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Being six feet tall

Fathomed on April 9, 2023.

This week I was being exactly six feet tall.

On Monday, I was being my usual six-foot-tall self. This proved to be so easy and effortless that I resolved to continue being six feet tall all week. What could possibly go wrong?

On Tuesday, I was being my typical two-yard-tall self. In my back yard, I paced around in slow circles, ruminating over how I was the same… but also two thirds smaller. A paradox!

On Wednesday, I was being my ordinary one-fathom-tall self. I couldn’t fathom how I lost half of myself again, but I had! Another paradox!

On Thursday, I was being my fine 72-inch-tall self. This unexpected and massive increase drove me into a near tizzy, but when I stepped on the bathroom scale, I found I was still the same Pnårp as I had been the day prior (after adjusting for the six pounds of foot-long pepperoni I ate Wednesday night). I breathed a sigh of relief and went back to ruminating in the back yard.

On Friday, I was being my pointedly 722-point-tall self. This horrifying expansion sent my squarish head into a full tizzy. Becasue did her best to console all 5,184 of me, but I was simply inconsolable. Not even chewing my cud in the back yard like the six-foot-wide man–cow that I am would console me. Confusion reigned. Paradoxes rained down upon my head.

That wasn’t all! The more I ruminated, the more confusing things became!

On the one hand, being exactly six feet tall made me the most average and unsurprising height in the world. But on the other hand, it also (rather surprisingly) meant I now possessed four more feet than I usually had! This paradox was quite the conundrum—even more conundrous than that pair of ducks I once contended with. My four extra feet made the normally unsurprising act of walking quite surprisingly precarious—and as one might expect, I now tripped over my own feet with such frequency I almost gave up on walking completely. I didn’t just have two left feet now—I had three. The one saving grace was… I was still symmetrical.

More distressingly, I realized having a full six feet meant I now possessed eighteen hands—two fewer than I usually had! I even spanned twelve spans—which is better than spanning twelve time zones, because who wants to be half an Earth wide or long?

‘Some men are longer than others.’

‘Your mother been telling you stories about me again, eh?’

Oops, I said that aloud. Becasue shot me an askance look. I knew I’d be in the doghouse again after that zinger, but luckily the 10/22 was safely out of reach. Tail between my legs, I slunk off like the featureless white worm I had once been.

The six-foot-long, seven-day-long week wore on, I with my four extra feet and eighteen hands. If only Becasue had four extra feet. Or six-foot feet or even six-foot toes.

Becasue was being my 5½-foot-tall girl–chipmunk and I was being a six-foot-tall man–squirrel again. Much squeaking, popping, and chittering later, my big little redheaded huzzey-muffet forgave me for that misdirected comment about her mother, but only after I promised to take her and Mrs. Shrdlu out to dinner for a whole week. And finally dispose of the enormous pile of rotting fish on the front steps. And the 55-gallon drums of rancid bacon grease in the basement. And the flock of feral geese in the back yard (but not the front yard). And finally, I had to stop pretending to be a featureless white worm every time I didn’t get my way.

“Muhh-hh-hh?” I protested that last condition hard, but my huzzey-muffet would hear none of it: My featureless white worm days were over. “Muhh-uhh-uhh, muh-h-h-hh-hhh…”

One Pnårp makes a fathom. A hundred and ten Pnårps make a furlong. And eight-hundred and eighty Pnårps laid end-to-end would stretch a mile, but that’s pushing it too far. Far fewer Pnårps would make a football field—precisely 60.000 of us. And only one Pnårp will ever fit in the Library of Congress, because after I paid that hallowed place a visit back in 1993, I was told in no uncertain terms to leave and never come back.

I remembered that day well. I huffed and puffed a couple more times, put on my most indignant airs, but nothing would change that angry, angry librarian’s mind. So, with my customary 182.88 centimeters in tow, I turned on my heel and left, and never went back.

Back here in 2023, my mouse was not being exactly six feet tall. It wasn’t even six inches long. My mousy little friend had a resolution of six hundred mickeys per inch, but my intransigent computer still insisted she was not an MTP device. I could still mouse down (Oh, how I could mouse down!), but this indecipherable error message was getting on my synapses. What opportunities was I missing because my mouse was not an MTP device? What opportunities was my mouse herself being deprived of? Huffing and puffing myself back up into a high dudgeon, I marched down to the first computer store I could find on Alpha Ralpha Boulevard and demanded to speak to their expertiest expert.

After patiently listening to me huff and puff, he calmly insisted the error message was no big deal; it wouldn’t affect my mouse’s ability to mouse around my screen, click or be clicked, or be used as a makeshift flail. But I was skeptical. I huffed and puffed more, I bloviated and brachiated, put on my most indignant airs once again, and demanded to speak with this alleged expert’s manager. His manager talked down to me like I was still three feet tall, so I demanded to see her manager—and his, and his, and all the way to the top of this alleged clutch of computery experts. Finally the whole gaggle of them informed me, in their most patronizing tones, to get stuffed. To get bent. To go screw a pheasant. To go yerk a turkey.

Openly defying anyone with a high-school education in the sciences to challenge me, I picked up my precisely 1.074 627 865 671 smoots and left. That ought to show them!

My mouse was not being exactly six feet tall, but my moose was—if I only measured up to the shoulders. The rest of the massive ungulate added three more feet (and four hooves). But who wants only two thirds of a moose? I didn’t want any of a moose in my house—yet here I had one. A moose and a mouse in my house. And this was no domesticated pet moose—near as I could tell, it had just wandered in through the open door last night and taken up residence in my parlor, forlornly waiting for someone to feed it bales of maple leaves and old tires. I tried to shoo the moose out the door, and when that failed, I tried to push the moose out the door, but it wouldn’t fit through the door so I became even more perplexed how it got in through the door but then I realized this week was so full of paradoxes, confusion, and shlurpmurpfen gurglheimnitzers that I should really just give up and take up turtle farming on Lake Athabasca.

I would take my six feet with me and disappear into the mountains like an ornery hermit. But would I ever again be a featureless white worm, a six-foot-long man–maggot? Only time would tell (but don’t tell Becasue). (“Muhhh!”)

On Saturday I meant to take a trip to Massachusetts, but I confused Merrimac with Melmac, and instead of swimming down a placid river, I ended up rocketing off to an alien planet. At least there were plenty of cats to eat on Melmac. My cat-canning skills sure came in handy! With my belly full of cats, I departed; within a few hours I was back down to Earth. Luckily I found myself to still be exactly 2.18 shumways tall.

Upon my return to this ungrulious, non-lumpy planet, I sought to establish my town’s first bouillabaseball league, right here on my front steps. I had plenty of fish. But I was unsure what would make a good bouillabaseball bat. The football bat I use to tenderize my pepperoni had been purloined by gnomes. The brickbat I use to tenderize my bricks had met the same fate. I tried to use a tire thumper but it was too small. I tried to use a telephone pole but it was too big. I tried to use a telephone poll but they all hung up on me. And thirty years ago I learned the hard way not to use a Stradivarius for a bouillabaseball bat, so I dismissed that idea out-of-hand. Finally, I found the perfect bouillabaseball bat: A baseball bat.

The Great Rotten Fishpile of 2022 would soon shrink to the size of a single putrid minnow.