This winter has been especially harsh and long. With temperatures plummeting to record lows and heat expenditures on the rise, I find myself with my fellow citizens: pulling the wool blanket a little bit closer, holding the hot chocolate a little bit longer, and above all, staying indoors as much as possible.

A word on the medical discharge process from the Army: ‘discharge’ should not really be included in the name. Of course, the process is unique to each individual allowed to waltz in the medical ballroom of the military mansion, like a newborn baby—innocent, attractive and ultimately evil. You see other people carrying their babies and perhaps think to yourself, “How cute! How wonderful! I must have one.” And you try to conceive. Oh, almighty father and surrogate mother, how you try. Tests must be run, of course. They’re tests, after all—they can’t be expected to simply sit about sipping lemonade; they must be applied. You must be poked, prodded, nudged, waffled, squeezed, squirted, swamped, swilled and (above all) quizzed. Your blood pressure goes up to rooftop for a breath of fresh air. Your blood sugar decides to join her for a bit of late afternoon gossip. Your hair decides it would much rather grow out of your toes than your head. Your head fires your toes, who protest that they’re union and can’t be fired and decide to go on strike. Your fingers can’t decide whether to follow the toes or rebel against the head and allow themselves to just tremble ever so slightly. Your hair attempts to ascend back to the head, but the toes cry, “Scab!” and stop the hair at the legs. Finally, conception happens—but it’s one ugly baby.

So you look at the sonograms. Life floats in the ancestral womb. You ask the doctor for the birth date. He suggests that maybe some tests could answer that question. You lose five pounds off your knees, only to find it hiding in your shoulder blades. The shoulders begin smuggling weight in from Angola, and the border patrol captures a mere fraction of the cargo. You find yourself at war with France, and to the surprise of the global community, Switzerland actually suggests that perhaps the French are on to something. But, it could be worse; you could be working.

It’s come to that, you see. I meet people at the local polar bear club, and they ask, “So what do you do?”

“I’m an experiential architect. I note how the experience of architecture makes me feel.”

“I doodle. Professionally. I increase executive productivity by ghost-doodling for high ranking CEOs.”

Nothing fosters enmity with your fellow man as much as the truth. Never tell him, “I negotiate the transfer of tiny sums of money, fractions of a penny, back and forth between accounts to force accounts into an overdraft.”

The results are never good.

I must be off. I hope you all are well. Take care.

“Chances are you are scared of fictions. Chances are you are only fleetingly happy. Chances are you know much less than you think you do. Chances are you feel a little guilty. Chances are you want people to lie to you. Perhaps the answer lies on the side of a coffee cup. You are lost.”

The Way I See It # 23 by David Cross
-Found on the side of a Starbucks coffee cup