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Strong Sad's Litany of Crushed Hopes and Dreams

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fish devouring bugs - 03.28.06
posted at 3:46am

current mood: indeterminate
current tunes: The Mountain Goats – the ones about the Bible

Is anyone even reading this journal anymore? I feel like one of those fish that lives in the deepest parts of the ocean, ugly and invisible, surrounded by pressing, crushing darkness. Actually, now that I think about it, that sounds pretty good.

Today I ate a bug. Not on purpose, as SOME PEOPLE would have you believe, but because I was practicing relaxing every muscle in my body in order to become dead weight (you should try it sometime, it's intense) and a bug flew into my mouth.

Here is a poem that I made out of the nature imagery used in this post:

Lost among the reeds
Skipping on the surface of the water
A fish leaps! Gleaming silver
teeth

. . . a bug's life cut short.



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Strong Sad is just coming back from the kitchen with a glass of perfectly lukewarm water when Strong Bad corners him in the hallway.

"Hey Strong Sad, do you still have that pottèd petunia plant? I, uh, need to . . . borrow. It."

Strong Sad sighs deeply. "You're just going to use it in some stupid sbemail experiment where you put firecrackers in the flowerpot or use it for a kickball or something, aren't you?"

"Yes. I mean, no! I mean . . . gimme the petunia already." Strong Bad starts to push past him, making a play for the door of Strong Sad's room.

There's a brief tussle wherein Strong Sad attempts to defend his pottèd petunia – after all, it's the best conversationalist he knows – but as usual, his attempt to have something good in his life ends in a complete failure. And in a getting-beaten-up. Probably because the only fighting moves he knows are (1) curling into a protective sphere and (2) yelling "not the face!" as he does so. He really should've taken those self-defense classes with Coach Z at the Y. Strong Bad gets past him, steals his plant, and leaves, all within about twelve seconds.

As he lies on the floor of the hallway, counting the ceiling tiles and then wishing that they had ceiling tiles to count, he thinks mostly about absurdist existentialism.

*

The next Monday, he gets out of the house before Strong Bad manages to lever himself up off the couch in the basement. He's just skulking around the backyard, working himself up to a good lurk, when he sees what looks like the top of Marzipan's head bobbing behind the fence. Or possibly it's a baseball bat with a fox stapled to it. Either way, his curiosity is piqued.

When he comes around the edge of the fence, it turns out to be Marzipan after all. She jumps in surprise when she sees him, and then her eyes narrow into little sideways ovals.

"Strong Sad, what are you doing here? This is my hiding place."

"I could see you from the other side of the fence."

"Oh." She stands up on tiptoe – or something – and peeks over the top of it, looking back at the house. Then she hunkers down so that she's no longer visible. "Thanks for the tip."

"No problem," Strong Sad says. "What are you hiding from? Bees? Is it bees?"

She looks at him like he's stupid. "Strong Sad, it's Monday. And will you get down? You'll give away my location."

He tries to hunker against the fence like she did, but his hunkering skills aren't what they used to be. He settles for sort of plopping to the ground beside her. "So it's Monday, so what?"

"It's the day that Strong Bad checks his email. Most Mondays, I stay well out of sight, and thus avoid any goings-on, hijinx, or shenanigans that he might otherwise get me mixed up in. Why do you think I usually only show up in toons, or holiday specials?"

"I guess I always thought it was because you were boring." He shrugs. Her eyes go all flattened-oval again.

"You're one to talk." She sighs. "Anyway, if you want to avoid being in the email, it's generally a good idea to stay away from Strong Bad's house, The Stick, Bubs', Strong Badia, Homestar's house – "

"But then there's nowhere left to go!"

"There's this area behind the fence," Marzipan says brightly. "And there's my house. Those are two pretty darn cool places."

Somewhere nearby, a cricket chirps. Strong Sad blinks. Marzipan blinks. The cricket chirps again.

"Do you like board games?" Strong Sad asks eventually.

"Not at all," Marzipan says.

*

He finds Marzipan out there behind the fence the next week, too.

"So, what, have you just been here every Monday, the whole time?"

"Pretty much, yeah," she says, slipping her sunglasses on. She's lying on a deckchair and sipping some kind of fruity drink. It has an umbrella in it. She glances up at him. "I hope you were careful about coming out here. Were you followed?"

Strong Sad glances over his shoulder nervously, then scoots forward a little to make sure he's out of the line of sight from the house. "No. Strong Bad's still asleep, and Strong Mad gets confused if he tries to follow anyone for more than three feet."

Marzipan nods and leans back, relaxing into the chair. "That's alright then. Pull up a chair, Strong Sad, it's a beautiful day for not being in the sbemail."

There isn't another chair, but he pulls up some ground. Getting down there isn't easy, since his knees don't really bend that much, but he manages something like a controlled topple. Marzipan nods at him approvingly.

