[lit-ideas] Re: Sunday Story, Aaargh, Fixed

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 3 Apr 2011 12:39:05 -0700

On Apr 3, 2011, at 12:32 PM, David Ritchie wrote:

> With their well-trained gazes and techniques, it in the lives of others that 
> scholars usually discover madness and superstition.
> At the burrito stand close by work, those who wait in line are invited to 
> shake up a tube of Chinese fortune sticks.  The notion is that if one stick 
> sticks out more than others, that's what lolly stick wood gods (or whatever) 
> have in store for you.  Several weeks back, the lady who spoons guacamole and 
> beans and rice (chicken for the heathens) invited me to try.  Not wanting to 
> appear rude, I did.  "Something bad is about to come your way," was what I 
> pulled.  "No problem," I quipped, "it's already happened; our furnace broke 
> this morning.  I'll get someone to fix it."  She offered me sweet chilli. 
> Weeks later, in time for Spring's warmth, and April fools, we now have heat.  
> I imagined we were safely beyond that particular stick's reach.  A colleague 
> at work recommended a dessert beer.  I have taken all kinds of flak from 
> friends for suggesting that there is such a thing as dessert beer.  What I'm 
> talking about are dark Belgian beers, old and approaching the alcoholic 
> content of wines.  You have a sip or two at the end of a meal and it's like 
> port: a smooth, short, final swig.  My colleague's recommendation, however, 
> was quite different, a large bottle of stout which when opened revealed a 
> nose and flavor tones of creme caramel.  The first few sniffs and tastes were 
> truly extraordinary.  How can this be?  And then the flavors registered; 
> about as tasty as instant eggs on a polystyrene plate.  Promise turned to 
> horror.
> For reasons too complicated to explain, this week we thought we might move 
> the our antique hot tub--twenty five years old and still running--about six 
> feet to the south.  Absent my mighty friend who chucks telephone poles about 
> and stones and all that his Mormonism allows, while wearing a kilt... absent 
> his help, Gardening Guy and I felt we didn't have a quorum for the full task. 
>  So we did a trial lift, aimed at discovering how the tub was constructed, 
> and how it would consequently need to be supported in its new location.  
> Concluding that it was a little on the heavy side, we let it down.  My big 
> toe was a slow to retreat.  Thanks to a good, thick, Wellie and a sufficiency 
> of instinct... not even a bruised toenail.
> "Ha!" I cried, to that old god of sticks, "See!"  
> Hubris.  We discovered that a rat had decided in the cold of winter to move 
> into the tub's heating compartment.  Much bleach and hosing, but then I was 
> sure we'd finally moved beyond the lolly god (or gods') reach.
> Gardening Guy bonked his head on a beam.  Bled like someone who takes aspirin 
> to prevent strokes.  (This is He who lifts two hundred pound rocks all day 
> long and then goes off to play soccer.)
> Ice, water, and a sticking plaster fixed this.  I gave up all responses, 
> silent or otherwise, to superstition.  Got on with the job.  
> Notify the Chinese, Hadrian, all future archeologists: our stone wall is 
> close to done.  
> Yeah verily, it is an good wall.  Strange, perhaps, in that it has grown 
> somewhat organically rather than according to sound plan, but it is beautiful 
> and very strong.  I confidently assert that if any enemy, armed with ancient 
> cannon and the like, tries to sneak up the valley below, approaching from the 
> south west with the sun at their backs... we'll be ready.  
> Or we will once I've primed the Duck Punt gun.
> David Ritchie,
> Portland, 
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  • » [lit-ideas] Re: Sunday Story, Aaargh, Fixed - David Ritchie