Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

...because some of it is pretty and some of it is not.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Two More Random Thoughts

—Good advice is not for everybody.  The suggestion to “treat others as you would like to be treated,” for example, is probably not something you want to share with a masochist.
—Is it a good thing if you are an actor auditioning for the part of a kindly therapist in a movie but the casting director insists you are perfect for the unhinged serial killer instead?

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Mayday Tree

The Mayday tree in front of my house is a few days from blooming.  The blooming Mayday is wholly spectacular.  The entire tree flares a conspicuous white overnight and scents the air with a sweetness that draws in bees by the hundreds.
I have a history with that tree.  Uyen and I purchased the tree—then only about six feet tall—at a local nursery and brought it home sideways in the backseat of our car.  That was something near 24 years ago.
A couple years after we planted the tree, a bitterly cold late spring snowstorm swept down from the Rocky Mountains just after the tree put forth leaves.  The tree was still small enough that I managed to build a wire and pipe cage around it so I could cocoon the tree in blankets.
I saved the tree from the cold, but I could not save my Uyen.
The blossoming Mayday is today the brightest reminder of Uyen.  Six years ago, one of our last beautiful hours together occurred underneath that tree during full bloom.  Uyen, though we did not know it exactly, was only a handful of days from death.  She was by then bound to her wheelchair.
Uyen wanted to feel warm again.
I pushed her out into the sunny side of the blooming Mayday tree—into the impossible sweetness of the blossom perfume.  Facing the sun, she closed her eyes, smiled.  A chorus of honeybees performed their single-note song all around us.
Something old…  Something new…
Uyen’s smile shone like a night beacon below the tree.  She was as stunning as ever, I swear she was.  And for an hour or so I thought the sun might be able to hold her there forever.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, April 28, 2017

Something You Don’t Want to Hear

Doctor explaining the surgical procedure he is about to perform to his patient:
Doctor“I am going to make a small incision, something about the length of a butter knife, just below your belly button.”
Patient“That sounds pretty big.”
Doctor“I have made much bigger.”
Patient: “Oh…that’s, um, good, I guess…”
Doctor:  “Once I have made the incision—”
Patient“Before you go on, I have one more question.”
Doctor“Go ahead.”
Patient“Is belly button a term you really use in anatomy?”
Doctor“I like to use it.  So, after the incision is made, we are going to explore inside a little to see if we can find something.”
Patient“By something you mean…?”
Doctor:  “Something unusual.”
Patient: “By unusual you mean…?”
Doctor“That’s a good question.  At that point we are going to start conducting some Google searches on a computer to see there is any stuff out there that might help.”

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bad Sleeper

My friend Oonie once accused my friend Kevin of being a “bad sleeper.”
“What’s a bad sleeper?” I asked.
“He doesn’t breathe well.  It sounds awful.  Sometimes, he stops altogether.  It’s actually scary to listen to him.”
Oonie happened to find Kevin sleeping on my sofa one morning—that’s the story behind that.
Seems I am not a particularly good sleeper, either.  I am not sure exactly what I do when I sleep, but it is not all sleep.  I know I dream of planes crashing, of loved ones, and fish.  Lots and lots of fish.  But, evidently, much more is going on.  In my sleep, something bigger is happening.  Maybe I am fighting giant aliens with six arms from outer-space.  Perhaps I am moving mountains made of solid granite.
Here is the evidence: I often wake in crazy positions with bedding twisted around me like thick jungle vines and my pillows far flung.
Last night, I woke in a sweat.  My bedding lay in a heap atop me.  One of my pillows was at my feet instead of at my head.
That might be kind of normal for me—except for one thing.  I was clutching the pillow case in my hands.  Somehow, I had squirted the pillow from its case and then kicked the pillow down to the other end of my bed.
Mitch: 1
Six-armed aliens from outer-space: 0

