My take on an advert-as-research

From an article in the Lost Angels Times:

…a study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health confirms that people who travel for business two weeks or more a month are more likely to report symptoms of anxiety, depression and trouble sleeping than those who travel less than one week a month.

And if you drink, extensive travel is likely to lead to alcohol dependence, the study found.

Uh, yeah… the study “confirms that”, not “discovered that”. Though not mentioned in the article, the study also reports that smoking and being sedentary are far, far more likely. When a study confirms what everyone already knows, it’s just thinly veiled advertising.

I spent a big chunk of my life being one of those road warriors, which is the common term in the business vernacular for those being ground to shit by excessive business travel. I mostly flew Delta for domestic flights and most of their counter agents at the three airports nearest my home knew me by my first name. A handful of the airport limo drivers had been to my home often enough that they didn’t ask for the address when they picked me up at the airport — in the days before GPS. You know you travel too much when that happens at Los Angeles International Airport.

The study was of medical record data, which probably explains why there’s no mention of things like divorce and suicide rates or being victimized while on business travel.

At one place I worked, the salesdroids would say to customers touring the factory, if I was there at the time, that I “… travel[ed] more in a calendar quarter than the rest of the company combined travel[ed] in a year”. I never knew when I flew away if my itinerary was fantasy or reality — I quickly learned that the best way to get home was to place my daily check-in calls outside of normal business hours so I’d reach voicemail instead of a person, and to never answer the hotel room phone. This was in the era before cell phones, so it was a lot easier to go incommunicado. Getting away with it, then as now, is another matter entirely and requires being much, much harder to replace than to reach. I eventually got canned anyway. And was very, very hard to replace. The CEO was a man about it and gave me the last laugh when I dropped in about a year later: He admitted that he’d had to break my position into three and those three had proven incapable of generating the revenue that I had delivered.

It wasn’t without its perqs, though. I was scheduled to transit The Philippines on September 29th, 1989 on the way to another place that can only be reached by air from there; on the 27th a couple of guys from Ford Aerospace were murdered just for being American on the road I’d have to travel, and on the 28th Ferdinand Marcos died. So instead I went to Hawaii by air, from there by ship to San Diego, and then by air to Fremantle, Western Australia, where I snagged about a week of downtime after the job was done. I needed it, too — professional pub crawling is exhausting work.

My very last “real” job ended in 1994 when my employer’s stupidity sank the company. I had been a senior manager reporting solely to the CEO. Ostensibly reporting to him, anyway, but our agreement was that I would run my division and he could keep me or fire me but not tell me what to do. A stock fraudster took control and appointed his own management team when the company reached the neck of the spiral waterfall, and at our one and only meeting the dipshit who replaced me offered me a subordinate position. The dumb son of a bitch actually told me, when I said I wasn’t interested in moving to the new headquarters in Michigan, “It doesn’t matter to me where you live because I’m going to judge your new boss by how well he accomplishes the goal of 95% travel for his subordinates”.

Being long experienced and also long burned out, I didn’t let him get away from me until after I’d fully explained the proof that he was a dumb and completely unqualified son of a bitch. His response was to inform me that the offer remained on the table. I immediately ended our meeting with a warning that if he ever insulted me that way in person again I would put his teeth down his throat. He would have fallen over backward when I rose to leave the table if not for the wall behind him.

So I know a little bit about the subject. The irksome part, though, is at the end of the article:

Employers should provide employees who travel for business with accommodations that have access to physical activity facilities and healthy food options,” said Andrew Rundle, associate professor or epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health.

Oh fuck you, Mister Rundle.

Reality #1: The work happens wherever the hell it does, but the business happens around drinks, lots and lots of drinks.

That’s why three people couldn’t equal the revenue I’d generated by myself: they didn’t know the alchemy to turn quarts of alcohol into micrograms of ink that can be converted to money. I inherited it as a family recipe.

Most of the hotels I stayed in had something like a gym. The problem with that: you’re not only exhausted most of the time, it’s also really fucking stupid to risk injury by going to the gym drunk. Most of the hotels I stayed in offered something appearing to be healthful food, too. Only those leading pampered lives don’t already know that stress hormones cause our fat cells to prepare for food shortage. There’s no talking to a fat cell; it has no ear.

Reality #2: The social isolation of excessive business travel cannot be corrected by anything except being home.

