Saturday, November 6, 2010

...And I Wish I'd Thought of That

Tomorrow we set our clocks back one hour which is fine by me. (I wrote that sentence with nary a comma because I prefer the sound of the sentence with no breaks. But my wife typically edits my little essays, grumbling about having to throw in commas because I never do. So if you see a comma in the first two sentences, or in this sentence, you will know that [those] comma[s] belong[s] to her and not to me. This is because Mrs. Wilson, Woodrow Wilson's wife, was always confused about the time, so Woodrow drafted a new time change law in a valiant attempt to drive her crazy and get rid of her so he could cozy up to Rebecca, the aunt of his Secretary of State. (I think I would make a dynamite history teacher except for the fact that I tend to make up historical facts to explain stuff.) I try not to figure out what impact resetting my clocks twice a year will have on me the next day, because I then get lost in a fog of: 'If it is now 5:30 then when the time changes it will be....'. I just let it come and roll with it.

When I sit down to write a blog essay, I usually do so with little aforethought. If I read something interesting the previous week I will return to it and use it as a basis to write about. But more than likely, I will just sit and start writing. I normally do this early on a Saturday morning. This morning I awoke at 5:00 a.m. and sat in front of the TV with my coffee and watched a DVR recording of Sherlock Holmes (Masterpiece Theater). Then I stumbled into my office and sat down to write. And nothing. Now I could have written a diary entry, I guess, and told of what happened the previous week and what I plan will happen next week...but frankly, that bores me. I entertain myself by writing and I certainly wouldn't be entertained by that. So when nothing came to mind to discuss, I did the smart thing and walked away. It is now after 4:00 p.m. and I find myself in the same situation and I wonder why I am not walking away?

I once read a book about a fellow who dedicated a significant amount of time writing to manufacturers explaining what they were doing wrong and what they should be doing, and then would end his letters by pointing out that he had the expertise to figure out what was wrong so they really should consider hiring him as a consultant. The letters were pretty much tongue-in-cheek. He would complain about the color combination of the labels of soup cans, or the location of freezer compartments on refrigerators, or about why lamps always had the light source at the top of the lamp and why not in the middle or the bottom. What is fascinating about this is that more often than not, the company in question would respond....and if the item under discussion was small enough, would bless him with a free carton of whatever it was (think 'soup'). Sometimes the responding letters were just as tongue-in-cheek so they would exchange  correspondence trying to outdo each other. It was great fun. The author's file of correspondence was so thick that he figured he could write a book about his correspondence through the years. Now there was a gentleman that wrote to entertain himself (and I wish I'd thought of that).

Back in the seventies, I read a book about a rather stern widow school teacher who, through a series of improbable situations, found herself elected President. During her first press conference, the reporters jumped to their feet shouting questions at her and she stood there with her hands on her hips and shouted, "Sit down! Fourth graders behave better than you. You will raise your hand politely and wait until you are called upon!" What was neat and funny is that she didn't understand nuclear disarmament or behind-the-scenes political in-fighting....she rather confronted every issue head-on as a simple problem and addressed it with the common sense practical approach of a stiff-necked teacher who would harbor no back talk. She had no interest in being President, so didn't give a damn about what people thought. Of course, she was a success and the country thrived, and she refused to run again, and it was a lot of fun to read. The author had to chuckle as he wrote it. He entertained himself (and I wish I'd thought of that).

Quite a while ago there was an eleven year-old girl that got it into her head that she wanted the signatures of the Heads of States of all the countries. She asked her father about it, and he wisely said, "Write them a letter." So she started with a hand-written letter to the "We will bury you" Nikita Khrushchev. Well, Nikita's aides got the letter and figured it would be good public relations to comply with her request....this sweet little girl that is forced to live in that capitalist war-monger country. So he wrote her a letter back that not only had his signature but the Seal of the Presidents office. So next she wrote a letter to the President of the United States. There was no response. So she tried again, explaining that if the President of Russia could send his signature and the Presidential Seal, why couldn't her very own president? Quickly she received a letter from the President with the Seal. She plunged ahead, writing letters and letters to Kings and Queens and Presidents explaining how the U.S. President and the Russian President kindly complied with her request, and that she would be honored if they would do so too. She amassed forty or fifty signatures and seals from around the world. She was clearly on a mission and enjoyed writing (and I wish I'd thought of that).