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Evening last, as shadows grew long, cumulus cloud X538 bumped into cumulus cloud B355 high above the prairie in front of my house.
A soft collision, that.
I watched the two clouds quietly merge together where they met; mists swirling white and Wedgewood blue.  Within a few seconds, the brace of clouds flourished into a single new cumulus cloud: cumulus XB893.
After watching cumulus XB893 slide off toward Townsend and darkness, I got naked and climbed into my hot tub, awaiting first stars.
You’re welcome.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What Ranchers Know

Eventually, all the cows come home again.  Some on hoof.  Some in rattling stock trucks.  Others inside a white bag alongside onion rings or french fries.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, April 24, 2017

Four Bottles of Single Malt Scotch

Yesterday, I, my friend Kevin, and my brother-in-law spent an afternoon sipping from four different bottles of single malt Scotch.  We also stepped out onto my back deck and fired potato halves out into pine and juniper expanse with Kevin’s potato gun.
Some of us—I won’t mention any names—got a bit tipsy.  We also developed some brilliant ideas in the arena of politics, wild game management, transplanting trees, the French election, and cooking.
A few of the ideas we developed were back-slappingly brilliant.
Funny thing.  This morning, I am recalling most of our ideas, but the brilliant somehow drained from them overnight.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, April 23, 2017


Sylvia Plath, in The Bell Jar, wrote: “What a man is is an arrow into the future and what a woman is is the place the arrow shoots off from.”
Of course that was the staid and archaic view of a character.  In that view, a woman (a wife) simply keeps a fine nest for a man who goes forth to provide for both of them.
For whatever reason, this fragment from The Bell Jar floats up inside my thoughts on a fairly regular basis.  And I know better.  I know a woman can be both the arrow and the place the arrow shoots off from.
I know because I have been hanging on and have been carried into this very future by arrows in flight.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Small but Conspicuous Death

Some of my friends (Kevin in particular) have taken to calling me the “Dalai Lammer.”  I am unsure about the spelling of this name because it is a bastardization of the name Dalai Lama.  I am called this due to my aversion to killing stuff.  Sure I kill invasive weeds.  If starving, I would readily hunt down an animal.
But I have—as they say—gone soft.
I now use live traps to catch mice.  Once I catch one, I walk the mouse far afield and then release it with an admonishment about invading my house.  I try my best to capture and release outside any insects (and even spiders) found in my house.  I have not hunted big game since high school.  I even allow dandelions to invade the grass down at my lakefront.
I simply find killing everything that bothers me senseless.  Or as Kevin would put it: I am a pussy.
Evening last, I stepped out my front door and noticed a black caterpillar on my concrete walk.  I cautiously stepped around the caterpillar.  When I stepped outside an hour later, I noticed the caterpillar was still there in the same spot.
I must tell you, I was sincerely concerned about the little fellow.  Yesterday’s temperatures were somewhat chilly due to a passing storm front.  I assumed the caterpillar might have just been catching the last of the sun.
I let him be.
This morning, as soon as the sun clawed through the trees on the hills east of my house, I went outside and found the caterpillar still there in the exact same spot.  When I bent down and prodded, I discovered the little fellow dead.
If there is one person in the world I know, it’s me.
If I left the caterpillar there, my attention would be drawn to it—forced to it—every time I stepped outside.  To me, death, no matter how small, is conspicuous.
I scooped the dead caterpillar into the palm of my hand and then took it out into the spring grass where the natural cycles can do whatever it is that they do with dead black caterpillars. 

