Thursday, February 21, 2019


They used to have a hundred pages between them.

But spirals lose their pages over time. They may be torn off precociously to destroy evidence, or develop paper fatigue by being handled back and forth excessively.

When the last page is gone, back and front covers meet for the first time. This might be a happy occasion, if they happen to be feeling lonely and empty inside. Or it could be a troubled one, in case they’ve become too well adjusted to their isolation.

In either case, they’re handcuffed to sturdy spirals, unable to go anywhere.

Saturday, February 16, 2019


Thanks to recycling, spike receipt holders now descend from anything metallic, from paper clips to cars, and thus carry their souls. True evil holders from the past, forged from virgin steel with the specific purpose of stabbing innocent receipts and memos are found only in antique stores or offices that haven’t been renovated in decades, and are probably blunt.

A spike holder recycled from a pair of scizzors, for instance, has no idea why it’s putting holes through paper, instead of cutting it.

A recycled steel paper tray could be driven to insanity by having to impale the very things it was conceived to protect.

Even recycled frying pans, hardened by the hellish reality of stovetops, can’t understand what kind of dish you get by skewering pieces of paper.

As expected, recycled swords and hunting knives experience a much smoother transition into their new role.

Sunday, February 10, 2019


Capital letters think being big and tall gives them the right to ridicule their lowercase counterparts. The following offensive words were heard within the pages of a book:

B to b: Jeez, what happened to your other butt cheek?

F to f: Looks like you need Viagra up there.

H to h: I’m so tired, do you mind if I sit on you?

J to j: I don’t get your point.

L to l: Sorry you lost your foot, but trying to look like number one doesn’t help at all.

It’s not funny. If lowercase letters decide to leave, imagine what kind of world we’ll be living in, with nothing but big, screaming, capital letter ruffians populating all our reading materials.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


The Portendorfers packed the car with their clothes, a dog bed, a giant bag of dog food, a baby stroller, grandma’s wheelchair, beach toys for the other two children, a big beach umbrella, and matching beach chairs. As expected, the whole paraphernalia didn’t fit in the trunk, so Mr. Portendorfer tied some of it to the roof of the car. The family, including the dog, squeezed into the vehicle and left their suburban home for the beach.

Well into the trip, one of the chairs became loose and fell off the car. That was when the Portendorfers were all singing together, so they didn’t hear a thing.

Luckily for the chair, the impact made it roll all the way to the side of the road before getting hit by other cars. It stayed there for a while, folded as it had been packed. Its aluminum frame had suffered a few dents and the seat was torn. But it was all in one piece.

When the dust settled, the chair stretched its four legs and started walking in the direction the car had gone. Its frame was so badly bent, the only way it could move forward was by limping sideways like a crab.

Night fell, but it was still bright with the moon, and the headlights.

Later, black clouds covered the moon, and the rain fell hard on the forest, drowning the sounds of crickets and cicadas. Sometimes the chair stumbled on a rock or a ditch, but it was important to keep its balance: flipping on its back meant never being able to stand up again.

The Portendorfers arrived at the beach house. While unloading the car, Mrs. Portendorfer noticed that one of the beach chairs was missing, and asked her husband to drive back and try to find it. But Mr. Portendorfer didn’t think that a cheap old beach chair was worth his trouble, especially at this time of night, and with all the rain.

As the Portendorfers slept, the chair dragged itself through the storm. When it arrived at the beach house, the sun was shining and the Portendorfers were eating breakfast.

When the family came out, they found the missing chair on the grass, all twisted and crooked, covered with mud and weeds. The other chairs had gathered around it, to hear its story.

I wish I could say that the family was ecstatic to see their loyal beach chair back, that the children jumped with happiness, that their parents had tears in their eyes, that they all got together and washed it, fixed it, and took it to the beach with them. Yes, I wish I could say that.

Thursday, January 31, 2019


You order a dozen rolls and the baker throws in a 13th roll for free. Once inside the bag, they all look the same to you. But that 13th roll knows that it is the free roll. And it assumes that you won’t respect it as much as the other dozen rolls you had to pay for. It thinks you might use it as pigeon food, for example, but never served on a nice breakfast table with fancy Irish butter and English marmalade.

13th rolls, like anything that is given for free, promptly loose their self-esteem. Lollipops in pediatricians’ offices feel the same way. And so do antibacterial wipes and liquids, available everywhere now, free of charge.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


Maybe only headbands and eye patches require less fabric to make.

The unsubstantiality of ties is best observed when they are put over generously cut shirts, or long, double-breasted trench coats.

Ties see themselves as whatever’s left on the clothing factory’s floor after a day’s work, byproducts of worthy garments, the gift of choice of cheap, lazy people without imaginations, bibs for drooling fools, unwilling symbols of the establishment, irrelevant, suffocating strips of fabric with fancy names on their way out of men’s wardrobes, just like it happened with suspenders.

When that day comes, expect to see a lot of them hanging by their own necks.

Friday, January 25, 2019


Just like Stop signs in Italy and No Smoking signs in Russia, Fragile stickers all over the world get no respect. 

Although bright red and written in bold letters, they command no attention. Reverse psychology makes baggage handlers and delivery people give rougher-than-usual treatment to containers with Fragile stickers. Actually, putting a Fragile sticker on your package practically guarantees that it will arrive damaged at its destination. 

