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Thursday, February 23, 2012

What Smart Looks Like

      I have been watching the counter totals trying to see what draws readers and what doesn't. It doesn't seem to help so I will just do what I can and y'all keep coming back and every now and then something will tickle your fancy.

People who do not live in beautiful downtown Fallon, seem to want to know what the weather is like here. For Thursday February 23rd the expected high is 56F and zero chance of precipitation. Winds from the NNE at 10 mph.

Hurricane Jessi continues to grow and bounce like a tigger and Sgt Mikki is still just as jealous as ever. I suppose that eventually there will be an understanding between these two girls and calm will return. Aw, who am I kidding, they are Border Collies!

I have been reflecting upon comments that have been made to me over the years and for some unknown reason they surfaced unrequested, (Whomp! There it is!) Comments like calling me Encyclopedia Man and various other tags meaning some kind of know-it-all.

This started in First Grade after I was sick at home for six weeks and having nothing else to read, started at volume "A" and read my way through the 1960 World Book Encyclopedia. They were really interesting and I read continuously day and night, even getting into trouble for reading under the covers with my flashlight after bedtime was declared (which was a funny concept when you are already confined to the bed). My comprehension and retention rates were very high which resulted in a very young boy who knew way more than people were comfortable with. Because of that I was made to feel like something was wrong with me by kids and adults alike. I know now that they were afraid that I would make them look, or feel, less intelligent. At the time it just hurt.

I will take a moment here to ask each one of you to encourage every young person to read as much as possible and praise their efforts. Even comic books have the power to improve reading abilities and literacy. I have assisted in adult literacy programs where comic books made the difference in understanding. No matter what kids read, even the labels on cereal packages, encourage it. And please never make fun of a child that is feeling proud of learning something, it may not seem like it, but one cruel word from someone they look up to can be devastating.

I have never said that I am an authority or source of all knowledge, but I have made it my business to know a little bit about as many things as possible. There is nothing wrong with seeking knowledge and I am no longer willing to stay in the closet. Yes I'm smart and I have a lot of information stuck in my head, what of it? It is time we put learning back up on the pedestal at least equal to professional sports, and in my opinion, above them. How about we give up the gladiator mentality and get on with supporting our best and brightest kids who are going to have to find ways of saving our world... from us.

What smart looks like 

In 1972 we had no children, but we did have a black Persian cat named Sheba and two dogs who pestered the cat continuously. The cat spent as much time as possible above floor level, away from the dogs and always watching them. If she touched the floor the dogs would come out of a sound sleep like a switch had been thrown and charge! They never hurt her, but they mouthed her which got the epitome of yuck, dog slobber, all over her pristine and shiny black coat. To say that she hated that was a serious understatement. Sheba had all of her claws and teeth and had used them on the two not so bright dogs, one pit bull and one cocker spaniel, but it did no good. The drool wars continued.

Sheba was older than the dogs and when they were puppies she would do things like get up on the back of the toilet tank and using her claws, roll the toilet paper down until the dummies would grab it and race through the house with streams of it floating out behind them. At first I would fuss at the dogs and swat them and pick up the mess, trying to recover what I could of the precious paper. I couldn't figure out how they got it started from its high position and carefully made sure that the new roll was safe. A short while later here they came again TP flying! I was really getting upset with their game now, especially since I couldn't figure out how they were doing it. The third time, I finally got a break. There were little slits or snags in the sheets of paper, sometimes just one, other times three. Then the light bulb went on, cat claws! I hid around the corner peeking between the door and the jamb and caught her at it. After I bounced a roll of toilet paper off of her she quit that.

Another time Sheba pulled a plastic spice bottle out of the rack and pushed it through the stack of cook books and canisters until it went off the counter and it hit the floor, where the pitt bull immediately grabbed it and chewed it open. My question: did she know it was red chili powder, or was she just lucky that way? The dog was alternately trying to spit her tongue out of her mouth, and picking the bottle back up to chew it again. Smart power! (The cat, not the dog)

My wife had cooked a pumpkin pie for desert after dinner and it was smelling so good that I had to go outside and go for a walk or I would have been into it. Along comes dinner and the pie is still on the counter with a clean dish towel covering it, safe and sound. My wife uncovers the pie to cut and serve pieces and immediately starts in on me for getting into it when she asked me not to. I knew that I hadn't done it, but how to convince her and get myself out of trouble?

Closer investigation reveals the crust still on the bottom of the pan and the piece gone was irregular along the edges, like a bad scoop job. I still couldn't figure out who had gotten inside the house and why they would only eat one piece of pie. Why didn't they take the whole thing? My curious nature and the desire to solve the mystery finally brought it home. I spotted a stray black hair on the inside edge of the pie, then another with the use of my magnifying glass. Picking up the now purring cat I looked her in the face and underneath her chin, in a spot that her tongue didn't quite get clean, was a smear of pumpkin. The little monster! How could she know to pull the dish towel back over the pie?

One final example of smart, and attitude.

Sheba lived up to her registered name of Queen of Sheba and left no doubt in the mind of man or beast that in her mind, she was the supreme ruler of all she surveyed. In the evening after dinner this cat would assume her lounging position in the saddle, or curved depression on the back of the couch and watch TV. She didn't care what was on, as long as it had movement she would watch it. If the TV was off she went to sleep.

One night a friend came over for dinner. He was an Air Force weatherman at the tower I worked at and a good sized fellow about 6'1" and 200lbs and pretty fit, but on his own. After dinner we turned on the TV and went to sit down and continue conversation as we watched a show. I told the guy, "don't sit in front of the cat whatever you do, she's watching TV." He laughed and said, "I'm not afraid of any cat" and purposely sat down in front of her. Before I could do anything, I watched her lift a paw and I swear it was like she hit the button on switch blade knife and the claws came out and the lightning fast swat was done. The guy yelped like a scalded dog and jumped up grabbing for his neck. I pulled his hand away and there were four evenly spaced cuts dripping blood between the hair line and his collar. I barely managed to clean it up with hydrogen peroxide and coat it with antibiotic ointment before he was on his motorcycle and gone. No one ever did successfully sit between that little demon and the TV. She was a first rate breeder and I sold her for more than I paid for her originally when I transferred to Alaska. I sure hope the new owner had his own chair to watch TV from.

Here are your Friday story choices by title this time:

1. Three Bag Lunch

2. Rockets' Red Glare

3. The Only White Boy There (for those who know this story, it has been newly rewritten)

Please cast your vote either here on the blog comments section, or on my Facebook page, or even by email. You readers get to choose.

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