Euphemistically speaking

We will have to speak in euphemisms today, because we don’t want to set off those Internet censors, the ones that nervous parents set so their innocent children don’t tumble into dens of iniquity by choice or accident, although my den has been pretty iquitous lately. Uh oh. <<CAUTION!!! PERFECTLY USELESS ETYMOLOGY LESSON AHEAD!!!>> I haven’t even ended the first paragraph, which is supposed to be short (so you’re dragged into this blog) and already I’m into etymology. Bad sign.

So I’ll start a new paragraph and then make things jump guineain the middle of the sentence.

“Iniquity” as a word has really fallen off in usage lately, maybe because no one knows what “iquity” is. Iniquity has been around since the 1300s, so those dens have been iniquitous for a while, not mine as I said, which remains iquitous, which means, etymologically speaking,  just or equal. Iniquity means a violation of right or duty, a wicked act, or a sin, none of which has anything to do with euphemisms so let’s end this mess. <<END USELESS ETYMOLOGY LESSON>>

Hmm. I wonder if “euphonium” is related to “euphemism.” Give me a minute to look that up. <<insert pleasant music>>Nope. Different roots.<<end pleasant music>>Phew. No more etymology. OK. Back to business.

Oh, to heck with euphemisms.

Semi-euphemistically speaking, I sprained my br-east. I think that will get past the censors. I didn’t realize such a thing was possible, so I looked it up on the Internet, and there it was, nicely hidden under the discrete heading of Spraining Your Pectoral Muscle, which is, euphemistically speaking, of course what men would call it, because their pectoral muscles don’t support the same amount of, um, ah, avoirdupois, that most women’s pectoral muscles do.

This doesn’t feel like a pectoral muscle sprain, let me tell you. This is definitely rippling outwards towards—towards—points unknown, if you know what I mean: the avoirdupois I mentioned earlier, of which we shall not speak. The tip of the br-east, as opposed to the br-west, which I did not sprain.

I managed to do this in one of those post-stroke full-M.S. moves for which I have become notorious (and yes, I mean notorious, and here I am resisting as much as I can another etymology/usage lesson on the difference between notorious and famous…my fingernails are scraping across the keyboard…promise me you will look up their definitions if you don’t know the difference…)

For those of you who are not as copiously endowed in avoirdupois—and from here on I shall dispose of the pretentious italicization of that word, since it is acceptable to not do so (and I have saved you from a lesson in word usage there)—let me offer a method of experimentation:

First, procure for yourself a somewhat large and hungry guinea pig. I shall name mine Gina; your name may vary. Now imagine that you strap Gina to your left chest area. This is the left chest area as you observe from the neck downwards, which would be, compass-wise, br-east, nautically speaking, but to us, head-speaking, it is left chest. Anyway, imagine that you have strapped Gina there.

Now accidentally jerk yourself approximately 120 degrees to the left, exclaiming to yourself, “Oh, no!” except you actually utter some words you swore to your mother when you were 12 that you would never utter again. And now provoke Gina the somewhat large and hungry guinea pig to whirl around and take a rather vicious chomp out of your unpretentiously-italicized avoirdupois, which, deficient though it may be, in the course of jerking sadly jerked within chomping distance.

You, of course, howl in pain loudly enough to bring your mother, no matter where she is and no matter how scandalized she may be by your scandalous language and no matter how flustered she may be by your shocking choice of décolletage, to your side. She, being the perfect mother, without question, unties the terrified cavy and sends it scampering. And now you are left to explain your sprained br-east.

And Gina, the guilty gluttonous guinea pig, is gone.

Tumble into my den of iquity with my mom, why don’t you?

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So much for the mall

It’s not what you’re thinking. This has nothing to do with holiday shopping and whether or not I’m going to shop at the mall or not. I gave up on that years ago. I did all of my holiday shopping downtown at the local stores or at craft fairs or via mail order.

What I’m talking about is my desperate need for a new pair of jeans. El Desperado. You got that right, pardner.

And the only place to buy Lee Jeans around here if you don’t know your size is at the mall. The dreaded Capital Mall. (It’s also the only place to buy Levi’s, by the way. I do not like this city.)

I don’t know my size because I have (ahem) gotten a bit wider without getting any taller.

So I strategically waited until I thought all the holiday shoppers had headed home, and then I veered off into the darkness towards Ye Olde Shopping Centre and that purveyor of everything necessary, J.C. Penney, to buy me a pair of good old Midwestern denim.

