not half the diva that David becomes when he realizes he only has six weeks left in which to write two hundred pages. As the months grow cooler and other families snuggle in, World War III breaks out in our household. Unfathomable demands are made and friends, family and pets are committed to walking on eggshells in his presence.

  You may assume I’m a glutton for punishment to put up with this shit. You assume right but there’s more to it than that. David can be fun, and funny, and caring. Not while he’s writing of course, or if he’s having a bad hair day, or if the dogs are barking, or if he has to do something before 11am, or [edit David is very brave, I once saw him flick a snake off the patio furniture with a stick. edit]

  After writing is completed, most authors will rewrite whole paragraphs, even whole chapters, based on editorial feedback. David, however, sees editing as little more than a way to screw up his layout. A glance through any of his books, including this one, will reveal that many of his paragraphs start and end on the same page. Apparently, this is a “design thing.” Any suggestion to delete or amend content that causes disruption to this layout is ignored. Grammar and syntax changes are also ignored. Most spelling changes are ignored, all questions regarding made-up words are ignored, and requests to change people’s names so we don’t get sued are ignored. I’m not sure why I bother.

  Somehow, it all comes together. Stacks of boxes containing freshly printed copies of David’s latest opus arrive and are signed and mailed off to be lost at dozens of USPS offices, arriving in the letterboxes of pissed off readers several days after Christmas or, for international orders, just before Easter. It is then that David will make grandiose statements for the following year. Statements like, “In 2016, I will write a few pages each day so I don’t have to go through that again.”

  Perhaps he believes it at the time. After seeing in the new year, David will spend nine months cutting the legs off all of the furniture to “modernize it”, move eighteen tons of dirt from one side of the yard to the other, and back again, start several wars with the neighbors, and attempt to build some kind of deck.

  As the leaves begin to turn, so will David. In a panic, he will lock himself away in a room with a coffee maker and fifty cartons of Marlboro, pumping out two-hundred odd pages and complaining the whole time about people not being helpful.

  Postforeword

  “I emailed you the foreword.”

  “Yes, I’m reading it now.”

  “Is it alright?”

  “Yes, it’s fine.”

  “What’s wrong with it?”

  “Nothing, I said it’s fine.”

  “I can tell by the way you’re saying it that it isn’t.”

  “Well, to be honest, it’s not exactly what I was looking for but kind of what I was expecting.”

  “In what way?”

  “There’s no mention of the snake and most of it makes me come off as a bit of a fuckwit. I thought, perhaps naively, there might be one kind comment hidden amongst the whining and character assassination but I had a good rummel around and didn’t find anything. ”

  “You had a what?”

  “A good rummel.”

  “Do you mean rummage?”

  “No, rummel is a word.”

  “I’m looking it up... there’s an Archbishop Rummel but there’s no such word as rummel in the dictionary. How do you spell it?”

  “Rumle or rummle. It depends on the usage... whether it has verbs.”

  I’m pretty sure you meant rummage.”

  Whatever Holly. You’re not a Spelling Bee.”

  “I did write that you can be fun, funny and caring.”

  “Well yes, but you didn’t expand on how I’m fun, funny or caring. It’s just one small sentence followed by a “but.”

  I suppose there wasn’t a lot of room left after the whole ‘being a fuckwit’ component though.”

  “I can rewrite it if you want.”

  “No, it’s fine. ”

  “I could have written a lot worse.”

  “Well that’s good to hear. Cheers for that.”

  “I wrote it with an underlying tone of affection.”

  “Yes, I’m sure you did.”

  “I think it comes across.”

  “I’m sure it does. Perhaps later, if your feeling really affectionate, I can pop out and lay down in the driveway for a bit while you back over me with the car.”

  “You’re being a bit dramatic.”

  “That’s what divas do. I doubt you’d be overly impressed if I wrote stuff about you.”

  “You write stuff about me all the time.”

  “Nice stuff. I might mix it up a bit this time though. Add some dirt about you. You’re hardly perfect either you know.”

