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I’m not exactly a member of the Usage and Grammar Police Squad, but I seem unable to suppress my background in writing and editing for very long.


We proofreaders seem to be born with an affliction: we just can’t help noticing improperly queued series of letters and punctuation marks, and incorrect pronunciation.


Those of us who have good manners manage to keep our mouths shut, even when folks say things like, “Do you have a copy of that ANN RAND book?” It’s AYN (pronounced like NINE) RAND. But who really cares? She’s too dead to mind much.


This affliction does save me time. When an email headline is YOUR INVITED, I don’t have to waste energy opening it. It’s already clear that an unprofessional or uneducated person wrote the message. If it said YOU’RE INVITED, I might read a few lines more.


Another email spasms its way into the inbox, SPECIAL OFFER ON SEARS ROOFS. Does this mean I’ll have to climb to the Sears roof to find an offer? Does it mean Sears is selling off its roofs? (I knew they were having financial problems, but being roofless would make things worse for them, don’t you think?) Does it mean they are selling roofs for houses and if so, how do I get one into my trunk?


When an interviewee on the radio says, “I’ve been abroad,” I can’t see the spelling and spacing, so I am left to determine whether this guy is trans-gendered (“I’ve been a broad.) and how this fits into the conversation. When another story reports on people who are sending their children abroad, I have to actually use my brain (Why would they send their children a broad? Do they actually need one? And why such a disrespectful term?).


I own a book called TOADVINE IN IT’S HEYDAY, which means no proofreader ever came near the book.


As Alex MacLeod once said, “Copy editors don’t object to being called anal retentive, 
they just debate whether the term should be hyphenated.”


Aren’t you glad I don’t say everything I think


(c) 2011 A.D. by Jim Reed


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“Our sanity is sculpted by what we do all day.”
Somebody once said that.
Actually, I just said that, but the moment it popped into my mind and raced through my fingers onto the computer keys, it felt right.
What we do all day imprints templates that pretty much govern who we are.
The quote could just as easily have been, “Our insanity is sculpted by what we do all day.”
Either way, I suppose I am what I do. I am what I act out, no matter what lofty things I claim to be.
So, looking around me at what I do all day must mean that I am 1. writer of words, 2. seller of fond memories, 3. accumulator of wonderful old relics, 4. teller of stories, 5. evangelist of the joy of collecting, 6. editor of others’ words, 7. hopelessly subjective romantic, 8. scruffy-looking geezer, 9. totally out of touch with most other folks’ realities.
Maybe there’s nothing special about me, metaphorically speaking. Maybe I’m your own personal metaphor. You, too, sculpt your own sanity each day. If what you do all day is eating your soul away, despair not! There are alternatives.
For instance, if you’re stuck in a soul-evaporating daily situation, you can 1. change it—get the heck of of Dodge or, 2. make what you’re stuck doing all day a game, a game of humor and pleasure and
satisfaction—create your own virtual mythology and make people wonder why you’re grinning to yourself despite your deplorable situation.
Habit is a powerful cement, but it can be busted and re-formed. What’s really hard—but doable—is to decide you’re going to re-form, re-sculpt your situation. Despair can be fun, it’s just a matter of how you deal with it.
Go, on, try–become your own sculptor, your own sculpture.
I didn’t say it would be easy, did I
(c) 2011 A.D. by Jim Reed


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9/11/2001 and 9/11/2011 may be dates that frame

this entire generation’s view of itself.

 It is to be expected.

 Each generation frames itself with joys and tragedies.

 Take tragedies:

I was born 9/6/41, just three months before Pearl Harbor. In my generation, everybody knew what “Pearl Harbor” meant. It was shorthand for, the U.S. was surprisingly attacked by a foreign enemy without direct provocation, and many, many people died in the process. Just say “Pearl Harbor” to my generation and they’ll know you mean the beginning day of World War II, during which millions upon millions of people’s lives were yanked from them.

In the next generation, just mention 11-22-63 and everybody whose lives were affected will know what your shorthand means. Our great hope of a president, John F. Kennedy, had his life yanked from him, and many, many people still mourn his death and the loss of his idealism…and in turn the resultant loss of their own idealism.

Jump forward to 9/11/2001 and all you have to say to this generation is “9/ll” and you’ll receive a grimace, a turned-away glance, a momentary darkness of expression, and a feeling of helplessness not unlike the helplessness other generations feel, thinking about their own unexplained tragedies, both present and past.

Take joys:

I said above that each generation bookends itself with landmark tragedies and joys. Where’s the joy, where are the joys?

Well, we have to pick the joys that outbalance the tragedies, focus on them for all we’re worth, and try to convince the next generation that things might be better, if only…

If only.

WWII’s joys came when the war was clearly ended and the soldiers brought home.

JFK’s joys came when new leaders and a new kind of music rose to re-paint the world with fresh hope.

9/11’s generation must find its own joys to offset the horrors.

Here’s one joy, my gift to you:

Today, 9/13, is the day you take hold of life and decide to live it out in service to love and loved ones, making sure you include most everybody worth loving in your definition of “loved ones.”

Tomorrow, 9/14, is the day after, the second day you decide to rail against evil and live your life as if you matter—for indeed you do.

