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It took me three hours to find one of them, but I brought with me two items today that may or may not be needed. The first item was buried in the deep recesses of my closet, and took quite a search to find. Here it is…and it is called a soapbox. The second item is a rope…with a hangman’s noose already tied in, as there may well be a lynching by the time I am done. I feel the need to speak of some of the most cherished and sacred of American values today, so if you will give me a hand onto the box…Thank you very much…and here we go…

I don’t understand…

I don’t understand why a man can carry a piece of leather, can toss a piece of leather, can run with a piece of leather 100 yards down a striped field, and get paid millions of dollars to do it…when the teachers that taught him and molded him and made him what he is are living below the poverty line, and often need Welfare to survive…

I don’t understand…why a man (or woman) can stroll through a park…stopping every once in a while to hit a small, white ball toward a cup…and at the end of the stroll, be paid millions…while the police of this country…the people who guard us and keep us safe, and willingly run into danger to keep us out of it, and keep our roads safe, and do it all for us with a smile, even though they are reviled and spit upon and hated by the ones they protect…the police of this country struggle to maintain any semblance of normalcy in their lives…and can’t afford to pay for that normalcy…

I don’t understand…

I don’t understand how a man can take a piece of round rubber, and throw it through a hoop, and get paid millions…while the firefighters and EMTs…the ones who willingly run into the bowels of Hell to save a child, who pull twisted bodies from wrecked autos, who battle day and night to save us from ourselves…they must fight to keep the basics…food, clothing, shelter for their loved ones…

I don’t understand how a man (or woman) can tromp on the boards of a stage, and mouth some memorized words and be paid millions…while the nurses and medical techs and nurses’ aides and X-ray techs…people who care for us when we’re ill, comfort us as we’re dying, work and toil all day amongst our vomit and urine and feces and enough deadly bacteria to wipe out a species…people who do all this with a smile on their lips and a song in their heart…and courage and care and love and compassion infused into their souls…these people cannot adequately educate and clothe and care for their own children or families…because they do NOT make millions…

I don’t understand…

I don’t understand how the CEOs and the Bosses and the Presidents of huge corporations can sit in their fancy leather chairs on the top floors of their buildings, and delegate the work to others, and summarily fire thousands of people on the floors below to keep their bonuses and their bottom lines, and get paid millions, and have golden parachutes worth millions more…while the people they fire are wandering the streets, looking for work, looking for food for their families, looking for any help at all…I don’t understand…

I don’t understand how the bankers and the owners of banks can sit in their offices, and decide to take homes, and decide to destroy families, and get paid millions, and sleep well at night…while the ones they displaced live in cars, and under bridges, and in bits of cardboard, and root through trash cans for small bits of rotting castoffs, left by the rich who were too full to eat more…

I don’t understand how our leaders and our Senators and our Representatives can rip the cream of our youth from their families, and send them to hot, desolate countries, and tell them to fight and to die for a cause that only the leaders understand, so that they can get fat defense contracts, and make millions…while our children are fighting and losing limbs and losing lives, and their families are grieving and mourning and crying and hating…

I don’t understand…

I don’t understand why the rich refuse to pay taxes, and make loopholes, and make more millions…while all others are taxed and taxed and taxed some more, and are taxed into poverty, and taxed into despair and taxed into depression and then taxed some more…

I don’t understand how people can invoke the name of a God, and in that name, can decide how all others shall live, and should they not live according to that code, these people use violence and murder and death and destruction, all in the name of their loving God, and they feel vindicated and justified in their violence…for their God has “told” them to do this…

I don’t understand…

I don’t understand what has happened to the America of my youth…where values and morals and love and compassion rang through the country…I don’t understand…have we become the Empire of Rome, The Sequel? Are we fated to suffer the same as Rome, The Original? Where did we turn? When did we turn? Where did we go?

