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Word of the Every So Often

May 20, 2024

chancery:  (noun)  If you’re in the US, it’s a court of equity, which is a court that uses principles of justice rather than principles of law, which, oddly, are not the same thing.  If you’re in the UK, it’s an office attached to a consulate or an embassy, or a record office for public archives.  I am a chancellor; therefore, this is my chancery.

Cartoon of the Week

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TUTOR  (tōō/tǝr)


For seven generations a Honkelheimer had been a percussionist for the Munich Symphony Orchestra.  Wilheim Honkelheimer, however, chose the horns, and in so doing was disowned by his entire family.  Forced to live on his own, Wilheim took in several students, teaching them what he described as “…the high art of tooting.”  But Wilheim’s real love was playing his music, the hauntingly lonely songs that became known as “the blews,” named after Wilheim’s particular style in blowing his horns.  Like many brilliant artists, Wilheim’s life ended in early tragedy.  Spurned by his lover, Wilheim committed suicide, blowing his brains out with a tuba.  Like the life he led, Wilheim was given a pauper’s grave, marked only with a hand-hewn sign that simply read, “Tutor.”


Road-Side Crosses


You know those road-side crosses

with the faded, artificial flowers

and the limp mylar balloons

and the rain-soaked teddy bears

marking where people have died?


I steal them.


I used to be sneaky and wait until dark,

but anymore I just pull over whenever

and toss them into the back of my truck with the others.


There’s a lot back there,

what with the little picket fences

and the decoupaged plaques with the day-glow lettering.


I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with them

once my bed is full.


I could just dump them out somewhere

and start all over again.


I could try to remember where I got them

and put them all back,

as if nothing ever happened.


I could switch them around,

just for the the sake of confusion.


Or I could just leave them in the truck,

stacked pell-mell as they are.

Who knows, they may come in handy some day

should I drop off behind the wheel.


Fortunately I don’t have to make a decision.

Not yet.

My bed’s not nearly half-full.


Greg Gardner’s Rule of High Visibility


I worked with Greg Gardner on the grounds’ crew of Missouri State University in the summer of 1989.  It was there that he taught me the Rule of High Visibility.  We could spend the entire day burying irrigation pipeline in a field, and at the end of the day, if we had done it well, the boss could drive by that field and see absolutely no proof that we had done anything at all, leaving him to wonder what we'd been doing all day long, even though he told us to lay that pipe to begin with.  But, if we took an extra 15 minutes and mowed that field, then the boss would see we had been working, and he’d say nothing.  And this is what I learned:  It doesn’t matter how much work you do, or how hard you work doing it.  What matters is what can be seen.

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