Pace Oddity

If you could slow down an action that usually zooms by, or speed up an event that normally drags on, which would you choose, and why?


That’ what my mother would have said. “Normal shmormal, as long as your healthy.” In Yiddish. Well, I’m not very healthy and neither was she, and I don’t see what that has to do with it anyhow. I never did.

These days, my mind is focused on water. As the autumn begins to pass and the temperatures drop, I fret. I’m not the only one, either. Everyone is bit peevish. We all have laundry. We want our showers back. And we are stuck, waiting, because there’s one guy and a lot of wells and we aren’t the worst one.

Manchaug Dam

I’m a natural-born worrier. I’ve gotten better with the years, but when stuff like this happens, I want to be done with it. Fixed, finished, finalized. I want to get on with the important worries: why my breastbone has failed to fuse and still makes a grinding noise when I move.

Is there anything that will make my hips work like real hips so I can stop climbing the stairs using the railing hand over hand like a spelunker. So I can brood on what’s going on with my cancer. Just past 3 years and all I know is I’m alive. I’d like to know I don’t have cancer, but apparently that’s unrealistic.

Survivor equals “So far so good — not dead yet.”Maybe that’s the way all life is, but when you have had cancer, you get labels. And they stick.

So please Dave, fix my well. Let’s get ready for winter. I need the well finished. I need the sidewalk back in place. I need snow tires on the PT Cruiser. I need some cortisone shots in my hips.

I need a good night’s sleep.

Speed up! Let’s get this show on the road, Mr. Dave the Well Guy.

Hey, breast bone? Heal, dammit! They said 6 months. Now it’s seven months, so they are saying eight months. Or who know? Ten? Forever? Let’s get moving on this healing thing. I hate the grinding noise my chest bones make. It’s icky and it hurts.


Nice Doctors

First is my shrink. She doesn’t shrink me,but she tries to help me by finding drugs that will help me feel better. She knows she can’t cure what ails me — because so much ails me — but she’d like me to enjoy my life despite all the problems and to this end, she is dedicated. And I adore her.

My cardiologist who favors anything that will make me feel better, whether it’s medical marijuana or strolling through the park on a lovely autumn day. He tells me I’m doing great,  even though I’m not doing so great in some ways, but I’m always happier when I leave his office. He approves of any drug that won’t kill me but might make my days more enjoyable. Bless his heart.

Stern Physician

I need him, but he’s like the parent who enforces the rules. Nothing namby-pamby about him. He’s my age … maybe a little older. Not big on sympathy. He has that Marine Corps attitude: “This is your body, good or ill. Suck it up, do the best you can. There are no body swaps. Have another painkiller. Oh, and here’s the name of a pain specialist. She’s good with needles. Your breast bone will heal when it’s damned good and ready.” He is not gonna cry ME a river.

“You’re 67 and you’ve had massive, invasive, extremely serious surgery. They cut you open with a buzz saw not all that long ago. What are you thinking?” (That I’d be okay by now and could get back to a normal-ish life?)

So if we are going to put a “hurry up” on something (other than getting the well done) … can we make that breast bone heal already? Please????

If, by perchance, I have an unknown and extremely wealthy relative somewhere who is ready to slip that mortal coil — preferably one who has had a long, productive, happy life, I’d appreciate a rapid distribution on my inheritance. Because I really need a chair lift for the stairs, a carrier for the car to hold a couple of scooters for my baby and me to ride the high country (zooped up ones that will also do off-roading, please). An a well-designed yet economical four-wheel-drive vehicle to get us through the winter and not leave us stranded in the driveway.


Phew. This was cathartic.

Mom, I hear ya’. Normal Schmormal Ahbigazint. And this too shall past. **

Sooner would be better than later, so put a rush it, please. Not the passing. Just everything else.


ATTAR of NISHIPUR** “This too shall pass” (Persian: این نیز بگذرد‎, pronunciation:īn nīz bogzarad, Arabic: لا شيء يدوم‎ (“Nothing endures“), Hebrew: גם זה יעבור‎) is an adage indicating that all material conditions, positive or negative, are temporary. The phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets, and is often attached to a fable of a great king who is humbled by the simple words. Some versions of the fable, beginning with that of Attar of Nishapur, add the detail that the phrase is inscribed on a ring, which has the ability to make the happy man sad and the sad man happy. Jewish folklore often describes Solomon as giving or receiving the phrase. The adage and associated fable were popular in the first half of the 19th century, appearing in a collection of tales by the English poet Edward Fitzgerald and being employed in a speech by Abraham Lincoln before he became president.

Abū Ḥamīd bin Abū Bakr Ibrāhīm (c. 1145 – c. 1221;Persian: ابو حامد بن ابوبکر ابراهیم‎), better known by his pen-names Farīd ud-Dīn (فرید الدین) and ʿAṭṭār (عطار, “the perfumer”), was a Persian Muslim poet, theoretician ofSufism, and hagiographer from Nishapur who had an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry andSufism.


waldo and magic incI’m astonished how many people have read these two novellas and miss the point. Some readers apparently can’t see any connection between the two stories. They think these novellas are in a single volume by a fluke or “to fill up space.” Either they didn’t really read them or they are conceptually challenged, unable to make a logical leap between two related ideas without a flow chart.

The point is that technology is a based on our belief it will work. As long as we believe in it, it functions. If or when we stop believing, it won’t. It’s all magic.

When we lose faith in technology, magic jumps in and becomes the new technology. The difference between one and the other is functionally negligible. The stories’ plots are irrelevant. It’s the concept that counts.

I read these books about 50 years ago. I haven’t read them since, but remember them. Meanwhile, I can’t remember the plot of whatever book I read last week. These were original concepts when first introduced in the 1940s, was still original 25 years later when I read it. Probably still original today, more than 60 years after the stories were first published.

The best science fiction is concept-driven rather than character or plot-driven. These two have stuck with me for a lifetime. Both novellas are based on a unified concept: We believe in what works — and what works is what we believe.

Nothing is certain anymore. Nothing. Chaos is king and magic is loose in the world.

Available on Kindle, in paperback and from


NASA's own time machine

NASA’s own time machine

Formulated by the British author Arthur C. Clarke, these three laws — especially the last one — are accepted as science fiction “fact.”

Clarke’s three laws are so ubiquitous in the literature, they are (with Asimov’s laws of robotry), the basis of many stories by a wide spectrum of authors in the science fiction and fantasy genres.

For your enlightenment:

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Murphy’s Corollary to Clarke’s Law: Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.