 Thursday, 9/15/11, is the next day that matters. And so on.

Keep looking for the joys, don’t allow tragedy to quench your thirst for harmony and compassion, and don’t let one day pass without repeating this mantra.

It’s all up to you now

(c) 2013 A.D. by Jim Reed

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Seventy was creeping up on me, these last few days. But I don’t have to worry about that anymore, because today, Seventy is here. Now I can return to my regular life as if nothing happened.


My comfort level with this one and only seventh-decade event was restored when my copy of Mark Twain’s Autobiography fell open to a page I had never read before. There, before my wizened eyes, was the transcript of a speech Twain made on the occasion of his seventieth birthday!


Kismet! I shouted to no-one in particular.


Here are a few things Twain and I have to say about turning seventy:


Twain: I have achieved my seventy years in the usual way: by sticking strictly to a scheme of life which would kill anybody else.


Reed: Here I am; I don’t know how I got here and I don’t know where I’m going, so I don’t have much advice that anybody would be apt to take seriously.


Twain: I will now teach, offering my way of life to whomsoever desires to commit suicide by the scheme which has enabled me to beat the doctor and the hangman for seventy years.


Reed: My hunch is, you would do well to ignore any free advice I have to offer. However, if you wish to remit an honorarium for my services, I will go on and on.


Twain: I have made it a rule to go to bed when there wasn’t anybody left to sit up with; and I have made it a rule to get up when I had to.


Reed: I go to bed when I run out of things to laugh about, and I get up when I’m bored with hiding under the covers.


Twain: In the matter of diet…I have been persistently strict in sticking to the things which didn’t agree with me until one or the other of us got the best of it.


Reed: I respect the basic food groups, which consist of popcorn, marshmallows, bacon, olives and Ruffles.


Twain: I have made it a rule never to smoke more than one cigar at a time.


Reed: I smoked my last cigarette, pipe, cigar, in 1969. I don’t miss one moment of my smoking life. I have no idea how I was able to give it up, so I have no advice for you.


Twain: As for drinking, I have no rule about that. When the others drink I like to help; otherwise, I remain dry.


Reed: I drank my final alcohol in 1985. It no longer interested me and seemed rather a silly habit. I have many other habits that I won’t talk about right now.


Twain: I have never taken any exercise, except sleeping and resting, and I never intend to take any.


Reed: Exercise is excruciatingly boring and show-offy. If they would call it something else, it might be fun.


And so on. By now, you’ve no doubt learned that it’s best to ignore as useless any advice received from Mark Twain and Jim Reed.


So, I have managed to impart some wisdom to you despite my reluctance to do so. Go build your own parachute. Mine’s getting a hole-ier-than-thou attitude. Full of holes and sudden surprises







© 2011 A.D. by Jim Reed







Happy Birthday to Me

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So, as of this coming Tuesday, I’ll have celebrated scores and scores of birthdays in my lifetime. My evergreen memories grow fresher, and my sense of humor strengthens. What can you do but laugh?

Reed Books/The Museum of Fond Memories is my sanctuary, a place I can place on display and sell all things wonderful and precious. This is a foster home for memories, and I can’t wait till you drop by.

I found this small memory tucked away, and I’d like to share it with you and my brother, Ronny. He and I were kid pals and everything we did is worthy of remembrance:


Long ago and far away, the Tiny Town of T lay peaceful beneath starry night skies and pale-glaring day skies. Under T Town lay red clay soil that sludged dark when heavy rains came and swirled dusty during long dry stretches of languid time.

Sometimes the red dust red clay soil was overlain  with curvaceous green kudzu and Johnson grass and golden toned long-stemmed grass. Sometimes the soil hid itself under gentle crisp snow and listless dew and manicured lawn seed. At other times the soil brazenly showed itself and didn’t care what you thought about it.

In that tiny T Town in Alabama came small boys in 1941 and 1944, two young and fidgeting fledglings who were known as brothers of summer, barefoot band-aided guests of the next best adventure.

Those brothers of summer did those things that bonded boys do under bleached sun skies and over red-ant mounds. They played and imagined and guessed at what nature was all about, they prayed sweaty-palmed prayers by rote, hoping to make their dreams come true by sheer willpower and through the fierce force of squinting and straining and crossed-finger hoping and ritualizing.

Some dreams came true, but only in their thoughts, other dreams failed as dreams but succeeded as grownup party-spoiling reality, and sometimes the bonded brothers did not know the difference between harsh dreams and sweet reality.

They only knew that if they squinted and wished hard enough, things would be ok and all right and super Kosher, though they had no idea what Kosher really meant, except that it possibly had to do with all-rightness.

Those boys did not soon die, since they had many more decades to live and dream, to live and forget their dreams, to live even long enough to once more recall those dreams, to retrieve those dreams and make them part of their nowadays reality.

Now the T Town boys of dreams can comfortably walk arm in arm shoulder to shoulder elbow to elbow through the remaining years of their lives, enjoying their dreamlike realities, fessing up to their reality-laced dreams, and not giving one whit anymore whether where they are at any particular moment is dream or reality

Guess the right thing to do on Tuesday is call my brothers and sisters and wish them Happy Birthday to Me, just for old time’s sake.

(c) 2011 A.D. by Jim Reed