Fits and Snatches – January 22, 2021

In the spirit of “rambling.”

Still clearing-out the electronic “to-do,” “here’s an idea,” “come back to this in a couple of days weeks months, years,” “lacking a plot, viewpoint, or protagonist,” and “is this humor or a rant or both” folders.  I’ve determined I must dispatch all that stuff before diving into the oak file cabinet. If not, I’ll not be able to focus with thoughts of you really should finish that constantly pulling me aside. Toss, toss, toss, keep, toss, keep…

Puttered and putzed-out

Used to do what I called at the time “Calipers, Blades, and Mallets.”1  They were four-, five- and six-word bits of philosophy, occasionally running to what Mrs. B. sixty years ago would judge a complete sentence. Published daily as necessary to maintain a presence in the “slam book”2 environment of the time. A few examples:

The best teacher becomes student.
SPWilcen 6-13-2020 27:03/45:00

Climb the mountain blocking your travels; the view from its peaks is life-changing.
SPWilcen 6-13-2020 00:00/45:00

Mistakes are life practice.
SPWilcen 6-14-2020 23:55/45:00

Hard work is a wish with fingers.
SPWilcen 6-15-2020 17:10/45:00

Might be easier to be a man of your word if you’re a man of few words.
 -halves in one form or another attributable to Shakespeare, among thousands of others.

SPWilcen 6-16-2020 37:30/45:00 

Breakpoint: Learning rides the cusp between pain and pleasure
SPWilcen 7/1/2020

Therapy: Laugh until you can no longer stand.  Cry until you can.
SPWilcen 7-1-2020

How to Friend: Especially, be a friend when you find it nearly impossible.
SPWilcen 7-2-2020

Contracts: Promise carefully, deliver with abandon.
SPWilcen 7-2-2020

Personally fond of “Therapy” and “Friend.”  Some never made the cut:

Get me to like your lies, they become my truth.
Should your truths disappoint me, they are lies.

If your freedom impinges upon mine, it is for the good of man.
When my freedom suppresses yours, it is tyranny.

“Calipers, Blades, and Mallets,” which had merit,3 was put aside when it reached the point I spent more time researching to see that I wasn’t inadvertently plagiarizing.  Tough call anyway.  Say something succinctly, which implies using the barest minimum of words, odds are it was said before.  I mean the math(s) of permutation and combination suggest there are only so many original (and meaningful) ways to put sparse sets of words together; probability suggests whatever you come up with, someone has been there before you. 

What would we accomplish if we spent less time trying to preclude pouncing plagiarist police?

Incomplete snippets aren’t all pithy sayings.

Favorite Insults that never blossomed

 I mean when she rolled off the line, the kan-ban cards were so not-kanned and un-banned, there were shortages of some components, excess of others, fouling expedient assembly.  She entered the showroom with no front bumpers which some benevolent line-worker thought to remedy with too large a rear bumper.  She became in later years what menfolk around here call a two-seater.

But you know, she had a wonderful personality. Killed her first husband. Docs suggested a bad ticker, but I ‘spect he was happy to tuck it in.  Her second husband disappeared just before Thanksgiving one year. Been gone eight years now.  Understand she’s looking to get herself another man.  Been one hell of a gender shift in the county population last few months. Men leaving for what appears no apparent reason.

“Where ya been?”


“About what?”

“Making decisions I’ve put off too long.”

“Make any?”

“Point of the exercise.”


“Well, what?”

“Care to share them?”

“No point in it.”

“Aw, c’mon.”

“You a Democrat?”

“Unh. Sometimes. Depends on the issue. Why?”

“Acting like a liberal coastie card-carrying single-lever Democrat.”

“Am not.”

“Sure are.  Got nothing to do with you, doesn’t impact you, but you want to force your way into it, check the party line, legislate it, tax it, skim any profits from it off for your cronies, ruin it for all concerned except those who have the mark of the beast on their forehead.”

“That’s bullshit.”

“Yeah, maybe a bit heavy-handed.  But you are acting like a woman.”

“Whoa, bud! What the hell you mean by that?”

“Bothers you something happened you don’t know about.  Or something gonna happen you don’t know about.  There’s a secret out there and you’re not in on it.  Chaps your ass.”

“I can keep a secret.”

“Can’t. Don’t”

“Can.  Do.”

“Asking to be party to the unknown violates secret sanctity right there.”

“Only person knows is you. That’s not much of a secret.”

“Best kind. Top secret.”

“You can tell me.”

