Tag Archives: life

Don’t Blame Mercury

Last week I postulated that Mercury was causing my recent communication failures, but I’m reconsidering.  I think there’s a more pervasive issue here – maybe it’s something in the air.  (Hmmm, wacky tobacky?  I’ve seen a few Skidmark lookalikes out here…)

Anyhow, here are some captions that made me think, “Wait, what?” this week:

An inexplicable popup ad (I think it was on Facebook):

Is there an Anti-Makeup League?

“Stop makeup?” As in “Eradicate cosmetics from the planet”?  Which twice-daily activities of 50+ ladies could singlehandedly stop makeup in its tracks?  And what does Dragon’s Den have to do with either of those captions?

But regardless of Facebook’s supposedly accurate demographic targeting, the ad clearly wasn’t aimed at me – it’s common knowledge that I ain’t no lady.

And then there was this:

If there are children ON the highway, shouldn’t I stop?

The big yellow sign makes perfect sense without any further explanation:  Be watchful and reduce your speed because there may be schoolkids in the area.  Duh.

But no; apparently somebody thought the pictogram needed clarification.  They should have considered their wording a little more carefully, ‘cause now it looks as though there’s an optimum speed for running over children; like the signs they post at speed bumps where anything over 20 km/hr will rip out your car’s undercarriage.  I guess children are softer, so you can hit them at a higher speed.

Another thing that always gives me a giggle is the Accuweather forecast:

Now we know who hires the English majors.

In Calgary, any forecast that includes water falling from the sky uses one of two words:  “Rain”, or “Showers”.  Here, the forecast is quite creative:  “a touch of rain”, “spotty showers”, “a little rain”, “drizzle”, “downpours”, “periods of rain”, “patchy clouds”, etc.

Only a few weeks after we’d arrived, one forecast really made me laugh.  Accuweather had predicted “Downpours amounting to 2 inches over the next 24 hours”.

I thought, “Oooh, downpours!” and waited for the sky to open in a deluge.

But nope; nada.  Just the usual soft gentle rain.

By the end of the day I was snickering.  On the prairies where I grew up, it ain’t a downpour until you get 2 inches of rain in half an hour.  Now that’s a frog-strangler.  (But Accuweather hasn’t discovered that particular description yet – shhh, don’t tell them.)

From the above forecasts, you may be getting the impression that we’ve had a wee bit of precipitation this winter.

Um, yeah.  It’s a record year.  Even the locals are whining and bitching about it.

But I don’t care.  Yesterday I went down to the ocean and stood in the morning silence, watching the mist shroud the mountaintops and the calm water ripple against the shore.  Everything was the colour of silver and pearls, and a loon’s haunting cry drifted across the water.

It was sublime – even a 180-degree panorama doesn’t do it justice. (And it’s not stinky anymore.)

And, on a more prosaic but just as important topic:   Even the pizza is a work of art here.

They named it “La Principessa”.

Truly we’ve found heaven. 😀

34 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life

Whacking Off In All Directions

You know how sometimes everything goes out of whack and somebody says, “Oh, it’s because Mercury is in retrograde”?

Well, it’s been one of those weeks. With metaphorical tongue in cheek I was thinking, “Mercury must be in retrograde”… but when I looked it up on the internet, Mercury actually is in retrograde right now, from April 9 to May 3. And apparently Mercury rules communication.

Well, that explains a lot.

A digression: Now I want to name a band “Mercury In Retrograde”. Maybe Tyler Brock’s band “The Ballistic Rutabagas” will dissolve and he’ll start “Mercury In Retrograde” instead. It seems like a suitable match for his musical style (or lack thereof).

Anyhow, back to my original point.

I blamed the following miscommunications on poor cell phone reception, but now I’m beginning to think it was actually Mercury doing its chaotic stuff:

A few days ago I was talking to our project manager about moisture in our crawl space and telling him we’d rented some fans. He couldn’t seem to understand what I was talking about. After I’d repeated “fans” about five times, he finally said in tones of enlightenment, “Oh, sand! Okay… so, um…” The enlightenment faded and a dubious note crept in. “What are you going to do? Soak up the moisture with the sand and then sweep it up…?”

I thought he was kidding. “Smartass,” I said.

Silence on the line. Then, “No, really; what are you going to do with the sand?”

“Fans!” I bellowed. “FANS! ‘F’ as in ‘Frank’!”

