Fresh power chords, pointy toothpicks, brand new shirts with the tags still on

I love it when you buy a new phone or a new laptop or keyboard and they always come with a new cord or a new charger. It’s always perfectly wrapped, the chord looped around itself in a way that’s impossible to replicate with your bare hands. After it’s worn and used a couple of times you might try and see if you can get it back in that shape, but never, it’s not happening, and then you try to untangle it again and somehow there’s a knot now, like how did it get there? It just kind of tied itself out of nowhere.

power chord

And that feeling, man, fresh power chord. In a week it’s not going to be white anymore, it’s not going to feel like it does now, it’s going to be slick, slippery, there’ll be like scuff marks on it, even though you don’t remember scuffing it on anything. Why can’t it feel brand new for a little longer? What’s going on in the air or by the wall that makes this thing degrade in quality almost overnight?

It’s like when you’re at a restaurant and right in the middle of the table there’s a toothpick dispenser, and all of the toothpicks are individually wrapped. And, I don’t know about all of you, but toothpicks don’t work for me. The idea of stabbing the space in between my teeth with a sharpened pointy little stick, no thanks, I’ll stick to floss picks. But there they are, so of course I’m going to dispense a few, play around with them in my hands, take them out of the wrappers. And these things are perfect, pristine, it’s exactly how I imagine a toothpick to be when I’m thinking about toothpicks. I touch the end and it’s the definition of pointy. But that’s it. You touch it once, it does something to the point, you touch it again, it’s not so pointy anymore.

And then you start chewing on it and rolling it around in your fingers and now you’ve got like individual wood fibers or whatever, it’s on your clothes, there are pieces of it in your mouth, and you look down at the tables and you’ve already done it three or four times, and so you try to push it all to one side, so that way when the waitress drops off your food, she doesn’t make this huge effort to wipe down the table, all of those toothpicks, and look, you did it to the straw wrapper also, all of the straw wrappers everywhere.

This is all reminding me of clothing, like when you buy a brand new shirt at the mall, and I’m not talking about anything fancy, not necessarily. It’s just a regular t-shirt, a simple short-sleeved button down maybe, and everything’s comfortable, you get out of the shower, you throw on your new shirt, you leave the house. Maybe like ten minutes after you’re out the front door you notice it, that little itch right on your side, right above the belt line.

It’s a small itch at first, maybe you’re not even totally conscious of what’s going on, but eventually, you find yourself scratching this same spot over and over again, and it’s not working, maybe it’s getting worse from all of the excessive itching. And so your brain takes over, all right, now you’ve got my attention, what seems to be the problem?

And it’s a tag. Why would they put a tag there? Why would they put a tag anywhere on a shirt? It’s the most annoying sensation. I remember being a little kid and actually being afraid of certain pieces of clothing, knowing that, once my mom laid out an outfit for me, that was it, I’d be condemned to a whole day of not being able to sit still, totally uncomfortable, please get this tag to stop making my life miserable.

And some shirts, it’s even worse. They put this really long tag on top of that tag, and it’s a little fabric pouch, it’s got a long hard strip in there. What is this, anti-theft technology? How do they deactivate it after purchase? Why am I carrying this thing out of the store with no alarms going off? And it’s always out of the house when I figure out the problem. Because, in the house would be too convenient, I’d get a pair of scissors, problem would be solved.

No, this is going to drive me crazy all day, I’ll start playing with the tag, seeing if I can’t rip it out with my hands, knowing that I’m probably going to damage the shirt, trying to set it out of my mind, not doing a good job of setting it out of my mind. Now I’m playing with it unconsciously and, yep, now I’ve done it. Maybe I haven’t ruined the shirt like ruined it, ruined it, but it’s definitely stretched out a little, like if you’re wearing it and you’re looking at it you’ll think, what they hell? Why is this little spot so stretched out?

Like when you’re playing basketball at your parents’ house, and yeah they have a ball, and yeah, they’ve got a pump, so everything should be OK, but that ball, nobody really plays basketball here that much, not anymore, not since everybody moved out. There’s a little bubble, something, it’s a lump. It’s like the shape of the basketball is just slightly, almost imperceptibly lumped on just this one side. But what are you going to do, complain? You’re just shooting around with your brothers. But every once in a while you’ve got possession, you go to make a move but the ball dribbles right on that lump, just enough so that it bounces maybe an inch or two to the left. Your younger brother takes advantage, steals the ball and scores. What are you going to do, you’re going to say something? I guess it’s his disadvantage also. But come on, there’s no way that would have happened if we just had a regular ball, no lumps, no tiny little bumps sending everything just a little off, just totally ruining an otherwise nice game of basketball.

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