— From EF —

I like to think of myself as the Queen of Leverage. I’m only 5’2” and though reasonably strong have been temporarily daunted by some tasks. Back in our earlier theatre days, I remember a “hot damn” moment when I wanted my Fender-Rhodes keyboard (more than 100 lbs) to go up on the second floor of our Lancaster PA theatre, and there was nobody else in the building. I figured how to use the piano itself as a lever and the edges of the stair as a fulcrum. I sat on my butt on each step, horsed the ass end of the piano up to a level where I could briefly haul, and moved up one step.

Here at home I had a number of little trees in half wine-barrels, and then they got bigger. When we moved our bottlebrush and our ceanothus, we discovered how heavy those root-balls were. Fortunately, I had already been trying to level each barrel as the year’s sinkage tipped them. Together we used long pipes from ancient stage sets, fulcrums from firewood, and got it done.

This last week, I needed to re-route a phone line disrupted by a spasm of carpet-cleaning. I found a route that would be better than what we’d had, and started to put the wires down, but the first obstacle out of the gate was that the phone jack on the wall was blocked off by the guest-bed stack. I was alone in the house.

I like the guest-bed stack a lot. I designed and made it the year we started script development on Loveplay (http://www.independenteye.org/scripts/loveplay) and needed to have sleeping room for two extra persons. I built twin bed frames that were designed to work independently, to come together as a king bed frame or to stack vertically as a day-bed. The design allowed me to make any of these changes solo, given the interesting grid guides on the underside of the plywood lids. Leverage.

OK, the day-bed stack was too heavy for me to move by jerking the frame. Nowadays, I have to consider the current deterioration of my spine, so just heave harder is not on the menu. I figured out a way to sit on the floor, put a knee up, balance the other forearm on the knee, and use my arms to shift that heavy load for the first step. Rinse and repeat.

I’m sitting here at the keyboard writing about how leverage can change things. I am asking myself, and asking you, what is leverage, and where can you apply it?

— From the Fool —

My friend Joe was very big on Trump for President. “He’ll shake stuff up,” he said. But Joe has had second thoughts. He saw how Trump made fun of the gimpy reporter, flapping his arms and making faces. Joe felt that wasn’t the kind of leadership we need. “Making fun of the guy wasn’t right,” he said. “He should have gone out and beat the shit out of the little bastard. We need to crack down.”

“Trump is all barf and no bite,” said Joe.

So he’s still looking for someone he can support. Last week more people got shot, so Joe thinks maybe it’s time for Charles Manson to enter the race. “We need a psychopath who’s not a politician, and he’s proved he can get things done. Sure, he’s got a lot of high negatives, but they could come up with a slogan like Tough Choices, Proven Leadership. They could call him the New Manson. Probably needs to apologize for all those murders, but he’s got life in prison, so we could keep an eye on him. And get rid of all that hair. Does he still have all that hair?”

I said maybe we don’t know enough about him, since he’s been out of the public eye. And maybe it was kind of mean to send innocent people out to do his killing for him. “That’s what Presidents do,” said Joe. I guess he’s got a point.

— From CB —

Home from the Southwest, and back to our Sunday ritual of sushi & sake at the ocean. Today it was cold and raining, so we stayed enclosed in the car, with only a window open to the blare of the ocean. A lovely reconnection, talking about images of the future, and then a strange bump. Something at the back of the car, a thumping, a bump, a disequilibrium of expectation. It felt as if there were something under the tail of the Prius bumping us. Looked out the window, nothing.

It continued. “Is something under there?” Elizabeth asked. Reluctantly, I got out of the car to look. Trotting away from the back of the car was a seagull. It’s probably an anthropomorphic projection to think of it as guilt-ridden, but its odd sidewise waddle suggested this. It sidled away and sat bulging its forward eye.

I got back into the car and made my report. We speculated. Was it pecking the butt of the Toyota expecting that sardines would poop out? Was it a desperate adolescent willing to hump a fireplug? Was our Prius in heat? Was the gull protesting our hypocritical Liberal indifference to the death of the planet? Was it just a bird who liked to peck tires? We pursued many interpretations of the undeniable reality of the seagull.

It happened twice more. Bump thump, open the door, waddle away. At last we allowed ourselves the luxury of indifference. Some mysteries are not to be fathomed. Let the Earth have its frail secrets undiminished. Time to drive home.


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© Bishop & Fuller 2015


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