05/04/11

CHEAP ADVICE: CANDY

Brush properly. Always floss. No matter what time it is when you go to bed and what the hell you were up to before you do. You might find you have overindulged in BB-Bats, Mary Janes, Tootsie Rolls, Bit-O-Honeys. Ask for Novacaine. Give up taffy for life. Stop thinking about how the skulls in the natural history museum still have all their teeth. Tell your children about the brushing and the flossing. Then try not to be fearful yet envious of the joyous oblivion with which they sink their perfect little teeth into all that candy.

19/11/09

CALL YOUR MOTHER

On my desk are two squished foil wrappers – found on separate occasions in front of the same building – that remind me of twin cheerleaders: one fat, one skinny. My mother is a twin. And was once a fat cheerleader. But is now skinny. Must be a sign.

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09/10/09

BUGS IN A BOX

Last week I went to my friendly local taxidermy shop to see if they had any more old bug boxes. Since she was six weeks old, I’ve been taking a portrait of my daughter every six months. At first all I had to do was shake a rattle and make reassuring noises. Then we moved on to outright bribery, lollipops being the payola of choice. Now, I’ve become a sort of meditational guide (there are still lollipops involved), talking her out of the giggles, exhorting her to concentrate, encouraging her to relax. The first box is almost full, hence the trip to one of my favorite places in Berlin.

The Berliner Präparationswerkstatt is a tiny store front crammed full with the prepared remains of a variety of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. They had a shark head sitting around once. Always lots of antlers. Sometimes they’re works in-progress, as in the half-sewn-up pig I see when I walk in. The smell of formaldehyde brings up bad memories of being pelted with frog eggs in an out of control 7th grade biology class.

They do have two nice boxes for me, dusty and full of broken bits of legs and wings. After a woman in a black leather jacket comes in (I’m here for the fox, she says), I get to talking with the owner. I ask him if he ever finds the whole thing with the animals disturbing. No, it’s science, it’s fascinating, he tells me. The only thing that really gives him the creeps is when people bring in their Fluffy or Buddy to have it stuffed and mounted for display in the living room. One of the nicknames I call my daughter is Bug.

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