PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

My Musings

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Creep

When I was a youngster, I was informed by random adults that unlike sticks and stones, names would never hurt me.

That turned out not to be the case then and still isn't today. I am somewhat easily wounded, psychologically and emotionally, by words. Mutter under your breath that I am an idiot or a thoughtless jerk and I'm sure to feel aggrieved deep down inside.

But a creep? I'm familiar with creeps, having met several during my still quite young life. Creepy people exude an aura that makes you cringe and want to slink away, backwards, keeping an eye on them lest they grab you from behind. They stand too close to you and touch you on the arm when speaking, even though you barely know them. Who the hell is this creep peeking through my bedroom window? That's the kind of thing you say when you meet a creep. I don't think I've ever been called a creep, until a few days ago.

The circumstances were very much not creepy. I was riding my bicycle to work in broad daylight along the Memorial Drive bike path in Cambridge, MA, doing what we bikers are urged to do by dinging my bell before passing people ambling along mindlessly with ear buds stuffed into their heads. These people are not barred from their careless saunter on the bike path, but they often have no clue that they are on an actual bike path, not a sidewalk, and are startled when you pass them. They jump and they yell at you. "Give me a warning, idiot!" they holler. Of course, you did that, but the earbuds pouring a stream of Taylor Swift into their heads drowned out your bicycle bell.

As I was riding along the other day (pretty slowly – the bike path was packed given the beautiful weather) I encountered a couple crossing Memorial drive coming toward the bike path. Most people are careful when crossing car traffic but have no awareness of bike paths and lanes and step into them blindly. So, I dinged my bell to alert them that they were encountering a bike lane. Upon doing so, a man who was crossing in the opposite direction – away from me – bellowed, "Go to hell, creep!" He continued: "And slow down!" This person had no idea how fast I was going (not very) because before he started to cross Memorial Drive his back was turned to me. He may just have been a rare person ambling sans earbuds and was startled by my bell, which is loud in order to penetrate the sound of Taylor Swift. His rant continued as I kept riding. I was a block and a half away and he had worked himself into a froth, though I don't know exactly what he was saying. Maybe that I was a creep.

Full disclosure, he may have called me a freak, not a creep. Given that I'm neither creepy nor freaky, it really doesn't matter. Either way, this time I wasn't hurt. 

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Mister Speaker

Mike-Johnson-SOTU

Possible nicknames for Mike Johnson, after watching his faces at the State of the Union Address:

Mr. Smirky

Bobblehead Mike

The Worry Wart

Dr. Disappointed

Representative Cleancut

The Frown King

Eye-roller in Chief

Captain Hairy Eyeball

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In The Event Of A Crisis...

Paracord-2---r

I'm always looking to steal story ideas from other people. I pilfered this one from my daughter.

The context is that I own a rope bracelet (aka "paracord" bracelet) – a gift from my two kids years ago. These bracelets are allegedly useful in emergencies. However, when I observed that I have no clue how to disentangle the bracelet in even the most benign of moments, she mused that a character in a movie could find himself confronted with an emergency and be called upon to use the bracelet to save another character, but cannot unwind the damned thing. Silly hijinks would ensue.

Let's test the paracord's usefulness. Quick – cut to an emergency. Let's say I fall off a boat, could I use the bracelet as a floatation device? No. How about if I'm stuck on the third floor during a house fire; could I lower myself two stories down to safety? No chance.

OK, how about this: I'm walking down the street in a hurricane and a window blows out, flying through the air and striking my leg; would I be able to use this as a tourniquet? Yes!

We now have the first plot line of our newest piece of short fiction: Guy walking down the street is suddenly struck by a large pane of broken, jagged glass, creating a bloody scene on Harvard Ave in Allston, MA. Bystanders try to help but are freaking out at the gory scene. The victim then says he needs a tourniquet. This is when I swoop in with my paracord bracelet and, whilst the victim is dying, I try, but fail, to disentangle the cord.

Working on the happy ending. 

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Soaked

NE-IPA-Fermenting-resize_20240131-135235_1 Caution: Conversion in Progress

For a brief moment, I had considered doing Dry January. That is, no alcoholic beverages for one month. As a beer brewer, I'm disinclined to eschew the imbibing of effervescent liquids, especially in January, the second darkest month on the calendar in terms of actual sun, but much darker than December, since we've already done all the gathering and exchanging of gifts and hugs and COVID.

Then I heard about Damp January. This is where you cut down on drinking but don't stop entirely. I encountered some friends early in January at an art opening, several of whom proclaimed that they were doing Dry January. These people quickly opted for Damp January once we left the gallery and found ourselves in a pub. Other friends joined, and based on the several beers they ordered that evening, I would estimate that their January was business-as-usual at minimum, which is to say rather a Soggy January indeed. Soggy January lies somewhere between Moist January (just above Damp), and Drenched January, where you don't drink any beer at all, but instead replace the beer with an equal liquid measure of gin.

Just above Dry January on the continuum would be Humid January, where a thimbleful of session ale is consumed every few days just to keep the tastebuds from withering, and above that is Clammy January, for those people who believe that a small half-snifter of red wine is a necessary evil, consumed in order to extend one's life. (I don't want to drink this Rioja Reserva, but according to research…)

Meanwhile, proponents of Arid January think people who do Dry January aren't taking it far enough and refuse even the occasional mocktail. Parched January afficionados drink only water. Devotees of Dessicated January would prefer to die than let any moisture into their bodies.

I decided that January was an excellent time to brew 10 gallons of beer, currently being converted from sugary goo into actual drinkable beverages. Looking forward to February. 

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Daily Haiku

 

Cats oft’ void their guts.

They cough out fur balls. They puke.  

We tread carefully.  

 

College Tuition

We dig ourselves a deep hole

Need a second job.

 

Now that I’m sixty

People think I’m a wise man

Probably, I’m not

 

I’m in my Fifties

But tomorrow I’m Sixty

Will need a sports car

 

My PCP Says

“Keep doin’ what yer doin’”

Prob’ly I should not

 

It’s St. Patrick’s Day

We eat beef that has been corned

Whatever that means

 

Robots and A.I.

I will make use of these soon

To do my taxes

 

Strange Oscar night end

Pacino failed to mention

Best pic nominees

 

Who’s this Katie Britt?

Scary. Wierd. We could have used

A Trigger Warning

 

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