Once I located what I suspected might be the correct size size-wise width-wise, having added in an inch or so width-wise in the width area myself, I headed off to the dressing room. For some reason, it was in the lingerie department. This meant it was kind of gussied up. The mirrors had draperies on them that were held back by rings, and there was a padded stool as well. I was made to feel like a lady, even though I was trying on men’s jeans.

Just as I had strategically waited until the shoppers had headed home, I thought I had strategically dressed for trying on jeans. But I had forgotten about static cling. There is nothing worse than static cling in a dressing room. The pants I had on, made of some unnatural fiber that starts with “poly‑” and ends with “‑iber” (this is why I so desperately needed jeans to begin with) clung for dear life to my legs, realizing their time was nigh.

But first I had to get my balance. I don’t do well in small spaces. Especially ones where an entire wall is a mirror. Fortunately there were grab bars on another wall. They were intended to be bars on which you could hang potential purchases, but on which I chose to hang my wayward hands. Wayward hands thus steadied, I coaxed the polyhedral polyfiber Pollyanna pollypants off my legs somehow while the dinky little room became dinkier and dinkier and the brown carpet came closer and closer to my nose and the padded stool became tippier and tippier. <<CAUTION!! PERFECTLY USELESS ETYMOLOGY LESSON AHEAD!!>> For some reason, “dinkier” is an accepted word, but to many dictionaries, “tippier” is not. As for the etymological reason this is so, I can’t tell you. I lied about the lesson. <<END USELESS ETYMOLOGY LESSON>>

Polypants off, it was time to wrangle the denim pants on. Did you know that Lee owns Wrangler? Howdy doody, they do! Well, the parent company does. It also owns North Face and JanSport and Vans and a ton of other stuff. Very down-homey. If you go to the Lee website and sign up, you get 30 days o’ free shippin’ and returnin’. Just like the good ole’ days.

So anyway, the jeans fit, and all I had to do now was yank them off and tug the unwilling polynomial things back on my spastic legs in the ever-shrinking dinkiest tippiest dressing room in the lingerie department. Then I could find a register, pay for them and get out of there.

Yeah. Right. That lasted for 15 steps, just far enough for me to wend my way through the carpeted displays in the lingerie department and hit the nicely polished main walkway through J.C. Penney.

Splat. And I mean splat. As in on my face, nose first, suddenly surrounded by five sales clerks and two shoppers splat.

Splat.

The only thing I remember about falling is that I managed to push one of those pesky center-aisle tables out of my path as I fell, so at least I didn’t crack my head on it.

That’s the fun part with M.S. and balance problems. You just never know! Everything is fine, hunky-dunky as Uncle Felix would say, and then you’re eating the sidewalk.

They fussed over me and gave me something to wipe away the blood from a nasty scrape on my arm, and then a bandage for it (no biggie), and made me fill out paperwork for “loss prevention” (very nice woman in a very grim office designed for shoplifters), and mostly it was all ridiculous.

Splat.

But this is what happens when I go from a dinky room that makes me tippy to a crowded situation such as a lingerie department and then step onto a different surface and don’t pay enough attention to my footing.

Splat. Wait—what happened to those jeans I meant to buy?

I must have flung them somewhere as I fell, probably into the unyielding arms of a lingerie mannequin. I knew I didn’t belong in that department. I’m calling LL Bean.

MS. MS. MS. MS.

So this will be short, because I am doing five things at once, and I am mostly preoccupied with two of them, neither of them being the NCAA tournament, which is all my 15-year-old son cares about at the moment, which, given the variety of activities out there today, I suppose I am quite happy about.

MS. MS. MS. MS. These two letters have Continue reading

The Inspiration of Junk Mail

When you sit in front of a computer all day like I do, the temptation to look at interesting websites is, well, tempting. And sometimes that temptation leads me to purchase items from those websites. And once you do that, they have to mail stuff to you. That puts you on their mailing lists. Then they send you catalogs. Forever.

And they sell your email address and your snail mail address to anyone they want to. So I get some odd stuff, and I get some interesting stuff: a catalog for “goddesses,” for example, featuring “vixen” clothing, not exactly my style, arrives the same day as one from JC Penney, also not my style, but which must have given our mail carrier a bit of whiplash.

I reached for the LL Bean catalog (more my style) tucked in the middle of all this and took in the comfort of its Caslon typeface and tried to feel the nap of the chamois shirt with my cheek—maybe because I miss Maine, maybe to shake off that goddess catalog.

