“When’er into thine eyes I see, All pain and sorrow fly from me.”


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Party Codes



Now it is high summer and the time for attending parties, barbecues, and random get-togethers.

Awful, isn’t it.


Yours truly has never been a party person (though I can play that role if cornered, but must always take a 6-week sabbatical afterwards). Because my wife IS decidedly one, a 24-hour party person, that is – I employ some coping strategies (you know, to keep the marriage on the smooth asphalt and not that side road, with all the boulders and potholes). Here’s the formula, for those of you of that bent: Happy wife = happy life.


I will go to a party and will generally gravitate to (after seeing what is on offer at the refreshment tables) whomever seems to be at a loose end. We will, hopefully bond, as fellow outcasts. I will usually employ the ‘what’s your passion’ strategy, as opposed to ‘what do you do to keep the wolf from the door’, which is a much less interesting conversation, generally. (Oh you’re in IT. Wilt’s brain scrambles for some conversational common ground. He decides, ‘Heh heh, now everything’s in the cloud, I like clouds, my favourite’s cumulus’  is less than ideal)  ‘What’s your passion‘ usually opens up a very rich conversation, I would highly recommend it, as a general rule.

I am usually interrupted in my excellent one-on-one by the arrival of a long-lost acquaintance of the ‘outcast’, and am cast aside like a soiled Kleenex. To save face, I will talk nonsensically into my smart phone, or my car alarm key fob, if the phone is not readily available.


All this conversational dexterity and acts of subterfuge is, in the end, extremely exhausting. There is only so much party I can take – I mean, being ‘on’ takes its toll, both mentally and physically. My charisma starts to waver eventually, and I begin to cast about – looking for an escape route. Where’s a Barnes and Noble when you need one? Would it be offensive to pull out Infinite Jest and bury my nose in it? If that is drywall, I should be able to punch my way through – I’ll do a test kick with my shoe heel.

I usually have quite a stable of books on my smart phone, which I can peruse, while appearing to be doing some ‘important’ work. Creasing your forehead, sticking your tongue out of a corner of your mouth, ensures that you will a) not be disturbed and b) appear to be involved in loftier pursuits.

Party codes. These can be employed when verbal communication is not possible between 2 persons. These codes can convey important messages that, if verbalized, might cause, well . . . I like to call it ‘unpleasantness’.  Do you WANT to be invited to future parties? Yes, a hard NO. This is real life, though.

Here are the party codes. You’re welcome and enjoy your summer.



Bring the car to the front with the engine running.




Bail me out of this conversation.




My/your boss is in the next room.



I have used up all my party witticisms. Shall we depart?



Holler Scholar


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As comedian Paul F. Tompkins alluded to, in one of his hilarious routines, everything we do is done to avoid getting yelled at. Just by standing in the wrong line, we are vulnerable to getting yelled at. Isn’t it the worst? I immediately revert to childhood and become sullen and self-defensive. If there is anything to kick on the ground, I will kick it. Well, I didn’t know, and I did not see that giant sign in day-glo letters.

There is one omission – the boss. It goes without saying that he/she may communicate through yelling only. Oh, and plus I just forgot!

You Don’t Have to Be Nuts to Work Here . . .


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Sorry, yet another squirrel cartoon – I do adore them. I rehabbed an injured little guy in a cage, many years back. Fed him (or her) milk through a syringe. We released him , and I imagine he was mugged by a gang of field mice (Fawlty Towers reference). We did the same for an injured crow – there is nothing as satisfying as providing triage for God’s creatures.