Archived Story

Hotel horror may have ended upon a good note

Published 9:37am Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting:

“I’m on a diet where I eat nothing but pizza, doughnuts, and ice cream.”

“Do you think you will lose weight that way?”

“I doubt it, but I’m willing to try.”

Not part of the program

BIC pens were popular when I was in junior high. Students used black or blue. Teachers employed red to correct papers. BIC pens claimed to write, “First time, every time.” TV commercials showed BIC pens still writing after being shot from guns or strapped to ice skates. The pen had a cap covering the writing point and a plug at the other end. The plug discouraged ink smugglers.

I was chewing on a pen in study hall. It was well-chewed and the pen had begun to disintegrate. The plug went down my gullet. I enjoyed having hamburger gravy on mashed potatoes for lunch. I wasn’t enamored with eating pen parts. The plug stuck in my throat. I coughed enough to embarrass myself and dislodge the plug. The freed piece continued its journey to my stomach. I didn’t stop using BIC pens. They proved useful in untangling audio cassettes. If I could do it all over again, I’d swallow the plug with hamburger gravy.

Time changes

I was here and there. I flew from Juneau, Alaska, to Seattle, Washington. Seattle is an hour ahead of Juneau. I then flew from Seattle to Minneapolis. Minneapolis is two hours ahead of Seattle. By the time I arrived home, I was already three hours behind.

Hotel horrors

The hotel’s thin walls drew our attention to the drama in the next room. A harsh male voice found space for swear words in every sentence.

A woman’s voice was shrill. She cried intermittently.

A second man’s voice caused the first man to become louder. An exchange of slurred words produced protestations from the woman.

Screamed threats led to violence. In the midst of toppling furniture, bodies crashed against walls.

My wife called the police. We heard an officer knock on the door. His voice was calm and reasoning.

The door opened and closed. It was quiet. I hoped that was a good sign and that everyone would get it right.

Washington, D.C.

I spoke in Washington, D.C. and then followed a friend, Loren Ingebretson, on a walking tour. I slogged through history and rain. The rain rushed down as I hiked the iconic landscape. I learned to swim while walking.

I lobbied a bit while in our nation’s capital. I met with two senators and a congressman. They listened. They listen to many people. Our elected officials are no better or worse than we are. Well, some might be worse. A congressman from Illinois proclaimed that Washington shouldn’t put one more dollar of debt upon the backs of his kids — the same kids he owed $117,437 in delinquent child support.

The District of Columbia is not a state, but if it were, it would have nearly ten times the lawyers per capita of any other state. According to Allstate Insurance, it has the nation’s worst drivers.

Thanksgiving in the mirror

“Have a piece of pumpkin pie.”

The familial voice offered and ordered. I didn’t need pie. It wasn’t even pumpkin pie. It was squash pie. I had eaten an ample amount. I accepted a slice of pie with whipped cream. I didn’t take it for me. I ate the pie because I didn’t want anyone else to overeat because I didn’t do my duty as a guest.

Nature notes

Blue jays remember where they have hidden food for several weeks. A number of bird species cache foods. Chickadees and nuthatches fill their throat pouches with seeds, fly away, and hide them in bark crevices, in the ground, or under stones or logs. Crows are adept at storing food. Research at Northern Arizona University found that birds remember caching locations by noting the positions of plants, stones, and other landmarks. If the landmarks were shifted, the birds erred by searching locations according to the landmarks’ new positions.


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