Bristling Sardines by the Wayside

Sometimes I think I have too many stories whirling around in my head. Too many incomplete ideas seek a foothold in a brain unable or unwilling to provide a foundation. Yeah, that’s it. I’m flush with ideas, but not with the mechanisms of transforming them from concept to completion. If I had the energy and the time to go through this blog, every post, and outline the story lines I’ve started, I would discover an enormous volume of snippets, as I call them, that might deserve development. But I’ve done that, haven’t I? I’ve begun the process many times, losing interest far before the work is complete. Pfftt! And the thing is, even when I decide on a small number of stories, or even a single piece, my attention span proves insufficient to carry the idea to some semblance of completion. I mentioned my short little span of attention recently, didn’t I? Yes, I did. But I don’t recall the context; my short-term memory is becoming just as fuzzy as my long-term memory.

While I’ve thinking of it, I had a dream last night in which I was instructed to take pieces of paper and discard them in a stream. The shreds of paper represented my regrets about things I did or did not do during the past year. That exercise, someone in the dream told me, was my opportunity to make a new beginning, without regrets to weigh me down. The dream progressed, in a disjointed fashion, to the next scene in which I was looking for an address in a dense city neighborhood where I was to take a class. But I discovered the address was incomplete; it pointed me in the right direction, but not to the right building. And I discovered that the address where the class was to be taught was on a street perpendicular to the street address I was given. I woke up in the midst of the confusion about the address; just before I woke up, I was trying to make sure I balanced between three things…not sure what three things they were. I think they may have been three lifestyles or attitudes or beliefs. Odd dream. Can’t remember much of it. Another incident of memory failing me.

Between my January 1 weigh-in and my weigh-in yesterday morning, my weight dropped by an impressive 6.6 pounds. But after yesterday’s monstrous Italian lunch, complete with enormous rolls of garlic bread, I gained 1.8 pounds back, according to this morning’s weigh-in. Not to worry. I’ll continue on my path; it’s not a diet path, though. It’s a lifestyle change path. I don’t feel pressure about it; I just feel that it’s time I stopped behaving as if my body belonged to a twenty-five year old who could consume as much of anything as he wanted without worry. Too much meat, too much bread, too much booze, too much of everything. Enough. Enough. Enough. Last night, as I snacked on the leftovers from yesterday’s breakfast (the remnants of a can of heavily-spiced Rotel tomatoes), I thought, “I could enjoy a steady diet of nicely-spiced cooked mixed vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, cauliflower, eggplant, etc.” And I am sure I could. Perhaps I should. Would that allow me to consume the necessary amounts of protein and other nutrients I need? I do not know. But I bet I could figure it out without a great deal of trouble; no gnashing of teeth required. If I went to a purely vegetarian diet, I’d have to give up my herring and my bristling sardines. That would be a challenge and a hardship. How can I just cast my bristling sardines by the wayside? I could become a vegetarian with periodic deviations into pescaterianism. Yeah, that’s it. And when the moon reaches the zenith of its brightness in the sky, I could deviate even further, becoming a carnivore for the night. I believe that mix is called omnivorousness, or something like it. I could follow Michael Pollan’s advice: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” That is excellent advice. Perhaps my lifestyle will follow it. We shall see. We always do.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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One Response to Bristling Sardines by the Wayside

  1. Bob Benedict says:

    John, I was talking with Steve Muncy today and he told me that you now lived in the Hot Springs area. My wife and I are selling our house and moving there as well. We decided after a visit that this would be good for us. Is it true, and if so what secrets can you share? Do you like it and is it a good place to retire?
    And how have you been all these years? I have lost touch with just about everyone except Steve. Drop me a lie when you get a chance.

    I used this method of contact because I do not have email or phone for oyu. I can be reached at and 702-353-9802

    Bob Benedict

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