LXXV


I stuffed a pepper with no intention of eating or serving it, convinced that food inside other food is a sin. Not as big a sin as others, but you can’t just pick and choose the lighter heathen actions and pretend they don’t matter; if it’s a sin, you just don’t do it and that’s that. Nobody will absolve you of your sins, you’ll have to carry them with you until the moment your soul reintegrates with the cosmos, never again to occupy a physical body. Believe me, the more sins you commit, the longer it’ll take to reach the ultimate disembodiment touted by Buddhists for centuries. Most souls are slotted to occupy physical bodies for an indeterminate number of years, give or take a few millennia. Sins are responsible for piling on years, and practically everything is a sin. If there were no sins, most souls would be done within a few dozen lifetimes. But what fun would that be?

LXXIV


Everything smells like gasoline around here. More accurately, everything smells like a combination of gasoline and tamarind. More accurately, everything smells like gasoline, tamarind and week-old kitchen sponge. More accurate yet, everything smells like gasoline, tamarind, week-old kitchen sponge and Sunday newspapers. You know what? Everything smells exactly the same to me anyway, so all I do is come up with intriguing combinations of objects that I believe may smell like the one melange of odors I’m constantly whiffing. I apologize for taking up so much of your time, good sir–it may never happen again.

LXXIII


What do we do when we want to make an impact, or at least leave a mark on society? We dig in our heels and yodel to the clouds, of course. Now, if there are no clouds to be found, we must either wait for some or travel to a place currently retaining the buoyant clumps of tiny water droplets. This may seem arbitrary, until you’re informed that the gods in charge of globe-altering reside in the clouds, and choose to only help those who call for them directly. Several peoples have discovered this intricate balance with the universe, guaranteeing that their names live on in history books as great yodelers. Oh, and great civilizations.

LXXII


What is there to gain in this boardwalk town? Mainly stuffed bears for shooting moving wooden ducks, pigeons, turtles and raccoons–the usual representations of animals that are defenseless against ball bearings fired from close range by two young people who rather fancy themselves to be expert marksmen (if given the chance). Though, in their heart of hearts, they have to admit their fear of injuring a living thing, rendering their dreams unachievable (unless they vow to only point their firearms at inanimate objects for the rest of their life, making them the laughingstock of their hunter friends, of whom there are many–you wouldn’t think an antiviolence advocate would associate themselves with folks indulging their primal bloodlust, but you’d be mistaken in this case).

LXXI


Just so you know, a limited quantity of burlap satchels has graced our splendid corridor, enough to take a family of six to the Poconos or even Appalachia for a long weekend, with enough room left over for a two-day side trip to wherever they so desire, as long as they don’t need to travel over 400 miles to get there. 350 or so would be just fine, but we can’t allow for any more distance to be put between them and their original destination, or their actions will be held in contempt of the Family Travel Journal’s recommendations for optimal trip management. The last time a family took a side trip longer than 400 miles from their original destination, they drove straight into a tornado’s path and flew through a nearby barn, totaling their minivan and scarring their kids for life. Fortunately, nobody was injured.