Verbatim-izing: Lawn Objects, Life Goals


July 23, 1998


Verbatimites: Ion, Mac Card, Leslie, Julie, Jessamine, Leslie’s Mom



Exhibit One

Box of Crayons (64 colors, 3 missing)

"Don’t worry, be happy" button

Electrician’s manual from 1977

A bathroom mirror

glow-in-the-dark markers

Big green sweater

small-framed glasses

Copy of The Joy of Cooking

English-Swedish dictionary

picture of Custer at Little Big Horn




3-piece suit & tie

box of crackers

FODOR’S guide to Prague

Big Bird hand puppet

The NY Times from Jan. 3, 1993

Copy of "The Tatooed Potato"

A W-2

walrus doll

CD Player with "The Wall" in it

Yoga manual

baby picture

rubber duck

White Volvo

air conditioner



Exhibit One Text


I couldn’t help noticing your box of crackers, hi, my name’s Fodor, I’m a cuff-link impresario. Excuse me ma’am, I couldn’t help noticing your box of crackers, so lithe and hospitable a box, I’m a cracker-fanatic, at least I’ve been told, by myself, a box of crackers would look smashing in a three-piece suit, a real cracker-impresario, I can already hear the timber-wolves baying, the cracker-eating breed, you know, from Canada. It’s what that sissy-truck driver meant by grotesque sublimation. All those dogs and their Fodor’s guides to Quebec. And me there too, shaking my little walrus hand-puppet and proofreading last Sunday’s New York Times. A cracker-impresario’s travel expenses can run to the miracle mile ‘n back in less time than it takes a bathroom mirror the size of the liberty bell to fog up a little glass-slipper. Pretty fast, eh? It’s all those crackers I put down. I couldn’t help drafting this eviction notice for your box of crackers, madam. They’ll have to be out by the first of August. March ‘em out in three-piece suits and I’ll throw in this show horn. It’s belgian chocolate and great for couples. Maybe that’s what the sissy truck-driver meant by grotesque sublimation. All the way to Canada and back.


Exhibit Two

1 cellular phone

1 bag Nacho Cheese Doritos

1 Sprite (liter bottle)

1 large duffle bag, containing: Mossimo T-shirts, baggy white jeans, several dress shirts, dress shoes, Tevas, underwear, and socks

1 Wired magazine

1 box Pizza Bites ™

1 TV remote control

1 SONY discman

wallet, with I.D. card, credit card, $5.00 bill, and phone card

1 booklet-style case for CDs, including: the new Beastie Boys CD


a case of unused contact lenses

1 Milky Way bar

1 Pentium PC Purple computer w/ modem, printer, scanner, etc.

Trashy sci-fi book


Modern white desk + office chair



Exhibit Two Text


The cellular phone would like to be a speaker phone, but the owner does not know that. The Doritos would like nothing more than to be eaten; they do not have much imagination, having been processed too many times. The Sprite would like, individually or collectively, to be a cola, as it is sick of lemon-lime, and as you know, the caramel coloring is always sweeter… The duffel bag, on the other hand, would like to rid itself of the fascist clothing it contains and come out with its own line of clothing, all modeled on satchels of various kinds. The clothing it contains is limp and passive, except for the Tevas, which would like to become tires someday, except they realize that that is an impossibility and so remain ensconced in the dress shirts, moping. The Wired would like to calm down and take it easy, or if that isn’t possible, it would like to be Mad. The Pizza Bites would like to be bitten. The TV remote control, which is a masochist, actually secretly wants to be a VCR. The Sony discman, which enjoys spinning but hates lasers, wants to be a bicycle tire. The wallet is fat and happy as it is, except it wishes that its lover, the atm card, hadn’t run off with all of its money. The CD wallet’s man goal in life is to figure out how to erase CD’s so that it can finally be left closed. The eyeglasses, which used to be sunglasses until somebody changed the lenses, wish that they could be cool again. The contact lenses are stewing in their goop and trying out self-advertising slogans along the lines of "better than primordeal soup…" The Milky Way is running a sleeper campaign to get its name changed to "The Nebula." The Pentium Pc Purple computer and accessories are trying to compute the relationship between Intel and cows. At present they think it has to do with the future of cloning or mad cow disease. The Sci-Fi book is rewriting itself into an algorithm. The TV is trying to turn into a vegetable, but hasn’t quite succeeded. The desk and chair, like it out here and quite fancy themselves as lawn furniture, while the Playboy has laid away money to go on a trip to Thailand.


Exhibit Three

portraits of pet dogs framed

eyelash clippings in a fluorescent plastic vial

videotapes of the children’s milestones, infant - grade school

baked goods

bonsai plants

a harp

30 pairs of brand new briefs folded within the same plastic

ankle weights

the letterbox "Next Generation" collection

six pairs of glasses, same style, different colors, different prescriptions


Exhibit Three Text


This person has no goals. The dogs all died a long time ago, and the last time they accomplished anything was in grade school. They have no food in the house other than baked goods, the bonsai is actually a thistle and they never learned to play the harp. Their vision is getting worse all the time, they have no other music to listen to. Nothing left to do but jump in the river with the ankle weights on, leaving only eyelash clippings for posterity. Little do they know that its the toenails that matter.

This person has been @ home for a long time working to make an ever more elegant household. Everything must be perfect—the dogs live in frames, the children’s every moment stored for posterity, gardening and music must be treated as high arts. The clothing has been purchased for years in advance, and they exercise so as to be in perfect shape. As for eyelashes—they simply have to go. How the Next Generation got in there they can’t imagine.


Exhibit Four

4 pairs shiny shiny pants

1 tube of glitter-gel

an instamatic camera with film

an afghan

a clear plastic mickey mouse backpack

16 little dresses with matching socks

7 sample bottles of perfume

3 ragged notebooks

a stuffed walrus with a mustache

a pink glittery sweater

a box of pancake mix

a can of chocolate frosting

3 trained dogs

a copy of Art & Lies by Jeanette Winterson

an oboe


an opera Viking helmet

random assorted freckles


Exhibit Four Text


-to one day give birth to the next generation of Olson twins

-to perform in a docudrama about Studio 54 dressed as a Valkyrie hawking sample bottles of perfume to those in line

-to work as a celebrity chef in full disco regalia

-to understand the full significance of the subtext of glitter applied on different sections of the body

-to fill the mickey mouse backpack with freckles taken from an international collection of dolls

-to publish journals vaguely reminiscent of Sylvia Plath but for every mention of father, there is instead the little sister who figures dramatically in a subplot concerning 16 little dresses

-to compose an oboe solo to be performed during readings of passages from Art & Lies by Jeanette Winterson; at select pauses, confetti will be thrown into the audience by assistants, one for each letter in Jeanette Winterson’s name


Exhibit Five: The Jade Ing

Ing, when I was often unsavory to be ing, be something practical in a rude fashion you’ll see I apprenticed myself to a rich neighborhood. I soon knew the trade behind all of the day. Next I set out to a rock. I left him one rainy retalliation.


Exhibit Five Text: Life Goals for the Jaded "ing"


  1. To become unjaded.
  2. To become part of the rich neighborhood.
  3. To reach the rock I have been walking toward.
  4. To know the trade that happens at night.
  5. To learn how to retaliate without raining on parades.
  6. To become always more savory.
  7. To learn how to whisper.
  8. To become less green with jealousy.
  9. To be more practical (when appropriate).
  10. To find out who this mystery man is against whom I always retaliate.
  11. To know the true meaning of "ing."