You Got to Trust Yourself

Holiday Inn, Denton Texas, September 1965: James Cato was a cajun from Lake Charles, Louisiana. He had a wooden leg from his youth. He and a friend were drinking beer in the street outside a bar, when a speeding car lost control. James pushed his friend out of the way, but his leg was crushed between a parked car and the speeding car. So he was crippled for life.

He’d played guitar at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, once upon a time, when Elvis was there. James was certain that Elvis was a tee-totaller. “I’ve got my first time,” he said, “to see him take a drink.”

At the Holiday Inn, a guy named Fred Kahler had been brought in as manager from the Lake Charles Holiday Inn, owned by the same folks as built the one in Denton Texas. Fred Kahler brought in James Cato from Lake Charles to be the night auditor in the Denton Holiday Inn. One day I asked James about how he added everything up, and he told me about it. I puzzled.

“How do you know you’re right?” I asked. He gaped at me.

“You *got* to trust yourself,” he said.

Now as it happened, one day James Cato told the manager and Ron the Assistant Manager, that he was going to go back to Lake Charles, in three weeks. They did nothing. He told them again. They did nothing. He told them again. They did nothing.

So in three weeks he left, and they ran about in circles, waving their arms, wailing what where they going to do?

I stood up. “I can do it,” I said. Continue reading

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Law 23 of Paradox

This is a simple law of nature, but one which is very handy:

Paradox is an Illusion, caused by the Limitations of our Perception

That’s it.

Early in the morning on March 4th in 2004, Adrienne and I were smoozing over coffee, and she said she was re-reading a book on “enneagrams”, a scheme presented by Gurdjieff that classifies humans into nine personality types. She said she was a Two (the Giver) and that I was a Nine (the Boss).

Well, while I like to think of myself as a warm and wonderful person, and although I have learned not to have any employees, perhaps she is right.

But that’s not the point. Continue reading

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Upgraded to Windows 10! Computer Still Working!


Medford, Oregon, July 14, 2016 — News Flash! I have upgraded to Windows 10 … and I am still alive … and so is my computer.

I was scared to do this. But finally I figured … what could be worse than that little popup nagging me worse than my mother ever did?

So finally I took the plunge, clicked the button that promised that all my files would be right where I left them. (Franky, that idea of leaving all my files was pretty scary, too.)

And then I watched it for about two hours, while it chugged away. Well actually I watched Limitless, almost three episodes.

And then it was done, and it looks a lot … like windows.

Go eat a fig.

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Remembering the Coffee Thief

Medford, Oregon, 2015 — In memory, an entire lost continent can repose, with sometime awakening to peek through eternal mists. And so many things can remain the same, in memory.

Once and again upon such a time, on a particular this morning, toward the end of breakfast, Susan said, “Oh, look at that,” pointing far to my left.

While I’m oogling out the window, seeing nothing unusual, she’s stealing the last sips of my coffee.

Ha! I’d let it go cold. Serves her right.

The rewards of crime are cold.

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Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

— Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate


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