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Cold Iron consists of random bits of irreverence, surliness, and contumely; sometimes it's even funny. Reading it is entirely optional.

...the iron monger and rusticater himself


Cool Iron
(archive)

On the air in Chicago

"Never hit someone over the head with a hot iron. Wait until it cools so you don't burn them."

...the source of my ideas


Iron Filings - 52

We are stored in odd places these days, aren’t we? For as much as I can be pleased with my 850 credit rating, I also have to realize that the credit rating companies have to have a lot of information about me in order to give me any kind of rating at all – information that’s pulled from credit cards, car payments, checking accounts, mortgage accounts, insurance claims, and probably conversations I’ve had with my neighbors. But it’s all out “there” and now, thanks to Equifax’s lax security, we no longer know where “there” is. So I went to the Equifax website and they said, Yes, indeedy, my plethora of information is among the hundred and forty million packets hacked by hackers in Russia or North Korea or Estonia or Mississippi, a hack that took them six weeks to announce (time enough for three top executives to sell a ton of their Equifax stock before it tanked). I will take them up on their offer of free credit monitoring for a year (an offer that includes your agreeing not to sue them if your life turns upside down), but life in the cloud just isn’t what I thought it would be.

* * *

There’s been a lot of talk lately that the main goal in a life well-lived ought to be the accumulation of experiences, not things. Sounds reasonable enough, but I’m a little skeptical. I don’t like the either/​or sound of it, as though my house ought to be empty and spartan as I wander the world encountering different states and countries and scenery and people and grand beaches and elegant museums and ornate restaurants and so on. One problem is that all these varied experiences are so ephemeral – but an hour, a day, a week, perhaps more – that are then entrusted to that most sclerotic of our personal soldiers: memory. Things, on the other hand, whether furniture or art work or utensils or vehicles or toys or knick-knacks or techno devices, whether accumulated out of need or desire or chance, well, they’re things. They confront us, they’re durable, lasting, generally unchanging. More importantly, they can be linchpins of memory, reminders of how something came to be in our lives and when. Ah, that ship in a bottle there, made by hand by grandfather eighty years ago – a good man but a little grumpy. That blender in the kitchen? My late husband went back to a garage sale three times before he finally decided to buy it – and it doesn’t even work! As any philosopher will tell you, things can get a little sticky anytime you try to nail down that “main goal in a life well-lived.”

* * *

Amusing things I have no position on: Apparently the Girl Scouts of America are in a dither because the Boy Scouts of America are considering letting girls join. I don’t have a problem with that since the two organizations do offer considerably different experiences for their members, although I’ve heard no word that the Girl Scouts are thinking of letting boys join. But, for the Boy Scouts, a name change would no doubt be in order. People Scouts? Teen/​Tween Scouts? Since both Myself and my Other have a history in scouting I should probably have a position on this, but I’ve been busy trying to figure out IOS -11 on my I-phone. One must have priorities.

* * *

Once again our Dear Leader is baiting the other Dear Leader after the other Dear Leader baited our Dear Leader. Has anyone told either of these mushrooms that nuclear weapons are dangerous?

* * *

I apologize for demeaning mushrooms.

* * *

Quite honestly, I think the main reason why President Junior High has made such a big deal out of this NFL protest/​First Amendment/​sonsofbitches thing is that it’s the only thing his base can understand.

* * *

Just read that the anti-vaccination wackos are revving up their engines, convinced that immunization is just another government intrusion into our autonomy. I believe our science-deniers just need a little more education. All I can say is that I’ve never had measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox, polio, tetanus, or shingles. Having been vaccinated against all of those, I can also say I’ve never been autistic, nor have I suffered asthma, ulcers, or miscarriages (all of those allegedly caused by vaccinations).

* * *

This morning I read in the paper that the world is supposed to end today (it’s a late September day as I write). People, of course, have been making similar predictions for as long as there have been people. Anyway, if it does end I’ll let you know in next month’s Cold Iron.

* * *

G.K. Wuori © 2017
Photoillustration by the author







Selected Works

Novel
I think this book would appeal to anyone who likes a dark crime story set in a rural, somewhat remote part of Maine in a time when the radicalism of the nineteen-seventies was sweeping the country.
Ellen DeLay, an upstanding citizen of Quillifarkeag, Maine, suddenly and unpredictably leaves her happy, twenty-five year marriage for a lonely cabin deep in the Maine woods, where she makes a living dressing hunters' kill - bears, moose, deer. It seems an idyllic life, punctuated only now and then by rifle fire as she shoots into the air to scare off cheeky teens who come to taunt "the crazy woman."
Novella
A small-town lawyer in the middle of a gruesome murder case finds salvation in the world of a homeless woman and her daughter.
A young woman's morning walk through her small town finds her immersed in a small tragedy, an indifferent government, and the "science gone mad" of her best friend's husband. Quirky, goofy, nutty - yes, but a gentle look as well at some of the values that keep us from falling off the planet
Essay
A hint of generally true autobiography, this piece is part of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill's "How I Became A Writer" series.
Stories
Quillifarkeag is a state of mind, one marked by innocence and regret, by guile and sympathy. The people there will let you into their lives - but not very far. Go too far inside and things start to echo, people get close. Honesty becomes negotiable. Bare all and someone might still say, "Were you naked or nude?" It's an important distinction. In a small place like Quilli the naked truth is hurtful. The nude truth is not so bad.

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