But yesterday’s mail also brought another catalog from that place that offers great courses, I mean Great Courses, I mean THE GREAT COURSES. You know, you send them money, they send you DVDs or CDs of lectures by leading professors on the history of European art or the joy of astronomy or argumentation: the study of effective reasoning. All for a reasonable charge, of course.

This is what inspired me. No, not the reasonable charge. We’ll deal with that later.

It was the description of the courses that inspired me.

I was fired up to learn something. Old Testament? New Testament? The Art of Critical Decision Making? Einstein’s Relativity and the Quantum Revolution? These were indeed THE GREAT COURSES.

The various courses on brain matters (pun!) caught my eye. Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide To Critical Thinking Skills. Understanding The Mysteries Of Human Behavior. Understanding The Brain. Egad. How to choose!

Then I turned the page. There was the right course, the one and only course for me, the course that would challenge me, push me beyond all reasonable limits and at the same time give me a skill I could maybe someday actually use, not to mention bragging rights, and maybe homework help for my son.

Calculus.

Or, more precisely: Change and Motion: Calculus Made Clear. See, doesn’t that sound friendly? And the blurb that accompanies it compares calculus to Beethoven’s symphonies, which I understand fully.

The blurb (which is nearly a page long) also says: “…the course takes the approach that every equation is in fact also a sentence that can be understood, and solved, in English.”

Hey, that’s my language! I speak it every day! And I’m writing in it right now!

The blurb continues: “It requires only a basic acquaintance with beginning high-school-level algebra and geometry.”

O.K., stop snickering. Yes, I know I am defeated by long division, thanks to that blasted stroke, but that’s what calculators are for. And that’s not algebra anyway. That’s—that’s—fourth grade math, and dear Mrs. Monell taught it to me, and it’s gone forever, but I remember the concept at least, and I think that’s what is important here.

Algebra is a bit tricky. I had two years of algebra in high school, more or less, mostly less, because the second year was more of a social gathering than anything else. I’m trying very hard to remember what we were taught in that class, and all I can really recall is sitting around in a circle on cozy chairs and chatting about anything we wanted, but that can’t be right, can it? We were a hand-selected group of seniors, at a school that did not believe in “honors” classes.

The teacher was a tall, spectral man, given to long discourses on topics unrelated to mathematics. He had more than a passing interest in a girl a year younger than I; he ended up marrying her. If I learned anything in this class, I must assume it too was lost in the stroke explosion.

As for geometry, this was one class where I wish I hadn’t done so well. The teacher’s name was Mr. Sharpe, and most of the kids didn’t like him. I adored him. He was rather elfin, and strict. He would explain the topic, and we would work out the exercises, and he would wander among us, correcting our work and explaining further. Not to brag, but I excelled. I loved this class.

I did so well that Mr. Sharpe pulled me out of it and sat me in the back all by myself at a bigger table and had me compile his bowling league averages instead. Lots and lots of adding and subtracting and percentages. No geometry. I could do the geometry in five minutes, while walking down the hall.

I was too good for his class. He adored me.

See? I wasn’t always a math dolt.

So for a mere $39.95, discounted from $254.95 (wow!), I can learn, at my own pace, in 24 half-hour lectures, one of which is entitled, Owls, Rats, Waves, and Guitars, all about calculus.

Am I nuts? Maybe. Probably.

Downside: Blowing 40 bucks. Frustrating myself with something I cannot do.

Upside: Triumphing by reawakening my math brain. Learning calculus.

Inside: Fear and trembling.

Outside: Cloudy, chance of rain.

I Haz Cheez Stix!

It was official. I could not get to sleep. 3:00 A.M. My socks were hopelessly twisted around my ankles, and my feet were cold. Where was that cat who was supposed to keep them warm?

CAUTION! TRUE CONFESSION AHEAD! No, not an etymology lesson. In fact, this caution comes a bit late, since the true confession has already happened: I wear socks to bed. And a tee shirt.  (14-year-old child. Carefree manners.) END TRUE CONFESSION.

I decided the solution was two cheese sticks, fuel for my toes.I stumbled quietly down the hall, checking on aforementioned son, making sure his noise machine (iPod) was still silenced for the night (he likes to turn it on after he knows I’ve gone to bed), taking care not to wake him, the dog, or the assorted cats draped around him, including the traitorous one supposed to be warming my feet.

The cheese sticks were in a monstrously unopened bag fresh from the store, requiring me to manipulate wrong-handed scissors in my half-awake state. These scissors were hard enough to use when I am fully awake. Trying to use them against uncooperative plastic was like trying to force a pill down a cat’s throat.

