09 Mar 98


Right. Little gray men, and they've got this thing, a knob with spikes, they say it won't hurt. And at this moment, I'm not predisposed to believe them--

Let me back up. I was walking home, and a perfectly nice looking woman outside of a boring looking building in the East Village asks me if I'd take a marketing survey. And I don't have anywhere to be--in fact, I'm trying to decide if I would really sleep with a 50 year old woman if one asked me, because it's gotten desperate lately, lately being eight months. So I say, "sure," and she leads me into a small office. I sit at a desk. The room is white. She comes back with a questionnaire about white rice. She's about forty-five and a little, uh, aquiline in the facial features. Not a beak, but definitely crooked, and so I decided I wasn't that desparate, and the cutoff was still around thirty-five.

So I try to keep it entertaining. I write in that I buy Uncle Ben because I find Uncle Ben stimulating, arousing. I made up a rimjob fantasy with Uncle Ben on the back.

He looked so sore, so ready, but so sad and sweet. I pulled out a silkly pillow and placed it under his middle. I knew that he was long grain, and enriched. I wanted to show him how grateful I was for all of the nutrition he had introduced into my short-grained life.

Later, I write that Minute Rice takes too goddamned long. In the "Occupation" box, I write "Sherpa."

And right as I check off yearly income, the room went white, and a rushing noise came into me, and I wake up strapped to a green table.

"What the frig--"

But one of the grays, a little guy, all wrinkled, sneers with his pointy teeth and says, "Shut up." And outside the window, it's Earth. Half covered in shadow.

It's too painful to continue. I'll write more later.




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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 ford@ftrain.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.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

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...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

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Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

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. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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