“Nope. I let you in, you can’t wait to show someone how much ‘in the know’ you are and tell your absolute best friend.  Of course, your friend who can keep a secret.  They have one, or maybe two best friends, and the same need to show how much they know that no one else knows.  Suddenly it’s you and half a dozen other people with what isn’t so secret anymore and we’re off to the races.  Time some stranger confides this ‘secret’ in me, I can’t recognize it.”

“That’s your attitude, I don’t think we can be friends anymore.”

“Well, there’s at least two mistakes right there.”

“What?  That we can’t be friends because of your unwillingness to share?’

“No. You assume it’s my attitude.  It’s more a matter of demonstrated fact.”

“That’s your opinion.”

“In this case, my opinion is the only thing that matters.”

“Maybe.  You think the ‘other’ mistake is that we can still be friends?”

“No.  Had in mind another mistake was you assumed we were friends to begin with.”

Will Rogers might have said

Why is it called ‘common sense,’ when it seems it is one of the rarest handicaps?

This is real time: Wobblers wobble but they never fall down

Just watched two wobblers walk (sort of) past my office window.  On their evening constitutional, I suppose.  First time I’ve ever seen them. If you recall the tradename given wobbler toys from years ago (they’re still around) you know what I’m referring to and I don’t have to describe then, these two fine physical specimens.  That’s exactly what they looked like.  Bottom-heavy stability of sorts.  Those toys are cute in a perverted way, like the over-hyped, sometimes over-priced “baby dolls” manufactured in that town that fell from Ohio to Georgia. People who look like that – wobblers or dolls birthed in a cruciferous vegetable garden – are not cute.

Mr. Wobbler was carrying a golf iron.  Maybe it was for balance, but more likely to threaten any dog they might encounter on the walk.  Suspect if Mr. Wobbler were to lift the club to strike at some ferocious chihuahua in mid-attack, he would fall over.  In which case we hope he’d have one of those “Help me I fallen and can’t get up” amulets to summon Triple-A.  Were I to see such a comedy unfold, I’d certainly hurry to Mr. Wobbler’s aid, but am fairly sure I’d have to recruit three or four of the other old farts in the hood to help me.  Not a job for one man.  Triple-A probably the best bet.

Mrs. Wobbler wasn’t carrying anything.  She was focused on walking.  Looked to be necessary.  It apparently it took all she had.  I’m thinking Mr. and Mrs. Wobbler should practice walking around the house some before coming back out on the streets.  You know, build up some strength and balance.  I understand and applaud their effort, but until they are fit enough to manage on their own without alarming the whole neighborhood into a state of standby at the phones to call Emergency Services, they need to stay off the streets.

Second thought, the jingle about toy wobblers was they’d wobble but never fall down.  The likeness is in physical appearance only.  Surely if Mr. and Mrs. Wobbler fell down, Mack, across the street, and I would be severely tested. Probably have to call Mr. Zou to help us right Mr. Wobbler.  Donald next door would want to help but hell, he’s eighty and more stainless steel and Teflon than Robocop; if he turns his head too quickly he usually snaps something loose.  It happens, we’ll ask him to supervise. That could work.

Let’s hope Mr. and Mrs. Wobbler make it home safely and have sufficient breath left to put Alex to work turning on lights, starting the oven for tonight’s TV dinner, and tuning-in “I Love Lucy” reruns.

Can we talk?

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday is too much. 

Given: this is not working out the way I intended.  Social is okay.  Social is not what I’m after.  Professional growth (or concrete assessment that I should look harder) is.  I am in control here.  The paradigm will shift.

Given: intending to do (mostly) quality “stuff” here, I find it takes a lot of time.  I owe that (quality) to my readers; I have the utmost respect for both of them.  I’d like (spwilcenwrites) to be considered a place you go when you’re a little jaded by politics, small engine repair, care and feeding of iguanas, and the latest avant-garde prose style renderings.  Or maybe when, knowing my perverse politics and misanthropy, you are in the mood to argue or be insulted. I do strive for quality.  Okay, I do have my hearing aids in, and I can hear you giggling.  Keep it up and you will hurt my feelings.

My bucket list still includes eight major pieces.  One is complete.  Others fully plotted.  Some have given birth to characters now willing to take over and complete the efforts they call home.  One is in a form I’ve never tackled before and it scares the snot out of me; I therefore cannot resist the temptations it represents.  These, despite the fact three are humorous works represent serious works to me.  Daily, or MWF fluff is serious work, that is obvious, but not my raison d’etre.