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Taste of Things

Tomatoes taste bright
Mushrooms dim
Onions scream in your mouth
Hot peppers dig in
Ice cream leaps and pirouettes
Mustard is the other end

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Men at Work

The male version of the human species makes for some interesting studies.  Probably, most of us should be permanently locked away and studied until such time it can be determined whether we, personally, mean the planet harm.
Men are 60 percent sexual liability, 19 percent mechanical ability, 10 percent reactionary, 10 percent daydreaming, and 1 percent pretty good stuff.  If you doubt my numbers, browse the internet for a bit and tally up what you find.
You know what…let’s just use me for an example, instead.      
Yesterday, that girl asked me to help her rotate the foam mattress on our bed.
Simple enough.
After that girl stripped the bedding, the two of us wrestled the foam mattress into a new orientation.  She then asked me to help her with the mattress sheet, which I did.  Distracted by something or other, I left the bedroom following that.
A couple minutes later, that girl called me back into the bedroom and pointed at a conspicuous lump under the sheet on the side of the bed where I had stationed myself as we pulled the sheet into place.  “What do you suppose that is?” she asked, pointed at the lump.
“I have a guess,” I said.
“What’s your guess?”
“Looks like one of those fuzzy balls you throw in the dryer.”
“Excellent guess!”  She laughed.  “You didn’t notice that when we put the sheets on the bed?”
Today I am posting photographic evidence of my “work.”  The associated photograph was captured with what has proven to be (time and time again) my smarter-than-me-phone.
I swear to you: I mean the planet no harm.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


They were many hundreds.  Maybe thousands.  Mostly pressed against each other, they shuffled forward.  Larry was glad to be centered in the middle of the mass.  He would freely admit he was a follower.  He knew most of those around him were natural followers.
You don’t have to think to follow.  You just do.
They were in dangerous country.  A sheer cliff might suddenly appear underneath you at any turn.
From someplace in front, a voice called out: “Come on lemmings!  Let’s go!”
When the mass of bodies surged in front of him, Larry followed.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


I have been suffering insomnia for the last few nights.  For the first few nights, I was not bothered by anything in particular that kept me awake.  I simply could not sleep.
My first bouts with insomnia occurred during my late twenties.  At that time, I was supervising my first large electrical construction project.  Then, I could not sleep for stewing about specific conduit runs, equipment locations, Code requirements, and placement of coworkers.
Not sleeping made sense at that time.
Over the ensuing years I fell in and out of periods of insomnia.  The stretches of time between bouts with insomnia grew larger and larger.  More interestingly, nothing in particular seemed to keep me from sleeping in my more recent sessions with insomnia.
Last night, I found a reason not to sleep.  A stupid one.
Yesterday afternoon, during a phone conversation with a friend, he told me his daughters went hiking near Montana City on Sunday and came home with wood ticks crawling all over their clothing.  I had a similar experience while back in high school.  I actually found 17 ticks on me after climbing a rocky knob near Montana City.  That was also about this same time of year.  If memory serves, my friend Mark had something like 23 ticks on his clothing and skin.  When we reached the top of the knob, we saw ticks crawling all over the tall grass there.
So, last night I went to bed at my normal time and fell fast asleep.  At about 1:30 in the morning I woke and walked out to let in Splash (20 pounds of housecat).  This is all customary stuff.  I normally let him out at 9:00 and let him in at about 1:30.
I went back to bed.
About five minutes later, Splash jumped onto my side of the bed.
I thought: What if he has ticks on him?  Ticks don’t like cats much.  What if the ticks jump off the bed and find me? 
I shooed him out of the bedroom and pushed the door mostly closed.
Splash was back in five minutes.
That did it.  I walked Splash out into the kitchen.  I patted his head for a while.  I brushed his fur for several minutes, dropping gathered fuzz balls in the wastebasket as I worked through the tangles.  Naturally, Carmel, another 20 pounds of housecat, needed a little brushing, too.
After a while I and my 40 pounds of house cat climbed onto my sofa with a blanket.  They fell asleep immediately.  I did not.  I was under siege by ticks.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, April 17, 2017

