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Shredder: I hate you, I love you 

San Luis Obispo

Dammit, Shred,

Just when I’m plotting to dump a bucket of Grade 8 aircraft bolts down your shred-hole and rewire your favorite electrical outlet from 110 to 220 volts.

You’re as cantankerous an office appliance as any I’ve ever bloodied a finger or electrocuted myself upon. My thesaurus says I should also add bilious, dyspeptic, splenetic, and bloody-minded [primarily British]. And, anal.

Hey, Mr. Merriam-Webster said it, don’t blame me!

I always thought Merriam was a girl’s name, but I don’t think a girl would say “anal.” At least not the kind of girl that has her name on books available at the public library. I’m pretty sure Merriam is a guy in this case.

Anyway, in addition to being so cantankerously bilious, you are also the sworn enemy of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Splinter calls you extremely cunning and the most dangerous adversary he has ever faced.

Thus, over the years I’ve kept a Firefox bookmark to keep watch over scrap and pig iron prices in the Pittsburgh steel market. Pig iron is correct, right? You’re worth almost 25 cents per pound lately, so watch yourself.

But this week (“Stacking the odds,” Dec. 16) I want to give you a giant hug!

Except your warning label says, “Entanglement Hazard: Do not wear loose clothing, jewelry, or long hair while operating.” And, “Flying objects and loud noise hazards. Wear approved ear and eye protection.” And, “Hot surface. Contact may cause burn. Do not touch.”

And, “MAGNETIC FIELD. Can be harmful to pacemaker wearers.”

And, “UV LIGHT. Do not look directly at light.”

Also, “Rotating blade hazard. Keep hands clear. Do not reach around guards.”

No worries about that last one, bro. I’m very straight about the reach around warning. Are we clear? Cool.

Plus, somebody cut off your electrical plug’s safety ground prong a long time ago so you could hook into the old-style two-prong outlets at your former home.

So forget the hug.

Instead, I think I’ll roll you out onto the veranda (if I can find one of those), and chum up next to you—me with a small glass of red wine—and feed you pages from the old vintage 1993 T-T I’ve been saving for a special occasion.

You will be like Dionysus, doted over and fed grapes by the Hyades nymphs, daughters of Atlas, as we shred that old T-T, page-by-page—except no one will be half-dressed in a toga with breast parts exposed, OK? That’s strictly not a part of the deal. And even if it were, there’s still that loose clothing entanglement hazard thing. So no togas.

We’ll reminisce about the younger, more innocent days when we first met. And as we watch the sun set over Cerro San Luis together, perhaps we can light up cigarettes and attempt to encircle the SLO night sky with smoke rings—at least until some RQN member phones up Jan Marx.

Ah, well. I know I will be paying Sierra Vista for more Lidocaine and sutures again soon. But we will always have Volume 25, Issue 20.


-- Kevin P. Rice - San Luis Obispo

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