Thus is his cheek the map of days outworn.
People remain what they are even if their faces fall apart.
Over the HillRageBoy® turned 50 this week, and while his visible appearance betrayed no telltales of existential turmoil at the fact that half a century has passed since that gray November day he came screaming into the 1947 postwar world, those of us who know him best could see he was inwardly struggling with the implacable advance of cruel time. "What's on your mind, old boy?" we asked last Wednesday, but all he would say was: " Chicks." Poor guy.
We keep him around at EGR because he sometimes does add a certain flair, though he's utterly useless when it comes to getting this already intermittent publication out. "RB, why not whip up an issue on whatever it is you're working on these days?" we cajoled, thinking that actually offering the opportunity -- the only times he's written here have been when we were away on Important Business and he managed to hack into our system -- might lift him from the funk he was clearly sinking into from overmuch reflection on his own mortality. But the reaction this brought was an instant bout of violent paranoia. "By the way, what are you working on?" we finally inquired after he'd broken several priceless Ming vases by apparently trying to fax them to some destination we'll likely never know.
"Oh, nothing," he replied in an almost girlish voice, suddenly nonchalant.
Nothing indeed. Just last month he built a 30-foot sculpture on the front lawn, a hideous thing straight out of Hieronymous Bosch's worst nightmare. It vaguely resembled some towering demon whose insides were exposed, revealing the twisted visages of people it had devoured, some still whole, but most with gruesomely severed heads and limbs. "The neighbors are still complaining about that, you know," we reminded him. "And several want to know what 'kernel32.dll' means" -- that being the title he'd emblazoned on this ghastly work in lurid typography nearly as tall as himself.
"Then what about your sudden need for so much