Write Drunk, Edit Sober

A pair of notes with the words write drunk and edit sober.

†Write drunk and edit sober†…Ernest Hemmingway
😊I ran across that quote in a book by Ann Handley titled: “Everybody Writes.” I believe we have become a society of writers, sometimes unaware that we are communicating by the written word. Many of us write blogs, more use Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, text messaging and on and on. A few of us still write letters to those we love that are not privy to all the modern ways we have of communicating. Sure, there are those among us that abuse this wonderful form of communication by bullying, insulting, and demeaning others, but they are such a small part of our society. After all, this writing thing is the way we inform, invite, cajole, express affection, plead for forgiveness, and other reasons that are too numerous to list. So yes, I do believe Ann Handley is absolutely correct, everybody writes! I’m having trouble swallowing the “Write drunk and edit sober†cocktail. I started writing these missives ten years ago (2007), and I must say that I get a lot of pleasure out of looking back at the older ones to see what was happening in my life during that time. They have become a journal of my life and my thoughts. I am hopeful that my descendants will continue this form of communication.

😊My wife convinced me that I needed to “power wash†our rain gutters and all the painted surface above the brick exterior of our home. This is a messy job because you’re standing underneath the spray from the nozzle, and you just get absolutely soaked. The process includes gently spraying a mixture of water and biodegradable bleach on the surface, letting it set for a while, and then using a power nozzle to blast the accumulated grime & mildew into outer space. This task requires some planning and very often the plan gets changed. It sometimes happens that I see some other objects that need a good bath, for example, our brick on the porch was covered with mildew from years of neglect, and so I stopped my gutter/trim spraying to work on the porch. Then I noticed the two stands supporting our A/C Heat Pump units were in dire need of the same treatment, so they got added to the list. I guess the point I’m making here is that we can plan our day down to the intricate details but more than likely, something will appear to change those plans ever so slightly. And before you know it, a simple daily plan has turned into much more than you bargained for. I have always thought I had somewhat of a talent for being organized. I’m beginning to wonder if that is really true. To quote Erica Jong, “Everyone has a talent, what is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leadsâ€. I agree. Talent can sometimes lead you down a path filled with problems.
😊I think the hardest trait to practice daily is humility. There are many times during a normal day that I find myself thinking that I know the answer to this or that problem. We know, of course, humility is a lack of false pride. As it turns out, a lot of times I do not have the solution, and I’m left to devise another option. Often times, others (my wife) will suggest a solution, and I’m guilty of making snide remarks. My favorite is, “when I take our car to the mechanic I don’t tell him how to fix it”. After I have had time to think about what I said to her, I feel terrible but alas, the damage has been done. Somehow, I have to tone down the feeling that I have the answer to all my problems and that others can’t have valuable input. A good example of this involves my plan to power wash the eves of our home which are about 20 feet high. Since I battle Vertigo, looking up at a steep angle makes me dizzy. I fostered a plan to strap myself to our 20-foot extension ladder so if I fell off, the safety strap would keep me from hitting the ground. I thought that was an excellent plan until my wife’s oldest son (an engineer) informed me that the plan was not very practical, and that he would come to our house and do it for me. On second thought, that was a pretty lame plan and, fortunately, someone stepped in and corrected my thinking. Simone Weil said, “We do not acquire humility, there is humility in us”. I have to keep trying to remember that quote.
😊My wife and I are thinking about buying a 2018 pickup truck (Toyota Tundra, Ford F150, GMC). I have been doing some research on the Internet, trying to remain anonymous, and have failed miserably. I made the mistake of completing a questionnaire and within minutes my phone was ringing off the hook and text messages were coming from every place imaginable. I have valiantly attempted to be non-abusive in my responses to their inquiries, but I sense that my patience is sliding down the rabbit hole of irritability. I know those fine people are just trying to make a living, but they are so persistent. What I feared would happen is indeed happening. The 2018 Toyota Tundra appears on the market next month (September), and we will not decide until then but that doesn’t deter them. It reminds me of turkey vultures picking the carcass of road kill and they wait until the last minute to fly out of your path so they aren’t hit by your car. I plan to continue with my research but resist the urge to fill out online questionnaires. Chang Ch’ao said; “It is easy to stand a pain, but difficult to stand an itch; it is easy to bear the bitter taste, but difficult to bear the sour taste”. I believe I’m getting close to the “sour taste†part.
😊Confucius has been quoted as saying; ‘To be resolute and firm, simple and slow in speech, is to approach true goodness”. I believe I possess the first three (resolute/ firm/simple) but doubt that my speech is slow. Many times, my wife implores me to speak slower and a bit louder. She frequently tries to look at me directly in the face to watch my lips move as well as listen. As we have aged, she has lost some hearing ability, as most of us do, and it has become important for me to speak slower and more deliberately. She sometimes accuses me of mumbling, and I think she is probably right, but I can hear myself perfectly well. My favorite reply is that; “I’m not talking fast. you just listen slowâ€! As you can probably tell, I haven’t gotten that “humility†thing to work for me yet.
😊Back in January, I took my 2-cycle tiller (Mantis “Mighty Miteâ€) to be repaired by our small town’s local repairman. He’s somewhat of a grumpy fellow in his mid-50’s, but he’s the only game in town. He repaired the tiller, replacing the carburetor & spark plug. Recently I walked into his shop lugging the 10-pound bright-red little machine and told him it wouldn’t start and about the prior repair and that I had not used it since he fixed it. He and his buddy, a grizzled old man about my age, start the process of trying to get it to start. Repairmen, it seems, curse a lot and I have to admit, as a young man in my 20s so did I. As an employee in the local shipyard, I worked around a bunch of other men, and they were as foul mouthed as any sailor. Of course, wanting to fit in, I picked up the habit, intending never to use those words around my wife and two small children. As you might suspect, it was impossible for me to refrain once the habit became ingrained. What convinced me to stop was when my four-year-old daughter repeated one of my offensive remarks. After all these years, an occasional curse word will pop out of my mouth, much to my chagrin. It only happens when something unexpected happens and my favorite expression seems to be, “OH, Sh**â€. However, back to the repairmen, these guys were using words I had never heard, and I was amused by their expressions of frustration as they worked on fixing the problem. Finally, it came down to have to replace the spark plug, without being charged again, and as I walked away with my tiny machine in hand, the owner couldn’t resist hurling one last expletive in my direction. I loaded “Mighty Mite†into the truck and drove away with a grin on my face, knowing that as much as I disliked that guy I would be back. Somehow, I always forgave him even though he never asked, nor as far as I can tell, wanted forgiveness. “Beware of the man who does not return your blow; he neither forgives you nor allows you to forgive yourself†…. George Bernard Shaw. I kind of like that quote 😊.
I hope that wherever you are on this wonderful planet, life is good, and your friends and family are as kind as mine….Tommy