There's a long silence. Strong Sad tries to think of something to say, but then gets distracted by a mosquito that lands on his arm. It bites him.

"Hello, little friend," he says. It flies away. He sighs.

"I didn't know you were such an animal lover, Strong Sad," Marzipan remarks.

"Oh, yes, I do support animal rights. But the problem is that I'm afraid of most animals, so I have to support them from a distance."

"Even the fluffy bunnies and the sweet little baby chicks and the fuzziest wallabies?" She peers at him incredulously over the top of her sunglasses.

He shudders. "Especially those." There's something about fuzziness that he finds upsetting. Maybe that's why he doesn't like bees.

"Huh. Well, you should come to the Free the Baby Llamas protest I'm holding next month. There won't be any actual llamas there." She smiles at him brightly. "I promise."

"Sure, okay," he says. He lies back and watches the clouds go by for a while. "So, is this all you do back here all day? Just lie around, not doing anything?" The prospect of it is so exciting that he can barely sit still. At least one of his pinkie fingers twitches.

"Yup." Marzipan glances over at him, looking hesitant. "Um, but we can play I Spy, if you want," she offers.

Strong Sad loves I Spy.

this IS what my frown looks like upside-down - 08.16.07
posted at 7:45am

current mood: nonplussed
current tunes: The Lost Boys – original motion picture soundtrack

Working on my brooding today. It's so often overlooked, unlike moping or sulking.

I got an email earlier this week that wasn't even King of Town proclamation-spam or one of Strong Bad's death threats. I think it was from Homsar – who else do I know who could have the email address "refried.booligans@DAaAAaaAAaaAAaa.com" and the IP address 115.garage.41.eggscream.212 ? Anyway, it wasn't very clear, made frequent reference to something called "the chickles wagon" and was signed "a hard-case man," but I think it had something to do with him going out of town and being away from his computer for a week. How sad is it when Homsar's social calendar is more jumpin' than mine.



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Soon it becomes a habit; he gets up on Monday morning as early as he can, sneaks out the back door, and sits on the other side of the fence. Marzipan is almost always there before him. Sometimes she brings peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. Sometimes Strong Sad brings apples, or carrots and hummus. She's right about it being a good hiding place; he doesn't think Strong Bad even knows that they have a back yard.

". . . something that is green," Marzipan finishes.

"That blade of grass right there?"

"No."

"That blade of grass right there?"

"No."

"That blade of grass over there?"

"Yes! Strong Sad, you're good at this game."

He feels something weird happening at the corners of his mouth, so he changes the subject quickly.

"Hey, Marzipan, I've been meaning to ask – if your house is a good hiding spot too, why do you even bother to come out here?"

Marzipan takes a deep drag of her herbal cigarette and blows the smoke out slowly. "My house isn't completely safe. Sometimes when Homestar is a sweetheart he comes to see me, and Strong Bad goes where Homestar is. But I've never seen Strong Bad out here. It's perfect, just close enough that he doesn't think to look here." She holds the cigarette out to him, and Strong Sad awkwardly takes it from her. He inhales, coughs, inhales again, coughs again, hands it back.

"You're still in some emails, though," he points out. She shrugs noncommittally, insofar as she can shrug at all.

He looks down at the sandwich that's balanced on the side of his soolnd. Curiously, he peels it open and runs a finger through the peanut butter. Strong Bad told him for years that he was allergic to nuts. It turns out he's not.

"You ever wonder if you could use this stuff for glue? It's so sticky."

Marzipan laughs. "What, like an arts-slash-crafts project?" She invisible-hands him the cigarette again. He goes through the same ritual of inhaling and coughing.

"Jeez, what's in this, anyway?"

"Lavender, mint, crushed violet. Other stuff I grow in my garden."

On impulse, he scoops up more peanut butter with his fingers and stares at it for a while.

"Hand me those pinecones," he says. "I've got an idea."

They leave their first wood-daver there in their spot behind the fence, propped up with sticks, spiraling upward in pineconey glory. Marzipan declares it an arts-slash-crafts triumph, and Strong Sad agrees that it dresses the place up a bit. Sometimes, not even on Mondays, Strong Sad sneaks out there to admire it.

*

He doesn't really remember meeting Marzipan. It's possible that she's always been here, like he has. Maybe they grew up next door to each other. Maybe she just joined him and Homestar at the marshmallow stand one day. Maybe they met at a rally to stop cruelty to cheeses. He's not sure.

*

On a Tuesday, he runs into Pom-Pom at Bubs'. He's just looking up at the menu, trying to decide between natural, vanilla, or no-flavor ice cream, when Pom-Pom nudges him with one of his arm-trangles.

hey man, where've you been? haven't seen you around lately, he bubbles.

