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October 28, 2006
There are so many keys on my fancy wireless keyboard that I can't identify, so many different ways to do the same thing, so many things I can do that I can't imagine doing. So many things I can do only in theory, because I haven't even the vaguest idea what they are, *All, for instance -- what might that mean? What do you suppose PrtScn is? And ScrLk? And the arrows that look like the arrows on a digital radio or a CD player -- what do you reckon they're for? There must be something I'm supposed to be playing on this thing.

These things bewilder me. I resist such useless engineering specificity, as I resist the gadget you can buy whose only purpose is to cook a hot dog and warm its bun --nobody has enough counter space to warrant the purchase of one of those. And the automatic tea maker. And the chocolate fountain machine -- how often will you use it? Where on earth will you keep it? It's nearly two feet high.

In his tiny New York apartment kitchen, my friend Chris hung all his pots and all his cooking tools on the wall beside the stove. He didn't have lots of tools, but what he had were good, and clearly sufficient: some amazing food came forth from that three by five-foot galley.

Amid the good steel whisks and the substantial slotted spoons, one pan stood out. Chris had found it in the street, where it had been run over repeatedly by any number of cars and trucks until it was perfectly flat. It hung with the others: limp, in need of some serious inflating but still brave. It was like a Salvador Dali saucepan.

Oh, I do love you, you flattened pan, I would think whenever it caught my eye. You're beautiful and inspiring. People think everything has to be in working order, everything has to be perfect before we can even begin, that life is not worth living if everything doesn't work properly. But a time comes when very little works properly, and life is still very much worth living. The flat pan was still completely at home on the kitchen, among all his working comrades. So we are not what we once were -- so what? We're still here.
I'm Still here

Good times and bum times,
Iíve seen them all and, my dear,
Iím still here.

Plush velvet sometimes,
Sometimes just pretzels and beer,
But Iím here.

Iíve stuffed the Dailies in my shoes,
Strummed ukuleles, sung the blues,
Seen all my dreams disappear,
But Iím here.

Iíve slept in shanties, guest of the W.P.A.
But Iím here.
Iíve been through Gandhi, Windsor and Wallyís affair,
And Iím here.

Amos Ďn Andy, Mahjongg and Platinum hair,
And Iím here.
I got through "Abieís Irish Rose, Five Dionne Babies,
Major Bowes, Had Heebie-Jeebies
For Beebeís Bathysphere. I've lived through Shirley Temple,
And I'm here.

Iíve gotten through Herbert and J. Edgar Hoover,
Iíve been through Reno,
Iíve been through Beverly Hills,
And Iím here.
Reefers and Vino, rest cures, religion and pills,
But Iím here.

Black sable one day, Next day it goes into hock,
But Iím here.
Top billing Monday, Tuesday youíre touring in stock,
But Iím here.

Iíve run the gamut, A to Z.
Three cheers and dammit, cíest La Vie.
I got through all of last year,
And Iím here.
Lord knows, at least Iíve been there,
And Iím here!
Look whoís here!
Iím still here!
--lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
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