I don’t understand…

And I’m tired…

And I’m weary…to the depths of my soul, I’m weary…

And I’m finished…let me step down, and cast away the soapbox…

The treason is over…The traitor is done…

And I’m tired…

And I’m ready…

There’s the rope…

Let the lynching begin…

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Slicing Time

In Dallas, he reached toward his head just as the bullet impacted…as his wife and the world watched; the fireball exploded into and out of the building, as the plane impacted…as the world watched…she ran down the dirt road, stark naked, screaming in terror, as the napalm incinerated the jungle and village behind her…and the world watched; the mountain exploded in a tower of dust, smoke and ash…and the world watched.

In newspapers and magazines, on television and computers, in books and every form of communication, the world watched…and the reason the world watched is because someone Sliced Time.

Slicing Time…taking an object sharper than the sharpest knife, sharper than the thinnest razor, slicing through time, slicing free a millisecond, preserving it for all the world to see for all time; preserving millions of moments in the course of a year; and the name for this amazing process? Photography.

Photography. Slicing Time. I first gained an interest in slicing when I was young…and I watched my father with his camera. It was a camera that he had bought in Japan during The Korean War…the cost? Two cartons of cigarettes. It was one of the most precious things I ever saw…and I had to have one; so I got one, and it sent me on a journey into viewing the world through an eyepiece and lens that has lasted to this day. It has become a form of True North to me.

I took pictures of anything and everything; blurry, out of focus, dumb pictures of bugs and windows and mountains and people…and eventually I realized that some people actually wrote books about photography…how to set the camera, how to focus, how to compose the image, how to hold the camera steady, how to…everything. It got to where I spent more time reading than I spent slicing.

Once I got into it, I got into it big time…I took hundreds of photos, mostly of nature subjects. Later, I became a photographer for the Air Force, and later still, a photographer for the Army. In the 80’s, in Utah, I even became a semi-professional photographer…but with a narrow point of view; I took only nature photos…no people, and if at all possible, no man-made objects in the shot. And, for some reason, I always shot slides rather than prints.

Slicing Time. Take out a picture…and take a good look at it. It could be a photo of your child, your grandchild, a brook, a mountain, a butterfly, a bird. It could be a barn or your mom or your spouse. Realize that you are holding in your hand a slice of time, a piece of history, a part of the past. A precious slice of time that will never, ever be repeated in the same way again. It is, in fact, a one of a kind item that no one else can have (unless you give them a copy). It is a slice of time…a slice of life.

I have been slicing time for a large number of years now…and I hope to continue to slice for a very long time. Time slices are used to enhance and help illustrate my writings, inform and educate my family, or they stand alone as monuments on their own. Time slicing has become almost as big a passion to me as writing…which is saying a lot.

Slicing time…everybody’s doing it, but few people realize what they are preserving…a slice of time.

OK…first things first. Credit where credit is due and all that, donchew know? And…I cannot tell a lie…”Telling Lies For Fun And Profit” is not actually my title…in fact, I stole it…blatantly. It is actually the title of a book…hold on, let me find it. Got to get the information right, right? Now, where is it…not in that bookcase…no, not there…no…THERE it is…it’s holding up a broken leg on my night stand…has been for quite awhile, I think…wait a second…got it!…damn…maybe I should have cleaned the nightstand off first…oh, well…I’ll clean that up later…OK, here it is…”Telling Lies For Fun And Profit” by Lawrence Block…let’s see…where is it? Umm…Library of Congress Catalog Card…no, that’s not it…aaww…Wow! Copyright 1981…this things 27 years old? Maybe it’s time to read it again…The subtitle is “A Manual For Fiction Writers”. But fiction ain’t the subject here today, folks…We be talking lies and liars…for fun and profit.

