The Journal of Provincial Thought
jptArchive Issue 19
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Fartch with the raised finger of wisdom
by Fartch Bombastric Fondlegod
Admonishment #87. On Operating in the Dark
Assumptions require judgment and a farsighted anticipation of contingencies if you're serious about liking things to go smoothly. My wife Thelma Louise Fondlegod says I'm cautious to the point of obsession, but it is she who sits stranded on the bowl crying for toilet tissue because she plopped down in her lala-land assumption of a neverending roll at her elbow. Such unseemliness of a matron. Eyes wide shut. I suppose that expression explains why she fell in with me. [Editor says I inadvertantly left out love after fell in. Me: "Just fell in."]

Optimum outcomes require credible intel and often just a threshold level of defensive driving. There are limits to what we can see and determine, and this fact haunts me; but the more light we can shed on operations "in the dark" (literal or figurative), the less likely we are to pull an Uncle Jimmy.

"What" you say (and you throw in "the hell" because you've learned your speech patterns from television and you assume there are no standards anymore), "is an Uncle Jimmy?" Uncle Jimmy was the long-haulin', easy-ridin', big-rig-drivin' uncle of a certain friend of mine. My friend's use for the anecdote is of less, shall we say, consequence than my own.

Long was the road and pitch-black the night as Uncle Jimmy rumbled across, I don't know, Kansas or somewhere the fungal blight from China hadn't eradicated the American chestnut tree, or somewhere you could find a delicious sack of chestnuts for sale at a truck stop despite the decades of blight. Uncle Jimmy had succumbed to the munchies and pulled into one such station, where he lucked into a goodly trove of tempting chestnuts, and he made a sack of them his own. And brother were they good as he dieseled on down the road, the old white line streaming past.

Uncle Jimmy enjoyed a long record of safe service behind the wheel and was not given to pushing it whenever he needed to pull off and take some rest, but he felt fresh tonight, invigorated by his tasty find. The nuts were moist and rich, filling his mouth with the wholesome goodness of Mother Earth. (And/or Father Sky, inasmuch as young nuts hang aloft on trees.) As often as he'd fold the sack and set it aside, he'd reach for it again, until after several hours it was running low, and he was sated and just about ready for some shuteye. He found a rest area frequented by his kind.

Next morning Uncle Jimmy dusted the sleep from his eyes and made ready for the home stretch. Before he pulled out, he reached for the sack of chestnuts, took one out, dug his manly trucker's thumbnail into the soft brown shell and peeled it open. Now in full light he could treat his eyes to the visual delight of nature's goodies; and what he saw was...... worms. The chestnut was seething with tiny little worms. Surely he was living a charmed existence, to have cracked this bad one open by God's good light of day. Uncle Jimmy tossed the disgusting nugget into the waste and took another, peeled it open............ worms. We can imagine the hot flash, the nausea, as he tore through another nut, and another, and another, all of them swarming with little invaders. Let us draw the curtain on his exit from the cab.

Which illustrates nicely the unexpected and unwelcome consequences that can come of operating in the dark.

—Fondlegod has opined.
jptArchive Issue 19
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