The Flood

There is a huge flood right here in my neighborhood, and it's about to come up to my door. It's already up the second floor, and I'm on the third. To make things worse, there are a number of tigers swimming around, and they're angry. Or at least they seem angry; it's hard to tell with tigers. Who knows where they came from.

The only thing keeping the tigers under control is the sharks. You see the fins pop up, right by the tops of the streetsigns, and then you hear a roar, and you know a shark just got a tiger. But the tigers aren't dumb; a lot of the tigers made their ways up the fire escapes to the roofs. Which means that if you go out to get on one of the emergency helicopters, you're taking a strong chance of being devoured by a tiger before you can climb on.

The important thing is to keep a positive mental attitude. I always liked boats and sailing, and I'm a good problem solver. I've been fishing plastic bottles out of the water when I can, leaning over the fire escape when the coast is clear. The plan is to make a big suit of air-filled soda bottles. So far I have about 645. I'm tying them together so that I'll be totally encased in a sort of soda-bottle moon-suit. I think it'll confuse the hell out of the tigers and the sharks when they try to get a bite, and I can float to safety, although I'm not sure where that is.

I might also take the traditional approach and tear up the floorboards to make a raft, but since the water has already flooded the apartment of my downstairs neigbor (may she rest in peace), I'm worried to open it up. It's more than a day's work, and I don't want to be asleep and have a tiger leap through the floor and devour me. I didn't work all this time building a freelance career for that.

The mayor is telling us to be strong, and not to get into the helicopters. He's really unclear as to why that is. He just came on the radio as I was writing this, and said that there were no vampire zombie cannibal helicopter pilots that devour anyone who climbs on board, that's an urban myth, but don't get on the helicopters anyway. I'm like vampire zombie cannibals? And he says we've been declared a federal disaster area. I made a spear out of my floor lamp.

A lot of people are talking about God's wrath. The market is a mess; lots of fund managers are going to be let go, if any survive. Everybody's got their spin on the radio. Some guy said that this is a new beginning dance music. I'm not sure why. This specialist on marshlands claimed that he knew this would happen. And right now, some guy who believes that this was brought on by unholy sexual intercourse with oysters, which was apparently some sort of teenage fad this year. He's calling on us to renounce our wicked—ah, bad news on that front. Sounded like a tiger.

Now there's some guy on the radio saying that this is the end of the age of irony. I'm not following him. What is more ironic, after all these years in New York, working in advertising and branding, building a lot of web sites, to be devoured by aquatic tigers, or possibly sharks, if you're not abducted by helicopter zombies? Instead of the end of the age of irony, what I'm seeing are striped animals swimming down 9th St. I've also started smoking. You've got to enjoy life while you can, before the tigers swim in through your window.




Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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