Yeah, they're pretty cute. Lucky for them!

IT IS MY HABIT, when preparing to go to bed, to read a bit. Nothing weighty, perhaps a periodical, or some fine book that can easily be read in small doses, or a book I’ve read before. I prepare a beverage of some sort, and a small something to nibble on.

Last night, as was my custom, I poured a glass of milk, and joy, there were some chocolates in the fridge. “Just the thing!” I thought. Being modest in my desires, I took two of these dainties, and went to my bed, placing the milk and chocolates on my nightstand. I had, of course, attracted the attention of my chattels, to wit: a 65lb white Shepard mix named Dojo, and a small black cat, Pyewacket. I do not normally share the bedtime snacks, but hope springs eternal in the belly of the cat and dog.

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The Computer Guy

Image: Cover art for The Feral Chicken of Clayton (and other essays)
Cover Art by Eric Maynard

I WAS WALKING INTO THE OFFICE the other day, after a delightful 55 minute commute, when I noticed that there were going to be potential productivity problems. Specifically, my computer was gone. All of the cables, mouse, monitor, and other things were there, but no computer. “That’s remarkable.” I remarked to no one in particular.

My neighbor, being no one in particular, responded. “What is?”

I silently responded with a flourish towards the area where 19 months of gainful employment was formerly housed. My neighbor, hearing no response, looked at my desktop (I do not yet merit an entire desk) and then provided enlightenment, by stating with thinly veiled mirth: “The Computer Guy came and took it after you left last night.”

The Computer Guy! What Horror! The very name of this individual struck fear in all worker’s hearts. My poor PC would be mysteriously ‘worked upon’, my files would be lost, and I would be given a replacement computer long enough to grow dependent on it, whereupon it would be whisked away as well. My mind was reeling, my heart raced, when I realized that, even worse, I would now be forced to try and FIND the Computer Guy.

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Driving Physics

Image: Cover art for The Feral Chicken of Clayton (and other essays)
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(This essay is several years old and refers to my very patient and forgiving ex-wife. Enjoy.)

I DRIVE TO WORK. Thirty-five miles is the exact distance from the end of my driveway to the driveway of my workplace. Over a period of two years, this drive took exactly 35 minutes per day, due to the speed limit over the bulk of my sojourn being 70 mph, or so I thought. I recently discovered the reason my journey took so little time. It was because of Driving Physics. I will explain.

Physics is the science of explaining why something beyond understanding happens. It succeeds, because it uses mathematics as it’s language. This leaves most people at a bit of a loss. Attempts to explain physics using a written language almost always fail, and further attempts to show why the math works ends with hurt feelings. Expressing the incomprehensible ideas of physics with math, for most people, is like taking your car to a mechanic. When you’re done, it works, but you have no idea why.

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Car Rides With In-Laws

Image: Cover art for The Feral Chicken of Clayton (and other essays)
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(Author’s Note: This essay is several years old and refers to my very patient and forgiving ex-wife and her relatives. Enjoy.)

THE OCCASION WAS AUSPICIOUS. My wife and I were to sojourn to the Great State of Arkansas, (the Natural State) spend 24 hours with her sister and said sister’s spouse. After that, we would all travel in one vehicle North, until we had reached Missouri (The Show Me State), whereupon we would spend Thanksgiving with my wife’s Father, his wife, and her 2 children. I was making efforts to try to remember the current family tree, while my spouse was determined that I would know the history of the tree as well. In addition, I had been given clear instruction not to mock or ridicule things that seemed peculiar to the region. I planned to ignore this advice, but I did not say so at the time, for I was not in the mood to defend my right to be sarcastic and ignorant as I chose.

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Beat Your Face

Image: Cover art for The Feral Chicken of Clayton (and other essays)
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HAVING SERVED PROUDLY in the US Army, I find myself often asked about basic training – that initial period of indoctrination into the military. For myself, it was eight weeks at Fort Jackson, SC (The Palmetto State).

Of course, one does not simply go from being a slack-jawed yokel to hard-bitten soldier. There are many steps required to get a person trained. Logistics take up the first week or so. They train about 300 troops per ‘cycle’, so you have to wait until that critical number of people arrive in one place. This ‘Reception Battalion’ is a kind of rest stop for people joining the Army. You fill out paperwork, get your head shaved (mostly), get gear, boots, etc. You are introduced to the military in a very simple, non-threatening manner. Then the buses come.

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