I’ve laid aside commitment to meet with professional help on my completed novel.  Too early.  Audience too thin, too fickle.  I need time to finish what else I’ve started.  For posterity.

Again, I hear giggling and murmurs that I, indeed, do need professional help.  It’s been tried.  Doesn’t work.

Look for me Wednesdays.  I might not even look to see what the professionals are doing except Wednesdays.  I apologize.  I will look in to see that you are all okay.

I do not apologize that there will be no more “creative” pieces posted to spwilcenwrites.  No new or “from the archives” works.  I’ll be busy elsewhere.  You gain here in that you’ll not stumble over my suggestions you chase a link to see a creative piece I think might interest you. You know, like if you were a balladeer looking for a piece of flash à la modern spy noir for a trifling diversion. Not gonna happen.

— Notes –

1 Caliper, Blades and Mallets.  Craftsman’s tools.  The words of “wisdom” intended as ‘life tools.’

2 Slam book.  Years (and years and years) ago in school, kids took spiral notebooks, wrote a person’s name, one atop each page, and passed the book around.  Others would scribble in the manner of poking at, flirting with, ridiculing, and praising the person named on each page. “Social pages” of the day.  You can see why they were loved and hated simultaneously.

3 My opinion was rarely shared.

Published by spwilcen

Retired career IT software engineer, or as we were called in the old days, programmer, it's time to empty my file cabinet of all the "creative" writing accumulated over the years - toss most of it, salvage and publish what is worthwhile.

13 thoughts on “Fits and Snatches – January 22, 2021

  1. Good writers borrow; great writers steal. T.S. Elliot said that, but he probably stole it from somebody else. Anyway, liked your little Caliper, Blades, and Mallets–lot of wisdom in them.

    1. Not certain I’m comfortable with either borrowing or stealing. It’s something I intermittently ponder. Thank you for stopping to opine. Do well, young sir.

  2. Where do I start with this? Well, the title had me thinking straight away, this is going to be a good one, and I was not disappointed. First some brilliant nuggets of home spun philosophy. My particular favourite was about climbing the mountain blocking your travels, but some of the others were on a par. Keep up this standard and that charlatan Aristotle will be turning in his box.

    The conversation was wickedly funny, but my favourite (note, I’ve used that word twice to show you Aymericans how the word should be spelled!) part of the whole ramble was about the wobblers. As soon as I read the word I guessed where this was going and had a vivid mental picture of them.

    It’s a good job that your ramblings are not always as long or Mrs Hobbo would get even less work out of me than she does at present. This was a read that was well worth the time and effort you put into it. Thank you!

    1. Mrs. Hobbo can hire out chores. Leave the PM to create and entertain. Appreciate your effusive praise. Odd is it not, how we do so enjoy things (accolades and such) a smidge beyond truth? Then, ego in appropriate doses would go a long way to curing depressions experienced by many. Not knowing our audience personally, we must work to lift them with humour, eh? I waver on “length.” I am (you notice) a wordy so-and-so. There is this niggling fear that people will not understand, so I endeavour to lay it all out. A mistake, maybe. Thank you for this pleasant chat. Now, you, get back to your labours!

  3. Quite an interesting and entertaining ramble SP and some wisdom, for sure, my favourite, like Hobbo was the mountain analogy. Well some of the parts towards the end I could not really understand, perhaps lack of practical American English, or maybe I’ve been back in Spain for too long and I must revise written English more? I don’t know but I enjoyed it as I always do your ramblings. All the best my friend,

    1. Sargeant Cabrera – I dunno if it was the Wobblers or “”Can we talk,” but I’d be happy to explain in an “approach the bench” personal aside if you’d like. You explain your artists and musicians so very well, it would be small repayment. Also, though never in DB, my gendarme mind suspects the man understands more than he lets on, a marvelous interrogation technique. Thanks for taking time to chat. Realize you’re in mid-weekend, but you, there, put down the glass, back slowly away (and get busy on those commissions). We at WP don’t care to be blame for your displeasing patrons.

      1. Quite right I’d say my friend, I’ve already sketched two of the four and got a pretty good idea for the third. The 4th one has me wondering. Anyway I’ve been to the sweet shop this morning and purchased plenty of energy to work with until wine time. All the best, and yes I worked in the DB almost 8 years…

  4. “Might be easier to be a man of your word if you’re a man of few words” 🤣🤣 good advice actually… unless one is a writer 🙂

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