the feel of a real book

Long Press Three Second

I was going to tell you what stuff I liked this year, but I’m too late. Nobody is shopping this week. Nobody.

Well, I’m sure there’s some schmuck out there who makes his family wait until two days after Christmas so he can get cut-rate prices on gifts. I met that man when I was in junior high. He was proud of his Christmas shortcut. He was also the teacher who made up excuses to punish girls in his classes, especially the innocent ones, by using a paddle with his name routed backward in the wood. This left his name printed in welt on my ass for a few hours. My mother wasn’t too happy when I showed her that. She didn’t call to complain though. Women didn’t complain as easily back then as they do now. I didn’t talk to that teacher except when it was absolutely required for class for the rest of the year. He was a creep. He’d be roasted alive if he did that today.

So, I can’t write about what I love because of that guy and his cheap-ass Christmas tradition.

Instead of writing about what I love, I’m going to write about some of the presents that I got.

Mike gave me four new books, real books, with textured covers and embossed titles. I love the feel of a good book. I really hope that the recommendations I got from David George Haskell for books he liked are really going to be books that I like. That’s what I asked Mike to put into my stocking. I loved Haskell’s book The Forest Unseen so much that I felt like a stalker when I asked him questions about it and about other books I could read in the same vein. He seems like one of those quiet people who was surprised by the success of his books. I hope he’s writing another one. And I promise to stop asking him questions.

He also gave me a spit test to see who I’m related to. I would bet a lot that we’re all cousins.

“Do you think I’ll mess up the results if I eat just before I spit?” I asked him as he wadded up and recycled wrapping paper.

What a waste of resources, wrapping paper. Mike paused and looked at me as if he were trying to determine my lineage. I already knew my lineage. I’m a mutt, one hundred percent certified mutt.

“They can probably eliminate any DNA that belongs to another species, right? Maybe it depends on what you ate. Your results might say that you were related to the Bovine clan or the royal house of Poultry.”

I’ll brush my teeth before I spit. I could be related to you. I’d bet we’re all cousins. I’ve heard that people share 25% of their DNA with trees. I’m a distant cousin to the trees. It won’t say that on my results, but I’ll be looking for Neanderthal. I’m hoping for a little Neanderthal. It would explain a lot.

Nick gave me earbuds for Christmas. I love them. Yes, I’ve joined this century by having my first Bluetooth earpieces. I asked Mike to help me to set them up.

“Have you looked at the instructions?” he asked.


“Can you try?”

I picked up the instruction packet, opened it, and read aloud.

“ ‘Rotate to open the charging case and remove the earphones’ “ I said. “No period at the end.”

“So, it was translated. You’re always going to get some punctuation errors in translation,” Mike replied.

“Okay then,” I said. “ ‘Choose right R slash L earphones insert ears…’ Does that help?”

“Insert ears?”

“Yes, insert ears.”

He chuckled. I like when I can make Mike laugh.

“And this - ‘When Earphones in power off <comma> Long press earphones Touch button 2 second.”

He laughed again.

“Of course. Long press earphones. Touch button two second. Makes perfect sense,” he said.

“To turn them off, you ‘Keep press earphones touch button 3 second, the light in red LED flashing’ “ I said.

We both sat on the couch and laughed as I held the pamphlet in my hands and scanned for more. I went into the settings on my iPhone and clicked the Bluetooth button. The little timer spun around and around while we laughed. It didn’t stop spinning so I handed it to Mike.

“It can’t find them,” he said.

“Here it is,” I said. “ ‘Bluetooth pairing way:’ That must be the section we need.”

“Bluetooth pairing way. You should take a picture of that and post it on Facebook and ask for a translation,” he said.

Now, I was only looking for good phrases from the instructions.

“ ‘About 10 seconds the earphone will paired succeed.” I skipped lines that were almost normal. “Another earphone in blue led slow flash. If the left and right earphones cannot be paired auto, please following below: Keep press two earphones. Short press, after 5 seconds left and right earphones pair succeed.” I paused to let Mike breathe. “ ‘The earphones has been paired when in factory, Listen music: Short press touch button, then can play/pause. Long press the main earphone for 2-3 seconds, Last song.”

Mike laughed during my entire monologue. Mission accomplished. I love my new Bluetooth earbuds. When Nick gets up, I’ll have to read some selected instructions to him too.

The miracle is that we got them to work. I’m using them now.

Thank you for listening, jules