By Paul Ford
Ask an idiot a simple question, and see what happens.
“What is it like to live in Brooklyn?”
“I see a lot of dogs. Not so many cats, but they're there. They're watching. I have this fantasy that I'll see real big zoo
animals, that they'll be rhinos on Carroll Street and apes behind them. Talking rhinos. And I have this other thing where
I always check people to see if they have all their fingers. A lot of times they don't. There's a guy on a bike here with
a stump arm, he begs quarters. I think there's something hot about a woman with a fake finger, though. Not like The Piano, I liked it before that. But if she's still cool with herself and she's just missing one or two fingers. There were two girls
with missing fingers in my high school, but neither of them was really interesting to me. They weren't interested in me either, of course. But it took me months to realize they were missing fingers. And after that I always checked to see
if a woman had all her fingers, or extra fingers. Lots of people have six fingers. That happens a lot in certain ethnic groups.
I read that somewhere, but I don't think it's significant, it's just a thing like eye color. It's kind of a cool mutation.
I mean, obviously it must be dormant, you don't just hatch an extra finger, it's more of a genetic slip than anything else.
Your DNA says, hey, put another finger there.”
“I remember reading an article about it and they interviewed a woman about her six-fingered son and she said everyone called
him "sixpack." Anne Boleyn had six fingers and three breasts, and I guess that just made everyone crazy with lust. I think
they had a different approach to birth defects than we do. Like she was magical and touched by God and a witch. I like to
think about people with little fuckups. The woman with the lazy eye, or my friend Scott Rahin with his leg. I wonder if Henry
VIII got into that extra breast, if he bit the nipple while his thick hips shook with massive desire.”
Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some
There is a Facebook group.
You will regret following me on Twitter here.
About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit
things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.
If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at email@example.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am
glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.
: RSS1.0, RSS2.0
© 1974-2011 Paul Ford
Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose.
As a hobby I write.
Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out.
Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley.
Welcome to the Company.
“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”.
Forgot to tell you about this.
“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”.
An essay for TheMorningNews.org.
People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately.
Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford.
Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford.
Nanolaw with Daughter.
Why privacy mattered.
0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford.
It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so
that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So:
Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand
below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every
Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came
unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...)
That Shaggy Feeling.
Antilunchism, by Paul Ford.
Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford.
I'll have no one to blame but future me.
Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford.
(1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and
the historical fallacy.
The Moral Superiority of the Streetcar.
(1) Long-form journalism fixes everything. (2) The moral superiority of the streetcar. (3) I like big bus and I cannot lie.