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Playing a katydid like a fiddle

Diddled on August 6, 2023.

[This Pnårp would like to apologize for the disorganized nasal drippings that were the last three weeks’ entries. You know the ones. Last week I was Furius. But this week I calmed down and was simply furious. Stepping away from my efforts to pronounce the names of silly ancient Roman emperors helped lower my dudgeon to manageable levels. (A nose guard also helped—and a lot more.)]

This Monday, I realized that I feel a whole lot more like I do now than I did when I used to. But sometimes I feel less so, and sometimes more so, and sometimes I’m not sure how I feel or used to feel. I know I think I feel more so—a whole lot more so—than I used to think I feel so. But I also feel I think I feel I know that none of this makes a difference. Nor did it used to. Nor will it. Nor can it. Nor could it. Nor should it. In fact, to feel more like I do is to think less than I do. Or to think not at all. This I know.

That was the true revelation this Monday. But then Tuesday revealed that none of it was true. I think I felt mad then. Then Wednesday rolled around and…



Bored, I picked up a hammer and started banging holes in all my walls. But then I ran out of walls. (And I have a lot of walls.) I didn’t run out of hammers though, so I started banging holes in all my ceilings. (I have fewer of those and ran out quicker.) And then I broke the hammer when I started banging holes in my floors, because my floors are hard and the “hammer” was actually a wet noodle.

Outdoors, the katydids were chirping up a storm, making their mocking little “Katy did! Katy did!” noises with their katydoing little legs. They were laughing at me. It’s their time of the year. They appeared right on cue. I fumed—furious again—but eventually I would have the last laugh. Then it’ll be my time of year.

Bored still, I picked up a box of baking soda and ate the entire thing. I was quickly disabused of my lifelong misapprehension that baking soda is soda that has been baked down into a dry, powdery form. This stuff didn’t taste like Coke or Pepsi or even Mountain Dew at all! But my desire to suppress my boredom won out over my desire to not wretch uncontrollably; I choked down the entire box of the bitter stuff. And then I choked down the empty cardboard box. And then I wretched. And still the katydids katydid.

What else could I do to alleviate my crushing ennui? I scratched contemplatively. And then I thought it was snowing, but it was only my bellybutton dandruff acting up again. It was 100 °F today—clearly snow was impossible. Then again, I used to think platypuses were impossible. So what do I know? It kept snowing. It kept being 100 °F. My bellybutton kept existing.

I tried disemboredening myself by counting to twenty but started crying when I hit seventeen—what a depressing number.

The katydids kept chirping. Sinister little bugs they are. Listening to them is as exciting as watching my nose hairs grow, so I shut my windows petulantly and returned to experiencing the crushing lassitude, languor, listlessness, and lethargy that enveloped my week like a tightly sealed envelope.

I was soon bored to tears. And after that last paragraph, my Editor took my thesaurus away. I turned on the television. The news reported that Mantrid drone arms were consuming much of northern Canada, Mayor Julian Rhoodie had gotten hammered over the weekend (on wet noodles) and made an ass of himself, and “global warming” was now to be called “global boiling.” Clearly someone had confused Fahrenheit and Celsius again. I turned off the television. Such newsy outrages sure cured my boredom, but at what cost? Now I was furious again. I leapt out my window and hid behind the nearest patch of katydid-infested shrubbery. It was superior to my usual panic response—hiding in a hole in the ground—or so I thought. But the katydids katydidn’t like me muscling in on their turf and tried to saw off my eyebrows with their serrated legs.

I crawled back indoors and ate another cardboard box—a box of baking powder this time.

“Maybe that was a new kind of snow,” I wondermuttered to myself. “Some kind of fancy water that stays frozen above 100 °F?” I then became aware that it was now 311 K and even 560 °Ra out there—damn, that’s almost hot enough to melt aluminum! “Certainly no water can remain solid at all those temperatures!”

I withdrew to my personal library to do deeper research on these watery conundra. Perhaps that would cure my boredom.



It was Thursday morning. Thousands of books lay strewn about the floor of my personal library, some of them with actual pages (and some of those with actual writing on the pages). I had turned a lot of pages. I had read a lot of those pages. I had learned a lot. I had eaten a lot more.

I now knew everything there was to know about heat, cold, freezing, boiling, melting, solidifying, liquefying, sublimating, oblimating, water ice, snow ice, water snow, water steam, steam snow, the dangerous and sinister “triple-point” of liquids that can easily kill us all with a single nudge in the wrong direction, and every temperature scale known to man-, gnome-, and moosekind. I learned that “thermodynamic equilibrium” was a thing physicists talk about when they want to sound smart, and that the “laws of gumbidynamics” were something I talk about when I want to sound smart (which works… usually). I also learned that books which are made from acid-free paper don’t cause heartburn and the glue that Harvard University Press used in their bindings from 1960–75 is the most flavorful.

But when I finally learned it’s 30 °Ré and 27 °Rø out there today, I simply gave up and set my hair on fire. Hot enough to melt aluminum but cold enough to freeze water! Unprecedented! There was one silver lining to all this, however. I established for myself a new life goal: Confuse the masses by inventing my own temperature scale.

I cracked open another book, on how to make your own thermometer (for dummies). I picked up my knife and fork and went to work…



I lay back and belched. My own temperature scale was complete: The degree Årp (°Å) it would be called. It was everything one could ever want in a temperature scale for the modern era: It was backwards. It was upside-down. The hotter it got, the cooler my temperature scale would get. And it looked like a wet noodle stretched out on a sheet of graph paper.

Unfortunately, in doing all this laborious, sciency work I had, at one juncture, confused ångströms with degrees Årp, which started a forest fire that burned down Rory Calhoun’s summer cabin and loosed more Mantrid drone arms on the world. It certainly was the biggest forest fire ever—when measured in square ångströms. But the temperature of that 2.12 × 1026 Å2 fire never rose above −295 °Å, so none of my books caught on fire.

To celebrate my grand new scientific invention, I took a stroll around my immense and palatial yard, hooting and tooting merrily. When I reached my shrubbery, I picked up the nearest katydid and started playing its legs like a fiddle. You could call me a regular katydiddler, although Becasue probably wouldn’t like that. But my big little redheaded huzzey-muffet was still back in Squirrel Blind, W.Va., recovering from one too many gnome attacks, so she would be none the wiser. Or maybe it was just me. I picked up another katydid.



This morning, I woke up bright and early. (On Friday, I woke up all dim and stupidly late, an experience I am loathe to repeat.)

I took another stroll around my immense and palatial yard. It truly was immense and palatial this time of year. And it was hot. It was over 100 °F now. And it was silent. All the katydids had been roasted overnight—no doubt “global broiling” was now underway. I checked my new handmade thermometer, which I had hung on a galumph tree in my gnome garden. It displayed a cool, refreshing 55 °Å now. As global broiling gave way to global combusting, global charring, and lastly global conflagrating, my wet noodle-o-meter would only go lower and lower. I smarmed satisfied. All would be well in the world again.

Unless you live in Canada and get eaten by a drone arm.

[Feetnote: This Pnårp would also like to apologize for the continued, disorganized nasal drippings he intends to transform into docile & perfunctory blog entries—every Sunday!—until he stops breathing.]