CAUTION! LEFT-HANDED SCREED AHEAD! The majority of right-handed people do not understand the difficulty that left-handed people have with simple implements such as

scissors, measuring cups, computer mice, car controls, etc. We eventually adapt, but right-handed scissors never become easy. It’s not just a matter of the shape of the handle; it’s also the way the two blades come together SCRRKKKKKKKKKKKkkKKKKKKK

That was my screed being wrenched to a stop by the blog master. Sorry.

So I ate my two cheese sticks and started back to bed.

CAUTION! TRUE CONFESSION AHEAD! Another late confession. We eat those string cheese sticks. They’re good, easy junk food. We got into the habit when we were going to 107 baseball games every week, I mean every month, I mean every season. END TRUE CONFESSION.

I wondered if those cheese sticks would make me thirsty. I decided no.

Hark! What was this ungodly squawk? Could it be the sound of “music” gurgling from my son’s bedside? I tiptoed through the dark of his room, guided only by the green light of his iPod speaker and his fake sleep breathing to turn it off, not noticing the one cat who chose to sleep on the floor, until it let out a shocked shriek, which started a general cat rodeo, with dog as guest star, around me.

Back in the dark hallway, I heard the sound, the offbeat sound a cat makes when it is about to hurl an object of indescribable origin from its bowels into the atmosphere: eh-YUH! eh-YUH! eh-YUH!

My options here were few. I could chase down the cat in the dark and thrust a piece of newspaper under its recoiling chin, hoping to catch whatever repulsive object it was about to offer the world.

Or I could note the cat’s location for cleanup at a later, more light-filled time, if the cat was in an out-of-the-way place.

Or I could just ignore the whole—no, I couldn’t.

eh-YUH! eh-YUH! eh-YUH! I thrust the newspaper under the cat’s chin in time for the final gruesome ack! ack! and….nothing. The cat glared at me and stalked away.

The dog stood at the door hoping I would let her go outside, but I knew this was just a ruse so I would give her a treat. I ignored her and headed back down the hall. My son had cleverly not turned his music on yet.

Perhaps I was having trouble sleeping because I needed more clothing. I decided to add a pair of pajama pants to my nighttime couture. CAUTION! TRUE CONFESSION AHEAD! And this caution comes ahead of the confession. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wear pajama pants without putting on underwear first. END TRUE CONFESSION.

This is where things got interesting. This is where everything about multiple sclerosis, everything about the stroke, everything about rotator cuff surgery and all that physical therapy came together. Right here. In this dark bedroom at 3:15 A.M. with CF asleep five feet away. Right here with this pair of underpants and pajama pants.

CAUTION! TRUE CONFESSION AHEAD! I watch Grey’s Anatomy. END TRUE CONFESSION.

For some reason, I thought of Cristina Yang, one of the doctors on Grey’s Anatomy, and how she has to visualize the surgery she is about to do. So I visualized what I was about to do. Cristina Yang is an actress named Sandra Oh cutting into plastic. I was wobbling on one leg and then the other, groping my way into undies and then pajamas without falling over.

For the uninitiated among you, imagine standing on a large beach ball while doing this. While on a skateboard. That’s not what I visualized. I visualized solid ground. You should add the beach ball. I don’t need to, but you should. Do not add a scalpel.

Now I was thirsty. Back to the kitchen for a bottle of seltzer. Back to the bedroom to sit on the edge of the bed in the darkness to open it, why I do not know, where I cannot see the bubbles over-bubble onto my socked-in feet.

The water felt better in my mouth than on my feet.

CAUTION! TRUE CONFESSION AHEAD! I went to sleep with damp socks and feet. END TRUE CONFESSION.

Notes on Being a Fake

There are three ways to be a Fake:

  1. Unintentional
  2. Egregious
  3. Internally painful

For the purpose of this discussion, we shall dispense with the first two types rather quickly, since it is the third type in which we are principally interested, this being my blog and me being, unfortunately, the third type. Your opinion may vary, in which case you are a second opinion and you may write your own Note on Being a Fake, which you may send to me at your own expense.

Additionally, our discussion will be limited to Fakery as it refers to recovery from a stroke and/or life with M.S. and/or other such life-challenging situations. Fakery outside of this narrow field of health issues will not be considered.

Additionally additionally, I am giving my Observer to these discussions a Fake Name. I had to think for a while to come up with a name not likely to occur in human beings, and finally settled on Nilla, as in ’Nilla Wafers.