While working for that outfit where the salesdroids always mentioned how much I traveled, my home life was a big bag of bloody shit and entrails. No one needs a picture of the bag’s contents… neither did I. Being away from home causes problems at home and exacerbates any it doesn’t cause. Even if you do those healthy things the (ignorant? self-interested?) academician recommends, you’re going to spend a lot more hours alone in hotel rooms than in gyms and that’s when your options are reduced to drinking the shooter or shooting the drinker.

Even if you don’t have a family at home with whom to have problems, the social isolation will get to you. When staying for a week in one place is a rare luxury, all of your social bonds are to some degree superficial. Home is different from a hotel only in that you don’t have to make reservations to stay there.

Pro Tip #1: If you’re paying for those business drinks, you’re giving your employer charity. Don’t.

Pro Tip #2: Reject any contract without concrete commission guarantees. Self medication, medical insurance deductibles, and divorce lawyers are all expensive, and if you’re just getting into the gig your entire wardrobe will soon need to be replaced due to shrinkage.

The problem isn’t that hotels don’t offer “access” to this or that. Most semi-decent or better hotels and their surrounding environments offer access to anything and everything you might want that’s not home time. The problem is the excessive travel itself and the solution is to stop demanding it. If you have to kill people to do your business, you do not deserve to profit by it. Period.

So fuck that academician dude trying to disguise advertisement as scholarly research. The only problem his recommendations solve is how to afford his own lifestyle.


2017… 2018… whatever.

Another year draws to a close and a new one begins… BFD.

I’m reminded of my parents being excited to see the car’s odometer roll over to 100,000 miles, which in those days resulted in all zeroes being shown. Odometers didn’t show hundreds of thousands back in the day because few vehicles would ever go that far and any that did were likely to be rolling junk when they got there. I thought it strange to celebrate that the car was just about done for. The transition from 2017 to 2018 feels a lot like rolling the odometer to me.

Somehow or other Earth, today, is the wrong place/wrong time for most of humanity. The politricksters and assorted others we refer to as “world leaders” are behaving like rabid cops gleefully kicking the last of life out of their innocent victims, completely oblivious to the fact that they are fomenting the revolt of vastly numerically superior masses of people. The modern vernacular is peppered with words like resistance, revolution, pitchfork, oligarchy, fascism, and other terms which are collectively indicative of serious trouble already arrived, and failing to recognize the significance of it is patently unwise.

So it goes. In historical context, the postwar era of general prosperity for the West was a dangerous turn of events: All such periods have inevitably given rise to self destructive empires. While past performance is no guarantee of future returns, most of the world’s collapsed empires are pretty good places to live once the guillotines are dismantled and the people return to pitching with their forks things that don’t scream. I doubt I’ll live long enough to see what counts as the conclusion of it, but any tendency toward pessimism I might possess is tempered by the knowledge of its inevitability and I can be content with the spectacle of the defenestration of elites.

If it doesn’t bring a smile to your face to imagine winning the office betting pool by correctly guessing Jeff Bezos’ terminal velocity, you’re just not very imaginative. I’m down for a tenner on 86 meters per second.

Happy thoughts for the end of an old year. Be well, friends and neighbors!

Jungle Life

Miss Cat had some digestive miseries recently, the poor thing. She’s already had enough of that for all nine lives. Luckily, she’s good at communicating her needs once she’s figured them out.

When she figured out that it was the Hill’s Prescription Diet messing her up, she came into my office, bitched at me that she was hungry right damn now, refused the Hill’s I offered, and bitched some more about being hungry. More recently, I asked her, “What’s going on for you, Miss Awesome?”, and she responding by standing up, walking toward me, turning away, then very deliberately putting her butt on the floor to scoot about six inches while looking me right in the eye, after which she turned and sat again, facing me, never breaking eye contact. Worms. Gotcha.

The crazy part, meaning the part she can’t explain to me, is that every now and then since the Hill’s and always after a tummy upset, The Awesome decides it’s time to change her diet. She’ll refuse the old favorite that was the only thing she would eat, and then we have to present a variety so she can decide the next favorite. We used to always keep the variety stashed away, but with the move to the smaller place we donated them all to the animal shelter. Of course. So I grabbed four different cans on Friday night, thinking it would suffice to get us through the Xmas… and the voracious house lion just finished the last. On Xmas night when all of Dinkytown is closed up tight.


