Unlikely 2.0

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Editors' Notes

Maria Damon and Michelle Greenblatt
Jim Leftwich and Michelle Greenblatt
Sheila E. Murphy and Michelle Greenblatt

A Visual Conversation on Michelle Greenblatt's ASHES AND SEEDS with Stephen Harrison, Monika Mori | MOO, Jonathan Penton and Michelle Greenblatt

Letters for Michelle: with work by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Jeffrey Side, Larry Goodell, mark hartenbach, Charles J. Butler, Alexandria Bryan and Brian Kovich

Visual Poetry by Reed Altemus
Poetry by Glen Armstrong
Poetry by Lana Bella
A Eulogic Poem by John M. Bennett
Elegic Poetry by John M. Bennett
Poetry by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
A Eulogy by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Joel Chace
A Spoken Word Poem and Visual Art by K.R. Copeland
A Eulogy by Alan Fyfe
Poetry by Win Harms
Poetry by Carolyn Hembree
Poetry by Cindy Hochman
A Eulogy by Steffen Horstmann
A Eulogic Poem by Dylan Krieger
An Elegic Poem by Dylan Krieger
Visual Art by Donna Kuhn
Poetry by Louise Landes Levi
Poetry by Jim Lineberger
Poetry by Dennis Mahagin
Poetry by Peter Marra
A Eulogy by Frankie Metro
A Song by Alexis Moon and Jonathan Penton
Poetry by Jay Passer
A Eulogy by Jonathan Penton
Visual Poetry by Anne Elezabeth Pluto and Bryson Dean-Gauthier
Visual Art by Marthe Reed
A Eulogy by Gabriel Ricard
Poetry by Alison Ross
A Short Movie by Bernd Sauermann
Poetry by Christopher Shipman
A Spoken Word Poem by Larissa Shmailo
A Eulogic Poem by Jay Sizemore
Elegic Poetry by Jay Sizemore
Poetry by Felino A. Soriano
Visual Art by Jamie Stoneman
Poetry by Ray Succre
Poetry by Yuriy Tarnawsky
A Song by Marc Vincenz

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The Clapping's the Thing
A Sardine on Vacation
Episode Fifty-Seven

The Sardine walks into the Attic Bar. Joe T., Frank Weathers, McNulty, Wal-terr, and some others start clapping.

What for?

"You're back," says Frank.

You mean: you are back, Frank.

"Whatever," says Joe T., "it's been awhile. We thought we'd never see you again."

I returned a column ago!

"Why didn't you tell us?" asks McNulty.

"He's a modest fish," Wal-terr says snidely.

"You never really said you were leaving," says Frank.

I took a break.

"We thought it was because of the fight between the Logged-in Public and the Newspaper-Reading Public," says McNulty. "I was ready to handle the lawsuit."

"If we're lucky, they won't be back," says Frank.

He never likes to share the spotlight.

Logged-In Public: We're still here, Frank.

"I didn't hear you clapping."

L-I P: We're still glad to be back.

Actually, I don't mind they didn't clap.

"Again, Mr. Modesty," says Wal-terr.

Not really. I've never understood that social convention. Why did you clap?

"We were glad to see you back, returning to the stage of your former triumphs," says Frank.

Wal-terr wasn't glad to see me back. And he clapped.

"I do not know why I clapped," says Wal-terr. "Everyone else was doing it."

Why do we clap? Bring the hands together after something pleases us?

"'Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph,'" quotes McNulty.

"What's that?" asks Joe T.

"The Bible."

"Oh, you know the Bible," Joe T. replies.

But the Bible doesn't explain why we applaud! Frankly, I'm always embarrassed not to clap.

"I've seen those beatniks snap their fingers instead of clapping," said Frank. "On television."

It's the same thing.

"And stomping the feet," said Joe T.

Okay, okay, I get the idea. I still want to know why stomping and snapping and clapping are social signals of approval. Or, for that matter, why booing or whistling signals disapproval.

"Because it does," says Wal-terr.

Just as the Sardine doesn't want to set up camp too permanently, with any person or idea, I can't miss this opportunity to question compulsive, unthinking behavior.

"You mean like drinking while intoxicated," says Joe T.


"What about torturing animals?" asks Wal-terr.

How about why we drink alcohol or get drunk? Not because its tastes great or leaves you refreshed the next day. And despite the consequences of getting drunk too often.

"You want me to lose my job?" snaps Wal-terr.

I'm asking why, not asking people to stop.

"Making people self-conscious will make them stop doing anything," says Frank.

Maybe for a few minutes. And why do we keep pets? Where's the need to have a dog, cat, or bird around the house?

"Better than having people around the house," says McNulty.

Did you have a fight with Honey, again?

"She doesn't want me smoking in the house anymore."

At least you have your Social Pets.

McNulty hesitates. Thinks back to columns 15 and 16. Smiles.


Frank, you should let those Social Pet columns be a lesson about how people change their behavior when you make them conscious of it.

"You don't think he was affected."

For a week or two after the respective columns, perhaps. He sent copies of the column to every person he had ever known.

"That's an exaggeration," says McNulty.

Not by much. What isn't an exaggeration is that you continued your smoking and drinking rituals with an even greater relish.

"I remember," McNulty laughs. "Honey thought I had changed too. I couldn't give her the satisfaction."

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Bob Castle is the unveiled author of A Sardine on Vacation. Check out his bio page.