Oh. Thank. God.

What did Kugelmass identify as his problem early that evening?

Being wound up from the week. Not having someplace to unwind.

Of what underlying matters might being “wound up” be considered symptomatic?

The dreariness of television shows about high school. Kugelmass was disappointed in a future consisting entirely of DVD versions of his past which never happened (Seasons 1-7). Of the decline of beauty and the end of gratuitous pleasure in living. Of wasted nights; not wasted in the sense of squandered with regrets, but wasted in the sense of not being able to be squandered effectively. Of not thinking favorably of the difference between himself (present) and himself (graduating college as preserved in photos). Of concern about the present cynical state of general pedagogy. Of concern about his automobile. Of hopelessness about the philosophical vacuum currently afflicting academia. Of concern over the decline of his own values and uncertainty about the reasons for said decline. Kugelmass was also severely concerned about his growing distate for flavored cream cheese. Of melancholy over not yet reading either Middlemarch or Godel Escher Bach in their entirety. Also love.

What did Kugelmass do to remedy the state of his car?

Added 1 liter of distilled water which disappeared into the car; add one bottle of motor oil, type 10-30; use hand and windshield wipers to improve visibility.

Where did the water go?

To the “radiator,” perhaps.

What did Kugelmass do to remedy the symptom?

He drove to Huntington Beach, to Johnny’s Saloon, after looking intently through the boredom-frosted window of his car in order to find it. There’s cheap Mexican nearby.

What did he do at Johnny’s Saloon?

Found himself on the losing end of three games of pool against a fellow named Dave; spent his change on the jukebox; drank three bottles of beer.

Explain the nature of the beer.

It cost two dollars and came from the Czech republic. It tasted malty, like breakfast cereal. It’s quite possible that on many nights such beer would be available.

What did Kugelmass play on the jukebox?

Joy Division, Joan Jett, Black Flag, David Bowie, Hank Williams, Roy Orbison.

Did Kugelmass talk about music at any point?

Twice. Kugelmass got into a discussion about the Elvis ’68 Comeback Special and the dangers of paying too much attention to one’s audience (cf. Bruce Springsteen’s vocal stylings on “Thunder Road,” Las Vegas, Blue Velvet). Earlier, about Billy Bragg.

What were on the walls of the saloon?

Pictures of Johnny Cash; quotations from country songs; naked ladies; weird skeletons.

Did the large bartenders think he was full of shit for being mostly solitary and wearing a leather jacket?


Did it matter? Was it a wasted night? Did he fail to make some unbelievable bank shots with the 8-ball on the line?


Was there something he thought about while he was making unbelievable bank shots without the use of the blue chalk?

” ‘I am of those who like to stay late at the café,’ the older waiter said. ‘With all those who do not want to go to bed. With all those who need a light for the night.’ ”

Did he hear a young punk bragging to two old Scottish guys?

He did; some time around then he was watching a show called Wildboyz with no sound and watching a subtitled version of Spun and really relating to the circles under Brittany Murphy’s eyes.

Was he able to find parking that night?

No. It didn’t matter, as he would likely not be able to sleep, though he was thoroughly unwound and happy.

So what was he thinking?

It is probably only insomnia. Many must have it.