Now, first of all, there ain’t a person breathing who isn’t a liar…just a fact of life. If you’ve EVER told a lie…you’re a liar; which isn’t necessarily a bad thing…What? you say you’ve NEVER told a lie? Well, how about one like this? “No, Mommie, I didn’t bwake the vase…the cat did it.” “Honey, we don’t have a cat.” “Ummm…ummm…ummm…the cat cwaled in frew the window…and…and…and it saw me, and it bwoke the vase…and then it jumped back out…and I closeded the window so it can’t bwake any more stuff…and…and…and…Mommie, can I have a cookie?” Of course, if you got the cookie, why, you just learned that lying can be rewarded, and lead to treats, and ain’t that a good thing to teach the kiddies? They’re not REALLY stupid, ya know…

So…everyone lies, mostly (on the part of married men) to keep their wives and their lives happy…and on the part of women…to get stuff. Or, just for fun…Or to gain something, be it financial or sexual, or just cause you like to show people how superior you are to them…Identity thieves steal identities for the money…phishers steal for the money, or the harassment value. My son got hit by a phisher on his MySpace account…all the guy (or girl) got was his MySpace password, but he (she) then used it to take the kids profile and screw it up, as well as his friends…Once my son found out about it, he simply changed his password, and that was that. But some damage had been done. What??? People lie on the internet? Say it ain’t so!! Interesting contradiction:
1. Never give out personal information on the internet
2. Buy (shop) on-line; bank on-line; pay bills on-line
3. How do you accomplish #2 without violating #1?

I am, however, happy to report that there is one group of people, who, while they may have lied in the past, certainly aren’t doing it now…these people are, of course, our elected leaders. They would never think about lying to us (“I am not a crook.” R.M. Nixon), because they know that we have given them the great responsibility of running our lives (“I never had sex with that woman.” W.J. Clinton), and overseeing our relations with all the peoples of the world (“We have conclusive proof that there are Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.” G.W. Bush). It is a true comfort, and eases my rest tremendously, to know that totally honest people are in charge of this here country…and I know that any future leader elected will be just as honest and forthright as have all the leaders in the past.

All right…let’s take an example…take a look, if you would, at my profile…that’s OK, guhead, I’ll wait right here…yeah, just click on the picture or name (Dave48) on the right there…I’ll just run and grab a quick cuppa coffee while you do that…don’t worry, I’ll still be here…dum dum dum de dum da dum…oh, you’re back? Good. Now, what did you notice? Well, let’s see…it says I’m 60, my name is Dave (obvious, huh?), I live in Arizona, I have a few friends, a couple of photos, not much in “About Me” section, or in the “Places I’ve Been”. All in all, a normal profile…unless I actually happen to be a strange, warped, psychotic, nerdy 13 year old girl named Ainsley who is lying to you…maybe steal a couple of photos from photobucket, make up a little story, and hey, who knows what I could learn? Or what damage I could do? Of course I know what (or who) I am…but do you? do you really? hmmm?

There have been people in the past, and probably still are, on here who ain’t what they sez they is…several have been booted recently…but they come back, in a new lie, to see what they can do by lying…for fun or profit…

Oh, and by the way…Back to Lawrence Block for a second…I didn’t really steal the title…that was a lie. I visited Lawrence Blocks website…and in his FAQ section, someone asked him about using Mr. Blocks material, and about plagiarism…Mr. Block replied that he did not mind if people took or used his writing…in part or in toto was the way he put it…so I guess I just borrowed the title. But check the guy out…he’s a fantastic writer; the kind I wish I was…www.LawrenceBlock.com…

Well, I have to go now…Mom said if I finish my homework real fast, she’ll take me and Quaretta to the mall…and I do need some shoes…wonder if I can get an identity, and some money from same, to pay for them…then I could get some really neat ones!! Gotta go check on some other sites…See ya!!

Aaaaaannnnndddddd…gotcha!!! Yeah, I gotcha…you got got and you got got good, even if you don’t want to admit it. You took one look at the title of this thing and you thought about the orgy going on in your game cabinet…Ping Pong Pornography happening right in your home!! And maybe even involving paddles!! Come on, folks…this is me…not Irish Rose (who could probably really go places with that title) or OneToeJeff, who could take that title and run a mile and a half with it barefoot and in his jammies any day of the week…’specially if he had a little Doobie and maybe a little Debbie…

No, this tale is not about love and sex on the game table…this is about part of my True North, which would be writing; specifically the kind I had in a particular class in college (University of Utah…Go, Utes!!). The class was Creative Writing, and the professor was a lovely older lady whose name I can’t remember, and couldn’t pronounce if I did…she was from Russia, or Latvia, or Estonia…somewhere in there. I do know that in her spare time, she was trying to perfect a beer milk shake, as an accompaniment to her shrimp ice cream…but that’s a whole ‘nother story…In class, she spent her time coming up with creative subjects for her subjects to write about.

