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Posts tagged ‘life lessons’

The No. 1 Designated Pig Feeder

My grandfather performed a lot of chores on the farm as a child.  He was the “water boy” and had to run through the woods to the stream to fetch water whenever it was needed.  With his younger sister Virginia, he would also watch cows when they were transferred from one field to another for grazing.  And he was usually responsible for feeding the chickens, hogs, and other animals.

To house the pigs, my grandfather’s father had built a large, fenced-in lot in the woods, where oak trees shed acorns, which the pigs loved to eat.  The acorns were not sufficient food, though, so they also had to be fed corn that had been grown on the farm.

The pig lot was about a mile from the house.  My grandfather had to carry a bushel of corn in a sack from the barn to the pigs.  Normally, this was not a problem, but as winter progressed and the snow got really deep, he began to realize that this was becoming a really arduous chore.  As he was dragging that bag in snow up to 2 and 3 feet deep, he decided on an alternative plan. Read more


With little forethought, I once, years ago, played an internet prank on someone who had done me wrong.  Although we — I had a partner-in-crime, who went along with it to be there for me — acknowledged during the execution how childish it was, we were high on revenge and our own cleverness.

The rationalizations started immediately after we stopped giggling: He deserved it, what we did wasn’t that bad compared to what he’d done, etc., etc.
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Diagramming: Yes Please

“I like hard work and I don’t like pretending things are perfect.”

~Yes Please by Amy Poehler


Diagramming: Wild

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

I recently read the book — in bed and got snot all over my pillow.  Then I saw the movie and re-cried all over my face in the theater.  Wild is a really compelling story about screwing up and redemption; physically grueling walks through the wilderness; the joys of being alone and of reading; the crap way we treat our parents; and what happens when they die, young and suddenly.

“The trees were tall, but I was taller, standing above them on a steep mountain slope in northern California.”



Somehow, when he was young, my uncle acquired a reputation as a “narc.”  This was likely because he never did any drugs but was often around people who did.  “I was offered lots of times,” he shrugs, “but always turned it down.  Those people get paranoid when they do it and you don’t.”

He ran track and cross-country.  He had a junior high record that wasn’t broken for years, and, in 10th grade, came in second in Maryland state cross-country finals.

So, my uncle had no interest in mind-altering substances that would interfere with his running.

When he was about 19, he was at a party at friend’s house.  “Slick” (not even his real nickname) was a buddy he knew from working on cars.  Tall, thin, and lanky, Slick also smoked a lot of dope and sold it too, but, my uncle explains, “I didn’t care what he did.”

He adds, “I was there for the girls, man.” Read more