There will be consequences when I have nothing to offer but the suddenly unpalatable old favorite the next time Autumn is hungry. I think she already knows she’s not going to get whatever it is that she wants: she’s been trying to enlist Snoogins. Whenever the cat believes that sympathy is the weak point to be exploited, she enlists Starr and her puppy dog eyes. It’s the most obvious manipulation ever, but sisters ganging up on dad has worked on me since forever. It will, as a matter of historical fact, work forever or until someone says something amazingly stupid like “we all know you’re going to give in so let’s just cut the crap”. I do not foresee these sisters ever immaturing to that point. Miss Cat sometimes seems on the brink of it, but Miss Pupper more than makes up for it with those Chihuahua eyes. When not quite seven and a half pounds of Chihuahua puts the sad puppy dog eyes on you, the only way your heart doesn’t melt is if it’s not installed. The cat knows this.

So now all that remains is to see which tactic the cat opens with. I don’t think she’ll start with the enlisted puppy dog eyes. It could be knocking things off of my desk, startling me by leaping onto the back of my chair or grabbing my arm from beneath it, meowing pitifully or demandingly, or any of her other tactics. She may end up sleeping on my chest tonight, just in case I might otherwise forget the cat who has unfulfilled needs of the utmost importance. No matter the forms they may take, consequences of some kind are in store for me, and I won’t suppose for a moment that those two scheming critters have stopped their joint human manipulation research program.

The pitter patter of house lion feet thundering down the hall is the sound of Awesome trying to convince Starr to chase her. It’s the old say something in a Maxwell Smart voice trick, and I’m powerless against it. I’ve already surrendered, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be tortured for not having what they want.

I’m fucked, but worse things could happen. They can’t kill me or even break my hands because they don’t have thumbs with which to swipe my plastic.


Happy Xmas

I remain happy to report that it is, as was so often predicted, my own god damned fault that I have no family around me for the holidays.

When I was a child, holidays with the relatives meant avoiding the fuckers. Fortunately, both sides of my original family made that easy. Once you outgrew the kiddie table, you went outside to drink with the big kids and always pretended in inter-generational company that no one had any pot. It was really very comical, in a reckless child endangerment and contribution to the delinquency of minors kind of way. The adults drank here, the kids there, and the pot was kept at a distance until after those programmed for contrariness were safely switched off for the night. It seemed to me an implicit unanimous agreement that we all needed at least a drink or two to endure the dysfunctional dynamics of it all.

I don’t know much about Amethyst’s paternal side, but on the maternal is a family that narcissistically demands Hallmark holidays. They’ve never had and never expected to have one, but they relish the fuck out of demanding it just to make everyone around them as completely miserable as possible. Amethyst isn’t into that, so the queen’s crown passed from her aunt to our daughter. She starts actively shrewing up Xmas on the day after she finishes shrewing up Halloween, and has made me question the wisdom of not passing the tradition of kids drinking as the heritage of our grandkids. I wouldn’t actually want the little fuckers drinking, of course, but I’d understand it all the way to my soul if they took it up.

Nah, don’t really miss those family holidays.

I’d be really thrilled to spend the holidays with my cousin Paul and his family, but he got murdered by a well connected shithead in 1988 so it’s clearly not my fault that he’s not here. That poor guy got drug into the family when his father married my father’s sister, and my grandmother lived in a house built for her by Paul’s father right behind their house so he was right at the epicenter of it all. We were the only two with our common understanding of the common experience of dozens of people, and being of like mind and temperament in many other ways, not to mention both given to ditching family gatherings, it was only natural that we fell in. We were to each other what we thought brothers should be, and I liked his friends better than the friends I had at home. That guy is the family I wish could be with us this holiday season.

And I like to think that he would be, too. We fell mostly out of touch for a while in our early twenties when we were both off in the military and then starting our families, but we’d reconnected not long before he got gunned down. We were planning a road trip, a motorcycle tour, for the following Spring, and he was excited at the prospect of getting our two families together without our common family around. I was hesitant only because his wife was said to be very nice and a wonderful person while mine was the sort you don’t impose upon nice and wonderful persons. I have a memory so vague that it may be false of my father choosing not to tell me of Paul’s death until after the funeral, but in any event when we went to my aunt’s and uncle’s house after I got the news, I ditched the gathering and stayed in casinos until the wee hours after all of those programmed for contrariness were safely switched off for the night. I spent the night winning faster than my second wife could lose and quit only because I couldn’t keep my eyes open much longer, and I like to imagine that it was Paul’s way of expressing his approval of the ditch.

