The Good Word of Sprout

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Thursday, January 31, 2008

So you know where I've gone

I have an above-average need to worry so I've been hanging out in the parking garage attached to a nearby hospital, Swedish Covenant. It is easier to worry about all the uninviting looks people give me than to worry about where my life is going, and why I've been up all night again watching The Andy Griffith Show. But before you jump to conclusions (on your jump to conclusions mat), I only hang out in this parking garage during early daylight hours, and I try to keep moving. A person who walks through a parking garage is less suspicious than one who loiters, and walking is exercise, and exercise is something normal people do. But sometimes I wonder what percentage of parking garage crimes are committed by innocents who entered the garage just to enjoy the desolate ambiance, but then are driven to hack someone to pieces by circumstances out of their control. This is why I don't carry anything that could be used to hack someone to pieces, not even my Motorola RAZR.

I never hear about good things that happen in a parking garage. I think these events probably go underreported in the mainstream media. I should get my hands on a copy of Parking Today, the parking industry's trade publication, because I bet it's filled with ads depicting positive encounters in parking garages. I could make color copies of those ads and put them under people's windshield wipers to inform them. That would anger some parking authority figure, who would tell me I'm not welcome in his garage. Then I would hug him and tell him that I love him, thus dealing the death blow to parking garages' negative image. If only I had the guts to both loiter and litter.

I like the roof (Level 5) of the parking garage best. It's clear when it's cold, and I can see the toy-sized Chicago skyline. I only admire it for a few minutes at a time because there are always two or three vans up on the roof, and I envision myself dragged into one,"disappeared" for witnessing a politically damaging love affair or a politically innocuous murder. If a van's a-rockin' or a-screamin', "Help me!", I'm a-leavin' in a calm, cool manner. Like I didn't see nothin'. Any hospital patient who witnessed my disappearance would also be easy prey for my power-addicted abductor. Such is the nature of my high-risk, low-reward lifestyle.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

An Important Decision

Based on the people I've met, I've decided that people are basically good. Not one of them has tried to kill me, in earnest. Does absence of attempted murder equal goodness? No, but any attempt on my life would likely lead me to a different opinion of humanity. Why all this talk of murder? Maybe I'm fixated on violence and death because I've been watching the news again.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Who? What? Why?


Residents of Tijuana.


Offered me tequila, sex, and marijuana.


I wore a cardboard sign that read, "¿Hay tequila, sexo, o marijuana?"

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Solution/Problem/Com- plication

Solution: Dance

Problem: Insecurity

Complication: Belly

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Who? What? Why?




Dance a lot.


Why not?

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Problem/Solution/Com- plication

Problem: No stylish shoes

Solution: Go barefoot

Complication: Toes turn to shiny purple sausages; excruciating pain upon re-warming; amputation.


Thursday, January 17, 2008


Today I have the time to write, and it is a blessing. My thoughts will change from electric impulse to words, and I hope that they will nourish. I hope to use this time well. I hope to be less self-involved. It is a gift to me from those who came before me, and I am thankful for the blessing and life and peace.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


There are people out there who just love having a fever. Most are probably workaholics who secretly want to lie in bed all day stoned on over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. I once knew a guy who never did any drugs. When he had a fever, he liked the vague sense of his head hovering over his body. He would float over his flushed forehead and try to lick the sweat, but his tongue would pass right through because he, the floating head, was just a hallucination. He told me it was like licking his own brain. That guy is dead now, of self-induced fever or embarrassment, I forget which.

If you are one of those fever-lovers, here you this: For out-of-body experiences, the fancy mushrooms you can buy on the black market are better than a fever. That said, they can be much, much worse if you don't have enough pot and candles or if you have too much pot and too many candles. The former causes you to dwell upon going to work in the morning. The latter causes you to internalize all of your crazy thoughts and then set the place on fire.

This guy, my friend, used to like his intense and irrational fever dreams: his brain cells' way of saying, "Why the fuck is it so hot in here? Fix it."

When I have a fever, I dream of dinner plate sized bedbugs moving very slowly towards me. I can see their legs and antennae in great detail, and I can't move at all. When feverish, I keep a hatchet under my pillow in case I ever get movement. Anyhow, the bedbug dream is better than the other fever dream, where a pack of mini-skirted teenage Ukranian girls stands around my bed pointing at me and insulting me in broken English. They howl high-pitched laughter, neither natural nor vulnerable, and they're secure in the knowledge that their burly, bearish fathers will snap my neck if I throw my hatchet at them.

Me, I'm not such a big fan of the fever.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

What a Match

In my other career as a car designer, I fashioned a new model for GM. I call it the Oldsmobile Cadaver. It looks just like a windowless Cutlass Supreme, but it's maximum speed is "idle," and there are no brakes. The target market is the recently deceased. I did this when, via Modern Maturity magazine, I noticed the uptick in requests for burials at Interstate highway junctions. GM informed me in an e-mail that the Oldsmobile line has been "phased out."

"Exactly," I replied.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Problem/Solution/Com- plication

Problem: Hangover

Solution: Sleep

Complication: Unemployment


Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Weekend After

I find the first weekend after New Year's Day good for cleaning the stains off last weekend's clothes. Or just throwing them out. Or cutting them up into rags and then throwing the rags out. They're filthy, those rags! I also find it a good weekend to brush my teeth and scrub my tongue. They're filthy, those teeth! It's filthy, that tongue!

It is a good weekend to turn up the heat and to stare into space and to let the terrible subconscious filter into the conscious. To let the terrible hands filter into the pants, thinking thoughts like, "Meat!" and "I should call Mother," and "Mother, more meat please."

The weather warmed up here, and I think that might be Father Time burning the dried husk of last year on a funeral pyre, whose ashes will scatter in the wind and form a new year. Some of those ashes will retain flame, and that's why they will hurt when they hit you.

I've never been much to make resolutions other than to behave more like an animal and to dance more Samba. You be the judge if those two are related. But this year I've resolved to do everything better for one week in January and then return to my previous ways, and hope that the difference I made in January improved the year's aggregate total of good.

A joyous New Year to you, reader! But not too much joy because that will kill you, just like too much of anything.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Small Coffee with Cream

"Small coffee with cream, please."

"Just one?" the girl asked.

It had not occurred to me that I needed to number my creams, but at McDonald's it makes sense to think of them in small, corporate units. I am not picky about how much cream goes into coffee, as long as the amount falls between not enough and too much.

"Yeah, just one."

She punched some buttons. "Inside?"

"No, to go."

"I meant inside the coffee. The cream?"

I laughed. "Yes, inside the coffee." Where else would the cream go?

As I walked home I thought about a man who might order his cream outside the coffee. This man must like some cream fraction, perhaps two and one-third creams per coffee, and he cannot, in a timely fashion, explain fractions other than one-quarter to the employees. Maybe because the apple pie is not circular.

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