Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Arts, literature, works.  ---  Birth of a Salesman.  //  Here's the deal.  Here's how it works.  The more you sell, the more money you make.  Simple, right?  Every month, the person with the most sales gets "Salesperson of the month".  Then there's the yearly bonus.  Sure, there's a bonus.  That is, if you exceed your quota.  Sure there's a quota.  Hey, we are friends, but friendship only goes so far.  ---  4/2/2006

Arts, literature, works.  ---  Charlie "Beans and Sardines" Smith only ate canned beans and canned sardines.  That's all he could afford.  Canned food.  Dented cans purchased half price.  Sometimes he splurged and bought canned bread and canned coffee.  Most of the time though it was beans and sardines.  He lived over by the railroad tracks, in a shack made out of watermelon rinds.  He bunked with a dumpster diving freegan named Shrill Shirley.  He made a living selling can art.  He would solder together the cans to make various sculptures.  He preferred abstract sculpture, but people kept asking him to make things that resembled animals or spaceships or such.  He complained that the canned watermelon was all rind.  But he made a decent living out of it.  And he had a place to sleep.  ---  3/5/2006

Arts, literature, works.  ---  Daydream.  She is beautiful and intelligent, and she thinks I'm handsome and fascinating.  When I call her, she picks up the phone on the second ring.  She sounds pleased to hear me.  Yes, she does want to go out tonight.  No, its not short notice.  She wants to tell me about the new art gallery she visited.  She asks me about my day.  She sounds interested and approving.  She is making friendly noises.  She says conventional jobs are not for everyone.  She says its only a matter of time before I am discovered.  She says my not having been discovered in the previous twenty years is no indication that I will not be discovered tomorrow.  We meet later that evening.  Her eyes light up when she sees me.  The talk comes easily, and our eyes are locked on each other.  She tells me about her work in political activism.  She was in a foreign country, helping the orphans.  She says it was very rewarding work.  She wants to introduce me to her friends.  She keeps revealing intimate details of her life.  Is she boring me?  No, of course not.  I find her beyond charming.  She is completely uninhibited.  She is like a wild animal.  Later on we go for a walk.  At first, it seems like we are circling each other.  Then we start moving in on each other.  The distance disappears.  ---  7/1/2006

Arts, literature, works.  ---  I bathed today.  I removed all my clothing and immersed myself under a stream of running water.  It was delightful.  It was positively exhilarating.  Have you tried bathing?  I heartily recommend it.  ---  4/24/2007

Arts, literature, works.  ---  I was entrusted with her heart.  Her heart was a beating blob of protoplasm that rested on the seat while I drove.  I didn't know exactly how to care for her heart, and I glanced at it as I drove.  I carried her heart with me.  People looked at me holding a beating heart in my hands.  One day, while we were driving, the heart started talking.  "I need to make a few stops.", the heart said.  We stopped at a convenience store and the heart went inside for a minute.  When the heart came out it went over to my side and said, "Its easier for me to drive to the next stop."  I moved over and let the heart drive.  The heart took out a cigarette and lit up.  "You smoke?", I said?  "Nasty habit I picked up years ago.", the heart said.  We drove on, the heart coughing occasionally.  ---  3/9/2005

Arts, literature, works.  ---  Lemonade Lake.  In the summertime we all went to the lake.  There was swimming.  And there was lemonade, tangy and sweet.  We swam in the lemonade.  Afterwards, sticky, we would walk back through the woods, laughing and singing.  I will always remember the summers on Lemonade Lake.  ---  4/2/2006

Arts, literature, works.  ---  Lisa looked at Juan and asked, "Why did he kill himself?  He was like a brother to you."  Juan looked far away and said with a distant voice, "It was probably due to his meddling parents who did something stupid like lie to the police and psychiatrist in order to try to get him committed to a mental hospital."  Lisa asked, "Why did you survive?"  Juan said, "I survived because I saw them coming for me.  He saved my life, in a way."  "What do you mean?", Lisa asked.  Juan looked at her and said, "I also survived because you were there."  ---  9/12/2005

Arts, literature, works.  ---  Networking.  Yeah, networking, he thought to himself.  He had just seen a television infomercial about how to find a job.  The commercial mentioned that networking was one of the most effective ways to find a job.  He wasn't about to send money for the complete kit because only a sucker would buy the kit.  But he thought that networking just might be the key to employment.  He got out a yellow pad and a pencil.  Yeah, this just might work.  He started writing a list of the people he knew with whom he could network in order to get a job.  This time he was on to something.  Yeah.  More thinking.  Okay.  What have we got?  He put down the pencil and picked up the telephone.  He slowly dialed a number.  "Hello, Eileen?  Hi, this is Carl Stokes.  I don't know if you remember me.  A few years ago, I had seen you for about a month and a half.  Yes, therapy, that's right.  Hi, how are you?  Listen, the reason I am calling is because I am doing some job networking.  Its a new technique for job hunting that involves calling people to see if they have any job leads.  Yeah, I read about it in the New York Times.  Oh, its easy, you just say hello, and then talk a little chit chat, and then ask if anyone they know is hiring.  Yeah, piece of cake.  So, how you been?  Still doing the therapist gig?  Nice.  Me?  Yeah, I'm fine.  Real good.  Never felt better.  Let me ask you, do you know if anyone is hiring?  Not at this time?  Oh.  No, that's okay.  Yeah, doesn't hurt to ask.  Sure.  Yup.  Okay.  Goodbye."  He slowly put down the receiver in the cradle.  He exhaled and scratched his head.  Then he took his pencil and drew a single line through the single name he had written down on the sheet of paper.  ---  3/1/2006

