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Barry Smith: Irrelativity

Barry Smith
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado
Jordan Curet The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

I keep a notebook by my bed so I can write down all the brilliant ideas, insights, premises and jokes that come to me in my sleep. That’s the plan, anyway.

Someday I hope to wake up, grab the notebook and see “A simple cure for cancer is …” or “Aha! Solution for homelessness!” written in my own sleepy hand. However, so far all I’ve got is a bedside notebook full of scrawlings like “chicken fried bacon” and “Jesus will forgive me for calling you an a**hole.”

But I have to believe that there’s meaning in there somewhere, otherwise I’ve just lost a lot of sleep over nothing. So today I’m going to sort through some of my more coherent (well, legible…) nocturnal literary emissions and see if I can comment in a way that adds depth and relevance to these scribbles. Wish me luck.



SCRIBBLE: “Left warming the bench by my Life Coach.”

COMMENT: I played basketball in junior high school. I was useless. Our coach, Coach Gasparini, is memorable to me for two reasons; 1) He once told me, and this is a verbatim quote, “You’re so weak it’s pathetic.” And 2) his nickname was Coach Grasp-A-Weenie. Imagine Coach Grasp-A-Weenie as a life coach? I’d be riding life’s pine. Or whatever.




SCRIBBLE: “What’s so important about significance?”

COMMENT: Pretty clever play on words and concepts, right? No, of course not. But at 3 a.m. it’s gotta feel like pure genius.

SCRIBBLE: “Why does a psychic need an answering machine?”

COMMENT: I once went to a psychic who, upon learning that I wrote for a newspaper, refused to do a reading with me, because she thought that I was just there to mock her. For once in my life this wasn’t the case ” I really had come seeking psychic advice. Seems like she would have known that, right? I mean, being a psychic and all. I remember leaving her a message afterward. I said, “Hi, I just called to tell you …” and then I pictured the rest of the message in my mind and remained silent until the tape ran out.

SCRIBBLE: “You really only need to know as many words as your friends.”

COMMENT: Even in the midst of a REM cycle I’m apparently still looking for ways to get out of improving my vocabulary.

SCRIBBLE: “Burning the camel at both ends.”

EXPLANATION: Apparently I was going through some camel phase, as a few days later I rolled over and scrawled, “Palindrom-adary ” camel that reads the same way forward and backward.”

SCRIBBLE: “Why don’t writers have cheerleaders: 2-4-6-8, watch him as he conjugates!”

COMMENT: I love waking up to hand-written, barely legible reminders of my low self-esteem. Yes, clearly I need cheerleaders. That’ll make everything better.

SCRIBBLE: “MAKE NOW GOOD.”

COMMENT: I think I secretly want to write a self-help book, but all the best titles have been taken ” “Be Here Now,” “The Power of Now,” “Now is the Time,” “Don’t Be Lame Anymore,” etc. … so I guess this is either an attempt at coming up with a catchy, trendy title, or I was too lazy to write out the whole note-to-self sentence: “You’d better MAKE a buttload of money NOW if you know what’s GOOD for you.”

SCRIBBLE: “Harsh cold reality aerosol spray,” “Scream bloody media,” “Remember, there’s no ‘I’ in illiteracy,” “I grew up there, but I’ve never ‘been’ there.”

COMMENT: Four separate entries, four separate nights. I’m clearly being punished for something.

SCRIBBLE: “Defeat is in deshoes and will kick your ass until you begin to decry.”

COMMENT: When you think you have problems, when you think that life really has dealt you an unfair blow, I want you to take a deep breath and bask in the glorious knowledge that you don’t feel compelled to wake up in the middle of the night and write down bad, meaningless puns.

SCRIBBLE: “My last day was about to come to an end before the day itself. Tomorrow would be the first of many long ones.”

COMMENT: Ah, now here’s an entry that offers some real insight. The insight: Just because the label says they’re “natural” sleep aids, I probably shouldn’t take quite so many right before bed.


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