So perhaps I will think of something to entertain myself next week right here, after the time change, an hour....let's see, if it is 6:00 now then it will be....  

[My editor wife said I needed pictures.] 


  1. Okay, well, I'm going to write something here because it's probably the last blog comment I will write for quite some time. I was just about to put my computer to sleep, and why, lo-and-behold, there was a post in my Google reader and I could not resist reading when I saw it was yours!

    ...I'll try and catch up when I get back from the land of limited internet access!

  2. That was quite a project that little girl took on! I can't see too many kids every trying anything like that today! Well, maybe if they could text them all...

    My wife is also my comma policeman!

  3. Interesting post, I wish I'd thought of it.
    It continues to amaze me how much has been thought of, invented, dreamed up, just in my 65 years. I'm in awe of the human mind.

  4. Hi Jerry,

    Thanks for the kind words over at my blog.

    Fantastic essay and wonderfully written. And by the way I think you would make an excellent history teacher!

    Hope you're well, I have bookmarked your page to catch up on the posts I've missed. Great writing


  5. For someone who apparently feels not to have much to write about, you write about the most interesting things.;)
    What a great idea that little girl had.;) Working in scientific research, I know from experience that the most brilliant ideas are the simple ones.;))
    Here our clock went back last week, enjoy your extended Sunday.;))

  6. I hope you were entertained for I sure was. Wish you had included the title of that book about the school teacher president though. Sounds like fun reading. I'll try google.
    Think there is still a chance with the soup ploy? Wonder if Omaha Steaks would respond?
    Thanks for a good read.

  7. The time change drives me crazy - and I find the older I get the crazier it makes me....

  8. The explanations of the different writers you have given was quite entertaining for me, the story of the little girl who collected the signatures was very interesting as I do love reading of things like this.

    I have a feeling you entertain yourself by writing these amazing posts then sit back and smile as your wife goes over them.

    Sounds like a good team to me.

  9. Writing? what is that. Well, I confess what you just typed is good interesting writing. You aint no History teacher,, you're and ENGLISH teacher,, see there ya learn something everydya I hate winter. One thing I hate about winter is changing those durned clocks..People will go aroudn for the next month or two saying,, Ok, but it is REALLY (someime) o'clock. I hate winter but i like this blog.

  10. I rather like your approach to writing posts. I always feel educated and entertained. As along as you don't test me afterwards.

  11. My body simply refuses to adjust to the time change so I'm still on the old time, at least mentally.

    I think you would've made a great history teacher. Making up historical facts is far more interesting than just studying the real ones.

    Love your posts.

  12. Odd, I have written letters of complaint to companies about their products and/or services and seldom receive a response any more. I believe they figure if I am such a luddite that I am still using paper to communicate with, I must be an old curmudgeon who should be ignored.

  13. Consider this your "Fanfare For The Comma'd Man." I like to mix it up a little with my punctuation. Sometimes you just want to fly without the commas just for the pure excitement of it. I know--I live dangerously.

  14. I live in Arizona, which never changes its clocks so that sometimes we are aligned with Pacific Time and sometimes with Mountain Time. Please don't ask me which is when. My son lives in San Francisco (Pacific Time) and my daughter in Chicago (Central Time). When we change the clocks in the Fall we are in 3 different zones and not a one of us has any idea what time it is when we call another.

    In our family we have a saying for your history lessons: If it's not a fact it should be!

  15. I really enjoyed this post. I am sure your Editor wife just edits, so she can read your interesting writing!

  16. Oh, are too funny. So, your entire post came about because you had writer's block?

    It's been a week since we changed the clocks. Have you stopped saying, "Well, it's really....??-o'clock."

    No? Neither have I.

    Great post!

  17. Ironic~ because you're always writing things that make me wish I'd thought of that.