The Shadow People

The lucky ones in the sunshine always
fear the shadow people
(whom they need not fear, but cannot understand)
who grew up under rocks in the darkness,
cold and alone,
calling and calling, crying, shivering,
waiting for the love;
or else waiting for the return of the love
that had once meant sunlight and warmth.
But the sun went down and did not return,
despite the waiting and the vigilance to the east;
and any moon there might have been could never match its brightness.
And while one born such might walk in daylight,
as if she were feeling the sun,
it can never penetrate to her heart:
how very long the night can be
in the black sky of your soul
can only be told to you
by the shadow people.
(Don’t fear us.)

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Happy National Peanut Month!

I was “researching” the Oklahoma Peanut Commission (I swear to Pete, if they list a job opening, I’m going to apply for it) when I ran across a page telling me that March is National Peanut Month.  I am very excited about this.

Here’s a page with some fun peanut facts:

So be extra kind to any peanuts you may meet this month.

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Answering services

Just had the pleasure of dealing with another answering service.  It went like this:  “Johnson Properties, may I help you?”  “Yes, does your company own the property at 100 N. Maple?”  “I’m not sure, what’s the problem?”  So then I told her the problem and she said, “Oh!  Let me get your phone number and I’ll let someone from Johnson Properties know about it.”  In other words — they’re an answering service.  What’s the point of them saying, “Johnson Properties,” if they can’t answer any questions and can’t make any decisions and can’t really give you any useful information?  I’ve run into this with a lot of companies.  If I had a business with an answering service, I would ask them to say, “Smith Company’s answering service.”  Then at least a caller would know who he was talking to.

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Penny for your thoughts . . . okay, a nickel . . .

“60 Minutes” tonight is talking about the possibility of taking the penny out of U.S. circulation.  I’m no economist, but I’ve been saying for years that we should consider that move.  Just round it up or down to a nickel — or maybe we should get rid of that one too and go straight to dimes.   It would save all of us from dealing with the little worthless coins, and it would save the country from the expense of making them.  It costs more than a cent to produce a penny.  Think about that one and disappear into your own navel.

Honestly, I have felt this way for years, but I never could get anybody to agree with me.  “60 Minutes” concluded by admitting that the possibility of actually getting rid of the penny is small, for a number of reasons.  But I wanted to get this “on record” anyway.  I wish I could have blogged it 20 years ago, when I first thought it. 

And I wish I had a pony.

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Freddy Honeycutt Swings Dead Cats

This guy in my office, Freddy, said a few minutes ago that once something is in print, you can hardly swing a dead cat without seeing it printed somewhere.  Then he said, “Yeah, now *that* will get in print:  ‘Freddy Honeycutt swings dead cats.'” 

I and my cat are opposed to the idea of swinging cats of any description, but I am happy to oblige Freddy’s prediction here.

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Persistence of assumption

I notice things about the way people communicate with each other, or fail to do so.  I try not to be too curmudgeonly about it, but I get irritated about half the time I order fast food, which I do a lot.  More and more, people aren’t listening at all until you’re halfway through your first sentence.  I’ll say, “Hi, I’d like a hamburger and –” “What?”  I’m sorry, which part did you miss?  Where did I lose you?  This is a hamburger joint after all.  What did you expect me to say? 

I am pretty good at listening to two or three other people talk and figuring out why they are not communicating.  It’s funny how often people will think they’re disagreeing when they really aren’t — it’s just that neither understands what the other one is saying.  There is a conversational phenomenon which I have personally named “persistence of assumption,” and since I first labeled it, I have seen it happen time and time again.  I haven’t seen it explicitly described anywhere, so I’ll outline it here.  When I don’t feel so tired.

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Getting pushed out of the herd

I’m getting older — maybe I *am* older already, at 47.  Of course, I’ll dream about being 47 again when I’m 80.  But I can’t deny being at least middle aged, since not that many people live to be more than 94.  I don’t feel that old, though my body certainly doesn’t rebound as well as it used to.  I’m relatively young at heart and in mind, but a lot of people don’t see that.  Quick story:  One night last year, I heard the young college folks across the street having a little get-together.  I could just barely hear them from my apartment; I stuck my head out and saw some of them skateboarding in the street and whatnot, all harmless stuff.  Somebody was cruising the street looking for a place to park, so I made a neighborly offer.  I went up to this one young guy standing in the street and said, “Hey, I live right there and that’s my car.  I’m not going anywhere tonight, so if somebody needs to park behind me, it’s okay.”  The guy smiled and nodded the whole time, and when I stopped talking he said, “Yeah, okay — and also, keep the noise down, right?”  It was like, here comes the old guy to tell us to be quiet.  Totally deflated my neighborly intentions.  An assumption based on appearance completely erased the real verbal message.

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