Learning to Forget

There exists a fine line between regularly revisiting problems in your mind and obsession.  I know this from experience.  In younger years, my constant dwelling on girls that came and went eventually snowballed into full-blown depression.   Somehow, I gradually converted that depression into one focused on questions of retributive justice.
You know those questions.
Why do bad things happen to good people?  If you do only good things, shouldn’t only good come to you?  Why do innocents suffer?  Why did the small child perish in a fire caused by a drunken man who staggered away to live another day.  Why did the Nazis kill the Jews?  Why did General Amherst purposely send smallpox through Native American populations?
I dwelled on those questions for several years.  I read of Job in the Bible.  Job, God’s most upright man, saw his life destroyed simply because Satan challenged God to do so.  I read Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey and saw five innocent people plunge to their death.  I read modern discourses.  I focused on the questions.
No answers.
God eventually spoke from a whirlwind and told Job that there is no place for proffering such questions.
I was very bothered by all of this.
At some point, I finally realized the problem was not the questions.  The problem was me.  I needed to disconnect from my own thoughts.  My mind had become a cat chasing its own tail.
The human mind—as all things we know—thrives in direct accordance with what we feed it.  I stopped feeding my mind these questions.  When I discovered my thoughts slipping in that direction, I quickly diverted to thoughts of puppies bouncing through wildflowers or guppies swimming in fishbowls.
I severed all the dark connections.  I gradually forced my mind to reattach to things brighter. 
Sure, I still have my questions, but they are mostly stored in a box in a spare room.  I play with them from time to time, but soon go back to feeding the guppies in the fishbowl.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Gone Awry

Idea for a short story:
Scientists genetically alter pine trees so they grow into common dimension lumber such as 2 x 4 wall studs and 2 x 6 sill plates.  Whole forests are soon converted into nurseries for complete building packages grown from seed.  At nearly the same time this breakthrough is occurring in lumber processing, a group of researchers develop a way to produce nails and screws naturally in the earth by means of injecting high electrical current and specific sound-waves into the ground where large bodes of iron ore are present.
By happenstance, both of these new processes are undertaken in the same region of forest.  Within a few years—without any human manipulation—the forest begins to produce pre-assembled Adirondack chairs.
Possible endings:
1. The forest becomes a popular destination for lazy people from around the world.
2. An attack from rogue robots is averted when the robots, while marching through the forest, discover the chairs, and sit in them.  Once the robots sit in the chairs, the electrical current used for producing screws and nails interferes with the robot’s logic systems.  War with the robots is averted because the robots remain sitting in the forest, trying to convince passing moose or deer to fetch them a beer.
3. The entire lawn furniture industry collapses.  Unemployed furniture assemblers are retrained to fight rogue robots.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Why Do Shoelaces Come Untied?

Something bothered Oliver O’Reilly.  Specifically, he was bothered that his shoelaces always came untied when he went out running.  O’Reilly, a professor of mechanical engineering with the University of California, Berkeley, decided to conduct an in-depth study to figure out why his shoelaces came untied when he went running.
Using a high-speed camera and a study co-author (Christine Gregg) as the runner, they filmed actual knots untying.  Eventually, the researchers conducted studies on a pendulum that mimicked the stride of a runner.  This kind of controlled study (pun intended) added weight to their work.
Okay, I am going to tell you what the researchers discovered.  Try to keep up with me on this part.  I will put this in plain English to help.  Here is what the researchers figured out: Shoelaces come untied because the laces are flopping around.
Holy wow!
Who knew?
Upon finishing their study, the researchers published a paper.  The paper includes actual photographs of shoelaces, some stuff about inertia and gravity, and shoes.
I read about this study with great fascination, but in the end wondered: Why didn’t Oliver’s mother teach him to tie a double-knot so his laces won’t come untied?
--Mitchell Hegman
If you are interested in reading more about the shoelace study, try this link: 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Dot Returns

Dot, the mule deer, is back.  She was a regular visitor last year, but disappeared for most of the winter.  I was a bit concerned she might have perished during our hard winter.  Happily, I have seen Dot a couple of times over the last week or so.
Dot is a bit unusual.  She does not display a great deal of skittishness toward humans.  She also tends to be alone quite a bit. 
When I first saw her outside my window this spring, I grabbed a couple of uncooked Brussel sprouts and threw them at her from my door.  I also kept a few for myself.  We had a kind of moment there, each of us looking at one another, eating our Brussel sprouts.
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Blood of Horseshoe Crabs

