Friday, September 24, 2010

"Do-do-do-do (The 'Twilight Zone' Theme)"

Okay, I’m a little crazed.

Um, I don’t have strong feelings about the supernatural, one way or the other. If a palm reader charges reasonable prices – like a dollar – I’ll give them a try. Someone asks me, “What’s your sign? – I tell them. Maybe I can learn something astrologically valuable.

Chinese restaurant slips me a fortune cookie, I always read it. I’m intrigued by the unevenness of their writing standards. And besides, what have I got to lose?

What I’m saying is, when it comes to otherworldly possibilities, I am not a naysayer. I’m a “show me proof”-sayer. I will sign on with whatever the evidence suggests.

All right. So here’s the situation:

I’m composing yesterday’s post. And here’s how I do that. I type stuff on my computer, and when I finish a draft of it, I print it up. I then take the printed pages, and I pin them onto a clipboard. I re-read the material on the clipboard, revising on my computer as I go.

I can’t read on a computer. I’m from another time. I need the flow that only reading off a sheet of paper can provide. With computers, you have to keep scrolling down, a process which jostles my writing rhythm and disturbs my comprehension.

Okay, so I’m composing yesterday’s post. I’m three quarters of the way through my third pass of the material, trying to make it better.

Starting to feel hungry, I’m thinking about breaking for lunch. I figure I’ll finish this pass, and pick it up after I eat.

I’m typing on the computer. I go back to my lap, where I’m balancing the clipboard,

And the clipboard is gone.

I never felt it go. I don’t know what happened to it. It appears to have completely disappeared while I was working.

Be me for a second, so you can experience the full impact of my reaction. I’m reading from the clipboard that’s sitting in my lap. I see something I want to change. I look up, and make the change on the computer. I look back in my lap to continue reading…

No clipboard.

Where did it go? I hadn’t let my office. I hadn’t even left my chair. And yet…

Poof! The clipboard has vanished.

I have this rule when I’m trying to find something.

“If the thing’s not where you think it is, look for it where you think it isn’t.”

To me, it’s a matter of logic. If something’s not where you think it is, the only place it can be is where you think it isn’t. There are only two categories of places – the place where you think the thing is, and the place where you think the thing isn’t. And you’ve already ruled out one of those places – the place where you think it is. Logic requires us to conclude that the only place the thing can be is the only place that’s left – the place where you think it isn’t.

It makes sense, doesn’t it?

I made a thorough search of the place where I had last seen the clipboard – my lap – and it wasn’t there. I then proceeded to look everywhere else – my office, my bedroom, the bathroom, downstairs, in the kitchen, all the places that I hadn’t gone with the clipboard, since, as I mentioned, I had not, throughout that time period, left my chair.

It seemed ridiculous, but what else could I do? The clipboard was definitely not where I thought it was – in my lap – so it had to be where I thought it wasn’t – everywhere else.

The clipboard turned out not to be where I thought it wasn’t either.

I had one last hope. I solicited the assistance of our long-time, wonderful housekeeper, Connie. Connie can find anything.

“Where did you take it?” she inquired, searching for clues.

“It was sitting in my lap!”

Connie couldn’t find it either.

At the point of this writing, almost four hours later, my clipboard with my pages attached to it appears to be


The possibility arises that the clipboard may have slipped through a crack in time, tumbling into another dimension. I see movies about that stuff, and I have no idea what they’re talking about. I thought I had an open mind on these matters. What I’ve learned, however, is when it happens to me, I find myself skeptical of the entire idea. I’m not at all certain any other dimensions exist.

But if they don’t,

Where the hell is my clipboard?


Follow-up: Many hours later, I found my clipboard. And I was right. It was somewhere I thought it wasn’t. And extremely well hidden, I might add. So I’m not entirely crazy.

Well, good. Mystery solved. As for the existence of other dimensions? As we’d say about a scene in a script that we hadn’t written yet –

Evidence: To come.

By the way, sometimes, I think I need to get out of the house, to gather material for blog posts. Now I'm not sure. I just did one without getting out of my chair.


Follow-up On "Pure Comedy": A commenter wrote that the "Jim Takes His Driver's Test" clip exists "precisely due to Jim's character." That's technically correct. But all comedy, even the most extreme examples, come out of something. And the choice of jokes that reflect character is wide-ranging.

This particular choice exists primarily to make the audience laugh hysterically, which, in fact, they did. But do you know anyone, even a 60's burnout, who would actually behave this way? The misunderstanding? The repetition of the same thing. Four times. Each repetition spoken more slowly and deliberately that the last? The comic structure of this moment,the way it was delivered, and the decision to do it in the first place, that's what makes "What does a 'yellow light' mean?" pure comedy.

By the way, I didn't write it. My guess is it was written by someone high up in the "Taxi" writing staff's food chain. If an underling had suggested it, it would likely have been rejected as "too broad." That's how it often works on a writing staff. If the boss suggests it, it's hilarious. Anyone else? "What were you thinking?"


PALGOLAK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PALGOLAK said...

Well? Where was it?

angel said...

If my friend the Dimension Skipper doesn't weigh in on this, I will be truly surprised. :-)

My Mom always had a saying that when the devil was finished with it, it would return. I have found that to be true, more times then I want to count. The most memorable being my Husband's Devils horn necklace (it's an Italian thing) that disappeared on our 10th Wedding Anniversary and reappeared when we went to package Christmas presents, 6 months later.

Let me echo PALGOLAK and ask, so where did the clipboard end up? Under the desk, perhaps?

Gary said...

"There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition; between Earl's lap and beneath his chair."

Brian Fies said...

I bet it was in the refrigerator.

Dimension Skipper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dimension Skipper said...

When I lose stuff (frequently, it seems) it usually turns out I put it down somewhere without even realizing it. Only when I stumble upon it later do I then recall why I was there and set down whatever it was.

Not having strayed from the spot where you lost something makes that line of reasoning a little harder to rely on, but not impossible. I know I've lost pens or other small objects simply by dropping them and they take some completely unforeseeable weird sideways bounce to some misdirected dark shadowy place. A clipboard seems like it would be a little on the largish side to have lost it so thoroughly and so quickly, though...

My guesses would depend on your office environment... If your chair is plush and comfy, then down the side next to the seat cushion is a possibility, though I would think it wouldn't take long to see it or feel it when searching. If the area is well carpeted, then I would suspect a much muffled fall to the floor and silent ricochet of more-than-anticipated distance under either the desk or the chair itself (again, depending on chair/desk styles).

Of course, another factor in this mystery would be the lighting conditions: day/night, lamps on/off and if on, then the type and positioning of said lamps, what watts and whatnot.

The good news is scientists are developing theories to possibly explain such disappearing dimensional phenomena. Most are some sort of variation on string theory with multiple extra dimensions and many posit the existence of infinite (or near infinite) alternate universes in parallel, each contained in what the egghead elite term "membranes" or, more colloquially, "'branes."

...Which is why when I search for something I've lost, I end up singing to myself "If I only had a 'brane", 'cause ya'know, it might have slipped into one o' them there alternate reality thingies.

Dimension Skipper said...

Wait a minute, I just realized...

You don't do blog posts on weekends, so we gotta wait till monday to find out the answer?!?!?

For a comedy writer, you sure know how to build the dramatic tension!