HUSTLE IN THE HOUSE – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Hustle

I used to be the Entertainment Queen of my crowd. It was more than 40 years ago, but I was the hostess with the mostest. I fed the hungry, housed the homeless, cheered up the downhearted. I rescued cats, dogs, and lost people. No living creature was ever turned away.

It got crowded.


Life — in my own home — became one long hustle. It was like running a party that never ends. Anyone could show up. Anytime.

One day, I realized I didn’t want to do it anymore. I wanted privacy. I didn’t want to clean up the mess or cook gigantic meals. I was tired of spending all my money on other people. The crowd that assembled nightly in my living room weren’t necessarily friends, either.

Home had become a facility. A place to crash. Where there was always music, food, something to smoke and probably a good conversation and a sofa.

So I started locking my front door and asked people to call before showing up. About half the crowd never came back … and I never missed them. Others drifted off in the course of time. The rest are still friends.

Where friends … and guests … are concerned, quality is not necessarily quantity. These days? Fewer are more fun.

now – THE joke

A very poor man goes to his Rabbi complaining his house is too small and he can’t stand it anymore. “What should I do?” he asks.

“Get a big dog,” advises the Rabbi.

Puzzled, the man buys a sheepdog and brings him home. The house is even more crowded, and the man returns to the Rabbi. “It’s worse,” he moans.

The Rabbi nods his understanding. “Get a goat. He can be friends with the dog. Oh, and get a cat too.”

Even more confused, the mad does as instructed. The house is unbearable. He returns to the Rabbi. “Please, Rebbe, it’s horrible at home. The dog, the cat, the goat … and it smells really bad.”

“I think you need a lamb,” says the Rabbi. “And a calf.”

DogsSlayThe BeastieDutiful to the end, the man gets a lamb and brings it home. The noise alone is deafening. There’s hair everywhere and the place stinks. Finally, he goes back to the Rabbi, now desperate for relief.

“Rabbi, OY VAY, IT’S TERRIBLE. The animals go all over the house and they chase each other. We have no peace, no privacy.”

“Get rid of all those animals,” orders the Rabbi. The man heaves a sigh of relief and the next week returns to see the Rabbi.

“Rebbe, it’s wonderful! We have so much room. The house is clean again. Life is wonderful!

No more hustle. Peace reigns.

SQUIRREL DU JOUR – Marilyn Armstrong

The little squirrel that seems to live on our deck (I found him lying on the deck sunning himself yesterday) is not afraid of me. Or the dogs. Or Garry.

I know he’s a baby because he’s about half the size of a normal adult squirrel. I bet he’s one of the offspring of the other big feeders. As he was growing up, mom told him where to go to get his meals.

He hangs on the feeder or does a wild swing on the flat feeder. He’s too short to quite hop into the flat feeder like the bigger squirrels do, so he has to take a long leap. The wild swings of the feeder as he enters and exits make it really obvious who has been by.

He’s a very cute little thing. I’m often torn between letting him eat so I can get some more pictures, or asking him politely (I always say “Please” when I discuss his visits with him) to move on.

He doesn’t really leave. He just hangs around on the stairs, or right under the deck until he thinks I’m gone, then he is right back up.

Garry says they have a whole station set up right under the deck. This does not surprise me. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were using drones to check for fresh food.


We say stuff because it’s a thing everyone says. I mean, you know, it’s a saying. So we say it. A saying is something to say when you don’t really have anything meaningful or original to say. Sometimes, if you get the right saying, it makes you sound clever and perceptive. Mostly, it makes you sound like you don’t have anything to say. Just saying.

Today I would like to analyze Misery loves company.

This is a truism and a popular saying to which I cannot relate. What, exactly, does it mean? Do any of the following (or perhaps all of the following) apply to you?

— Miserable people like being with other miserable people.

— Miserable people like to make others miserable too.

— Miserable people hate being alone.

— Miserable people like being miserable.

— Misery spurs creativity.

— Miserable people resent it when the people around them are happy.

I don’t like being miserable. When I am unhappy, I don’t want to be around anyone. I want to hide. If I’m unable to hide, I put on my best fake smile and make a Happy Face. Being alone requires a lot less effort.

I don’t find unhappiness, depression or any kind of misery inspirational. Quite the opposite. When I’m down, I don’t want to write. I don’t want to take pictures. I don’t feel creative and I don’t care to share the feeling. Come to think of it, that’s not entirely true. When my mother died and I was in Israel, my Rabbi looked at me and said: “You’re a writer. So WRITE.”

I wrote. It wound being published and everybody cried. I guess that was my equivalent of misery loving company. And it was a near moment of fame for me. Literally, hundreds of people read the paper and cried on buses, at work, in coffee shops. I really shared that misery.

Since I hate being a drag, I usually stay away from everybody but the dogs. They don’t care about my moods. They’re just glad to be in my company, especially if I have a sandwich.

Humans, on the other hand, ask questions I don’t want to answer. Being around people who are equally miserable does not make me feel better unless it’s a funeral and misery is the heart of the event. Mostly, though, depressed friends increase my misery quotient. This concept doesn’t work for me. If it’s a truism, for whom is it true?

Are you miserable? Does your sadness make you want to be with other down-hearted people? Does it make you want to find happy people and explain to them why anyone who is happy simply doesn’t understand the situation?

Does sadness inspire you to write, paint or do something creative? Just wondering.

Because when I’m unhappy or depressed, the only thing I want is to stop feeling that way. Quickly. The world is a sad place too much of the time. I’d rather not make it worse.

WEEKLY WHITE – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Photo Challenge – White