Horseshoe crab blood is worth something.  It’s worth quite a lot, actually.  A quart of horseshoe crab blood has an estimated value of something near $15,000.
If you don’t know much about horseshoe crabs, know this: the horseshoe crab you find today is pretty much the same as the one you would find as a fossil from 450 million years ago.  They have not changed much.  They didn’t need any kind of change to survive.
They have good blood.
The blood of a horseshoe crab is bright blue in color.  The color is a reflection of the fact that oxygen is carried using copper-based hemocyanin.  Our red blood uses iron in hemoglobin for the same.
But the real trick is what horseshoe crab blood does when confronted by bacteria.  Where our blood might require a couple days for white blood cells to muster a defense against the bacterial invaders, the defensive amebocytes in horseshoe crab blood may successfully react in as little as 45 minutes.
Over recent years, biomedical researchers have been doing a great deal of life-saving work with horseshoe crab blood.  Some concern exists about horseshoe crab populations.  At one time the crabs were over-harvested and destroyed to make fertilizer.  In some areas, the crabs are still harvested and used as bait.  The horseshoe crabs used in the biomedical industry are captured, bled, and released into the wild again. Still, some question remains about the survival rate of the crabs released into the wild again.
The video posted below explains the blood harvesting process.
 --Mitchell Hegman
Here is a link to the video posted:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Yesterday, while I was driving through the snowbound landscape near Bondurant, Wyoming, a small, nameless songbird launched from the exposed grass alongside the highway and flung itself into an oncoming truck.  A splash of feathers greeted the bird at the truck’s bumper.  Instantly dead, the small bird glanced off the truck’s bumper and tumbled into my lane.  The bird vanished under my car as I shot past the truck going the opposite direction.
The death of the bird bothered me immensely.
I thought about the bird as I drove over the next mountain pass and wound through the next wide valley.  I thought about the bird when I arrived home many hours later.
I know such senseless accidents occur all around me every day.
Just another small bird.
But senseless is senseless—it weighs the same always and never fits in my pocket.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Bottom of Wyoming

That girl and I overnighted at the bottom of Wyoming.  The bottom of Wyoming is a countryside of high plateaus and open views.  Clouds might take all day cross a place like this.  Pewter-colored mountains assemble in the distance.
The landscape seems perpetually rising up or swooping down.  Often, raw earth and stone lie exposed to the elements.  Where good grass is found, you either find a horse grazing or you imagine one.
To arrive here, we drove ten hours and crossed-over four mountain passes.  Two of these passes reached summits above 9,000 feet.  We crossed red deserts and chocolate-colored rivers.  We traversed vast inclines filled with bare aspen trees and patches of snow. We skirted coal country and oil fields.
The bottom of Wyoming is fine, thank you.  But the best part is that this place is connected to Montana above us.
Today, we will drive eight-hours through the handsomest measures of Wyoming and then ruffle the loose skirts of Idaho.
Today, we drive home to Montana where the mountains finally shake hands with the clouds.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, April 10, 2017

Bryce Canyon

I will spare you the long list of superlatives that come to mind for Bryce Canyon.  Let me put it this way.  Scenic destinations often fail to live up to my expectations or to the glowing descriptions given to me by those who have told me about them.
Bryce Canyon exceeds expectations.
Though a bit crowded, Bryce totally works for me.
Yesterday we drove to all the elevated overlook points.  The highest point is some 9,115 feet above sea level and still remains largely snowbound.  We also spent a bit over two hours hiking a loop down into the hoodoo amphitheater.  The hike took us into the lowest elevations of the hoodoo formations and then brought back up to the rim again.
I loved that.
Posted today are photographs from Bryce Canyon and the area immediately surrounding.

