Thursday, August 1, 2013

Postcards From Panama, pt. 5



Dear Friends,

The Hard Taco song for August is called, "The C Word." It's gentle and wistful, like the ghost of a beloved grandmother smiling at you from her perch in the haunted cupboard.

Here is the annual installment of "Postcards from Panama." You should be able to jump right in, but if you want a refresher on how we got here, click here

Postcards From Panama, Part 5

8/2/2013
Dear Karen,

Have I told you about my neighbor, Dignidad? He believes in all kinds of mythological organisms. He is afraid of chupacabras, and every time he sees a dead goat with all of its blood sucked out, he thinks it is proof that chupacabras are real. He also believes in beavers. As if the only explanation for a dam in the river is a mysterious flat-tailed beast with giant teeth and a superhuman work ethic! Why has no one ever seen one, Dignidad? Why?

He says it's because they are nocturnal. (How convenient...)

But Karen, if you believe in mythological organisms, I won’t think you are na├»ve like my neighbor. When we are married, you and I will stay up late discussing our beliefs about chupacabras and beavers, and quickly learn to respect each other’s viewpoints. We can also discuss politics, religious texts, and whether or not you believe in imps. (I do not.) Just let me know when you would like to begin this process.

With warmest regards,
Michael

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8/8/2013 
Dear Karen,

I have a new goal. By the end of the month I’m going to SLEEP ON A BED OF NAILS. I will keep you updated on the latest developments.

With warmest regards,
Michael



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8/8/2013

Dear Karen,

I’m getting closer to my goal of sleeping on a bed of nails. In the twenty minutes since I wrote you the last postcard, I’ve moved from the visioning stage to the needs assessment stage.

Karen, I know you are a modern independent woman who is not easily impressed by displays of machismo. That is why, when I am done sleeping on this incredibly dangerous bed, I will complain about how uncomfortable it was. I know we haven't talked in person since 1992, but I am certain you would like that. A modern independent woman prefers a lover who is capable of very macho deeds, but is emotionally present enough to whine about them like a whiny little girl.

To be fully honest with myself at this time, I have another reason for wanting to sleep on the bed of nails. As of yesterday, I still have issues with bed-wetting. The bed of nails will have excellent drainage, especially if I tilt the head of the bed up a few degrees.

Still, the bed-wetting might not be a dire issue for much longer, because I am up to 62% dry nights (+/- 2 standard deviations.) I don't think you can appreciate the significance of this accomplishment until you have the raw data in your hands, so I will mail you my dryness diary.

With warmest regards,
Michael

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8/18/2013 
Dear Karen,

Once we are married, we will probably want to move out of my apartment and into an executive yurt. To ensure that we choose the best executive yurt, I’ve been bookmarking the realty listings in a local free periodical called Panama Vida. Unfortunately, these listings are often on the back cover, which is very hard to bookmark. How do other yurt enthusiasts deal with this problem? Am I supposed to paperclip the bookmark to the back cover? Maybe I should just rip an unwanted page out of the middle of periodical, affix it to the back cover along one edge, and slide the bookmark between them.

With warmest regards,
Michael


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8/21/2013
Dear Karen,

I took the commuter bus downtown today, hoping to find a licensed fakir who could sell me a bed of nails. I did not find a fakir who was willing to display his licensure, but I met a panhandler named Miguel Animosidad Del Pueblo ("Michael, Animosity of the People.") I am certain he was a panhandler, because he was actually handling a pan when I approached him.

Mr. Animosidad Del Pueblo astutely suggested that I make a D.I.Y. bed of nails, rather than purchasing one. I hadn’t thought of that! He also recommended that if I need a large volume of nails, I purchase them at a wholesale store.

This fake fakir is ugly on the outside, but it is possible that he is beautiful on the inside. I do not know him well enough to comment. Nevertheless, he has my confidence, because our first names are the same in Spanish.


With warmest regards,
Michael

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8/22/2013
Dear Karen,

I should not have trusted that panhandler. His advice about going to a wholesale store was disingenuous. I guess I was beguiled by the way he manipulated that pan with his fingers. Now I know that he is ugly through and through.

The wholesale store was a great place to buy chicken thighs and pita bread in bulk (which I did) but the hardware section was disappointing. Long story short, Karen, they had no nails whatsoever. Nonetheless, the clerk in the hardware section was so helpful in telling me this, I felt obligated to buy something from her, so I purchased a crate of wing nuts.

I guess I'll just use those. 

With warmest regards,
Michael

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8/24/2013 
Dear Karen,

Yesterday, Dignidad helped me screw all of the wing nuts into a piece of particle board. It took us all afternoon. (We ate a whole bag of pita bread while we were working on it, so I have only nine bags left.) I was so exhausted by the end that I rolled right onto it and went to sleep immediately.

If I had to pick just a three adjectives to describe my experience of sleeping on a bed of wing nuts, I would say: humbling, emotionally present, and macho. I am feeling very refreshed and humbled today.  

Did you know that REM stands for Rapid Eye Motions? It is one of the five stages of normal sleep. Last night, while lying on my treacherous bed of wing nuts, I counted my sleep stages, and there were at least six! I wonder if this has ever been reported in the scientific journals?  In fact, I may have had even more sleep stages, but I stopped counting when I got to six, because it’s hard to concentrate when you’re asleep.

With warmest regards,
Michael


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8/24/2013

Dear Karen,



I'm afraid I have to ask you to mail my dryness diary back to me. Without it, I don’t have a good sense of how I am doing (+/- 2 standard deviations.)

One thing is clear, though: The drainage on a wing nut bed is not ideal. Do you think I should switch to hex nuts? Please write back if it isn't a bother.

With warmest regards, 
Michael