“Your assignment today class, is 5 pages, typewritten, single-spaced on the subject of…(You ready?)…The Sex Life of a Ping Pong Ball.”  Yeah, I don’t need to write ’bout no Ping Pong Sex because…hey…been there, done that…and I got a “B”.  I would have gotten a higher grade, but my typewriter was an old manual, and didn’t come with Spellcheck.

“OK, class, today we will assume that I am blind…totally blind, been that way since birth…never saw nuthin’ in my life…Please give me 3 pages, typewritten, single-spaced…and describe to me, so that I can understand it…the color blue.”  Yep, I know…double negative and all in there…but that was the way she talked, not the way she wrote. Oh, and when you read that, read it in a very heavy Eastern European accent…there, that’s better.  By the way, I got an “A” on that one (apparently, I learned how to spell by then), and, no, I don’t want to repeat that particular assignment.

What she was doing, of course, is showing us that ANY subject can be handles in a creative way…now, none of us were going to run out and write a novel about blue Ping Pong balls screwing any more than we were going to spend time vacuuming the ceiling. But when we did write, we knew that anything was possible…and could be made believable.

Obviously, creative writing can be non-fiction as well as fiction…you could write creatively about the sex life of a Mongolian Gerbil as easily as you could about the sex life of a magnifying glass.  One of my favorite examples of creative non-fiction fiction would be “The Agony and The Ecstasy” by Irving Stone; it’s the life story of Michaelangelo, and while the facts of his life are non-fiction, obviously, the thoughts and words of the people are entirely made up.  J.K. Rowling took a common, ordinary, average, everyday, run-of-the-mill nerd, dropped him (probably on his head) into a school called Hogwarts, and made about a billion dollars in the process.  Man, I need to go find me a nerd to write about…

At any rate…while writing is my passion, as stated in a previous blog, creative writing is IT for me…the one thing I always want to do…except now, when I really want a beer milk shake…fortunately, she perfected her recipe before the class ended. If you’ll excuse me, the beer is waiting…

Letters. Words. Sentences. Paragraphs. Writing. The written (and spoken) word has always been one of the most powerful forces in human nature. From the earliest cave drawings (writings) (which, by the way, probably all translate to something like “Hey, baby, do you wanna dance?”) to the modern world of high technology, words have formed, destroyed and run nations, religions, races and peoples all over the planet.

Words have created. Words have torn down. Words have healed. Four words, four syllables, have over half the worlds population believing in a creation of worlds. Four words – “Let There Be Light.” Three words, four syllables, founded a nation and changed the world. Three words – “We, The People…”. Five words, six syllables, started the healing process on that same nation 90 years later. Five words – “Fourscore and Seven Years Ago…”. The maniacal rantings of an Austrian madman (mere words!) twisted an industrious nation into a machine of destruction, ravaged a continent and threw the planet into turmoil and war. All done with mere words.

Letters. Words. Sentences. Strung together, they have torn open the curtains to reveal the dirt and soil and filth of industries, forcing change for the betterment of mankind. Books like “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair, “The American Way of Death” by Jessica Mitford or “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson have exposed corruption and enacted change in industries all across the world.