 --Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Grand Staircase-Escalante and Kodachrome

We are pretty busy down here in Utah.  Yesterday, the four of us—that girl, me, my little sister, and my brother-in-law (Russ the Giant)—started the morning with a series of short drives and quick hikes and carried on exploring until late in the evening.  We saw a pretty good chunk of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and finished our day in Kodachrome State Park.
This is a land of stone and sky that has been sculpted by eons of wind and water.  Only the sturdiest of stone stands upright.  Where the stone is not upright, the uncommon waters have cut deep into canyons.
The roads are winding and the views expansive.  
Posted are three photographs from the day.  Look for the tiny woman walking against the sky on the red rocks.  The road pictured has been carved for miles through solid stone.  The last photograph is an example of the interesting ways in which the elements carve the stone.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Tropic, Utah

Yesterday, that girl and I drove twelve hours from Helena, Montana to Tropic, Utah.  Tropic is a small town located between Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Bryce Canyon is impressive.  We stopped for a quick glance two years ago and vowed then to come back for more exploration.  Grand Staircase-Escalante is new to me.
We met my little sister and her husband.  They drove up from Las Vegas.
Today, we will be exploring Kodachrome State Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante.  The area we intend to explore features a high plateau and slot canyons carved through solid stone.
Tomorrow, we plan on hiking down into the hoodoo formations of Bryce Canyon.   Some people call these formations goblins.  The hoodoos rise in somewhat precarious and otherworldly shapes from broken landscapes (badlands).  In Bryce Canyon, the orange and red coloring makes the scene all that more striking.  Some hoodoos there reach elevations of ten stories.
Posted are a few photographs of hoodoos from our drive through Red Canyon—that last stretch of road before we reached Tropic.
More to follow!

 --Mitchell Hegman

Friday, April 7, 2017

Four (Not Exactly Burning) Questions

—A cheapskate, a thief, and a man with his jaw wired shut enter a bar.  Is this a joke?  
—If you could permanently substitute the name of a weed for a curse word, what weed would you use? 
—Is it wise to take extra socks on a suicide mission, just in case the mission fails?
—If a mammalian cat will chase a rodent mouse, what kind of cat will chase a computer mouse?
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Just Wondering

If we don’t measure the value of our lives in terms of how we helped others along the way, what terms should we use?

 --Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Day my Car Stole Itself

I’ve owned some pretty bad cars and trucks.  Cars that were reluctant to start.  Trucks that wandered all over the road in spite of my fervent straining at the steering wheel.  But the worst of them was my 1960 Chevy Impala.
The Chevy embraced pretty much every bad trait.  It started hard.  It wandered all over the highway.  The engine emitted huge puffs of blue smoke whenever I accelerated.  One sunny afternoon, the passenger side wheel fell off as I was driving along.
But the end-all of bad car behavior occurred on a frosty autumn day when my Chevy Impala actually stole itself.
A few weeks previous to this, an 8-track tape player was stolen from the Chevy.  The thief ripped the player from its moorings to the bottom of the all-metal dash to which it was fastened.  That was funny in a way because the 8-track player was broken.  I didn’t care that someone “lifted” the player—except it indicated that a crook was afoot.
For those of you too young to really understand what an 8-track player is, allow me to explain.  An 8-track player was a primitive form of music machine that, in-between scratching noises, mechanical squealing, and eating the storage medium, produced music from a tape on reels inside a plastic case.
Getting back to my Impala.  So, on this particularly frosty morning, I decide that I would start the old Chevy and allow the car’s defrost to clear the ice from my windshield.  Once I got the car running, I jammed on the emergency brake and then trotted back inside the trailer in which I was then living to give the old beast time to warm up.
When I poked my head back outside a few minutes later to see if the windshield was clear, the entire car was missing!
I ran outside and quickly spun around.  Who would steal my old clunker?  Was it the same guy who grabbed my 8-track?  I took a second, closer look.  Down the road, maybe seven or eight trailers distant in the trailer park and on the opposite side of the street, a dog was yipping.  My car was there!  I could tell it was still running by the cloud of exhaust curling up around the rear bumper.
I jogged down the street to reach my car and found a middle-aged woman was standing outside her trailer in a bathrobe staring at the Chevy.  The yipping dog—a puppy—was under my car.  Not only that, my Impala had smashed into a car up on cinder blocks in the woman’s driveway.
“That’s my car!” I told the woman.  It must have rolled down the street.  “The dog…”
I sprawled on the ground and peered under the car.  The puppy was fine, but his leash caught under the tire.  I reached under the car and set the puppy free.  “I have insurance,” I said when I rose to my feet.
The woman seemed inordinately calm.  Maybe she’d seen this kind of thing before.  Maybe she had bigger problems, like a husband she’d freshly murdered lying dead on the floor inside the trailer.  I, on the other hand, found myself shaken to the core.
In the end, my insurance company paid the woman in the trailer handsomely for her old clunker and then dropped my coverage.  I eventually sold the car to a friend.  He purposely abused the old clunker, but the car just kept on rolling along.  For all I know, the Impala is still out there somewhere, defrosting itself.

