I learned of Bob’s fear of thunder and lightning when I felt his paws pulling at the sheet. He was trying to climb up into bed with me. I succeeded in preventing it, but moments later—when a bright flash of lightning, accompanied by a crack of thunder that violently shook the house, lit the room—he tried again, much harder, to leap up onto the bed. Once again, I succeeded in keeping him off, but this time I tried to comfort him by stroking his ears and talking to him. I had to say “No!” a few times, but eventually he got the message. He settled down on the floor next to the bed. A short while later, following a few more lightning flashes and rumbles of thunder, I heard his nails click-click-click on the floor as he padded off, seeking solace elsewhere.

When I woke up this morning, much later than usual, I was surprised that he was not in his bed. I assumed he had decided to spend the night on the loveseat in the office. My assumption was correct. He was there and there he remains as I type this post. I imagine he’ll soon decide it’s time for breakfast, which means he will interrupt my post and urge me to hurry, hurry, hurry to prepare his morning meal. No long after, he may insist on taking a walk, but the prospect of thunder and lightning may dissuade him from that routine. I’ll be interested to discover how he deals with two competing emotions: the joy of walking and terror thrust downward from the sky.


Today is St. Patrick’s Day, the day my neighbors will feed me corned beef and cabbage for dinner. It’s hard to believe we’re already mid-way into the third month of the year. Time, that artificial construct about which I write far too often, has apparently ingested large quantities of methamphetamine, AKA speed. That’s the only explanation that can fully explain the “rapidity of moments,” as I am wont to call the quick passage of time.


The National Weather Service has informed me that Hot Springs Village is under a Tornado Watch until 1:00 p.m. today. That fact makes me wonder about the wisdom of taking Bob for a walk, whether he wants to go or not. On the other hand, Bob’s morning walks lead to intestinal cleansing events, which if they were to take place in the house would be unfortunate and stress-inducing all the way around. One assumes one knows how to deal with such situations because, well, people have pets therefore they must know how to address such circumstances. But confusion can overcome obvious knowledge. And so it has. I will learn. Possibly.


A year ago today I found the answer to a question that had been on my mind for several years. But I did not accept the answer. This morning, though, I have come to accept the answer. And the answer is: Clyde McPhatter. The question was “Whose version of I’m Not Going to Work Today was played on the Glenn Mitchell Show on Labor Day, 205?” A year ago, I believed the answer was Boot Hog Pefferly and the Loafers. No longer. No, it was definitely Clyde McPhatter.

That’s one of several benefits of maintaining a blog. It can jog one’s memory. It can serve as a repository of minutia so utterly meaningless that the chances that one’s brain will recall such minutia without assistance are very, very small. And it can remind the blogger of moods, emotions, ideas, thoughts, considerations, and other such stuff that once occupied the brain. In fact, it can resurrect such stuff, weaving it together so thoroughly that it seems real. Even when it’s not. For example, I could make up something today and write about it as if it were real. A year or five from now, I could read what I’d written and I might successfully deceive myself into believing what I’d written. I haven’t done that, but perhaps I will. But not just yet.


Artificial humor is an ineffective shield against the blues. It’s about as practical as replacing bulletproof vests with cellophane.


It’s after 8 and I’ve still been unable to convince myself to get up and moving. But I have to feed Bob, so now is the time to begin a new adventure.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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