[lit-ideas] Hereabouts

  • From: david ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 20 Sep 2015 09:56:32 -0700

Missing from many accounts of battle are the stretching exercises that warriors
undertook to avert pulled muscles and other injuries. The practice seems to
have begun in India but, as you probably know, Romans traveled with yoga
instructors; no legion would think of going into battle without the
downward-facing canes, canum, canibus, canes that were so necessary for the
swift implementation of the turtle defense. Of course warrior poses were also
very popular. Vikings were more into Swedish gymnastics, but they too
maintained an emphasis on keeping hamstrings supple. It was Croat mercenaries,
who brought to battle not only the war cravat but also the warm-up stomach
crunch. Core strength was important to anyone who wished to carry away booty
without damaging his back. Finally, it was a Scot in the Crimea who developed
a calisthenic routine, based on the caber toss warm ups, that was the
forerunner of the methods used by all elite units to this day. The thin red
line was not as stiff as some historians seem to imagine. (Ritchie’s
multi-volume history of pre-battle stretching technique will be published by
the Ablative Bench Press in October. Order it in tree calf leather binding for
your loved ones).

Appenzeller has become the opposite of a Hawaiian monarch, scattering her
feathers all over. It is as if to her feathers have no status value at all.
We gods don’t know enough about chicken health to know if we should be
concerned; time will tell. She has at least ceased brooding and once again
roams with the flock, and so was among those present in the delegation that
came to the door to report an absence of food in the hopper. Having just come
in from a full day at work, I’m afraid I bustled forward without listening, got
them into their pen and like some medieval jailor threw a chunk of stale bread
after. Only the next morning, when the other god listened to chapter and verse
about how they had been mistreated while she was away, did I come to understand
that, on the day of the revolution, I could be first up against the wall.

Fortunately chicken memory is neither elephantine nor unforgiving. Next day we
were once again on speaking terms.
I opened with, “Yellen left interest rates alone.” (I like to keep them
“Who’s Yellen?”
Cheddar explained that no one was yelling. “We’re all calm... Plenty of food
now.” Head a-bobbing, "Yes, yes, plenty of food. Some Cheerios would be a
nice addition though. As recompense. As it were.”
Appenzeller asked if maybe I meant “interest level. It’s like curiosity,
interest, you see. It doesn’t travel at speed so ‘rate’ seems like an error.”
Mimo, reinforced, “No, no. Doesn’t travel at all. You may develop an
interest, but it’s alway right there inside you.”
Pecorino agreed, “Be a funny old world if your interest went off for a run
around the garden. When you were having a preen.”
Rocky, “Mine would be faster than yours, I bet.”
“Would not.”
“Would too.”
“Who’s always first to the dog food in the morning?”
“Where the dog food *once was*, I think you mean.”
“I do, but that doesn’t alter my point.”
Cheddar interjected, “Have you noticed that the dog is walking funny?”
Mimo, “Funny ha-ha, or funny peculiar?”
“No. I haven’t.”
Cheddar, “Well I have. I think he may be in pain.”
I said that Mac is in pain and I’ve been giving him pills. That got their
“Do they taste good?”
“Do they come in fish flavors?”
“Or beef?”
“Fish or beef?”
I told them there were no pills for poultry... and that Yellen works for the
“Who are the Feds?”
“They’re the ones who raise interest…levels. When they decide to.”
“Well la-de-dah!”
And yes, Mac has good days and bad days. He’s getting on.”
Mimo, “Getting on what?”

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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