The Unintentional Fake
The Unintentional Fake is often not a Fake at all, but appears to be one by being over-enthusiastic about gains in health recovery, such as a gain in ability to walk, or speak, or even recover consciousness. The enthusiasm can be on the part of a patient or a caregiver or a health professional (doctor, nurse, etc.). The enthusiasm is genuine; the over-enthusiasm curdles it.

The Egregious Fake
The Egregious Fake usually has absolutely nothing physically wrong with him or her but wants you to know all about it. His cold is much worse than yours. Her knee is too painful to help carry those boxes into the house. He’s worried about his terrible headache—he’s had it for days. She hasn’t slept for weeks. But wait! Who’s that strolling out of the bookstore carrying an armload of books? Why, it’s your weak-kneed friend! And she’s with her friend who has overcome his intolerance to lactose and is enjoying an ice cream cone! The Egregious Fake is worrisome to be around until you realize that he or she is in fact an Egregious Fake and not For Real.

The Internally Painful Fake
The Internally Painful Fake walks among people every day, and she sees the judgment in Nilla’s eyes. Nilla sees my cane, and her eyes say, “The cane? Are you still using that cane?” Yes, the stroke was nearly two years ago, but I also have M.S., and the combination makes me stagger, makes me weak. It is internally painful for me to admit this, but whenever I leave my house I use a cane. It wards off other people, gives me balance, reminds me to be careful.

The Internally Painful Fake talks with Nilla every day, and she sees the judgment in Nilla’s eyes. She hears my hesitation, and she rushes to fill in the word I cannot find in my aphasic moment. She is thinking, “It’s been almost two years. I thought she was over all of that stroke stuff.” It is internally painful for me to admit this, but when I am speaking there are times when my mind becomes completely void of words and I cannot complete a sentence.

The Internally Painful Fake parks in the disabled parking spot near Nilla very often, and she sees the judgment in Nilla’s eyes. I don’t limp enough for her satisfaction, or use a wheelchair, or have enough missing limbs, or whatever her personal definition of disabled might be. She huffs at me to let me know that she considers me an Egregious Fake (about which see above), about which I consider acting like an Unintentional Fake (about which see above) to prove her wrong, but instead I just wobble normally into the store. It is internally painful for me to admit this, but when I park in a disabled parking spot, I am glad that I will be able to find my car easily afterwards because those lights in the store scramble my brain if I stay longer than 10 minutes.

The Internally Painful Fake is an amalgam of half-started, half-finished, half-baked disabilities. Nothing is right, but nothing is wrong. Doctors examine me and say, “Hmm, that’s not good.” Friends look at me and say, “Hey, you look great!” Family members look at me and say, “Wow, you look wonderful!” It is internally painful for me to admit this, but I feel awful. The truth is there will be effects from the stroke present in me for years to come: how I look, how I feel, how I think, how I act, how I talk.

What’s right? Nothing. That is one truthful answer from the Internally Painful Fake. Another truthful answer would be: I can read again. I can write again. I can usually remember to scribble down notes when I think of something good. I can usually remember to scribble down notes when I remember something important.

What’s wrong? Nothing. That is one truthful answer from the Internally Painful Fake. Another truthful answer would be: my eyes, my ears, my shoulder, my brain, my mood.

What is really wrong, actually, is that the Internally Painful Fake hates being the Internally Painful Fake. I would much rather be the Egregious Fake and have everyone discover my deception so I could just stop it all and go back to riding my bicycle everywhere and playing softball like I used to and taking long walks on Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine.

Except now that I am verging on old and decrepit, I probably can’t play softball anyway, and the walks would probably require at least a walking stick, and the bicycle might even require fat tires. We probably need to add a fourth kind of Fake: the Old and Decrepit Fake.

Total Brain Dump

When I was a kid (yes, I am actually starting out with New Jersey this time), we lived down the street from a dump. This is not as awful as it sounds. We were not rednecks. We did not live in some godforsaken beer-swilling rifle-cracking hog-grilling kind of place. No sir. We did not.

We lived in a respectable suburb smack dab triangulated between New York City and Newark, New Jersey, THE MOST POPULATED STRETCH OF LAND ON EARTH at the time, it seemed to me, and we had the BIGGEST MALL ON EARTH to prove it. Yes, we did, the Willowbrook Mall, built on land that once housed an amusement park, which somehow seemed appropriate to me.

Nevertheless, there was a dump up the street from us, on the land of a farm and nursery owned by the Pfitzenmayer family. They just let anybody who had anything to dump come and dump it. It was all very casual.

