TOO CURIOUS TO DIE – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Word Prompt: Curiosity

There’s a lot of talk about suicide going around and I know I could never do that. It isn’t because I don’t get depressed or because I have not been through periods when life hardly seemed worth living.

“Curiouser and curiouser!” Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Photo: Garry Armstrong

It’s just that I have to know what’s going to happen next. I realize this might sound a bit frivolous, but curiosity is a powerful emotion. I always want to know more. I always want to see how things will work out.

So, until I lose the interest in life, or my heart stops, or I get run over by an out-of-control beer truck, I think I’ll hang around.


Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Letters Q or R



River Bend on the Blackstone



It was the end of the movie. A man was undergoing a court-martial. It was unjust and Robert Mitchum, as his defense attorney, was having a difficult time securing justice. Just post World War II, there were a lot of highly placed and well-connected Army brass who needed the accused to be found guilty. Why? Because a guilty verdict would stop any further investigation of what really happened and who was truly involved.

If the story sounds familiar, it is. When important people, movers and shakers — no matter whether they are government, military, or major corporate players, “the truth” is, as often as not, one of the casualties of whatever is going down. Truth, honesty, justice, fairness … mere collateral damage in an endless war in which we are all pawns and the power is in the hands of the rich, powerful, and well-connected.

man-in-the-middle-the-winston-affair-poster-1964Justice is not done in this case, though the outcome could be worse, depending on how you choose to look at it. It’s a British production and there is a sense of frustration and futility that even after fighting and dying, regular people are still taking the hit for those in power.

Thus, at the end of movie, when it is pointed out to Mitchum that they didn’t win, he agrees.


But then he says: “Just because you can’t lick’em, doesn’t mean you have to join’em, either.”


Maybe, in the final analysis, that’s what it’s all about. Sometimes, we lose, but we don’t have to give up our sense of purpose, our honesty, or throw away the things in which we believe. We don’t have to join them.

My team, my beliefs, my principles took a major hit. But don’t think for a minute this means I’m about to passively join the mob of sycophants and “true believers.”

I do not have to join them.

Neither do you.


A few years ago when I looked a bit less decrepit than I do these days, I was in the post office. Minding my own business. Waiting in line to mail a package. When out of nowhere swoops in one of our grander dames of the valley. Those were the years when they were building McMansions and asking insanely high prices in hopes that we’d get some of the wealthy carriage-set professionals to move to our neighborhood.

You couldn’t miss them: these were people who went to the grocery store in high heels and makeup. They were clearly a new invasive species. This one was after me.


“Is that your car in the handicapped space?”


“You don’t look handicapped.”

My jaw flapped open. “I don’t suppose you noticed the handicapped placard hanging from the mirror?”

“No, I was looking for a licence plate.”

“Well, surprise, lady. Most people don’t get the licence plate so they can take their pass with them into any car in which they are riding. And who the hell are you to judge me? You got x-ray vision?” I sputtered to a conclusion and she sputtered out. Apparently her “business” at the post office could wait.

We’ve had another memorable incident during which we (really, my son … I was supervising) were moving rocks from an old stone wall deep in the woods where it probably marked the edge of a field, maybe a hundred years ago. We were building a rock garden. A newly arrived “local” pulled up into our driveway and proceeded to berate my son for moving historical rocks.

“They aren’t historical,” he said. “They are just big rocks. And they are OUR big rocks. Because this is our land. I would ask you to please leave since you are trespassing. On our property.”

“There are laws,” she cried, as she stormed off.


No, there aren’t. There are no laws pertaining to the use of big rocks taken from your own woods and moved to a different part of your property. I’m not even sure there are any laws if you take rocks from along the road and put them ON your property.

People make a lot of assumptions based on what they think they see.

The see me on my feet, so I couldn’t be disabled. They don’t see a handicap, so it must not be there. And the obverse: my son is using rocks from an old stone fence … so he much be doing something illegal. Surely Massachusetts has a “Department of Historical Rocks” to protect them. Because, you know, rocks are an endangered species.