Downtown Diary [08.14] 

The Stain

The Stain

Rachel the cultural anthropologist, the Hoosier brain drain"s latest expatriate, stopped by my house as part of her farewell tour last week. As we sat in the living room drinking coffee, Rachel outlined plans for the courses she"ll be teaching at a university in Minnesota. "Oh man! I spilled coffee on my shirt again!" I suddenly exclaimed, wiping my chin in embarrassment. "Again with the shirts!" Rachel said. "You know, J., when we were living together as lovers, I was disturbed by how often you ruined shirts when you ate or drank. At first I thought there might be some sort of anatomical issue, you know, like your right hand did not meet your mouth correctly when you held a spoon or fork or cup to it. So one night while you were sleeping, I measured all the bones in your right arm and hand, and I measured the flexibility in each joint, and I concluded that anatomy was not the issue. Then one night Hector and I chloroformed you and stuck you inside an MRI machine he"d built from plans he"d gotten out of a popular science magazine, but we saw no abnormalities in your brain. At that point I understood the problem was simple: You are a man, and you are a slob." "Thanks, I appreciate that," I said neurasthenically. "Anyway, the last two years we were together I kept an inventory of the number of shirts you ruined. I did a few calculations and quickly concluded there was no future with a man like you," she said. "You"re saying that ..." I said. "What I"m saying is that the reason we"re not together, and the reason you"re still single, is that no woman could afford to keep you in shirts!"

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