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Mr. Wrong

In the Belly of an Architect

By Joe MacLeod | Posted 12/4/2002

Man, I got a bellyache. And look, this isn't one of those little journalistic literary writing conceits, like (and you should read this next part in one of those faux-English theatrical accents), "O, I am simply fed to the teeth with some issue or other, so I will now abstract upon my golden thoughts, likening them unto a single, palpable physical ailment which is manifest upon me even now--now, as I employ my big flouncy quill pen with its great feathery plume with which I lay out my biweekly columnar thoughts, the transcription of which will compel you, yon reader, to be drawn, inexorably, in, in, insomethingelseably into my argument. . . ." It's like this: I mean, I got a bellyache, on the real.

My belly aches, but it's go time, kna'mean? Time to deliver the every-other-weekly column, so tough shit on me. I deliver, and I don't "quote" bellyache "unquote" about it. I do it, see? I'm not complaining about having a bellyache like I expect something to be done about it, or like in the hopes maybe one of you Gentle Readers will Feel My Pain or whatever. I'm simply making an announcement.

Where else am I gonna make an announcement? In the newspaper? Screw that. And it's not like I can write a letter to my own paper. I'm disqualified on account of I am on the payroll. Not to brag, but I get the employee discount on the paper every week. Oh, right. It's free. I keep forgetting.

Anyway, I got some space (also on the employee discount) every other week, and you know what, this every other week, a little bit of it is gonna be about my bellyache. OK, most, if not all, of this piece is gonna be about my bellyache. I even thought up a clever headline, "In the Belly of an Architect," which plays upon several themes and cannot be edited out now that I am devoting more than one or two sentences to it. It's one of those things you do when you have editors editing your stuff. If I wasn't going to explain the headline, which I will do directly, some editor would most likely edit it right out of existence and change it to something like "Belly Aching" or "Belly Flop" or something clever like that. That's what those editors get paid to do. Edit my shit. Yeah, edit my shit and keep me down, man, way down in the every-other-week category.

So I came up with this headline, wherein I combinated some ideas on this every-other-week's theme of the belly, and aches thereof. I saw a movie once featuring Brian Dennehy, who has a big belly, but that's not what stuck with me. It was the title: The Belly of an Architect. I don't remember anything about the movie except that Brian Dennehy had stomach problems, I think. And not that I read it or anything, but there's also this book called In the Belly of the Beast, which was written by a real-life convict named Jack Henry Abbot (famous convicts often get their whole names spelt out so they aren't confused with nonconvicts--in this case, of course, the character "Jack Abbott" from television's greatest living daytime drama, The Young and the Restless), who got out and became the toast of the town and got to hang out with famous author Norman Mailer. But then Jack Henry Abbot became involved in a murder, got locked up again, and killed himself in jail many years later. So, since I have a bellyache and I need to write a headline for my column before some editor does, I agglomerated the two themes of a movie and a famous convict.

It doesn't make sense or support any sort of argument I might have made in my column, but I like the way it looks up there. Plus, I think the word "architect" is kinda funny. I know, there's nothing funny about architects, except maybe how seriously some of them take themselves, and how stupid some of their buildings look, but "architect"--come on, say it with me: "architect." It's kinda funny. Way funnier than "every-other-week columnist."

Anyway, I think I had some bad cabbage. I'm not sure, it might have been good cabbage that was just really active or something. I mean, cabbage is roughage, right? Supposed to be good for your nutrition superhighway, if you will. Plus the cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, possessing many salubrious qualities in relationship to one's health. Here's an example from the National Institutes of Health: "A class of nutrients, isothiocyanates, found only in cruciferous vegetables--broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, watercress, bok choy, among others--was protective against lung cancer in the study of a sample of 18,244 males, 45-64 years old, in Shanghai, China." And now it's twisting my gut in a knot. Owwwrrgh. My gut, my gut, why hast thou forsaken me?

But hey, what's with this National Institutes of Health crap? Can't we simplify that down to Institute? It's like "courts of appeal" and "Johns Hopkins University." What, there was more than one of 'em? Wouldn't it be more efficient to just go with John Hopkins? And hey, bok choy--come on, that's funny. Bok choy! I've seen it spelt "bok choi," but for the record, in case anybody is reading this, I'm gonna side with My Government, and the Nationals Institutes of Healths, and Johns Hopkinses also.

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