“OH! Fans! Yeah, that makes more sense.”

*facepalm*

Later in the day I was talking to my step-mom and mentioned I was planning to do my taxes.

Another uncomprehending silence on the line. “What…?”

“Taxes. I’m going to do my taxes!”

“OH! I thought you said cactus.”

Another facepalm. (Also… ‘do my cactus’?!? Owie.)

But Mercury still wasn’t done with me. Hubby and I had to hash out a bunch of small issues regarding the house, and you’d think we were speaking entirely different languages. It was frustrating as hell, but we did finally manage to communicate enough to figure everything out. Then we relaxed with a much-needed beverage and the conversation turned to golf.

Hubby said, “Man, if the long-ball champions could put together any kind of short game they’d be unstoppable. Those guys are easily hitting it over 400 yards.”

And I replied, “Yeah, but a long drive is no good if you’re three fairways over. Those long-ball guys are just whacking off in all directions…”

Much laughter ensued.

So, yeah. My communications are completely out of whack this week, and maybe it’s Mercury. Or maybe the gremlins that live in electronics are whacking off in all directions and that’s what’s causing the problem. After all, it’s spring; and a young man’s fancy turns to…

Eh, never mind. I think that topic was pretty much covered in last week’s post.

…And my cell phone just got into the act again. I had an incoming call; tried to answer; and despite all my poking, tapping, and sliding (on the screen icon – get your mind out of the gutter), it steadfastly refused to pick up the call.

Mercury or frisky gremlins; either way it’s gonna be a lo-o-o-ong retrograde.

Is Mercury messing with you, too?

P.S. Just to add to the chaos, we’re moving again today; for the third time in three weeks.  Fingers crossed that it will be the last time before our big move-in to the new house!

36 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life

Seagulls And Other S-Words

Alert the medical community:  Stress suppresses the juvenile-humour centres of the brain!

The proof:  Last week I completely missed the opportunity to make a dirty joke about herring spawning.  Millions of fish were coming their little brains out, and all I did was remark on the pretty jade-green water caused by all that fish-spunk.

Good Lord.  After 50-odd (okay, extremely odd) years of childishness, I’d hate to grow up at this late date.  But now that I’ve realized I’m on the slippery slope toward maturity, at least I can step off and reconnect with my inner adolescent.

So… speaking of sea-sex:  I have suspicions about those frisky seals.  All that frolicking and barking seems a lot like the human equivalent of “Here, hold my beer and watch this!”  They’re definitely angling to impress the chicks.

The sea lions, on the other hand, are only thinking about stuffing themselves.  Sex, schmex.  Mating season isn’t until June or July for them, so this is all about the foodfest.  On calm mornings the ocean is crowded with clusters of twenty or thirty sea lions bobbing along, bulging bellies to the sky and languid flippers in the air.

Which leads me to my next suspicion…

Actually, never mind that.  It’s not a suspicion; it’s a certainty:  Those sea lions aren’t just pigging out.  After they’d been around for a few days, the water wasn’t jade-green anymore.  It was brownish.  And, um… pungent-ish.

With the sea lions polluting the water and the herring roe decomposing in malodorous drifts along the shore, I rerouted my daily walk a little farther inland and enjoyed the ocean view with the windows closed.  The route revision wasn’t much of a hardship, though, since I’d already altered my walking habits due to the millions of seagulls.  The beaches were white with them as far as the eye could see:

No, that’s not snow on the beach; it’s wall-to-wall gulls

It wasn’t so bad when they were on the ground, but if something startled them (say, some foolish human walking along the beach) they’d rise in a solid wall and shit-strafe the beach.

It’s like something out of Alfred Hitchcock.

According to folklore, it’s good luck if a bird scores a bullseye on you; but it’s unclear whether it’s good luck for the shittee or the shitter.  I’m inclined to think it’s the latter.  Especially if the shitter is a seagull.  All I’m gonna say is:  Seagulls are sick, sick birds.

Apparently eagles don’t like seagulls any better than I do.  It’s easy to tell when an eagle shows up:  The shit-hawks take flight en masse.

I’m pretty sure the eagles are just messing with the gulls – they’ll swoop in and land on the freshly vacated beach, and then just sit there.  They’re not hunting or fishing; they’re just hanging around like schoolyard bullies hogging the playground while the seagulls circle anxiously overhead. (No word on whether the eagles get shit-strafed, but they’re probably too cool to admit it if they do.)