Arts, literature, works.  ---  Our family was poor.  At the dinner table, which we called "the eatin' bench", we had a paper napkin at each place-setting instead cloth napkins.  But these paper napkins were just for show, and we were told that "the show napkins", as we called them, were not to be used under any circumstances.  We were just too poor to waste the paper napkins.  Instead, we used what we called "the real napkin".  The real napkin was a single paper napkin that we all shared.  In order to make the real napkin last we had to follow certain rules before we were allowed to use it.  I can still remember our meals when someone would say, "Can I use the real napkin?"  "Did you finish eating?"  "Yes."  "Did you lick your fingers?"  Yes."  "Okay, you may use the real napkin."  And then we would gingerly hold the real napkin between thumb and each finger, one by one.  "Don't you raise that real napkin to your mouth.", they would warn us.  ---  6/6/2000

Arts, literature, works.  ---  Technical writing.  The Varnak PD30T computer, a technical writing project, by Gordon Leish.  This document describes the operation of the Varnak PD30T computer.  The Varnak PD30T computer is a marvel of modern science.  The PD30T was created several years ago by the scientists at Varnak.  The PD30T had a tumultuous early life.  The PD30T has matured into a stable platform for multi-tasking, multi-user environments.  Reserved without being shy.  Good humored without being fey.  The PD30T is a complex character, not easily rendered.  The input/output mechanism consists of a tungsten alloy servo-assembly.  Prone to expound on a variety of topics.  Likes yachting and painting watercolors.  ---  3/1/2006

Arts, literature, works.  ---  The Humanities Carnival.  //  Jeff said to Beth, "Beth, I can't go on like this, working for minimum wage, unable to pay my bills.  There has to be another way."  Beth said, "Meet me here tonight.  I want to show you something."  That night, Beth and Jeff drove far away, to the edge of the county, and parked in a grassy field next to the entrance of the Humanities Carnival.  They paid the admission fee and walked in.  Jeff said, "Humanities Carnival?"  It looks like any ordinary carnival to me.  The games and rides are the same.  The people in the crowd are the same."  Beth said, "Exactly.  But look closely at the carnival workers.  Listen to their spiel."  One carnie said, "Ring toss, and French Renaissance literature."  The next carnie said, "Whack-a-mole, and existentialist philosophy."  Beth said, "Each carnie has a post graduate degree in the humanities."  That night, after closing , the carnies gathered around a fire to discuss their love of the humanities, and how they were so cruelly rejected by society.  One carnie said, "I used to teach philosophy until I lost my job to budget cuts."  Another carnie said, "People told me I was crazy to get a masters degree in linguistics, but I went for it anyway.  I was homeless until I found the Humanities Carnival."  It grew quiet around the campfire.  Jeff stood up and said, "Hi, my name is Jeff, and I have a PhD in comparative philology."  A quiet gasp went around the campfire.  Jeff continued, "Can I join the Humanities Carnival?"  A woman stood up and said, "Welcome, Jeff.  Tell us your story."  ---  6/23/2006

Arts, literature, works.  ---  The instructor slowly closed his anthology of literature, looked at the class, and said, "In case you have not figured it out, love is an illusion created by poets and promulgated by marketers and advertisers.  Your best bet is to stay healthy, work hard, save your money, and enjoy sunrises and sunsets."  The students frowned and grumbled amongst themselves. The instructor continued, "Of course, there are a few people who say they are in love, most likely they are paid to do so.  But for most of us, love will remain a fleeting chimera."  The students rebelled, shaking their fists and throwing their books down.  ---  12/17/2006

Arts, literature, works.  ---  The Library.  //  Gradually, fewer and fewer people went to the library.  Eventually, it was one lone man in a large room with a librarian.  One day the librarian spoke.  "Why do you continue to show up here, day after day?  The man said, "Why does no one else?"  The librarian said, "They are all at home, doing their research on the Internet."  The man said, "I like the books, and I really have no where else to go."  The librarian said, "Here are the keys, please look after the place.", and then the librarian walked out the door, leaving the man alone.  After that, for many years, it was just the man and the books, day after day, season after season.  Until one day, many years later, a college student stood in the doorway and said, "I heard about this place on the Internet."  ---  6/22/2006

Arts, literature, works.  ---  Years ago I had a job as a night watchman.  It was summertime.  My post was in the middle of a large field.  Every morning I would watch the sun rise slowly, silently.  The birds would start singing in the pre-dawn darkness.  I was watching the night and a field of wild flowers.  It was like the African savanna millions of years ago.  The sun has risen every day since then.  It was warm outside.  No one was around.  I disappeared.  I evaporated.  Zen like.  Every night was an eight hour zeshin.  Time is a river.  The mind is a river.  There is no time.  There is no mind.  To quote Paul Simon, "The morning sun is rising like a red rubber ball."  The warm haze envelopes.  The distant trees.  Veil of dawn.  Heart of darkness.  And then it was daytime, and the people scurried about.  The busy people.  Business and noise.  I was paid to watch the dawn.  It was my job to guard a field of wild flowers.  ---  3/9/2005

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.