In case anyone's wondering, I am still working on the (cough) book.
Almost a year ago, I finished a first draft.
"First draft" is no more accurate than "second draft." I've probably revised and rewritten most of the chapters thirty-two times. But let's say that by the end of this year that I hope to have manuscript that I would actually send to a literary agent or publisher. Let's just say that, for now.
Since this project is taking twice as long as I anticipated, we're beginning to feel a little pinched. You see, I used to make money, but now I only work on what some people would refer to as my own personal fulfillment. ( o :
I hope to God that this pet project turns out to be more than that. Because if it doesn't, if I have been working toward nothing more than personal fulfillment, then I am going to find myself filled with a great ironically gaping emptiness, in the end.
So, recently, to address the pinch, I took a cold hard look at our monthly expenses and made some startling discoveries.
The cable TV that we never watch cost $50 a month. (We watch Netflix on X-Box. We're not purists.) The DVR that we never use cost $15 a month.
I won't bore you with the complete inventory of mindless squandering. Cut to the insurance. We paid about $500 every month on insurance. That had to be excessive.
So we scheduled a meeting with our insurance guy. We'll call him Lou, not his real name.
We've been with Lou since 2006. He used to remind me of Donald Trump (sharp suit, yellow hair) but now he's older, has silver hair, and is cute and comfy in the crinkly-twinkly old William Shatner mode.
Lou remembers everything we've ever told him about ourselves, and he weaves it all into an endless stream of catastrophe anecdotes, such as...
A sparrow picks up a burning cigarette to feather its nest and burns down our barn.
A friend rides my horse on the road. A passing car honks their horn in greeting. The horse rears up and our friend falls off and is hit by another car.
I pull my horses in a trailer when the trailer detaches from my truck on County Road A. It drifts toward an oncoming Smart Car filled with clowns, all of them grown men supporting families. They were on their way to the circus.
The first horse kicks open the back door of the trailer. He stumbles, his hoof hits the road going 45 mph--but then he does a duck and roll kind of thing and miraculously lands on his feet in the emergency lane.
The second horse is now at the back door and looks out. The first horse is running at top speed alongside the trailer, shouting, Jump, Belle! You can do it! Tuck and roll!
But Belle is frozen to the spot, staring helplessly at the lines in the road and the clowns in the Smart Car who are all tooting madly on kazoos.
There is a third horse on the trailer. He is between the front wall and an interior gate, locked into place like bologna in bread. He can't do anything, he's totally wedged in there.
The first horse, his name is Fire, gallops up to my window.
"What is it, boy?" I ask. "Why aren't you in the trailer?"
And then it occurs to me: Fire is not in the trailer, the trailer is not attached to the truck, Belle did not tuck and roll, and she is standing helplessly frozen at the back door with eyes big as saucers.
I hear the loud discordant whizzing of kazoos.
But I digress.
Lou is talking about an intoxicated person (whom he shall refer to as a drunk) who has tripped and injured himself on the sidewalk in front of his office. Is that Lou's fault?
On my way to this meeting, I took a picture of a turkey walking on the sidewalk in the direction of Lou's office.
I mention the turkey to Lou.
Lou says, "He's a jake--probably 14 years old. He starts his day outside this building. By late afternoon, he's a quarter mile down the road. He's been hanging around here for about four years."
Lou pauses before he says what he's going to say next, because he's about to go way off script.
"And no one's whacked him yet," Lou says.
A moment later, we cancel the life insurance.