So this weeks’s S-words are stress, spawn, shit-hawks, spunk, suspicions, slippery slopes, sexy seals, sleepy sea lions, sea-sex, sick seagulls, and shit-strafing.  And of course, a healthy dose of silliness.

‘Maturity’ just doesn’t suit the subject.

See…?

32 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life

Off The Wall(s)

Well, we’re moving again:  Out of our current rental (our term expires Friday) and into our friends’ place to housesit for a couple of weeks while they’re on vacation.  We’re really hoping our place will be ready by the time they return.  (Not that they’ll kick us out when they get back, but we’d really like to be in our own house!)

So… yesterday afternoon I was sitting in the mostly-empty-but-still-disorganized rental, trying to come up with a blog post in fifteen minutes or less while the phone rang frequently with house-related questions.  My mind was in red alert mode:  “AWOOGA-AWOOGA!  NEXT CRISIS INCOMING AT TWO O’CLOCK!  DECISION-MAKING CAPACITY CRITICALLY LOW!  TOTAL SYSTEM FAILURE IN THREE… TWO…

I took a deep breath or ten and thought, “It’s okay, I’ll just quickly write something off the wall…”

That’s when my overstressed brain got nitpicky:  “No, idiot, you meant ‘off the cuff’; as in ‘informal, without preparation’, not ‘off the wall’; as in ‘eccentric, unexpected, unconventional’!  How do you expect to write an intelligible blog post if you can’t even form a coherent thought?”

It was an excellent question; and one with a very simple answer:  I can’t.

So I’m going with ‘off the cuff’ and ‘bouncing off the walls’, as in ‘nervous, confused, hyper’.  That, I can do.

Here are a few events from this week’s jumble:

  • One of my favourite aunts died this week at age 82, of complications from diabetes and heart disease.  Even though distance prevented me from seeing her as often as I would have liked, her passing still leaves a hole in my life.
  • The herring spawned in the strait outside our rental a few weeks ago and we’ve been enjoying all the action from front-row seats:  the water turned milky jade-green (yes, the entire ocean – that’s a LOT of herring milt); scores of fishing boats rushed back and forth; thousands of seagulls swooped in; followed by thousands of ducks; followed by hundreds of seals and sea lions frolicking and barking only a few yards offshore.  What a show!
  • It’s almost spring:  After the longest, coldest, snowiest winter on record (which must have been scheduled just for us newcomers), the snow is gone, the grass is green, and the rhododendrons and cherry trees are beginning to bloom.  And I saw this cute little guy on one of my walks:

He was moving very slowly – it’s still pretty chilly for salamanders.

  • Our housesitting gig comes with a friendly roommate:  Blue the cat.  After only one day he hasn’t quite forgiven us for not being ‘his people’, but it seems his affection can be bought with a can of Fancy Feast.

Blue the cat is a little blue without his ‘people’. (Actually he’s a LOT Blue – he weighs 22 pounds.)

  • Apparently my brand new 2017 Ford Escape had a leak from the factory-installed roof rack, so the body panels and spare tire liner have been marinating in stagnant water for the past six months.  The whole thing smells like stinky socks when I turn on the heat, but I’m on my third trip to the dealer and it should be fixed soon.
  • Work is proceeding on our house:  We now have electricity, a working septic system, half a heating system, and most of a water supply.  The walls of the garage/workshop/addition are all framed and the roof trusses are arriving today.  It’s happening!  It’s really happening!  🙂

Aaaaand that’s the wrap-up for this week, folks.  What’s new with you?

35 Comments

Filed under Life

Progress…

This was us yesterday:

It wasn’t a new phone book that got us all excited, though; it was our new house!  (Or at least part of it.)

If you’re visiting for the first time, here’s a bit of background:  After living in Calgary, Alberta for 30 years or so, we finally decided to make a move to Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  We bought land near Qualicum Beach in September of 2016, and for the past three months we’ve been living in a hotel while our house is being built.

We didn’t have the time or budget to build from scratch, so we decided to go with a modular home on a crawl space:  an innovative Cape Cod style from Gordon’s Homes in Nanaimo, BC.  (Ours is actually a little larger than the one in their photos).  Then we’re going to add on a main entrance/mudroom and a garage and workshop.

The site clearing, excavation, and concrete pouring have been exciting to watch… but seeing the two halves of the modular arrive yesterday was a real thrill!  Now they’ll install the three second-storey dormers (those will go on today), do the last of the interior finishing, and build on the additions.

