[lit-ideas] Of Bog Sprites and Teaching

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2013 23:26:56 -0700

Have you noticed that our list is called "lit ideas"?  What do people do with 
the unlit ones?

Well here it's gutters followed by gutters.  We took gutters off the house when 
we remodeled.  I was tired of cleaning the damn things out, way high off the 
ground.  "Give me French drains," I said, knowing that the French were, 
historically speaking, among those who had particular drain issues.  The setup 
worked reasonably well and we haven't, like our friends, had the slope slide 
away at a cost of thousands, but I thought possibly the norm was something I 
ought to conform to, so I had sales people come give me estimates.  It turns 
out that gutter folk will shepherd water all the way from your roof down to the 
ground.  After that you need to call in drainpersons, who are, as the Irish 
would say, completely differentkindahpeople.  

In the Western World we spend all this money educating kids broadly, insisting 
that they know Latin, Greek, Calculus and Fingerpainting and it turns out that 
water from here to there is in one kind of universe and water from there to 
there is a totally different proposition.  Thus whatever you're quoted for a 
price doesn't actually tackle the whole point, which is keeping water away from 
the house's foundation.

I have a theory that gutters are all wrong.  In my world gutters would be 
angled at thirty or more degrees. I have even drawn up plans for a kind of ski 
jump idea wherein the water accelerates away from the building at considerable 
velocity and then sprays on the verdant green below.  Also, of course, those 
guests who choose to arrive during a rainstorm.  No, the whole slow slope 
trickle thing doesn't convince me, and when you live near trees?  I think not.

But who listens to anyone with water sprite advisors?  Downspout salespersons 
sway the floor like demagogues.  (Did you know, as I found out when I checked 
the spelling, that someone had invented the term "femagogues"?  Apparently 
Obama "sides" with them: 

He, of course, does quite a lot of siding.

E the chicken daughter is gone again, wandering around in cranberry bogs.  I'm 
envious.  I've always wanted to see that whole deal.  After tennis this evening 
we had dinner with another E. and J.  They may have had some luck, so they were 
ebullient.  He went to school near by where Ocean Spray do their thing and his 
sense is that cranberries go along like normal bushes until harvest time, 
whereupon you flood the field and float the fruit.  I'm looking forward to our 
daughter's version or one day going to see.

A friend wrote of sleeping people in her classes, which were the bane of my 
previous year, my schedule being Monday at 6pm for three hours, Wednesday at 
eight am for three hours and Friday more towards civilized hours.  Though you 
may have guessed I love the seminar room, I am not missing teaching at present. 
 That makes me sad and happy both.  Today was a good writing day, so I feel, if 
not useful at least not entirely without something to contribute.  Or spray.  
But I wish I missed my job more.  It's, after all, what I do.

Carry on.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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