Tuesday, August 18, 2020


Years ago, after the collapse of my love life, I would hang out at the office after hours and on weekends with a Japanese troll for company. Which was really as social as I wanted to be at the time. The small troll would regularly borrow one of my pipes and head up to the roof of the office building to thoughtfully smoke a bowl. While looking at the stars.
Which was as social as he wanted to be.

He was a good friend. And still is. He smokes less than he used to.

Between the small library in my personal office space, the teas, pipes, and tobacco in my cabinet, and the sheer peacefulness of long hours being by myself twenty three floors above the Financial District, it was actually a remarkable and good time of my life.

It turns out that doing credit and collections for a toy company can be contemplative and conducive to mental health.

The Japanese troll was not part of our product line-up, but was a friend whom I had invited in to guard my stuff. Some coworkers at socially conscious companies in San Francisco tend to think that books, drafting tools, and tobacco products, are up for grabs, just like the chocolate covered bacon left in the company kitchen over the winter holiday.

Or "Camembert" in a convenient squeezable tube.

We're an anarcho-syndicalist commune.

With really terrifying cheese.

Life has improved quite a bit; frightening dairy products are more rare now (and my apartment mate, who buys the cheese for our household, is a keen fromage aficionado, so no worries on that score), and there are more stuffed animals than ever before. No, again not because of the toy company. Years before I had rescued a small pinkish grey teddy bear sitting in the rain at a bus stop late at night, waiting disconsolately for a bus that would never come, and more creatures followed. My landlords think there are only two people living in this apartment.
There are actually over forty.

Me, three totoros, a raccoon and a rambunctious amphibian, are the only smokers here. We are outnumbered. Most of the others hate tobacco.


What was in that small library in my office? Art and architecture, foreign language dictionaries (Arabic, Dutch, Indonesian, Sundanese, Chinese, Chinese Seal Script, accounting terms in Chinese), an atlas, and poetry.
Headhunting In The Solomon Islands, Biblical Hebrew. Isabel Allende, The Black Jacobins, Maria Dermout, both Jan and Johan Fabricius, Beb Vuyk, a ponderous text about the Atjeh war, three annotated translations of the Mahabharata, and Indian culinary reference.

Plus the following:
Subversion as Foreign Policy, by Kahin & Kahin.
The Abu Ghraib Investigations, by Public Affairs Reports.
Beyond Belief, by Elaine Pagels.
Book of J, by Harold Bloom and David Rosenberg.
Everyman's Talmud, by Abraham Cohen.
Webster's New Geographical Dictionary.
Complete Guide to Credit and Collection Law, by Winston & Winston.
2002 Supplement, Complete Guide to Credit and Collection Law, by Winston and Winston.
The Message of the Qur'ān, by Muhammad Asad.
Emes ve Emunah - A Sfas Emes Companion, by Nosson Chayim Leff.
Igrois Pinky - Responsa and Other Scholarly Writings of Rabbi Pinky Schmeckeldtein, SHLITA.
Dictionary of International Trade, by Edward G. Hinkelman.
The Roots of English, by Robert Claiborne.
Dictionary of Word Origins, by John Aito.
Nederlands Etymologisch Woordenboek, by Jan de Vries.
Chinese Characters - Their origin, etymology, history, classification and signification, by Dr. L. Wieger, S.J.
正草隶篆四体字典 ('jeng chou dai suen sei tai ji-din'), from the Shanghai Bookstore Press.

Lets just say that trolls are avid readers.
They also like trash fiction.
They're happy.


NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

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