Here are some photos of our progress to date.  Only a few more weeks ‘til we can move in! (Fingers crossed.)  🙂

Back in September, before we started

We have REALLY big gophers…

Forms for the perimeter footings

Hubby’s handiwork in one of the footings

The crawl space poured and backfilled

The crawl space insulated and ready for the house at 7:30 AM

And here it comes…

Part 1

Part 2

The roof unfolds just like opening a box. (Okay, maybe a bit more complicated.)

Most of the interior finishing is already done at the factory

Here’s how we left it for the day, only 11 hours later

…but we’re sure going to miss this view when we move! At least it’ll only be 15 minutes away.

 

34 Comments

Filed under Life

Fail! Part Deux… Or Is That ‘Duh’?

Last week I began the sordid confession of my failure as an interior designer.  Here’s the rest of it:

The very first project we were assigned in university was ‘design cards’:  Once a week we were given a short paragraph describing a design concept.  We were to choose or create artwork that illustrated the concept, mount the artwork on the card, and copy the paragraph in our best drafting hand.  The only guidance we were given was, “It should look like a piece of jewellery”.

Uh-huh.

Apparently I’m not good at designing jewellery.  Most of mine looked more like “a piece of shit”.

The card that launched me to the front of the class for public ridicule was titled “Texture”.  I’d had a brilliant (or so I thought) idea:  ‘Way back in grade school we had rolled coloured tissue paper into small balls and glued the balls to a backing to create a textured design.

So that’s what I did, in a tasteful blue-green that was the current colour fad at the time.

The professor was Not Amused.  (In fact, I seem to recall him asking, “Is this a joke?”)

I still don’t understand.  I thought it illustrated texture perfectly.

My near-failures mounted, mercifully blurring together in my memory.  The only other one that stands out was a study of structure, in which I attempted to create an archway by gluing sugar cubes together.  ‘Nuff said about that.

It soon became obvious that I should be either ejected from the faculty or euthanized to prevent further suffering to both me and the interior design profession; but Fate (vindictive bitch that she is) had other ideas.

Halfway through second year my mother died of cancer, and the professors were far too sympathetic.  They cut me some slack and didn’t fail my crap projects outright; and in the ultimate irony, my stellar marks in all the non-design courses dragged my grade-point average high enough to land me on the Dean’s Honour Roll.

Then came fourth year.  By that time I knew I sucked, but I didn’t know what to do about it and I didn’t realize quitting was an option.  I struggled with my thesis all year and finally handed in a steaming heap that reeked so badly even the most merciful professor couldn’t find enough redeeming qualities to pass it.

I failed.  I’d never failed anything academic in my life.

With characteristic bullheadedness, I slogged away at it until they finally granted my degree; probably because the professors were sick of the sight of me.  It certainly wasn’t for the merit of my work.

And so I was unleashed on the unsuspecting design community.

I won’t go into all the humiliating details.  Let’s just say that by the time one of my employers announced in a staff meeting that “Diane can’t design her way out of a paper bag” (her words verbatim), it was almost a relief to have it confirmed aloud.

I switched to drafting and project management, which I enjoyed and was good at; and from there I transitioned into an IT career I loved.

The funny (or sad) thing about all this is that I could probably have done all right in almost any other career.  I’m actually good at quite a few things, but design is just not one of them.

And after that convoluted career path, I’ve ended up writing novels for a living, which is the best career yet.

I love happy endings!

33 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life

Puddles!

We have puddles! *does happy dance*

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’re undoubtedly studying that first sentence and trying to figure out where to find the double entendre.  That’s a valid and downright laudable reaction.  If you find one, I hope you’ll share it – I do love a good double entendre!  But that wasn’t actually my intention (for a change).

No; this post is in celebration of spring.  It’s my favourite time of year – crocuses and tulips and daffodils peek out, the grass turns green, the birds come home, it snows two feet… you know; the usual stuff.

Back in arid Calgary, spring puddles are fleeting – the snow seems to evaporate instead of melting.  But here on the coast we have good old-fashioned puddles that bring back delightful childhood memories.

I grew up on a prairie farm where the terrain was dead-flat for miles.  That and our heavy clay/gumbo soil made it prime puddle territory.  Venice had nothing on us.  I remember riding the school bus along our country road and looking out at water as far as the eye could see, neatly divided into a one-mile grid by the raised road allowances that were the highest point on the prairies (and only a foot or two higher than the water level).

