Tuesday, February 05, 2008


It is what it is what it is what it is what it is what it is what it is what it is what it is what it is what it is what it is what it is what it is.

That idiotic grouping of five words, only three of which are different. It almost wants to be a palindrome - It is. What is it? - but instead, it is what it is. It's what you say when you're too tired, lazy, depressed, or stupid to say what it really is.

I clambered down the stairs with the two boxed curtain rods resting unsteadily under my arm, like two jousting poles. By the time I was halfway down the block they were scissoring alarmingly, veering towards passersby, sliding down my side. Finally I carried them with both arms, to my chest, like someone bringing firewood in from the cold, or carrying a bride across the threshold. Finally I made it to FedEx, where I was instructed to fill out the green-and-white form. Over my shoulder I heard the manager greeting a very old man who'd crept in behind me.

"How may we help you, sir?"

"I'd like to send a package," the old man said, uncertainly, but with a trace of irascibility, like he'd already been slighted or ignored.

"You may send a package. You may purchase envelopes and packaging materials. You may insure a package. You may have copies made. One of these..." - here he paused, searching for a term - "beautiful young women would be more than happy to assist you. Simply come right up and take your pick."