Which would strongly imply that the flat tire whose replacement consumed a large chunk of the winnings the next night was the rest of what he wanted to say that weekend, I suppose. If there’s one place in America where you don’t want to need a new tire, it’s Baker, California. Baker is a “census-designated place” in the desert between Las Vegas and Los Angeles which exists solely because the infamous Baker Grade assures a steady stream of desperate motorists whose other options are all prohibitively far away. Baker is a place located very conveniently near nothing at all except the worst part of desert road trips, and that kind of place attracts only one kind of merchant. The kind who reminds you that it’s not their fault, either, that they’ve got you by the balls.

The grumbling and grinding of the snow plow outside must mean that the happy inhabitants of Dinkytown are getting that white Christmas they all hoped for. And the light streaming through the window has the qualities of sunlight, so it must be my bedtime now. I hope that those of you surrounded by family this morning are as happy to be with them as I am to be without mine, and that those happy to be free of their families are happier still because they deserve it.


Happy whatever you’re into

Happy whatever the fuck, friends and neighbors!

I was reminded tonight why it is that I don’t like roasting the breast without the rest of the turkey connected to it. It came out just fine, tender and moist, but leaving not enough for gravy behind when it was done. I tried for gravy anyway. Amethyst knows fair warning when she gets it, so the gravy-like stuff will remain untouched until morning when I will lift it from the skillet in one intact unit, and deliver it unto the deeply frozen garbage can outside.

A client once asked me, while I was living in a somewhat wilder place than this, what I did to keep the bears out of my Yule feast garbage. I told him that it’s not in the nature of bears to be troublesome during Yuletide. He tried to take it as some unrealistic hippie pantheist kind of thing until I asked him, “Dude, what do bears do all winter?”.

We don’t have to worry about offending the wild turkeys, as they quit the neighborhood a few weeks ago. They have essentially no sense of smell so would be unlikely to notice the hard-frozen gelatinous muck in our garbage can anyway, but there’s no reason to remind the critters who trust you that if it comes to it you’ll eat them. It freaks the cat right the fuck out, I can tell ya.

I read earlier that a rich dude is about to launch his very own, very expensive car into outer space. He’s trying to claim that it’s just cooler than launching concrete of the same weight to prove the ability of the launch vehicle, but he’s not fooling anyone who’s ever had a shitty car and said “Ya know, if I could I’d launch this piece of shit into the depths of space”. One of his engineers said something like “we need X pounds of dead weight for this test” and he thought of the car his own high profile company had made specifically for him. Just sayin’.

They call it “dog-fooding” in the industry, as in you have to be willing to eat your own dog food — relying upon the shit you make, that is. That’s what has always kept my little network o’ fun ‘n’ games going, and I’m still dependent today upon software I wrote so long ago that it’d look like someone else’s work to me today. There’s no way I’d launch shit that I’m still very happily using into space, to never be seen again. I wouldn’t launch my twenty year old pickup truck into space, either, for that matter. The shit I build for myself is good enough that I want to keep it.

Just sayin’.

Our local buckaroonie store, something dollar or dollar something, persists in proving that the corporation which owns it is run by assholes. I don’t expect all that much from a buckaroonie, as I understand that all they can offer is the cheapest shit on the market regardless of whether or not it’s to my taste. But the restrooms are sacred, fucking sacred ground. If you can offer paper toweling but not paper towel dispensers, fuck you. I’m over there unspooling paper toweling from a roll atop the toilet tank, thinking that I’d rather the next guy not have to worry that there might be dangerous disease lurking in my damp fingerprints. That ain’t right. There might be dangerous disease lurking in the last guy’s no longer damp, so no longer visible, fingerprints, too. So fuck you, buckaroonie. I’ll buy your cheap shit, but I won’t speak up when your robots give me outrageous discounts just because they’re bad at their jobs.