Every kid had a pair of rubber boots:  the taller the boots, the better.  Puddle-wading was both art and science.  We learned about refraction early – the place you thought you were stepping wasn’t always where your foot ended up.  The penalty for that was a boot full of icy water, which didn’t dampen our enthusiasm at all.  It was a sport to see how far we could wade into a puddle before we filled our boots.

We also had a small inflatable dinghy that we could row across our puddles (we had serious puddles on the farm).  And there were always ditches full of water that required all sorts of digging in the mud to produce complex drainage trenches and dams.

Sometimes it turned cold enough to freeze the puddles hard.  That was prime ice-skating:  glassy-smooth, with grass and fallen leaves locked below the surface as if cast in crystal.  But it was always tricky to determine whether the ice was strong enough to bear our weight… which brings to mind another favourite sound:  a slow ominous creak followed by the buzzing crack of ice failing, usually accompanied by squeals and splashing.

I still love going out in the early morning when temperatures are below freezing.  Overnight some of the puddle-water seeps into the ground, leaving a white fragile ice shell floating over empty air.  There’s nothing like the sharp hollow sound it makes when stepped on – it’s almost as addictive as popping bubble wrap!

At 52 years old, you’d think I’d have developed enough dignity to leave the puddles alone; but nope.  Not even close.  I’m still incapable of walking by a shell of ice without breaking it, and last week I went out and bought myself a pair of tall rubber boots that’ll make me the envy of every kid in town.

I’m going out to play in the puddles now… how about you?

P.S. Here on the coast I’ve discovered a ‘new-to-me’ type of spring ice: long silky filaments that form as water is pushed up out of sodden soil into freezing temperatures. How cool is that? (Literally.) ;-)

P.S. Here on the coast I’ve discovered a ‘new-to-me’ type of spring ice: long silky filaments that form as water is pushed up out of sodden soil into freezing temperatures. How cool is that? (Literally.) 😉

 

24 Comments

Filed under Commentary, Life

A Few From The Funny-Files

With the stress of our move and house-building, my time has been short and my funny-levels have been critically low lately.  Thank goodness for my friends, who make sure I get my daily giggle quota.

Here are a few of the goodies they’ve passed on to me:

How could you NOT notice something like this during the design meetings?!?

How could you NOT notice something like this during the design meetings?!?

 

“Thou beslubbering pox-marked bum-bailey!” Today’s insults are so unimaginative by comparison.

“Thou beslubbering pox-marked bum-bailey!” Today’s insults are so unimaginative by comparison.

 

Two heads are better than one…

Two heads are better than one…

A convenient little fridge and barbeque for our new place.

A convenient little fridge and barbeque for our new place.

This is why you don’t decorate your palm tree.

This is why you don’t decorate your palm tree.

And just in case my friends don’t send enough jokes to keep me entertained, I can always depend on the spammers to give me a chuckle.  Check out the sequence of subject lines in this screenshot from my junk email folder:

They came through in exactly this order.

They came through in exactly this order.

It was sheer coincidence that the spam topics lined up, but it’s even more fun when oddball items come from real people.  Here are the top search terms that have brought visitors to my blog in the last little while:

“Warfarin shit pants” – I couldn’t imagine how my blog ended up in the search results for this phrase, because I was pretty sure I’d never used the word “warfarin” in a blog post… but I was wrong.  Sure enough, I had:  https://blog.dianehenders.com/2012/08/08/heeere-mr-gopher/.  Much to my own surprise, though, I’ve never actually written a post containing the phrase “shit pants”.  (Until now.  If you’ve found this post because you searched for “shit pants”… welcome!)

“Swinger confessions” – Yep, guilty as charged:  https://blog.dianehenders.com/2014/03/05/confessions-of-a-vegas-swinger/

“Werewolf porn” – Uh-huh, you know it:  https://blog.dianehenders.com/2015/07/15/werewolf-porn-star/.

“My cats ass looks like it is rotting” – No.  Just no.  I absolutely, definitely didn’t post anything on this topic.  “Cat’s ass”, yes:  https://blog.dianehenders.com/2015/05/06/its-the-cats-ass/.  “Pox-riddled rat’s ass”, yes:  https://blog.dianehenders.com/2016/04/27/how-to-be-a-slacker/.  But “rotting cat’s ass”, no.  Even I wouldn’t go there.

