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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

"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 - 53

December 1, 2017

Iron Filings – 53
During my daily morning walk I’ll occasionally pass by our local high school. On another day I’ll pass by a nearby middle school. A couple of observations: As I pass by either of these schools I’ll usually meet a number of students heading toward their school. Chipper fellow that I am, I’ll always greet them with a nice “Good morning.” For the high schoolers, maybe two out of five will respond. I don’t know whether I represent stranger danger or they represent bad manners, but any adults I meet always respond. The middle schoolers always reciprocate the greeting, but here’s a funny note about middle school boys: as they pass by I am always briefly immersed in a cloud of after shave or cologne (shaving, though, not yet an issue for any of them). If only the rest of becoming a man was that easy.
* * *
I think by now we’ve all heard that odd use of the word ‘shaming’, as in body shaming, slut shaming, Trump shaming, etc. I predict, though, before its retirement, a new use of that word will be coming along soon, as in football shaming; i.e., friends, family, or even strangers confronting the proud parent of a gridster with, “You let your child play football?” Oh how we love to judge.
* * *
We need to retire ‘shaming’ soon as well, along with ‘passion,’ ‘at the end of the day,’ ‘just sayin’,’ and ‘giving back to the community’. Feel free to send me additional expressions for this list.
* * *
It’s difficult right now to have an opinion about all the gropers and sexual miscreants in Hollywood, various legislatures, the churches, and, well, just about everywhere. Really, it brings to mind the old saying, Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Because it is all about power: the power of a Hollywood mogul over an aspiring actor, the power of a boss over an employee, the power of a pastor over a congregant, the power of a landlord over a tenant, or that of an adult over a child, or that of the rich over the poor. Right now, of course, it’s just the “issue of the moment,” and, while I doubt there will be any long-term consequences, some will, indeed, lose jobs, and some will face prosecutions. However progress, in its snail’s pace manner, will be made as various organizations revise human relations policies and vow ever-greater watchdogging. But it’s hard to imagine any sort of cultural shift that would result in those with an advantage not using that advantage over those who don’t have it.
* * *
So I spent a recent Sunday worrying about one thing which, as it turned out, was the wrong thing. My son, you see, was running in the New York City marathon (more on this coming soon). During his three months of training he’d suffered a hip pointer injury and had had to stop the training for several weeks. Following some rest and physical therapy, though, he was back on the road. But I worried that that might be a problem during the race, or that something else might come up and he’d have to stop – a grinding disappointment. I worried, too, about the terrorist attack on the Hudson River walking path just a week before, and how the marathon with its fifty-thousand runners and hundreds of thousands of spectators represented such a jewel of a target for terrorist types. Oddly, sadly, I was worried about the wrong things. My son did just fine, but I should have been worrying about a small church in Texas and how their Sunday worship would bring them far closer to God than they would ever have imagined.
* * *
After only two months my new Fitbit Zip stopped working. Although I appreciated it as a gift, I wasn’t sure I needed/wanted all that much information about my daily activities. It made me feel like some sort of astronaut where every burp and itch was being monitored. Eventually, though, it became fun. Exceeding your ten-thousand steps today becomes a challenge for tomorrow and so on. So I was a bit disappointed when it stopped working and went online to see what the Fitbit people might suggest. It was a tweet-chat, seventeen of them over the course of five weeks with suggestions being offered and tried and none of them fixing the problem. Finally, one of the Fitbitters noticed that my device was still in warranty and would I like a new one? Yup, I said. So they sent one. I am constantly amazed over the kinds of problems we encounter these days. I think the biggest technological problem my dad ever faced was whether to use regular or premium gas in his cars.
* * *
Having had our Thanksgiving family gathering the Saturday previous, Gayle and I decided we’d do the true holiday with an afternoon movie and dinner out. After the movie – “Murder On The Orient Express” – a fine remake – we decided to go to Yen Ching, our favorite place for Chinese. Whoops – closed. Second choice, Pizza Villa next door – whoops, closed. Then the upscale Ellwood’s Fish and Steak House – you guessed it. Foregoing local then, we headed to the chains: Texas Roadhouse – closed; Chili’s – closed. Dairy Queen – closed. Wait – how about our favorite burger place, Culver’s? Not a chance. We ended up at IHOP where, for most of our meal, we were the only customers in the place. The meal was okay. Our eatery search: priceless.
* * *
G.K. Wuori © 2017
Photoillustration by the author

Selected Works

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."
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
A hint of generally true autobiography, this piece is part of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill's "How I Became A Writer" series.
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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