I personally began my love affair with words at the age of three, when I would sit under my mothers ironing board, and “read” newspapers to her. During those sessions, she taught me to read, taught me to understand, taught me to wonder at the power of a string of letters. Reading helped my imagination to soar, as I traveled through the worlds of the Lilliputians, the Wild West and Outer Space. I read voraciously. I read anything I could get my hands on. I read…and then I began to write…

I wrote constantly…I wrote voraciously…I collected books on writing…I took classes on writing…I majored in History and English, with an emphasis on Literature, so I could read…and write. I wrote book length papers…I wrote poetry…I wrote essays…I wrote non-fiction…I wrote fiction. Ah, fiction…the power to create, to become a god…

The power to create…to take a jumbled mass of typewriter fodder, mold it, shape it, turn it into a being…to breathe life into it, watch the lungs expand, hold its heart and see it throb, watch the arteries begin to pulsate with the lifeblood of my imagination. And then, to sheath it in an outer layer, be it iridescent green scales, or neon blue epidermis, to clothe it and release it into a world of my choosing, and to stand back and watch what it does. Quite often it surprises me, doing things even I hadn’t thought about, but I know it started because a few of my brain cells twisted and writhed, and came up with this being, probably while I slept.

The pen and paper are gone now, and the words no longer plop from my head onto them. The typewriter is sitting on a back shelf, rusting away, with the carriage and the carbon paper no longer in use. Everything today is done on a computer, a machine that practically does the writing for you (I’m dictating into mine now), and soon will probably do the thinking for us as well. I hope I’m gone before that happens, because…well…

Letters. Words. Sentences. Paragraphs. Writing. Strings of letters and strings of thought blending together to create my writing, and only my writing; not the thoughts of an inanimate object, but the musings of a real life flesh and blood person for whom writing is love, writing is life, writing is passion, writing is…well…it’s my True North, if you will…

Name Game

Well naoh, young’ins, set yer butts in them thahr chairs, an’ ah’ll tell yew how mah son…that is, yer grandpappy…come by his name…

Started out in ’73, as I recollects it…Janyary, I reckon…me ‘n thah old woman, we wuz heddin toward Yew-ta for sos I culd git tah mah next assignment…a place what’s called Hill AFB…I reckons they named it that cause it be raht next tah thuh mantins…I jest getted bak from a tour in a cuple furign countries…Vet Mom and Thighland…dang if’n them furners don’t have strange names fer their countrys…anywhichways, we’s drivin up threw central Yew-ta…an we comes up on a blizzerd…a real humdinger, she were…think they ust tuh call ’em ‘White outs’…that’s cuz yew looks out and it’s all white…Ah guess…

So, cuz a all the snow and sech, wez slowed way down…only doin 10 mebbe 15 mahls fer an hahr…an this on thuh freeway, no less…Then, we sees a black spot up ‘head…turns out tuh be a motel…we pulz in, and gits a room…but ‘taint no power, so wez stumblin ’round inna dark to git settled…naoh…we’ns gots tuh figer out wuht we gonna do…to early tuh sleep…so, we’s jawin about it, and finly we figers we gonna…wuht that, boy? yew gots tuh speek up, boy, Ah aint gots mah ‘wuhts tuh hep yuh heer’ thingys screwed inta mah ear bones raht naoh…say, aint yew just a tad yung tuh be thinkin o’ that, boy? Yore mama no yew thinkin thisa ways? Well, yer raht, anywhos…that there’s perzacly wuht we done…and it were a gud bit o fun tew…Early next day, we’ns bak onna road agin…an thuh res uh thuh trip were un eventful…

Cupl month later, thuh old woman, shes startin tuh feel raht poorly…sez tuh me, she sez, “Hey, yew pug-ugly old wrinkle assed sumbitch…yew needs tuh git me tuh a docter fer mah feelin poorly.” She always sweet talkin me thataways cuz she nose it maks me hotter ‘n a barrel o whiskey whuts been thowed inna fahr…Sos Ah gits her to thuh docter…an he sez, sez he, “Well, yore pregnant.” An Ah sez, sez Ah, “caint be doc…shes dun had all her shots..” An he sez, sez he, “Ah meens youz gonna have a baby, yuh old fool.” Well, Ah scratches mah haid a bit, an thinks a bit, n Ah sez, sez Ah, “Ah caint have no baby, doc…Ah aint gots no way tuh push thuh brat out from.” He jes kinda rolls his eyes, and thuh old woman dew tew…

