1998 Annual Letter

 

It's happened again. I ve got stigmata. This normally occurs around Easter, though the winter holidays aren't bad. One always hopes for an epiphany or at least a little religious fervor to accompany open flesh wounds. However, my plans for hosting a shrine on the border were crushed when I realized the twin blisters (one on each hand) were caused by some work gloves while raking rather than divine intervention.

 

My strong desire to mulch has finally abated with the cold weather. Still suffering from a case of excessive home ownership. In the spring I broke down and bought a modest house here on Point Bob. It's interesting to see the seasonal changes reflected in what one shops for at the hardware store. Currently I look longingly at free standing fireplaces on my regular rounds to pick up tools, plumbing supplies, and grout. Warmth (or lack of) is a major topic about now. Finally figured out how to turn on the electric furnace. The drapes weren't responding well to nightly barbecues in the living room.

 

The house is, literally, just across the street from the border. I gaze north out the window, look across a small, two-lane rural road, and peer into the backyards of Canada. Canadian news featured a series of stories a few weeks after I moved in about how the original border (made 150+ years ago) was in error. It is about fifty meters or so north of where it really should be (the 49th parallel). Since my new house is right on the border, it is, technically, in Canada. I'm not sure what to do about this. Attempts to disguise the front door as a giant maple leaf have been less than convincing and may only incite the barbarians from the north.

 

I try to watch for suspicious troop movements to the north and, so far, have only spotted one cat, who seems to cross international boundaries with impunity. Eagles, egrets, and various feathered creatures fly lazy, circular reconnaissance missions overhead, but seem to be, mostly, benign. Sadly, the neighborhood hardware store does not stock anti-tank barricades. I am left with planting thorny rose bushes in the front yard as my first line of defense against possible invading hordes of Canadians looking to expand their territory and buy gasoline and alcohol at a lower tax rate.

 

The overhead telephone line out the window became a thoroughfare in the fall when squirrels used it as main highway to forage for acorns. I suspected this was an indirect message and had vague impulses to be more productive; winter was a'coming in. In hindsight, it is always easier to imagine more is possible. As it is, I am getting by.

 

A shock came at the end of November when wind storms knocked out power lines to a couple of hundred thousand residents. Not only was I off the grid, the meter pole in the backyard fell over in the same storm. I got to stay inside a dark, unheated house for a couple of days waiting for the electricity to be turned on to make sure this fallen line didn't turn into a live, sparking one and burn down the house. I was getting used to sixty degree temperature, now fifty-five seems luxurious. The squirrels chuckle to themselves.

 

Haven't made it to a movie theater this year. The last time I was in a cinema was with my brother and sister-in-law twelve months ago. The sound system impressed me much more than the visuals. A bit of research showed it was possible to recreate this type of sound in a home theater set up. Several thousand dollars later and I can now rumble the house by cranking up the sub-woofer as it recreates explosions from the DVD player. The downside is that I now know my weakness and must stay away from theaters. The next visit will probably result in large, red velvet curtains in the living room and telephone booth sized popcorn machines in the entryway. Restraint must be wonderful.

 

It must be immersion in academia and staring down postmodernism that made this sig. file seem so clever. It helps to know that Derrida is a prominent, French deconstructionist.

 

Q: What do you get when you cross the Godfather with Derrida?

 

A: Someone who makes you an offer you can t understand.

 

copyright 1998 by Todd Strong

 

       
 

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