April 29, 2016 by T. Gregory Argall
Staring at a blank screen. We used to call it a blank page, but the page is now virtual, if not virtuous, and it just sits on the screen staring back at me.
Blank, barren, stark white, lacking word, thought, and punctuation, it represents the absence of ideas but the presence of hope. For while the typeable area is empty there is still hope that the words, sentences, and paragraphs that eventually fill the space will be brilliant and meaningful and generally cool. But the longer it remains blank, the more that hope fades and dwindles into the spirit-crushing certainty that no words will ever come and the space will be empty forever and why the hell did I curse myself with a defined, regular schedule for my blog? I can’t escape it. It’s right there in the name and-today-is-Friday-I’ve-got-nothing! Gaaaah!
So I asked my friend, SLR the Camera Babe, for random topic suggestions. (She’s not really a camera; those are her initials and she self-identifies as a photographic device, as is her right.) She sent me the following list…
farting old dogs
learning to play an instrument
Presented with that variety of options, my obvious response was to wonder if she meant old dogs that fart, or a person with a really unusual and inconvenient flatulence problem. Then a random exchange of dialogue floated through my head.
“Hey, Murray. Long time no see. What’ve you been up to?”
“Oh, you know, the usual. Just farting old dogs.”
“Yeah, I saw them piled up behind you.”
“I’ve got a kid that cleans them up, takes them for walks and stuff. But this is his day off.”
“So, anyway, what did you mean by “long time no see”?”
“Just that we haven’t talked in a while.”
“Yeah, right. Sure. You remember that I’ve been blind since 1993, right?”
“Oh, shit. I forgot.”
That, of course, led to me ponder using the phrase “farting old dogs” as a euphemism. What would it be a euphemism for?
Shopping for slacks?
Finishing the leftover hotdogs from last night’s dinner?
Taking off your shoes after a particularly tiring day?
The possibilities are almost endless. I just hope that it never becomes the name of a sexual position. I’m afraid to picture what that might involve, but I’m pretty sure I’d hurt myself.
“Did you hear? Carl’s in the hospital.”
“Oh no. What happened?”
“He broke a tibia, fractured two vertebrae and chipped a tooth. Nearly lost a finger, too. He tried farting old dogs with his wife.”
“What? Are they crazy? They’re over forty. They shouldn’t be doing that.”
“Yeah. Fortunately his wife didn’t get hurt, because she was holding the kibble bowl.”
It seems that sometimes a blank page might be preferable.
Try to be nice to each other.