“My barbie doll came alive at night” – Rather surprisingly… yes, I actually did speculate about Barbie dolls coming alive at night:  https://blog.dianehenders.com/2011/11/30/barbie-celebrity-affairs-and-altering-reality/.

“Great big turds” – This one’s a twofer because it mentions turds and Barbie dolls in the same post.  (And seriously, how many bloggers can make that claim?)  https://blog.dianehenders.com/2012/02/22/it-was-a-dark-and-stormy-night/.

“Diane farts” – Um, yeah.  If you search my blog for the word ‘fart’, you’ll find 24 posts.  This tag cloud for my blog shows where my brain spends most of its time:

Good to see I have my priorities straight.

Good to see I have my priorities straight.

“Plumber snaked the toilet, husband” – Okay, I really want to have written a blog post about this, because I just can’t help visualizing the plumber ‘snaking’ the husband in some X-rated love triangle.  But even though I’ve written about plumbers, snakes, toilets, and husbands, I’ve never managed to cram them together in the same post.  Now I have a goal…

But despite all these worthy contenders, the one I found funniest was this spam comment:  “I find this website very informative and focused on topic”.

‘Informative’, maybe… if you’re looking for dirty limericks or evil sock imps.  But ‘focused on topic’?  Well, I’ll just let another of my search engine referrals address that:  “I wet my knickers I was laughing so hard”.

Yep, you said it!

 

38 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life, Writing

Soaring Like An Ego

When I grow up I want to be a bald eagle.

First, they’re the biggest meanest birds in the sky.  Nobody messes with bald eagles.  The babies occasionally get eaten, but the adults have no natural enemies.  (Except humans, but we’re a menace to everything so we don’t really count.)

When the evolutionary goodies were handed out, eagles got flashy plumage, a massive wingspan, a formidable armament of beak and talons, and the ability to soar ‘way up in the sky to look down on all us pathetic earthbound types.  Who, incidentally, all look like dinner to them because they can and will eat just about anything.

You’d think that would be enough perks for one creature; but no.  Humans treat them like nobility, too.  Here on the west coast, landowners have to be aware of Eagle Trees:  any large tree where an eagle might nest.

If you have an Eagle Tree on your property, you aren’t allowed to cut down the tree, and you can’t even disturb the natural vegetation within 60 metres (200 feet) in all directions around it.  That restriction stays in place until no trace of a nest or any possible nesting activity has been seen in the tree for 5 years.

How’s that for a sweet deal?  Imagine flying over any place you’d like to live; choosing the best location for a house, and building there regardless of who currently owns the property.  And then the government makes everyone keep back a respectful distance from your house, even if you haven’t lived there for five years.  I want some of that.

But wait, there’s more.

If you’re an eagle, it’s illegal (see what I did there…?  Okay, sorry…) for people to “possess, take, injure, molest, or destroy” you, your eggs, and/or your nest.  So that crappy nest you built 25 years ago in that tree you haven’t visited in a decade?  It’s still there, just in case you ever want to move back in.  Nobody can knock it down – they can’t even go near the tree.

Better still, even your castoff feathers are venerated.  In the U.S. people can be fined up to $100,000 for possessing eagle feathers they don’t lawfully own.  (In Canada it’s $25,000.)  Since eagles molt and replace their feathers once a year, it sucks to be the person who gets caught with feathers they innocently picked up from the ground; but from the eagle’s perspective, it’s all good.

I’m imagining what it would be like to have people following behind me, carefully preserving my crummy discarded feathers and creating complex laws around them.  After a while my ego would soar like… well, an eagle.

It wasn’t always sunshine and raptors, though:  There’s the small issue of their near-extinction about 40 years ago.  But after battling their way off the Endangered Species List, eagles deserve a bit of adulation.

At least, that’s how I’ll rationalize it when I become an eagle and allow my eagle ego eager egress.  (Okay, you can smack me now; but I just couldn’t resist.)

Bald eagle not amused by my feeble human joke. (Public Domain photo from United States Fish And Wildlife Service.)

Bald eagle not amused by my feeble human joke. (Public Domain photo from United States Fish And Wildlife Service.)

25 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life

Diagnosis: Writer

So many of my readers are also writers!

