Have Fun, Learn Something

9 October 2002

All throughout my childhood, if my dad was the one to drop me off at school, he'd call after me, "Have fun, learn something!" And yesterday I did some of both. Sometimes even simultaneously.

Sometimes Daddy added things to the admonition. Yesterday I was remembering that when he dropped me at GAC, he said, "Have fun, learn something, and don't date any hockey players!"

(Zed was a bit alarmed that I referred to my alma mater as "gack." I was alarmed, too, the first time I heard someone call it that. We rolled down the windows when we got to campus, and the Gustie Greeters hollered, "Welcome to GAC!" We rolled the windows up again. I had always used "gack" in sentences like, "Mooooom, Booboo gacked on the rug again!" [Booboo was the dog.] Mom said, "I don't think St. Olaf saved your scholarships." I said, "No, I doubt it." We moved me in.)

Oh! My favorite thing learned yesterday. We had the pregame show on briefly so that we wouldn't miss the first pitch, and they bleeped a word that I didn't know was bad: "aberration." Evidently you're not allowed to say "aberration" on the Fox networks. Maybe I shouldn't say it in my journal, either. I don't know. It went "aberBEEEEEEEP." And you could read the broadcaster's lips and see that she wasn't saying aber-something-else. I've heard older people say that people's language is worse now than when they were kids. I didn't know they meant that new words were becoming "dirty."

I was also confused and intrigued when "the Oedipal insult" appeared in a book I knew was translated from Chinese. Is there a Chinese insult that translates into "person who has [rude form] sexual intercourse with the female parent?" Is there a Chinese insult that means something totally different but is considered just as insulting to a Chinese person? Or has that particular word been borrowed into Chinese as an insult the way its base-verb has been borrowed into Swedish?

I think about translation problems too much sometimes.

Breaking news in the Merc today: lots of Americans are fat, and polygraph tests don't work. Um, that is, polygraph tests don't work for detecting lies. I don't know that anybody's tested them for weight loss purposes. Anyway, I'm sure glad we paid for the newspaper to get that kind of cutting edge story.

Anyway, I read Escape from China on the train and Asian American Experiences in the United States once I got home. Aren't these titles getting creative? At least this one admitted to the possibility that there could be more than one Asian American Experience. Zed lent me a book about fixing up my back and various other things, called Pain Free, and I started that, and I also started Jeffrey Ford's The Fantasy Writer's Assistant and Other Stories. Worked on the book, listened to the game. Woohoo! It's a good start, winning game one.

And I had a good lunch at Zed's, too, food good (what kind of salad dressing was that, Zed?), tea good, conversation good, shoulders good. And a good dinner at home. Because you know what? I was hungry! I actually woke up hungry again this morning, and I got hungry before eating all three of yesterday's meals. Woohoo!

Also I got to pet a very nice dog named Molly on my way back from Zed's. I just get so fur-deprived out here. I miss having a dog so much.

Oh, and I called C.J. for his birthday, and it's not that long until I'll be in Minneapolis. Hurrah. And it's Leif Ericson Day. I'm not sure what you ought to do to celebrate. Go wander around somewhere you've never been, I guess. Me, I'll maybe open the jar of lingonberries. Hmm. Maybe. We can get more, but...well, I might need them. We'll be out here awhile yet.

It's evidently e-rejection week around here. (Although, you know, it might just be e-response week. If anybody has an e-acceptance for me....) At least with those, I know they've gotten through. A Certain Major Print Mag Famed For Short Response Times has had one of my stories for three weeks now, longer than they keep stories in general. Longer than they keep my stories, to be sure. Except that I can't let myself get excited about it, because I don't know if it's them keeping the story and pondering it or the post office keeping the response. If I was any good at this serenity stuff, this would be the time to practice it, I guess.

I sent Reprogramming out to a publisher in January. They still have it. They say nine months is their response time, which I figure means twelve to fifteen. But does it still drive me mad? Oh yes. Oh absolutely, no questions, yes. I was on the serene side for months. For a M'ris, I was positively mellow about this book being out. But then the "nine months, they said!" alarm went off in my head. The internal five-year-old. It just seems like an awfully long time to plan on waiting. The trick is not to think about it, I suppose. I hope that's the trick, because it's the only thing I've thought of that seems to help, besides writing more books.

And speaking of writing more books, if I'm going to do that, I should get back to it.

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