  “What kind of dirt?”

  “Just general dirt.”

  “Give me one example.”

  “Oh, I could give you twenty examples if I wanted to. Probably thirty.”

  “You can’t actually think of an example, can you?”

  “Ha.”

  “Come on then.”

  “You have no appreciation for people who risk their lives for you.”

  “What are you talking about?”

  “The snake.”

  “Oh my god, it was the size of a shoelace and it was six months ago. Thank you for saving me from the snake by flicking it with a long stick. I will be forever in your debt.”

  “See, that’s what I mean. The stick wasn’t that long. Probably only three feet or so. I had to get pretty close.”

  “Greensnakes aren’t poisonous. People keep them as pets.”

  “We’re not certain that it was a Greensnake. Besides, you’re not an expert on snake poisonability.”

  “How do you spell that?”

  “Poisonability? With two n’s I think.”

  “What else?”

  “A p?”

  “No, apart from having no appreciation for people risking their lives; what else?”

  “You throw things at me.”

  “Like what?”

  “You threw the remote at me just yesterday.”

  “The batteries were missing. You’d taken them out to use in your mouse and I missed the first ten minutes of Jeopardy.”

  “There you go. Jeopardy. That’s another thing.”

  “What about Jeopardy?”

  “You take it far too seriously. You’re not an actual contestant so you don’t have to slam down an imaginary buzzer before you answer. It scares the dogs.”

  “That’s hardly a thing.”

  “Of course it is. And Alex Trebek can’t hear you, he’s on the television. Even if he could, “that’s what I meant” would still be the wrong answer. Yelling at people on the television is another thing. Let’s just agree that we both have things and leave it at that.”

  “No, Jeopardy isn’t a thing. Neither is the snake.”

  “Fine. You have no things. You’re perfect.”

  “Thanks.”

  “No, you’re supposed to say something nice back.”

  “You’re hair looks nice today.”

  “Thanks. I used your conditioner in the little red tube.”

  “That’s foot cream. Would you like me to rewrite the foreword? I don’t mind. I’ll write that you are brave and funny and make me happy.”

  “No, it’s fine as it is. Nobody reads the foreword anyway. I might delete the bit about my cargo shorts though if it doesn’t screw up my layout.

  Squirrel

  There are no squirrels in Australia. Americans seem vaguely surprised by this. At least the ones I speak to. Or, perhaps they simply feign surprise to appear interested in a conversation about
squirrels. I feign a series of expressions, including interest, in almost every conversation I have so it’s quite possible. It’s the polite thing to do. Of course if everyone stopped feigning interest, conversations in general would be a lot shorter and conversations about things you couldn’t care less about could be avoided altogether.

  “So we took our cat to the vet last week. Turns out the sluggishness was due to her diet. We changed her food to a high protein mix and, almost immediately, she began perking up. When I left this morning, she was sitting in the window meowing at birds outside. ”

  “I have no interest in what you are saying and I wish you would go away.”

  “Righto then. Bye.”

  A co-worker recently spent twenty minutes describing to me new curtains she had ordered for her living room due to the previous ones not working overly well with a rug. To understand the dilemma properly, the rug was also described in detail, along with the sofa fabric that the rug was purchased to match. I honestly couldn’t care if she lived at the bottom of the ocean with giant squid for curtains. I nodded in an attentive manner but was actually thinking about oxy-acetylene welders and all the things I could make if I owned one. Afterwards, I looked up welders on Amazon but they were far too expensive so I bought a Breville sandwich maker instead.

  “Dad, what’s for dinner?”

  “Toasted sandwiches.”

  “Again? We had toasted sandwiches yesterday. And the day before that. We’ve had them every day for the past week.”

  “They’ve had different fillings. That’s the beauty of toasted sandwiches, the contents are limited only by imagination.”

  “They’ve all been cheese.”

  “Yes, but they’ve been different brands of cheese. It’s not my problem if your palate isn’t refined enough to tell the difference between Kraft and Cracker Barrel.”

 
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