• an equal opportunity assessor •

“When I’m out on the street,
regardless of age, race, creed, sexual orientation, size, gender, what-have-you,
I pretty much always use the same unbiased assessment,
with everyone I meet:
‘Human being, human being, human being, human being,
…asshole…
human being, human being, human being’.”
~ Tim Burchfield
8/3/17

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• the hitching tie •

Decided it would be remiss of me to send the boy into the world without knowing any knots, but he wasn’t interested (at all), so I decided, instead, to add to my own rope repertoire. I pretty much, already knew (more or less), all the ones in the Boy Scout Handbook, “Be prepared!” (The Boy Scout Motto) (Does my nerddom know no limits, eh? MmmmmmmmmmmNo. No signs of flagging enthusiasm to this day!)
What’s the old saying?
“Better to know a knot and not need it, than to need a knot, and not know it.”
(Try saying that, ten times, fast.)
(And, yes, I tried that one on the boy. Not impressed. Oh, well.)
But some knots are so purposeful and elegant and ‘job specific’, when you find one like that, that you simply must learn it. And found one, I have, and it’s a beaut: the ‘Hitching tie’!
Need to secure your canoe to a tree? It’s just the thing. Or to tie your stringer so’s your ‘catch’ doesn’t swim away? Ditto, compadre.
Remember, in the old westerns, when dusty cowpokes would tie their horses to a rail by the watering trough before sidling up to the saloon, and how the knot they used seemed to take no time at all? Yup, you guessed it, the ‘Hitching tie’!
It has even worked its way into our language. How about, “Wanna get ‘hitched’?” Or, “Hey babe, let’s tie the knot!” (Who could resist such an offer?) If not for for this lovely little knot, it’s likely you would have never heard these colorful sayings.
Hence, the ‘Hitching’ tie.
One simply must know this elegant little knot.
So easy to do, and, what’s more, it ‘comes out’, like a dream, too.
Got a piece of rope? A two-footer will do. Now, get along, and have a bit of fun. You can thank me later. I’m pretty sure you’ll want to.
~ Tim Burchfield
8/2/17
the ‘hitching’ tie

• sick •

Just the other day,
I wrote, as a joke,
‘Dare to dream, bigly.’
(With a depiction of Trump in the ‘slammer’, on ‘social media’.)
And someone wrote,
‘Sick!’ in the comments.
Maybe, I am, but I don’t think so.
In fact, I think I’d have to be, ‘sick’,
to ‘support’ this Bozo.
~ Tim Burchfield
7/1/17

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• the role of a friend •

You are no friend, friend.
You only pretend to be a friend,
always with the passive aggression,
always with the snide retort.
Let me tell you about friends, friend.
Friends don’t hurt for fun,
or rip each other’s guts out for sport.
Friends don’t laugh at your pain,
enjoy your embarrassment,
exult in undermining your satisfaction,
poo-poo your gains,
remind you of your past failures,
and follies,
winnow out your weaknesses,
and worries,
all the more, to underscore.
A friend won’t hobble your confidence,
with the teasing jibe,
the unwarranted witticism,
the stinging barb,
the bad report.
That’s not the role of a friend, friend.
That’s what family is for.
~ Tim Burchfield
5/22/17

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• young jack kerouac holds forth on death •

But for the green light emitted by the radar screen, it was dark in the wheelhouse that enveloped the sea air that enveloped the two men. The Captain was taciturn, and concentrating on his course correction. Young Jack Kerouac was the greenhorn on the boat. He had been holding forth, now, for a bit yet.
“I realized that I had died and been reborn numberless times but just didn’t remember especially because the transitions from life to death and back to life are so ghostly easy, a magical action for naught, like falling asleep and waking up again a million times, the utter casualness and deep ignorance of it,” confessed young Jack. “I realized it was only because of the stability of the intrinsic Mind that these ripples of birth and death took place, like the action of the wind on a sheet of pure, serene, mirror-like water,” Jack opined. “I felt sweet, swinging bliss, like a big shot of heroin in the mainline vein; like a gulp of wine late in the afternoon and it makes you shudder; my feet tingled,” gushed Jack. “I thought I was going to die the very next moment. But I didn’t die…” ** Jack paused, taking a long drag on his cigarette. An orange glow illuminated his dark eyes, one green and one red, like the the running lights of an oncoming push boat, bitterly relentless and unswerving. What was the old adage about ships passing in the night? Red right returning.
But for the comforting drone of the twin sixteen diesels down below, a relative silence enveloped the two men. Finally, the Captain craned his neck to take in the kid, perusing him with a salty eye, and half a grin. Jack was slouching against the hatch, silhouetted by the moonlight washing back and forth over his lanky form, draped in bliss and youthful profundity. Jack was blowing smoke rings, and tapping his foot, as if listening to a cool jazz riff.
The captain pursed his lips in his signature expression, sucking up all ‘the silence in the room with withheld witticism, and unspoken irony. After a bit, he picked up his spit cup and spit, loosing a stringy stream of steaming brown treacle, observing, “Talk a lot, don’t you?”
~ Tim Burchfield
4/21/17

