FIT TO PRINT NUMBER 404

The Jugglers and the Clowns

circa February, 1992

I'm not going to comment at length here on the three-ring media circus that has taken over our lives (see elsewhere on this page for partially full details), but once again i am up against an incredibly tight deadline, because the day has been given over to repeated bouts of interviews with an array of reporters strung out from Syracuse, New York, to Rome, Italy.

I even got to talk to one of my favourite radio voices, Mitchell Krauss of the CBS network. And, funny thing, he didn't ask about the True Crime cards at all -- he wanted to see our JFK asdsassination set, Coup D'Etat, for a possible story. I was glad to oblige; Mitchell Kruss has one of the warmest chuckles in radio history, and as you know, i am a real sucker for radio voices that chuckle warmly.

I've been thinking of going to school to learn how to chuckle, myself (not to be confused with learning how to chuckle myself, which i think is a form of self-abuse). I tend to snort or giggle -- and having heard myself do so now on quite a few talk shows, i think it's time i cultivated a more sophisticated tone with which to express controlled amusement. The chuckle, resonant and sincere, would suit me, i believe, if i can but master its complexities.

But enough of that; let's talk about chickens (doing fine, laying well) or early spring bulbs (just beginning to show). Let me thank the nice folks who have recently sent in articles describing murals in post offices, for my collection of same. Your rewards are in the mail.

Oh no -- that's the phone again. Hang on a sec. Be right back.

Right -- where was i? Oh yeah, early spring bulbs. Well, the first paper-whites are open, and the snowflakes, and the yellow crocus, plus a few grape hyacinths and the first of the dwarf iris. The violets are in bloom, too, both white and purple, and a scattering of early anemones. In a few days we will have a new production manager (you'll hear more on that when he arrives), and by then the daffodils will begin to flower.

Val's car blew up the other day. Her timing belt shed its teeth and the pistons flew free and bent the valves open and that was that. No more compression; no more nothing.

I phoned my ex (Althaea's father, for those who are keeping score, and a shade-tree mechanic as well) to ask him if the $850 dollars the mechanic wanted to fix her wrecked engine was reasonable. His reply reminded me of why some exes are so much easier to know once they are exes and not too close at hand:

"The timing belt, huh? I'll bet she never replaced it, right? She never knew she had to replace it 'cause she never read the manual, right? And then it blew, right? Right? Well, it's all her own damn fault, then. Tell her to buy a new engine -- or a new car."

He has a nice chuckle, too. He inserted it, briefly, right after the word "manual."

Ah, the deja vu of it all. If you've ever had an ex, especially one who fixes cars, you know just what i mean. The sincere chuckle, the delicate sarcasm, the sudden surge of blame for failings too far gone to be corrected.

I suspect dentists are like that, too, although i have never had one for a lover.

All things considered, i am glad that, married as i am, my prospects for living with a dentist are at this time rather dim. But let us keep our fingers crossed. Let us not tempt fate.

Hang on -- there's the phone again.

Okay; that was a quick one; i told the guy i would fax him info about the cards and he should call me back when he receives it. That gives me just enough time to say goodbye and proof read this before he calls back.

Dentists, reporters, car mechanics... Protect us, o lord, from those who chuckle.

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