That’s actually something we’re going to do, starting January First. We’re going to silently record every fuckup that saves us money for the entire year of 2018. You can never know if you got that unexpected discount through altruism or ineptitude, so we’re just going to keep track and see what we get. Amethyst is the one who catches those things, and every darn time, too — I’m the guy who’s happy if swiping the card works. So most of the time I’m swiping the card when she says, “Hold on, something’s not right”, and it pisses off the cybertronic powers that be when you don’t follow through after tickling their bits. So we’ll just collect our winnings to keep the line moving and see how they tally for the year, in the names of social science and free market capitalism. It promises to be fun.

The trick, I think, will be to prevent Amethyst from remunerating those corporations for whatever undue benefit we might receive. Though I’ve corrupted her, I worry sometimes that there’s still too much middle class in her morality. She’s just completely honest, and it’s something I’ve always loved about her. She’s as likely as not to say to me a year from now (if not long before) that we ought to write checks to return what we know is not rightly ours. And I’ll say fuck you, woman, those assholes won’t even put paper towel dispensers in their shitters and besides I already spent that money on hard drives and weed.

As likely as not. Time will tell. But she’s up for it now, and wanted to start early a few days ago when we got an unadvertised discount, organic bananas at the price of overripe. 19¢/lb. works for me. ‘Tis not ours to question why, ’tis but ours to (sing it with me!) go on, take the nanners and run. This kind of thing happens all the time, and I’m really curious to know how much it’s worth to us to quietly accept the benevolence for a year. Is it a hundred bucks, or a couple thousand? Is it maybe even my 2018 supply of hard drives and weed?

A man can dream. And be a crazy ass rebel by not pointing out the errors the checkers and the computers make, too, I guess. Hey, I used to have some motorcycles once, man. I can do this hoodlum shit. Suck this, banana man, I got your nineteen cents. Ten cans of cat food for the price of eight, that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout. I get my veggies rung up cheap when the checker don’t know what it is and that’s the way I roll. Fuckin’ A. Grandpa in the hood.

I hope everyone’s got a dream or two for the new year, and that those dreams come true, too.


Done! Well, kinda.

At long last, the move is done! I’ve got some electronics to pay 75¢ per pound in order to be rid of it… gonna drop a Benjamin on that, I’m sure. Also some used motor oil, which for some reason has proven difficult to discard in Dinkytown. Other than that, we’re done with the old house as of eight-thirty last Wednesday night.


The new place, well… we’ll be at the task of settling in for a while, I think. I’m not entirely convinced that we’ve pared enough to suit our smaller space, but some stuff you just have to keep because it plays a part in the story of your life as you tell it to yourself, and if a thing has that purpose it needs neither an additional purpose nor further justification. That’s the hard part of downsizing, fletching off stuff that has somehow become part of your identity. I’ve had to remind myself a few times that necessary losses must come with each of life’s big transitions and that I ought to be glad that in this case I get to decide which they’ll be.

And in this transition, I get that gas range I’ve always wanted. 🙂 Saturday night we had some of the yummiest New York steaks I’ve ever put (or even seen) on a plate, and the night before I made tostadas with tinga de pollo. I misjudged and made it too spicy for Amethyst, so I’ll be eating the leftovers for the rest of the week. Not that it’ll break my heart to have tinga every day for a week after a month of eating mostly from the market deli and the few Dinkytown restaurants we’ll patronize.

My Spanish comprehension is far too weak to keep up with her, but Marisolpink is always fun to watch. If you’ve never had tinga de pollo but would like to give it a try, her recipe is pretty typical, though some (as I do) use condensed broth rather than bullion and many use more herbs than she does. And, as she says, you can make a lot more than just tostadas with it. I like it best in tacos, topped with only salsa cruda, preferably one made with Serrano chiles.

Yes, I am loving my gas range. The microwave oven… might be replaced with a cabinet when we remodel the kitchen. Microwave ovens seem to me to be the instruments of perpetually convenient disappointment, an open invitation to eat lousy food and even things that can’t rightly be called food but are eaten anyway. I experienced one of those concoctions during the move when I felt daring enough to brave the ultimate processed food, the boxed microwave meal. A woman employed by the Dinkytown market and never enthused about anything enthusiastically recommended whatever the shit was that I tried, saying that it was “really very good”. All I could taste were the unnatural ingredients obviously introduced in the vain hope that they might disguise the fact that it was shit that I was eating. Well, that I tried to eat.

