All posts by Walter

Lesson on the Mountain

        As I stopped to catch my breath, I found myself contemplating whether or not I was really having fun yet. It started out simply enough. A little walk in the woods while visiting my hometown. I was doing fine, ambling along the abandoned road until I saw a new sign. It marked a new trail and promised a number of wonderful vistas for those who hiked a mile up the mountain.

        I was feeling spontaneous and adventuresome. I had some time to kill. I chuckled a bit as I considered whether or not to “do” the trail. Mountain climbers are often quoted as explaining they climbed a mountain because it was there. I was alone. To whom did I need to explain my decision? I could, after all, just do it simply because I wanted to.

        Naturally, the box containing the “trail guide and map” was empty. I must have been feeling philosophical, too because I actually considered that something of a blessing. I’d have to discover things on my own rather than follow the numbers. Why do we so often need to have things ordered and mapped out? Why do we look at the things someone else has decided we should see?

        My first “breath catching” stop came a lot sooner than I’d hoped. As I pushed on, thoughts seemed to be rolling down the mountain, threatening to over take me. “No one knows where I am… This would not be a great place to have a heart attack… Continue reading Lesson on the Mountain

My Hero!

I’m very selective when it comes to identifying mentors and role models. I can only think of a handful of people who I’d give that label. One guy who gets a lot of credit for whatever writing skills I might have is my high school English Teacher, Tony Russo. Tony not only taught me to write, he taught me to think. I’ve occasionally speculated that he might have regretted doing so during some class discussions and debates on topics ranging from Hamlet to academic freedom. Fortunately here we are some 45 years later and he and I are still in contact.

One of the running amusements we share is that after all these years I still have trouble keeping analogies, metaphors, and similies straight. So it perhaps will come as no surprise that when I recently reported being as “busy as a one-armed paper-hanger with diarrehea,” I also confessed that I wasn’t sure which it was. Here is Tony’s response:

Here’s the thing, you have created an analogy to describe your current situation, i.e. you are currently as busy as, but you are not actually, a one-armed paperhanger with diarrhea. On the other hand, metaphorically speaking, you have replaced yourself with the one-armed paperhanger with diarrhea, thus creating a metaphor. I’ll bet you had no idea that you were so agile with turning a phrase. My advice, don’t sweat the small stuff. 99 and 44/100ths% of your readers will never know the difference anyway, and even if they do, they really don’t give a shit, no pun intended, but I must admit that if one were intended, it wouldn’t be all that bad.

I would observe that I am not the only one who is agile with turning a phrase… and I’m a bit relieved that I apparently no longer need to worry about whether I’m using a metaphor, analogy, or simile.

But I’ll bet I do.

Did You Mean…?

This came with no provenance… and while I haven’t verified any, I can see how they could be true. Unfortunately, mistakes like this are not limited to writers for whom English is a second language!

It is forbidden to enter a woman, even a foreigner, if dressed as a man.

Sign in a Bangkok Temple

 Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

Cocktail lounge, Norway:

Continue reading Did You Mean…?

He Done Me Wrong!

Getting a fresh start sometimes means letting go of a grudge. I recall watching a friend’s relationship with his daughter-in-law go bad. Of course I only heard one side of the story so I was spared the agony of arbitrating and allowed to focus on how my friend was coping with the situation.

At one point he admitted that several people suggested he should apologize in an attempt to diffuse the anger and tension. He said, “I can’t do that. It would be like the victim apologizing to the mugger.” In his opinion, he’d been tragically wronged and it just didn’t make sense to do anything except be hurt and angry.

His analogy of being mugged intrigued me since I was mugged at gunpoint Continue reading He Done Me Wrong!

Why I Moved to Maine

Maybe it’s a small town thing, but when folks here attend a public event there’s a lot of time spent looking around so you don’t miss seeing and waving to everyone you know. After living here less than two months it might have seemed pointless, but then one of the first people we’d bumped into when we arrived at the fairgrounds greeted us by name.

Admittedly, he was about to sell us raffle tickets. Those raffle tickets are part of the Annual Kiwanis Auction – an event that this year raised over $20,000. Not bad for a Club in a town of s Continue reading Why I Moved to Maine