I had a few really boring, copy-making, phone-answering type jobs after college. During that time, I repeatedly envisioned the mental movie (fantasy? not quite) of swallowing the receiver of the phone. It would play in my mind after phone calls, especially ones that were a little bit irritating. I’d swallow the receiver—gulp—and be left with the curly cord hanging out my mouth and grating (but now muffled) voices yammering from somewhere below my solar plexus.
In grad school (and I will let you derive what you will about my grad school experience from this story), the movie was about putting myself through a wooden laundry wringer like the old-timey one in the locker room at the swimming pool where I went as a kid. A bit awkward, right? Because not only would the ringer crush my bones (ending with the satisfying pop of my skull), but I had to really contort my arm in order to reach around and turn the crank. I’d have some baffling discussion with a professor, and there I’d go … toes, kneecaps, tummy, ribcage, pop … and end up in a paper-thin and very relaxed pile on the floor.
This week what I am is the Hanna-Barbera image of some priceless vase getting broken in the midst of a wild pigeon chase. Something smacks it, and first it crazes into a bazillion pieces hanging together by their own inertia, then the bottom half crumbles while the top half remains magically suspended in the air, then, after that unearthly pause, crashes to the ground and breaks up with the standard cathartic glass-breaking soundtrack.