Travel bags checked in with Fragile stickers will show up in baggage areas fully open, their contents shamefully scattered all over conveyor belts for everyone to see.

Still, Fragile stickers keep pretending that they work, and people keep buying them. It’s one of those things we never learn, such as adopting chimpanzees as pets even after reading about people’s faces being ripped off by deceptively friendly primates.

Sunday, January 20, 2019


False prudes like the ladies who make them, crochet covers pretend to protect and beautify household items in order to feed their perversions.

You will see these handmade artifacts clinging to teapots, toilet lids, pillows, mason jars, toasters, toys, dog sweaters, doorknobs, and other victims, all disfigured by the same mediocre, repetitive patterns woven mechanically by hands disconnected from their brains.

Crochet covers will take the shape of whatever they cloak, and rob their soul, like parasitic vines climbing trees to suffocate them.

They will mask the age and reality of objects with their meaningless mandalas, making it look, to the outside world, that everything is well and under control.

Thursday, January 17, 2019


Overheard at the Department of Hat Complaints:

From a Pork Pie: “Hats can’t wear hats!”

From a Homburg: “We crown people’s heads, yet we’re not considered regal.”

From a Panama: “We rhyme with cats, rats, bats and fats.”

“And what’s so bad about that?” the clerk challenged the Panama, “scarf rhymes with barf, shoes rhyme with booze, and we never had a single complaint about that.

The Panama cleared its throat: “My cousin, a fine Fedora, was on a man’s head when the wind made him fly and land on the roof of a house. The man rang the bell and a deaf old lady opened the door. My hat is on your roof, the man said.

“Oh, it’s all right, the lady said, cats like going there because the tiles are warm.

“Not a cat, my hat! the man yelled.

“The lady replied: That’s strange, bats usually hide under the roof during the day.

“My hat, lady!

“How dare you call me a fat lady? she said, and slammed the door.

“My cousin was never seen again.

Saturday, January 12, 2019


After being purchased and taken out of their sealed boxes, cotton swabs usually live with their heads or butts uncovered, in cups. For the untrained eyes of humans, both heads and butts look exactly the same.

Cotton swabs placed head-down, with their butts sticking up, are usually made fun by the ones who, although by mere chance, were put upright. The sad truth is, all of them have to live with their heads really close to the butts of other Cotton Swabs, sometimes even touching if there isn’t enough space.

When they see a hand approaching, Cotton swabs move surreptitiously, trying to avoid being picked. They know the horrors awaiting them: they will be forced inside hairy, greasy tunnels, and turned around until both their neat white ends become brownish and disheveled. After that, they’ll be thrown in a can of trash, and a lid will descend upon them, bringing total darkness.

As opposed to humans and some other animals, cotton swabs are only young enough to live while their manes are white.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019


Dear Dr. Hope:

I came to this world as a pencil holder and was perfectly happy with that. True, sometimes pencils had broken points and pens were missing their caps, but the consistency of my contents was very reassuring.

One day, though, they emptied me of all those writing instruments, filled me with cold water, and stuck a thorny rose inside me. The scratches still hurt.

Not too long after that, I was put up for sale at a thrift store for nearly nothing. Someone took me home and poured scalding hot coffee inside me. What’s next?

Dr. Hope, I don’t know anymore what I am, and what other tortures destiny holds for me.
I hope you can help me.

Ms. Disillusioned.

Dear Ms. Disillusioned:

Your identity crisis is very common for objects with similar shapes. We recently had a letter from a receptacle that started as a fruit bowl, became a foot soaking bucket, and ended up as a chamber pot. Degrading, for sure, but not the end of the world.

The important thing is to be regarded as useful, always. The option is the landfill, and unless you are used to a promiscuous lifestyle, I don’t think you would enjoy that.

Glad to be of help,

Dr. Hope

Friday, January 4, 2019


When the Jews were expelled from Iberia, they had to leave all sorts of things behind. As they fled to other places around the world, their beautiful synagogues, stone-paved streets, baths, homes, and the tombstones of their ancestors remained undisturbed for many years; nobody wanted to move into the Jewish quarters, fearing that they’d be accused of being Jews with Christian names trying to avoid prosecution.

It’s important to note that buildings and public areas in ghettos don’t know much about prejudice, even if they live smack in the middle of where it happens. They also fail to realize that they’re too big and heavy to travel with their owners.

Feeling abandoned by the people who built and took care of them lovingly, and left, then rejected by everyone else for 500 years, they couldn’t imagine anything worse happening to them. 

And then the tourists arrived.

Monday, December 31, 2018


Sandwiched between a butt and a horse — that’s how saddles spend most of their time.

Their high-maintenance cousins, though, get made into fine ladies’ handbags, belts, and boots.

Brands of saddles are not intended to be glamorous, and wouldn’t look sufficiently tough with French names on them.

Take Billy Cook, a well-known brand of saddles from Sulphur, Oklahoma. While Billies don’t mind sleeping in a barn, Vuittons prefer a velvet-lined shelf inside a darkened walk-in closet in the city.

Saddle brands are not good for extensions either; that’s why you’ll never find the Big Horn logo in a bottle of eau de parfum, or a Tucker leather good at Heathrow’s Duty Free shop.

But don’t feel bad for saddles. They love the country life, and would rather die than be seen at Henri Bendel.