 --Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

40 Pounds of Ineptitude

I don’t want to say that my 40 pounds of housecat are inept…well…actually I do.
I have written previously about those times when I discovered mice in my house and then tried to be team leader and fetch my pair of 20-pounders onto the rodents.
Always to no avail.
In the end, my cats invariably wound up running off to evade me as I battled the mice with a broom or pots and pans.
Once, I was fully naked, scampering around the living room in the middle of the night, trying to capture a mouse in a spaghetti pot.  On that occasion, my 40 pounds of housecat wasted little time in scuttling off to hide in a distant bedroom.
It gets worse.
About my cats, I mean.
Carmel is an incompetent jumper.  Almost weekly he over-shoots when attempting to jump onto my office workstation to pester me.   He ends up sliding off the far side amid a shower of my papers and pens.  Sometimes, he misses the mark entirely and finds himself all twisted up on the floor.
But the weirdest thing is Splash and his shedding.  He doesn’t shed well.  His hair comes off in baby-bunny-sized clumps.  I have been startled on occasion to walk into a room and find a half dozen of these “sheds” seemingly sleeping on the carpet.
These things immediately catch your eye.
Sometimes the sheds come alive and scoot across the floor, propelled by shifting air.  Yesterday, I captured one of these roving hairballs in my living room.  Posted is a smarter-than-me-phone photograph of the creature.

 --Mitchell Hegman

Monday, April 3, 2017

Something Erma Bombeck Said

Erma Bombeck is among my favorite humorists.  Her wit was such that she could reach both me, my grandmother, and a host of people in-between.  Her book The Grass is Always Greener over the Septic Tank made me belly laugh at times.  Erma died in 1996.  For all of her funny writings and quotes, she also wrote some concise and serious bits.  Here is one I like:

“Don’t confuse fame with success.  Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.”

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, April 2, 2017

We Began With a Name

My friend Robby wanted to name our rock and roll band “The Leapin’ Lizards.”  I was not all that crazy about the name, but I definitely wanted to be in a rock and roll band—same as any other nine-year-old kid.
We did have a problem, though.  I voiced my concerns: “Maybe we should learn to play guitars or something before we make a rock band.”
“You gotta start somewhere,” my friend countered.  “A name is a good place to start.”
He made sense.  So…we started with a name.
Naturally, I became an electrician
My friend grew up and eventually made his way twisting wrenches.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Worst Disease

She’s lost between pages,
her words swept away by the forgetting disease.
Highways hang from her neck like heavy scarves.
Rivers stop cold at her feet.

“One can forget an umbrella,” she used to say,
“and still go walking in the rain.  You’ll just get wet.”

Now she’s misplaced her own name
and she’s at a dark window looking in.
The wet socks in her hand confuse her.
If only she could recall why she’s on the run
in this world filled with strangers.

--Mitchell Hegman