Nelson is serializing his book on his blog,

Jono just posted a sneaky two-part story,

Carrie Rubin has two medical thrillers published and is working on a third,

Nancy Roman blogs, writes for Huffington Post, and has written a novel,

Andrew will soon be releasing a collection of poems,

…And I know @SomeRandomGuy is over 600,000 words into the draft of his epic sci-fi fantasy, and others have mentioned works in progress or in planning.

So I thought now might be a good time for a diagnosis.  Are you or someone you know struggling with writer-itis?  Use this handy checklist to find out:

 

Symptoms:  Uttering random words at inappropriate times; unexplained giggling, crying, and/or scowling.

Differential Diagnosis:  Writer, Tourette Syndrome, or psychosis.

Tests:  Observe the subject’s behaviour after the outburst.

Diagnosis: 

If the subject scurries off to write immediately after the outburst, they’re a writer.

If the subject acts as though nothing untoward has happened, they might have Tourette’s… or they’re a writer in the throes of plotting.

If the subject carries on an animated conversation with invisible companions, it might be psychosis… or they’re a writer planning dialogue.

 

Symptoms:  Unhealthy attachment to word processing programs

Differential Diagnosis:  Writer or computer geek

Tests:  Observe the content of the document.

Diagnosis: 

If you’re still reading and completely riveted after ten pages, they’re a writer.

If your eyes glaze over after the first line and your brain explodes after the first page, they might be a computer geek… or a writer.

 

Symptoms:  Separation anxiety when leaving a computer; obsession with backups; paralyzing fear of data loss

Diagnosis:  Writer, computer geek, or conspiracy theorist

Tests:  Confiscate the subject’s data and destroy it before the subject’s eyes.

Diagnosis:

If the subject bursts into uncontrollable weeping and/or guzzles alcohol until they throw up and/or pass out, they’re a writer.  Or they were; before you destroyed the only copy of their life’s work and with it, their will to live.

If the subject curses you in Klingon and produces three redundant backups, they’re a computer geek… or a sci-fi writer.

If the subject sidles away with a furtive expression and disappears only to resurface several weeks later with a new name, identical data, and a blog decrying the censorship of the establishment and the oppression of free thinkers, they’re a conspiracy theorist… or a writer.

 

Symptoms:  Forgetfulness; changes in behaviour; social withdrawal

Differential Diagnosis:  Writer, dementia, or drug addiction

Tests:  Restrict the subject to a controlled environment for 24 hours, then provide a laptop loaded with a word-processing program.  Retest at two-month intervals.

Diagnosis:  If the subject breaks into a cold sweat and suffers tremors, nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, and/or seizures, it might be a drug addiction… or they’re a writer.

If the symptoms resolve instantly when a laptop is provided, they’re a writer.

There’s really no way to differentiate writers from dementia patients in a single test.  Writers will forget to eat, sleep, and bathe; will walk away from stoves leaving the elements on high; will drop the keys in the sugar bowl; will wander away from home and get lost even in familiar neighbourhoods; and may even fail to recognize close friends and family.  Retesting is the only way to know for sure:  At some point, writers will likely resume more or less normal behaviour (at least until they start their next manuscript).

 

Symptoms:  Immobility and non-responsiveness when addressed

Differential Diagnosis:  Writer, deafness, or death

Tests:  Obtain a lightweight object at least six inches longer than the subject’s reach.  Gently prod the subject.

Differential Diagnosis:

If the subject startles, yells, and/or flails, they’re either a writer in deep concentration or deaf.

If the subject now responds when addressed (and particularly if they respond with creative expletives), they’re a writer.

If the subject still doesn’t respond when addressed, they might be deaf.  Or a deaf writer.  Or a writer in extra-deep concentration.

If the subject falls over and lies motionless, call the coroner… but the subject might still be a writer in extra-extra deep concentration.  Make sure the medical examiner checks for a pulse before starting the autopsy.

 

If you were reading this hoping you’d find a cure, well… sorry about that.  There isn’t one; there are only short remissions between manuscripts.  But the disease itself is so much fun, who’d want a cure anyway?

Do you have writer-itis?

* * *

P.S. I’m poking fun at myself and my fellow writers, but I don’t mean to trivialize the social and emotional consequences of dementia, Tourette Syndrome, mental illness, hearing impairment, or addiction.  To gain awareness and understanding of these conditions:

Tourette Syndrome

Alzheimer’s and dementia

Mental health

Hearing impairment

Addiction

54 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life, Writing