Sos, wes sittin at tuh home, month or so later, and she sez tuh me, sez she, “All raht, yew ugly faced hyena turd, wat yew wanna name this here brat…if’n it be a gurl?” More o’ that sweet talk there…she must want me bad tuh sweet talk me lahk that. Well, Ah scratch mah haid, an Ah scratch mah ass, an Ah thinks fer a moment, an Ah sez, sez Ah, “Well, ifn it’s a gurl, we otta name ‘er Prew dense…Prew dense Prisilla.” She looks at me, an she sez, sez she, “Wah, yew pigged out pile o puppy poop, Ah wouldn’t name yore dawgs hind end Prew dense Prisilla…yew better come up wi’ sup’in better’n that. Wuht if’n it’s a boy?.” “Well, hell,” Ah sez, “that’n be easy. If’n it’s a boy, he be Buford Aloysius.”

“Buford Aloysi…wuht thuh hell kinda name is that? Uh boy wi’ that name wuld never make it thrue skool…he’d be hekled raht out…Yew better dew better than that, old man.” “Well, we’ns figer it out when we noe whut it is, then.” “Ahl raht.”

One day, few month later, she call me at work, an she sez, sez she, “Ahs at thuh Laundromat. Mah water broke.” An Ah sez, “Wuht yew callin me at work fore, old woman, jes tuh tell me yew broke uh glass uh water?” An she sez, sez she, “Not uh glass, old fool, mah water…thuh baby cummin…Ah gots tuh git tuh thuh hospital.” An Ah sez, “Oh…awl raht…Ah com’n gitcha.” An she sez, “Hurry…but not tew fast…ah still gots close inna drier.” Well, Ah gits there, an ah gits her tuh thuh hospital, anna docter takes a look at ‘er, an he sez, “Sup’in wrong wi’ a baby. We’ns needs tuh dews a ee-mergencee c-section.” Ah sez, “Well, wuht Ah dew wahl you in section c?” An he sez, “Yew has tuh go tuh thuh Admittance Office.”

Well, she go tuh sextion c, an Ah inna Admittance Office, havin her committed, an then Ah goes tuh thuh waitin room, an Ah waites…Purty soon, this heah guy in whate come by, an he have mah son inna in-cue-bator…an Ah looks at him, an Ah looks at thuh boy…mah son, he look jest lahk mah fav-o-rite movie star…an Ah runs tuh thuh Recovery Room…an Ah shakes her awake, an Ah sez, “He look jest lahk mah fav-o-rite movie star! We’ns gots tuh name him Buford! We’ns jest gots tuh!” An she look up at me, an she sez, “Oh…it’s yew…Ah were dreamin of Robert Redford…an it jest yew. Why we gots tuh name him Buford?” An Ah sez, sez Ah, “Cause then we’ns kin call him ‘Buford the Blob!'” An she sez, “Aint no way he gonna be Buford! Try agin.” So, Ah sez, “Well, how about Robert?” An she sez, “After Robert Redford?” An Ah sez, “NO! Then he culd be ‘Bobby Blobby'”. She fixes me wi’ a look what could peel thuh paint off’n a two-dollar whore, an she sez, “Listen very carefully, yew pencil-pricked, prepubescent, pile o’ python puke (wow! sweet talkin me at a tahm lahk this!)…Ah’ll name this here chile…yew go take a walk…see if’n maybe yew caint find that there pea-sized brain of your’n what wandered off.”

An that there, young’ins, is haoh mah son…yer granpappy…ended up wi’ a dull name uv Paul David Stone…Ah figer she dun thowed in that there David jest tuh ‘pease me…An, hey! he dun growd up an joined up on that there Facebook…shore thing…his pichers raht there on mah profile…stop bye an say Howdeee…call him Buford…he lahks that…Ah noe when Ah brings it up, his face gits redder’n a Purple Crayola…an he spits an he sputters an he drools…an then he tries tuh sweet talk me jest lahk his momma usta…but he lahks hockey, Ah guess…keeps callin me A Stoopid Ol Puck…er sup’in lahk that…