** (From Jack Kerouac, holding forth, ‘on death’.)

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• by the numbers •

I have always had difficulty doing sums in my head, it’s always been that way, for me. Because, by the time I, ‘carry the three’ I’ve forgot whatever numbers I had (sort of, but shakily) ‘had’, in my mind originally. So I’ve ‘borrowed’, ‘appropriated’, if you like, oh alright, stolen outright, with appreciative impunity, an idea which might just do the trick for me, and that is this: from here on in, when I think of a numeral (that’s ‘number’, to the rest of you ‘number-dolts’, like me) it will have an assigned color (when I ‘picture’ it), and just for fun, a ‘texture’ as well, and, even, sometimes, for memory’s sake, a fragrant (or otherwise) ‘smell’ as well.
So, for the sake of clarity, picture if you will, that from here on in, all ones are orange, with the smell and texture of a citrusy orange peel. Savory One, how we love you, now: how fragrant, how juicy, how delectable, how ‘singular’!
Twos are yellow, and fuzzy, and seemingly everywhere at once, like featherweight baby chicks. Charming yellow tweety twos, tweeting to beat the band, oh, dear! (Oh, and voracious, and insistent, and demanding, and rather smelly, in great numbers, too, if you wanna know. Sorry!)
Threes are chartreuse, and froggy, with big round eyes, and shiny wet froggy skins. ‘Ribbity’ threes, making their creeky sounds.. from ‘down yonder, just past the old willow tree (as all ‘our amphibious froggy friends are want to do), with their midnight thrumming serenade… “three!!… threee!! …threeee!!!”
Fours are more formal, and come in multiples, like polite policemen, sporting their evenness and conformity, in a fetching comfortable serge, like a well pressed uniform, in crisp blue colors, and cool combinations thereof. Of course, there are many blues. Which, did you ask? You choose.
Fives are like the desert, sandy as (heck), and brown, or beige and warm to the touch, and smell vaguely of horned toads, with their round bellies, and flat flinty backs, and horny-toad skin. And little beige eyes that stare undaunted (not knowing what to think), but fixedly, up at you.
Sixes are sexy, in slinky silk negligees, and red as a fire engine, with ‘come hither’ sensibilities, and voices like sensual susurrations in a private suite, for just the six of you. So far, the easiest to remember – go figure, “Hey Sixy, whadda ya say? Hey, you, too, integer baby. Looking good!”
Add one part white to that number, and you get a pink seven. Sensible seven. Yeppers. Seven dwarves with seven pink…noses. (*grins*) (Or whatever, suit yourself, after I’m done here, it’s over to you.)
Just so’s you know, sevens are rubbery, and smell like an eraser. (Sorry, silly sevens, somebody’s got to.)
Eights are plump, like round purple plums, in succulent curvy bunches, with taught shiny skins. Be careful with eights, now, and don’t gobble ’em up too quick, or you might just get the ‘purple eight step’, from what you just ate. Just ate.
(Ahem.)
Nines are the uptight Victorians of the bunch, buttoned up tight, in their conservative black dresses, up to their long scrawny necks – who peer down at you from their lofty moral perches, and have well groomed, black eyebrows, ‘plucked’, as it were, with which to superciliously lean over you, and think you not at all amusing. (Too bad for you, but who just tolerate me, because of my ability with tea. Am I lucky, or what!)
Oh, nine, we don’t deserve you, but we’re glad you’re here…no really. (*wink*)
Heh, Nines…can’t live with em, can’t count to ten without ’em…whaddaya gonna do…?
Which brings to mind decimals, and multiples of ten, the like of which, as you well know, couldn’t be made at all, without the trusty ‘civil servant’ of the numeral world – the unassuming ubiquitous zero. I like mine in gray (or ‘grey’, if you go that way), I don’t know about you. Very conservative, and unassuming, these. And zeros are amenable, and roll with the punches, if you please. Zeros don’t get easily bowled over. They are the ‘dependables’ of the number set, but don’t add much to the conversation, it must be said, except as a placeholder, and want for nothing, if you get me, but do know their import, and innovation, and universal applicability. Good old zero, always there when you need one, whispering little nothings, that make all the difference. You gotta love ’em!
So now, with zero’s friendly participation, let’s make a ten, shall we?!!
Are you as breathless as I am?!! (Golly.)
Did you picture ten in all of its orange, and gray, glory? Ones are what, again? That’s right, juicy juicy orange, and zesty delicious. Roll that cosmopolitan gray circle right up next to that one, and, voila! A ten, me boyo! Wow! The Bo Derek of numbers, a perfect ten. What a sensation! (I think my knees are shaking. Is it noticeable? Well, color me numeral enthused, I’m cool with that.) The big one-oh! It was love at first sight. Ten out of ten.
So, after that little introduction, imagine my ease with remembering numbers, from now on. And combinations of numbers are so vivid, to me, now, that, believe it or not, I can now smell them, too.
Which are my favorites?
Well, honestly, there are so very many, and how they entice and imbue me with captivating interest, and ‘realness’ – I can count the ways.
My joys are, dare I say it? Multiplied. Now, I’d hate to do a ‘spoiler’, so you do the math. (Now, I can just think about numbers, and get wet. Oh, I’m just exuberant, don’t get upset. Still. I’ll just say this: over fifty, and it gets pretty darn good. Oh, yes, and get this: spritely Seventy will curl your toes!)
Oh, and sixty-nine is a hoot! (I seem to recall.) Oh, yeah…!!
So. Now that you’ve been introduced, I’ll leave you to it. Enjoy your new friends, if you like, now, it’s up to you. Nothing to it.
(Consider all sorts of numerical combinations, a ménage a trois, if you will…or an hundred and one combinations, my little Dalmatians. You can count on me. For my part, I certainly will. )
Happy days! I’m a number devotee, from here on in, and then, sum. An ‘aficionado’, as it were, as they say in Spain.
But I still won’t do numerology.
(Color me credulous, if you like, but I ain’t that dumb! Nosirree.)
~ Tim Burchfield
3/27/17

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