Saturday, December 12, 2015

Fact or Fiction?

Sometimes life is so mundane it is not even recognized as "life as we know it."  I know it's difficult to imagine that someone such as myself, someone so dynamic and multi-talented, that my life could be momentarily dull. It may also surprise you that I have come to enjoy those moments of quiet inactivity.  I know, I know. Some of you have imagined my life as being similar to a high speed roller coaster twisting and turning, going upside down and trying to throw me into the stratosphere. It's not that I haven't had actual moments like that, screaming down the highway with total disregard, but for the most part my life is more like someone caught in start and stop traffic in a busy city, frustrated with the inability to get where I am going in a timely manner.

Today, for example, I have to clean the stalls in the barn. I had put the horses in the other night because it had been raining on them all day with temperatures just above freezing. They have shelter, but they still manage to get fairly wet and the wind was picking up. So, with my muck boots and trusty manure fork, I will make the horsey hotel presentable again. Until the next crappy weather event. Beats going to a gym.

Speaking of weather (here comes boring), it has been unusual to say the least. You must understand that talking about the weather in Northern Minnesota is not considered "small talk." It is right up there with religion and politics and is just as controversial. If you have ever spent any time in this state you would understand. Having grown up (allegedly) in Delaware (yes, I did go to high school with George Thorogood) I found it to be an odd thing that people were always talking about the weather as though something should be done about it. Normally we would have a foot or two of snow and be warming up into the 20's (-5C). We only occasionally get below freezing at night this year.

Speaking of speaking in Minnesota, the people here do not believe they have an accent. Some were downright offended when I told them it is not the Queen's English they are speaking. They say the movie Fargo and apparently the TV series of the same name (I haven't seen it yet) exaggerate the sound of Minnesotan. Not by much. If you get into the rural areas of the state it starts to sound more like Sven and Ole. "Ver yew bin to Ole?" "I yust bin loggin in da wuts" No wonder they can't understand anyone from Alabama.

Gone are the days when the CIA would call when they needed to run special ops against the Russians. They erased my memory well enough that I only get bits of what happened in my dreams. The strength and stamina of youth are gone, but at least the older I get the better I was. I remember enough to put some stories together, but Robert Ludlum already did something like that with the Bourne series. I don't want to take away any of his glory. It's just the kind of guy I am.  Even when under surveillance by the FBI back in '74 I never took advantage of the situation to write a best seller. Could have retired long ago.

It's true that I could go outside on the deck, plug in 100 watts of pure Marshall crunch and make the neighbors think they are in a remake of Woodstock. Even with their windows closed. I just don't want them all coming over like the last time when Clapton came for a quick visit. We just play acoustic now so he can get some peace and quiet.  

So, you see, I have been around the block, but I am grounded in reality. Tomorrow's big project is changing out the old water softener and replacing it with a nice new shiny bright one from the modern era. I have talked a neighbor into giving me a hand. Maybe we'll have a beer and talk about the things we may or may not have done in the past. You know, relive the glory days when we were living on the edge, foot free and fancy loose. Was it fact or was it fiction? Does it really matter?


  1. If ever I am tempted to think of my life as dull I think of the purportedly Chinese curse - 'may you live in interesting times...'.
    That has always struck me as vicious.
    Boredom is fine. Particularly when I can be a legend in my own head without threatening the status quo.

  2. Facts are merely an annoying encumbrance to a good story. ;-) If I manage to get through a day without being as full of it as your wheelbarrow, I mark the occasion down on my calendar.

  3. Do you compost, Jono? The horse manure and dirty straw would be right at home in a compost pile. Now THAT'S my idea of exciting!

  4. but but but are the walleyes and crappies bitin' dont'cha know?

    yes, there IS an accent in MN, Virginia, just like there is an accent in philly YO! jeet yet?

  5. I drove a MN plated car arund California for a month and with it and my thick Scandinavian accent, I could get away with Everything.

  6. Whenever I get stressed out about stuff, I've been known to state that "a boring life is highly underrated."

    I used to live in Jamestown, NY, where the population is overwhelmingly of Swedish descent. Swanson and Johnson made up half the phone book. The city still has a Swedish consulate and I've heard the Scandinavian accent. On Christmas Eve you eat Korv and everybody knows what lutefisk is. :-)

  7. "I did go to high school with George Thorogood"

    I read this sentence assuming it would be George Washington. No idea why really, except that I, of course, have not the faintest idea who Mr Thorogood might be. But I do know Washington crossed the Delaware, so that's there.

  8. George Thorogod, Eric Clapton . . . look at you!
    I thought that i remembered that you played guitar. Perhaps you can perform my song for the Tubes of You. ;)
    Your first paragraph cracked me the hell up.

  9. Elephant's Child, Boring is much less stressful and I tend not to break out in hives when relaxed.

    Diane, Good of you to notice horseshit when you see it, although you come up with some good fiction that I have enjoyed immensely.

    Ahab, Yes I do. It is a hot commodity in this land of thin soil. Some locals get $100 a yard for the stuff, but I prefer the barter system.

    anne marie in philly, We have a weatherman in Duluth who is from just across the river in Jersey. It is fun to listen to him. I was able to assimilate rather quickly so people would stop looking at me funny when I spoke.

