Smiling at Something

Finally, after several grey days of clouds, rain, fog, and humidity high enough to drown aquatic animals, today’s expectation is for mostly sunny weather. The day is starting—at 27°F—with a decidedly frosty feel, but the forecast calls for the temperature to reach 50°F at the peak. Still quite cool, but when coupled with the sun and a comfortable sweatshirt, better than just tolerable.

A big window in the bathroom of the new house will let in enough light to permit me to see what I’m doing when I take down the master bath light fixtures in the new house. After the walls have been textured and painted, new fixtures will help transform the room into a somewhat more modern, inviting environment. But the removal of light fixtures will have to wait until tomorrow, when the weather is expected to replicate today, because today I have a competing schedule to follow. First, we’ll go to town to deal with errands: regular vehicle maintenance, along with handling a recall matter, for my IC’s car; picking up lighting and ceiling fan items ordered for the new house; and assorted other minor demands on my time.

Then, this afternoon, I return to my dentist’s office to be fitted for a device designed to hold tooth-whitening bleach. I hope to transform my life-long overly-yellow teeth into chompers with a whiter bite.

I know. It’s naked vanity. My objective is to draw others’ attention away from noticing my mammoth mid-section and direct it, instead, to my soon-to-be-brilliantly-white teeth, which may—as a potential downside—highlight my diastema. The thought processes behind my decision to whiten my teeth may help me fathom the rationale behind the application of make-up. I’ve never quite understood why women (mostly) use make-up so freely; it has seemed like an enormously time-consuming process that covers natural beauty with an artificial façade. I may have a better feel for it now; make-up is meant to highlight that natural beauty, rather than replace it. I suppose it’s something similar with my teeth, though they are not naturally attractive. Whitening may draw attention away from some of the unsightly aspects of my face, giving prominence to other elements of my outward appearance. Time will tell. It always does.

So, the light fixture surgery will wait until tomorrow. Speaking of surgery, yesterday, even with the drabness of a cloudy day, I was able to remove more than a dozen switch-plate covers for telephone wires  and cable television cables. It involved more than just unscrewing covers. In every case, the wiring/cables were affixed to the covers, requiring sometimes delicate surgical procedures to remove the covers without severing wires that could, some day, need to be connected again. I am proud to say I completed the surgery without, to my knowledge, killing any of the patients.


Busywork sometimes keeps me from erupting like a volcano. I need to work on cooling that sea of magma within me. Busywork simply acts as a plug in a crater; unless the cauldron of molten rock beneath cools, the plug will pop like a cork, letting a rush of melted material spray like a geyser, The way to cool the flow of magma is to find alternate ways of releasing the pressure that arises from capturing explosive heat in a sealed vessel.

There should be a lesson in a metaphor. But, like some similes, the instruction sometimes is as clear as mud.


Off we go, avoiding people as much as we can while conducting business with people who, often, do not believe in science as much as they believe in the divinity of idiots. COVID has not only revealed gaping wounds in our culture, it has somehow infested the wounds with maggots that feast at the site of the injuries, making the wounds ever larger and harder to heal.  What a cheery way to launch a trip into town.


About John Swinburn

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