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Thirty-eight years I have done mortgage work

liking it less each year that I do it,

but it pays my bills, and feeds my face,

so I freely choose to stick to it


Unlike others I know who plan things well

I have no means to retire

though I have reached that age

when my employer may very well require


I stop showing up, grumping around

thinking I know so much,

when in truth, if I face it,

I am pretty much out of touch


We’ll see, we .shall. see

how much longer I tolerate their ire.

It is tough to not tell them to just drop dead,

I have never been a good liar.


what does this stupid game mean?
are they watching me through the camera in my computer?
should I be afraid of being hacked by some weirdo insinuating that I am too old to figure this out?
and why do I care what a computer game tells me?
what does it know?
is it yanking my chain?
not that I have a chain
but seriously, who started this?
is this what I will be facing the next time I renew my license?
and if I hit one of the deer in the simulation
should I stop or drive on?
I hit a deer once                                                                                                           with my Accord
in the dark                                                                                                                        on 285                                                                                                                         coming home from a visit with friends at their ranch in Hotchkiss                                                                                                                            on the Western Slope
idiot thing leapt up just as I reached it
smashed its foot into my right front headlight leaving an oomph of bile and grass in the middle of my hood
landed on its four feet
then took off running into the night trees
while I stopped
and cried                                                                                                                          and vomited
at the thought that I’d maimed or killed it                                                          and then I had to drive on

God, who made up this stupid game?  now I am verklempt about a deer on the road twenty years ago

rJo Herman   12/28/15


Disclaimer:   This is an example of Arachniphobic activity which is admittedly despicable.  It is not meant to encourage others to engage in similar activity.


Gasp loudly
Shoo away excited cat
Quickly run get three-four paper towels
Stand back with the hand holding paper towel extended well in front of you
Watch spider run into the crack in the woodwork
Kick the woodwork
When spider runs out, drop the paper towel and stamp it with your foot
Mash it left and right
Carefully gather up paper towel, squishing it together
Hold the tightly scrunched paper towel arms length in front of you as you take it to the trash
Drop it into the trash bag
Quickly tie off trash bag
Carry it outside to the garbage can outside

Scrub spot on floor with Windex
Spray Raid along woodwork


HOW TO KILL A BLACK WIDOW SPIDER IN A GLASS IN THE SINK using only those things immediately available…

Scream, then mutter, mutter, mutter through the next seven steps
(“damn it, just stay out of my house…why do you have to come into my house…you’re only going to die if you come into my house…if you’d stayed out of my house, I wouldn’t be doing this to you…”)

FIRST, a long spray of  extra crisp spray starch, check for movement…I see twitching…
Pour a liberal dose of Pinesol
Can’t find the RAID?
THEN, a large splash of Clorox
THEN, fill the glass with water…check to see if the spider is floating on top…
pour the contents of the glass down the disposal
turn on the disposal, run for 30 seconds
run HOT water down the drain…
double check that the spider has not jumped onto the counter top
SHUDDER violently
shoo away the Catt who has sat placidly watching…

watch the sink for the next three days for signs of spider activity



12 April

Dear Mary Ellen,

I have started this letter so many times, and something always seems to come up to pull me away, but today I’m going to finish it.

I hope Bill and you and the kids are well. I made a New Year’s Resolution to visit you for a good, long weekend this coming year. Of course, that’s barring layoffs or unplanned medical events. It was just about this time last year when I got that crazy diagnosis. I never expected that, and it surely changed all my plans for the rest of the year. But it all worked out well, eh?

I have joined an on-line writing group, and it has been a fantastic experience, seeing what others write about, and how they do it. It’s pretty amazing to hear how many writers are fascinated with witchcraft and vampires, just as we were “in our day.” I don’t remember stories and movies being so bloody and gory, but really, who am I kidding? To this day I shudder when I think of that Grim Reaper picture in that TV show called Chiller, where the scythe blade bled just before someone’s head was sliced off, and my brothers hid in the bedroom and bathroom off the hallway and made swishing sounds just like in the show, and my sister and I ran screaming to our room, sure we were next to lose our heads. Ha, we were pretty scared and the boys were brats.

Anyway, everyone in the writing group has agreed to take on a writing challenge about the elements for Earth Day, 2014. I chose water. It seemed it would be fairly easy, y’know? We need water to live, and all that, but I began researching it and cannot imagine how to narrow it down into one story, even a long one. I first thought to take a scientific, environmental stand. Save the water, and all that, but I haven’t been able to keep interested in that tact.

Then I thought to write a tale from a western pioneer’s viewpoint, reading diaries of women trekking across the plains with their families, following their husbands, leaving prized possessions in piles by the wheel ruts on any of a hundred difficult passes. These stories enthralled me, and I can just imagine, after sixty, eighty days out, finding a small, sweet stream with five or six tall cottonwoods for shade, some dear woman said to her dear, disillusioned husband,
“Stop! I will take not one step more on this ridiculous journey,”
and settled right there and then, eventually attracting other tired travelers who pooled their energies and resources to build a small way station with water troughs for tired horses, and a small trading post for weary, broke dreamers who needed to pay their wagon masters, and only had their grandmother’s long case clock left to barter.

BEIJING 2008 John K Olsen, photograper

BEIJING 2008 John K Olsen, photograper

What magic lies within this city?
What horrors hide in the fog?
What brilliant mind foresaw this skyline?