I have a deep fear of heights. Now, I’m not exactly unique in this area…fear of heights is the second most common fear, right after fear of spiders…but I had it pretty bad…you know, like standing on the kitchen counter to change a light bulb sent shivers up my spine…and I really didn’t like feeling that way…Sooo…

I was living in Utah, which had some bearing on my decision…I was…uumm…let’s just say I was between marriages and leave it at that, OK? I was sitting in my apartment one day, and I thought, “You know, Dave, (if you’re going to talk to yourself, some form of address should be used, yes?) you have a fear of heights…and this fear is probably baseless, foolish and dumb.” Now…that thought alone should have told me that anything resembling intelligence that I may have had swirling in the vacuum behind my sinus cavities had probably bailed out on a coffee break. But, did I stop there? Nooo…”Now, Dave, since you have this fear, you should probably do something to get rid of it.” Yes, trouble looms…read on…

“You know what, Dave? You should take up Mountain Climbing.” Great. Stroll up a mountain path, stopping to smell the flowers, and when you get to the top, why, all your fears are gone, right? HA! Why stop at stupid when you can push it to the limit and do stupid to the utmost extreme? No…I was going to climb sheer walls, swing under outcroppings by my fingernails only, really scare the s**t out of this unnatural fear…and cure myself completely. I was going to use ropes, and pitons and all that good stuff…I was going to learn all the knots necessary…I was going to do this up right…and so I did.

And so, finally, I was ready…and ready to go, despite the fact that my intelligence was still on a coffee break. My smarts being noticably absent, the first thing I did was leave without telling anyone where I was going…I headed off to Southern Utah to find a peak to climb…and the steeper, the better…and boy, did I find one. You’ve seen the commercials where they have a truck parked on top of what is basically a peak that’s about the size of a pin, only the “pin” is 700 feet high? Yeah…like that.

My smarts still being on what had to be the world’s longest coffee break, I started climbing…and found that it was easier than I thought it would be…I mean that wall had all kinds of little knobs and holes and fissures and places to put pitons and everything. I was zippin’ up that wall…came to an outcropping, swung by my fingernails around it, had a good old time…probably because I never, never, never looked down…AND…I actually made it to the top…crawled up, laid down, closed my eyes…just lay there.

Apparently, while I was laying there, my intelligence returned from its’ break, looked around, and said…”WTF?” I turned over…I crawled…slooowwwly to the edge…I peered over…and down…about 400-500 feet down…for you citified folk who haven’t seen a mountain lately, think 40-50 story building…I looked out over an absolutely magnificent vista of desert and mountains and beauty and…and I thought the only possible thing I could think when confronted with a view like that: “Oooohhhh, s******t! How in the f*** am I gonna to get down from here?”

I crept back from the edge, turned over on my back, closed my eyes…thought…”Well…I’ll just lay here…in seven days, I’ll die of dehydration…the wind and the sun will dry me out, maybe mummify me…10,000 years from now an Archeologist will find my dessicated body…and maybe think that because I’m “buried” so high, I must be a king…and I’ll be famous…pity I have to wait 10,000 years for my 15 minutes of fame, but what the hell…” At this point, a slight squawk interrupted my little pity party…I opened my eyes…”Oh, look…a herd of vultures is giving me the once over…C’mon down, guys! I’m not goin anywhere…” At this point, of course, I got up and threw rocks at them…let me just say…they were 500 feet above me and about a half a mile away…throwing rocks was obviously not going to really effective…

It took me many, many hours to crawl down the wall…and I have to say that going down was more effective than any enema ever created…I didn’t have to use the bathroom for a week after that little jaunt…and let me say this about my fear of heights…did you notice the first sentence of this bit o’ writing? Wander back up and take a look…it is written in the present tense…yep, still get the shivers climbing up on the counter to change the lights…

For those of you who have a fear of heights, I have a suggestion…Grab a beer, flop on a nice, soft couch, grab the remote, turn on the TV, watch a documentary on The National Geographic channel…on mountains. This will, without a doubt, erase your fears…your fear of beer, of soft couches, of remotes, of The National Geographic channel. Your fear of heights? Sorry, can’t help you with that one…