    Onevikingirl, My father was talking to a rental car guy at the Minneapolis Airport, noted his accent, and asked which part of Scandinavia he was from. "Wisconsin," he said. I think Californians are generally sympathetic to folks from the Midwest.

    Pixel Peeper, Here the phone book is full of Johnsons, Olsons, Petersons (and Pedersons), Nelsons, and Ericksons,and we can buy lutefisk and lefse at the grocery store.

    Bill the Butcher, George T. is a minor rock star with at least one hit tune, Bad to the Bone. I am not quite old enough to have known Washington, but there are days I feel like it.

    Dawn, It is tempting, indeed to do that with your lyrics for, "You're a Mean One, Mr. Trump". That was hilarious and scary! Not everything I mentioned is totally the truth, but some of it is verifiable.

  10. 1. Oh yes. Cold, hard reality. I know it well. Have fun with that water heater, eh?
    2. Your paragraph about how Minnesotans talk about weather made me laugh out loud. Canadians are the same way and for the same reasons.
    3. I always thought the accents in Fargo were exaggerated too. Then once on a plane trip I had a 2 hour layover in Minneapolis. And heard a woman in the waiting room talking EXACTLY LIKE THAT. Her accent was AMAZING. I did a literal double take when I heard her.

  11. Boring is good. At my age, I don't care where my wife goes as long as I don't have to go with her. Mine is gone to her sister's in Siberia for a month or two. Cleaning barns and fixing water heaters would be exciting.

  12. Debra, New water softener is installed. Now all I have to do is program it. This close to the border there is a bit of cultural spillover. Here on the North Shore the generation older than me (not many of them left) sound even more Fargo than Fargo. They tell amazing and often hilarious stories.

    Blog Fodder, When my neighbor told his wife he was thinking about insulating his pole building she got pretty excited thinking he was going to be spending more time in it. Gotta know how to keep the Missus happy.

  13. I like boring, but my version of boring is truly doing nothing. Like, if the wife told me I needed to replace the water softener, my first response would be, "Oh man, but I was having so much fun doing nothing on the computer. Now I have to do something. This is the worst."

  14. Real or fiction? I say if you think it was real, it was real. Especially as the memory deteriorates.

    I'm almost afraid to ask, but what the heck is a pole building? (in your reply to a comment)

  15. Indeed, I was treated very well in California as a midwesterner. Although with the car nobody ever thought to think we were actual Scandinavians fist time in the US. Your father did lay good ground work for us!

  16. ABFTS, I feel your pain. Sometimes nothing is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, stuff still needs doing and, not being a wealthy person who can just call someone, I have to do stuff I am not comfortable with doing. I have learned a few things and created a few disasters. Maybe I should recall some of those for entertainment purposes.

    jenny_o, Are you saying my memory is deteriorating? You may have hit the proverbial nail on the head. There was this time I was impregnated by space aliens...
    A pole building is one in which larger posts are used as a basis for framing instead of traditional stick framing. Many barns and metal storage buildings are built this way. I understand your fear in asking. It could be something completely different. :)

    Onevikinggirl, If you travel the U.S. and don't feel like explaining where Sweden or Norway is, just tell them you're from North Dakota, Minnesota, or Wisconsin. Works every time.

  17. I've found there are different kinds of boring. "Bored at work" is torture. "Bored at home" is heavenly.

    In the meantime, I'm still under FBI surveillance. And any friend of Eric Clapton's is a friend of mine. ; )

  18. The only thing I know about what you speak of are the Sven and Ole jokes. I won't recount any here, b/c someone might be offended (google them if you want), but some of them are pretty funny.
    P.S. It's freakishly warm here in the northeast as well, altho' they say the cold is coming by next weekend.

  19. Boring is better than dramatic, though not nearly as good as interesting. Is that you or Clapton in the photo? (You're both hotties so I can't tell.) Smiles.

  20. Agi Tater, Phone taps are hard to discern these days, but their vehicles and clothing always stand out. I'll say "Hi" to Slowhand for you.

    Tom Sightings, There are whole books of Sven and Ole jokes. I am at least half Scandinavian and I think they are hilarious. It has been a bizarre weather season for sure.

    Robyn, You always know how to make a man blush.

  21. Ah, the good old days, the youth likely wouldn't believe our stories and adventures anyway.

  22. Wait... Fargo isn't an accurate representation of Minnesota-speak? But... I dated a nurse who fled Minnesota to start a new life as a Jesus-lovin' Nashville girl, which is almost exclusively how I meet women- just after they've done something so horrible they have to abandon their lives to relocated next to mine- and anyway, she talked just like the people in Fargo. Or Sarah Palin. Tina Fey, maybe.

    Anyway, tell 'em up there that it's okay if they can't understand anyone from Ala-fucking-bama... they won't say anything you need to hear, and if you did understand them you'd feel the same was about 'em we do... Embarrassed.

    Next time Eric's comin' over, gimme a call. But speak English. I don't know if I can translate that Fargo lingo quickly enough to carry on a conversation.

    Nice new water softener. Go to school for that?

  23. My life lately is sort of like, "Ditto" to this post! I feel bad I haven't really blogged lately, but it's like shoveling poop and cleaning out the refrigerator are sort of not the most exciting blog topics! Although, of course, I was riveted by your post here. ;)

    'Tis weird weather, isn't it? It's like my youth in California.