"Oh, I know! I've been avoiding the sbemails with Marzipan. Don't tell Strong Bad, or Homestar or anyone, but now I only come out of hiding on every fourth or fifth Monday, to keep anyone from getting suspicious. Makes life a whole lot easier."

Pom-Pom bubbles his agreement. i started doing that years ago, he says. more time for the ladies, anyway.

"Right, right." Strong Sad shifts awkwardly. Pom-Pom's Pom Pilot beeps at him, and he pulls it out of his body.

anyway, later. i gotta deal with this. but let's hang out some monday.

"Um, yeah, okay," Strong Sad says, a little too late, as Pom-Pom bounces off. He turns back to the ice cream menu.

"Strong Sad! What can I getcha for?" Bubs asks.

He hesitates for only a moment before ordering the pistachio.

*

"I'm tired of this old fence," Marzipan announces one Monday. "Let's go water the garden at my house or get a soy dog or something."

Strong Sad makes a face. "Isn't that tempting fate?"

"Soy is a perfectly healthy meat alternative, Strong Sad," Marzipan chides.

"Yeah, I – okay," he says. "Sure."

They do water the garden, and then get a soy dog at Bubs' – though Strong Sad isn't sure how much of it is soy and how much is actual dog – but the sbemail must be happening somewhere else this week, because Strong Bad is nowhere to be seen.

"I'm gonna be away from the fence next Monday anyway," he says, his tongue loosened by the carbohydrates in the organic whole wheat bun, the soy making him feel reckless and strange. "I've – there's a pretty happening event going on, over at The Stick. You should come."

"Oh, I don't know," Marzipan says, around a mouthful of soy dog. "Cool Tapes is playing a set at the folk fest next Monday."

"Yeah, no, of course, I understand," he says quickly.

*

The next Monday, Strong Sad is going into hour thirty-two of the fourth annual 48-Hour Breathe-a-Thon when something happens.

This isn't actually unusual for the Breathe-a-Thon, since in years past Strong Bad has taken it on himself to barge into the cordoned-off Breathing Area and poke Strong Sad in the belly with sticks, or put ants on his head, or cover him in "kick me!" signs. Strong Sad doesn't mind; that's the kind of thing you have to expect when you're confronting people with their own insecurities and anti-stillness prejudices. So Strong Sad is pretty used to lying on the ground near The Stick and breathing and trying hard not to be distracted by his own eye-blinks (he can't help but notice when he hits a prime number) or by Strong Bad's attempts to build a fire under him.

But then, just as he's considering allowing himself the luxury of closing his eyes, there's a face hovering above him, blocking out the sun.

"Whatcha doin?" the face asks.

One of the rules laid out in the Breathe-a-Thon official charter is that you're not supposed to move, talk, sleep, eat, drink, shuffle, or otherwise do anything but breathe. Actually, it's pretty much the only rule.

"Breathing," Strong Sad says, as quietly as he can. The face above him scrunches up, then relaxes back into an easy, friendly expression.

"Oooooh, can I join?"

Strong Sad wants to say no, but he's bent the rules enough already. Really though, anyone who wanted to participate in the Breathe-a-Thon should've read the notices that he posted all over town, and been here at the beginning with their pledge form filled out. Hour thirty-two is far too late to show up and start breathing.

Marzipan doesn't wait for him to answer, though, just lies down on the grass beside him and breathes like a natural. Strong Sad's so impressed, for a moment, that he forgets to be irritated with her for bursting into the middle of the Breathe-a-Thon like this. He wonders if she ever took the Weekend Breathing Seminar hosted by Phil McDarnahan over at the Learning Annex. You can learn a lot about breathing from Phil in one weekend.

"Good idea, Strong Sad," Marzipan says.

No one's ever said that to him before. "All the proceeds go to narwhal awareness," he says.

"Unicorns of the sea," Marzipan agrees.

the persecution of the intelligentsia - 06.01.10
posted at 8:01pm

current mood: doleful
current tunes: Death Cab for Cutie – Title and Registration

Next Friday is TrogdorCon 2010, so I've pretty much just been getting my costume ready these last few weeks. This wouldn't take so long if my stupid brothers didn't keep painting stupid graffiti on my bejewellèd dragon wings. Some people have no respect for art or beauty. It's the same thing Marzipan and I have to deal with at Poetry Slam every month. Anyway, I guess there's that to look forward to, even though it's probably just going to be another in a series of painful disappointments that will make me long for unconsciousness.

Now I think I'm going to open a new Firefox tab and leave it blank. I find that restful for some reason.



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(Anonymous)
2010-06-12 01:46 pm UTC (from 67.241.41.48) (link)

Hi Strong Sad! I didn't know you had a homepage on the web. Pom-Pom sent me the link. Let's get together for salads.

 

(Anonymous)
2010-06-12 01:48 pm UTC (from 67.241.41.48) (link)

Hi again! That last comment was from Marzipan.