Tangentially, the continued presence of “microwave dinner” in the market is all the proof I need that there are great numbers of extraterrestrials living among us whose dietary needs are not entirely compatible with the needs of humans.

But, oh! The gas range! My cast iron works again the way it’s supposed to. The greenie side of me wants to feel bad about using gas, but knows that the electricity here comes from the dirtiest coal-fired generator in the state. Thus I rationalize my bliss, and prove that I am at least in part an American, cooking thick juicy steaks from a methane-farting steer on a fracked-gas flame while drinking wine made with grapes farmed by exploited immigrant workers and smoking weed grown indoors with a tremendous amount of electrical energy and commercially refined nutrients. If this ain’t the pinnacle of human achievement, huh?

They were damn good steaks. Seasoned and cooked to perfection, luxuriating in a rich, silky sauce with sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onion next to baked potatoes pooled with sweet cream butter and topped with sour cream and fresh chives. Because cookin’ with gas, baby. On the lame-ass electric range in the rental house the only way to cook a large-ish steak evenly was to move it frequently, and there’s no getting around the fact that torturing the critter on the fire will make it fight back in your mouth. I’m so glad to be rid of that problem now. A guy can only hear “They say it happens to every man now and then” just so many times before it starts taking a toll on his ego, ya know. I had begun experiencing performance anxiety and worried that I might have to adjust to a life without cooking steaks any more.

This message brought to you by the Fuck Electric Ranges Council and your local gas company. Natural Gas: At least it ain’t coal. And by the Beef Council, who wish to remind you that only a very small fraction of annual pork production is infested by parasitic brain eating worms. Consult a doctor before reading if you suffer from difficulty in urination due to enlargement of the prostate gland or are, or may become, pregnant. Possible side effects include swelling of the prostate gland leading to difficulty in urination, pregnancy, boredom, incontinence, delirium, and tacos. Please don’t litter.



We came back with a load of stuff from the old garage destined for the old shed, and found that the shed had been vandalized while we were away. Two-thirds of the boards I’d put over the broken window, those lowest to the ground, were torn off, and some of the exterior sheathing next to the door was pulled away from the frame and the insulation behind it torn out, too. Some of the previous owner’s detritus which I’d placed outside the shed door awaiting yet another dump run had been scattered as far as thirty feet away. I saw it as someone, most likely one or more children, staking an illegitimate claim. I was immediately driven from my happy place.

While we were unloading the stuff that came into the house, three little girls probably between six and eight or nine years old came up to us and their ringleader asked if we were the ones “who put locks our our shed”. “Our” shed, as if she were one of several to whom it belongs. I corrected the little bitch, saying “No, that’s our shed. I put the locks on it. We bought this place, it’s ours, and the the things inside the shed are ours.” Her response was “We played and kept some things in there”. Amethyst asked, “So you’re the ones who vandalized our shed, then?”. The little girls’ eyes all widened, and I interjected with “Yes, it was. Of course it was them”.

And of course it was. The little bitches were confronting us as if it was their right. The ringleader said that they’d heard some banging but don’t know who was doing it because they were inside eating dinner. Bullshit. Knowing that it would do no good and would likely be taken as a challenge, I informed the trio that if our place is vandalized again I’ll be calling the cops. At that, they left.

After unloading, we dashed off to obtain pseudo-food, and upon returning we watched the first three and a fourth girl’s game of catch expand from their adjoining yards into ours — the fourth girl backed into our yard, and kept backing deeper into it. The original trio seemed to be making it a point to remain entirely within their own yard. After we were inside, I looked out the window to see the fourth little bitch backed to about six feet in front of the truck, and saw the very next throw to her fly over her head to hit the truck. She threw her hands to her mouth as if gasping in surprise, which was bullshit as evidenced by the look on her smug little redneck face, and out the door I went.

I’ve changed my mind: I will be calling the cops tomorrow and one or both of us will be lodging a complaint with the manager of the park on Monday. I won’t accuse the little bitches, but the encounter with them will be reported accurately because it’s potentially relevant. We’ve got plans for this place that don’t include allowing vandalism, and we’ve just added surveillance cameras to the shopping list that already included a fence.

When I was a child myself, the only reason I preferred children over adults was that I was unable to defend myself against adults. Now, I’d be content to spend the rest of my life completely unaware of the existence of any human child. Where’s the Pied Piper when you need him?