Paragraphs

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A paragraph is a distinct segment of a piece of writing, usually addressing a single theme and signified by a new line, indentation, or numbering. They can be long or short, but too long looks blocky to me so for arbitrary reasons alone, I usually go with shorter paragraphs. The following paragraphs were to be full-length stories, but I sort of stalled out after the last sentence of each one. Not being the wasteful sort, I thought I’d share them as is.

Fun fact: the proofreader’s symbol for a paragraph— ¶—is called a pilcrow. They show up in the margins when I write something. You don’t see them. I think they were named after actress Gwyneth Pilcrow.

Here goes:

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This happens to me a lot. I’ll run into someone and we’ll chat for a bit, and the last words they say are, “Tell your wife I said hi.” OK, now what? I always appreciate the cordiality, as I’m sure it was well intended, but I seldom, if ever, tell my wife that so-and-so said “hi” because I’m not sure if I should call that person to let them know that Mrs. G. said “hi” back.

Hi-smiley“Hello, Jack? Rick. My wife says hi back. Yeah. Uh-huh. Hi. Just hi. OK, bye. Wait … am I supposed to say “bye” for my wife too? Hello … hello? Still there?”

What’s the procedure for the absent hi? I was schooled in most protocols of etiquette, but the absent hi was never covered. Cripes, this salutation by proxy could go on forever.

(Author’s note: It’s been pointed out to me that this was also a Seinfeld bit. Tell Jerry I said “hi,” and that he likely did it better.)

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It was gradual at first, but plastic jars have overtaken glass jars by a huge, almost absolute margin. I started getting my peanut butter at Trader Joe’s because it was good peanut butter and it came in a glass jar. It was a twofer. Then they switched to plastic jars, so I wrote them a concise e-mail:

Dear Joe,

I don’t like the plastic peanut butter jars but I do like your peanut butter. I’m torn.

Sincerely,

Rick

They never got back to me. They must’ve been busy trying to clean out a spent plastic peanut butter jar, which is about as easy as gnawing barnacles off a cruise ship with your teeth.

These days, my wife and I save the few glass jars we get as if they are antiquities—jelly, mustard, olives, and pickles seem to be the last holdovers for glass jars. I don’t know how long we’ll save them, but as Mrs. G. says, “they’re too nice to throw away.” If it were up to me, I’d use the mustard jars for wine. Red wine, of course. White wine goes in olive jars. Everybody knows that.

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All of my dresser drawers are cube-shaped and fairly deep, which isn’t very conducive to finding anything. My sock drawer, in particular, was crammed so full that I had to make room in my underwear drawer for socks. I have no idea why I had so many socks, but to make my sock problems worse, all of them were performance socks. Where am I performing?

These things were woven with different levels of thickness and tightness along different parts of the foot. The ball of the foot is tight and narrow while the rest varied with the whims of the sock designer. I think the ultimate goal is for socks to be so specific that there are a left and a right sock. The whole thing is absurd, and I was done with it, done with trying to wrangle them over2160635_Charcoal_Assorted my size fourteen feet, done with the whole thing. I put them all in a bag and put them in the basement, and then I went out in search of socks that were normal. Not too tight, not too baggy, not cotton and with nice colors or patterns.

I found two pairs (they were sold two pairs to a bundle) of wool/acrylic socks for sixteen dollars, which seemed a lot for basic socks that weren’t designed for an Olympic athlete, but I bought them anyway. I wore them once and the next day, I wore the other pair back to the store to buy three more bundles. They fit perfectly, I can find them in my dresser drawers, and eight pairs of socks are more than enough for one pair of feet.

~~~~

My wife likes Adele. The singer Adele. Nobody knows her last name, which makes me wonder what the next female singer coincidently named Adele will call herself. Adele the Other? Adeleier? Adele-diddly-odel-dee-yodel-oh-dee?

Mrs. G. boutl6f9ght Adele 1’s latest CD, so for the first time in six years; there is a new disc in the CD carousel in her car. She likes Adele’s music so much that she listens to it all the time. Loudly. I absolutely know she sings along as she drives.

If I happen to take her car out, the first thing I hear, without fail, is Miss Adele singing to the rafters, “Hello from the other side. I must have called a thousand times.” Same verse. How does that even happen? Anyway, I appreciate Adele’s talent, but it sounds as if she’s singing in the back seat, which is frightening. So I mute the sound. I’d rather drive in silence anyway. Gives me time to think of other songs that will push “Hello from the other side. I must have called a thousand times,” out of my head.

~~~~

I’m trapped inside, due mostly to the below zero temperature and double-digit negative wind chill. Staring outside through the windows, it even looks cold. When I got up this morning to let the dog out, the wind pushed the door open the instant I turned the knob, which never happens. Little swirls of snow drifted at my feet. Milo stepped back about a yard and refused to go out. I couldn’t blame him, but he had to pee, so I let him out into the garage, and then I hit the opener button. The door got about two feet off the ground, and he stepped exactly one body length outside, peed, and turned around.

I bring this up because the TV weathermen have been telling people how to dress and behave while outside in this extreme cold as if everybody who is watching local TV weather has recently moved here from the Caribbean and is wondering why the white sand is so cold. Anybody who lives in this region who is not smarter than my dog and who goes outside without dressing for the weather has a screw loose. Several screws, in fact. I’ve lived here and worked outside my entire life, and I’m not even going out for the mail until it’s above zero.

~~~~

Everybody needs a hobby, so one of mine is photography. The trick is to take pictures of things that have been photographed a million times before and make them different enough to be interesting. This has gotten me back outside and exploring again. I look for symmetry and angles and colors and try to crop in on them, and when I’ve done enough of that, I zoom out for broader landscapes. As I walk around, there is one thing that I keep wondering: Still no Bigfoot? No Loch Ness Monster? No UFO’s? Not even a Chupacabra? Everybody has a mobile device with an HD camera and video recorder, so where’s the proof of these myths and legends? I say it’s high time somebody snaps a picture of Sasquatch. There are enough pictures of the various Kardashian’s pouting in front of a bathroom mirror.

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That’s it, but here’s one more fun fact:

In the early 1950s, Jack Kerouac typed an entire single-spaced manuscript on a one hundred and twenty foot roll of Teletype paper. He keruoacscrollrolled the paper through the platen of his typewriter and kept on typing until his story was told. It was one big, huge paragraph.

Six years after it was written, the scroll was edited to include paragraphs into what many people now know as On The Road.

The original scroll sold for 2.43 million dollars in 2001.

Oddly enough, the original, unedited, typos intact, no paragraph version of the scroll version is available to read on a Kindle. My question is this: Do I have to place two hundred and fifteen Kindles in a row to read it?

 

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