The nice thing about this was that the neighborhood kids—at least the ones that Mr. Pfitzenmayer approved of—could go rummage around the dump and find all kinds of neat stuff. We found old radios and magazines and dolls and just junk. Once we found $30, I think in the back of one of those radios.

Lately, my brain has been like that dump. I have been unearthing all kinds of neat stuff. No, not old radios and magazines, and certainly not dolls or $30. For one thing, as you might have been able to tell, it has been overwhelmed by details of my childhood. Vivid details of vignettes long forgotten have been sparking through my mind nonstop.

Just the other day, for instance, I remembered for the first time since the stroke a website I used to visit daily because I enjoyed it so much: Arts and Letters Daily. I recommend it if you want a good source to keep you up to date on the latest in all the arts journals we never get to read, the latest books we swear to buy, and the essays we wish we had thought to write ourselves. Plus it has an exhaustive list of columnists, online radio stations, newspapers, and so forth.

And then I had another brilliant find at the Brain Dump. This little gem is sure to come in handy for all of you folks who wear clothes, which I suspect is most of you, if I know my audience, which I suspect I do. Call me crazy, but for some reason I just picture most of you wearing clothes, and I really don’t think it has anything to do with me having brain damage. I think I would picture you that way whether or not I had had a stroke. Really. Not even kidding. Not even a little bit.

Maybe I should qualify this handy little tip a bit. Now those of you who know me can testify that I have an absolutely flat-as-a-pancake stomach. I mean, from my nose to my toes, it’s a straight vertical drop, 180 degrees, bombs away, look out mama, here comes trouble. Please keep that in mind as I describe the aforementioned gem in the followingmentioned explanation:

(But before we get to that—and you suspected this was coming when you saw the parentheses, didn’t you?—we must ponder the curious absence of the opposite of a word for “aforementioned,” which means CAUTION! ABSOLUTELY USELESS ETYMOLOGY LESSON AHEAD! which I have never done inside parentheses before, which shall, no doubt, present interesting punctuation issues. But in fact this turns out to be a decidedly uninteresting etymology lesson, since the proper opposite of “aforementioned” is simply “later,” yes, simply “later,” and now I’ve lost my place, oh well, let’s start a new sentence. And I am tempted to wipe out this etymology lesson entirely but I’ve tormented myself this far, and “aforementioned” is, I have found out, not even included in my copy of the Oxford English Dictionary except under “afore” [unfortunately, no more recent than 1987 but I am sure this was a word by then—and I told you we would get into some interesting punctuation issues, and Merriam-Webster confirms it was, by 1587], and now I’ve lost my place again. Oh, let’s give up. END USELESS ETYMOLOGY LESSON)

On to the followingmentioned explanation I promised a few breathless parenthetical breaths ago. Flat as pancake stomach, etc. The problem is holding up my pants. Or my shorts. Or my skirts. But I hardly ever wear skirts. I’m just not that kinda girl. And if I was, I would definitely want them to be held down.

No matter how tightly I cinch my belt or elastic, my pants have a southern mind of their own. Last week, I remembered my solution for this problem: tuck in my damn shirt. Waa-laa! Problem solved! After 18 months of pants-droopiness, I now am clam-happy. And as I’ve said before, light dawns on Marblehead. (I’m allowed to say that; I used to live there, and I’ve seen it happen.)

So that’s two very exciting finds at the Brain Dump in recent days. And then just yesterday I unearthed a third, this time from the computer pile, the long-neglected computer pile. I’d almost forgotten it was hiding there in the corner.

Now that I am no longer gainfully employed, CF and I have rearranged our house so that our computers are about six feet apart. Given my loss of software knowledge, this immediately put us at a disadvantage, networking-wise, because our cabling system was de-cabled. We would strangle each other trying to figure out cables, strangle each other trying to figure out Wi-Fi, or strangle each other paying someone to configure the whole thing. So for a couple of months, we have been emailing files back and forth six feet. Ridiculous, I know.

Then yesterday dawned light on the dump and the brain woke up again. I noticed a funny little item in my list of folders on my computer that seemed to be CF’s folder. I clicked on it, and what do you know, it was! I could copy a file directly from my computer to hers! Through the magic of my superior operating system I had complete access to her computer. At least I think that’s why. I’m not sure. I don’t understand these things anymore. Please don’t try to tell me why. Those brain cells are really gone forever. I think.

If they come back, I’ll let you know. I think.

Therefore, I am.