Christmas Redux

Another Christmas has passed, and another tumultuous year is closing. My very concerned neighbors must have thought that since I now live alone I might be starving to death, so they furnished me with more goodies and delicious food than I eat in a month. I have such thoughtful neighbors!

I am past the point of Christmas shopping. I buy gifts for people as I perceive they might be most appreciated, which is not necessarily on a specific day during the year. However, I did get some thoughtful gifts, including a mystery gift, that I am still trying to track down. I received an Instant Pot in a Walmart box delivered to my doorstep with no idea who sent it. I think it is possible that Walmart may have a dyslexic shipping clerk that jumbled addresses (I do the same with phone numbers; some people hang up politely, while others display less manners). I will wait a bit to see if I was the intended recipient before using the pot. If you sent it, please let me know so I can thank you. If you ordered a pot that did not get delivered, you now have the answer.

There is one delayed gift that I received that deserves some comment. It arrived the other day in a FedEx envelope and was sent by Mara Purl. If you have been following my posts and newsletters, you know Mara is my mentor and writing coach who adds power to my writing by helping a story take off and then keeps me gliding toward a successful landing. Now Mara lives in the rare world of being a very successful novelist, actress, producer and Kyoto player (look it up). She is well aware of my interest in car restorations and has had a ride in my 1940 Ford hot rod called the “Bahnburner.”

What Mara sent me as a gift is her recognition about my interest in cars, particularly restorations. It is a nice high quality t-shirt that in the warm weather months will join the other grease-stained t-shirts in garage service. I don’t collect t-shirts, but I do wear them and let them collect honorable dirt and grease until they meet their final fate as cleaning rags.

You see the fun catalog from which Mara made the selection. You can perhaps read the printing on the shirt: “Still plays with cars.” Now I know that Mara did not compose the sentiment, but she selected it because she felt it was appropriate for me. I think this needs some examination, comment and even revision. Why revise it? Here are some examples of why revision is essential in order to be appropriate. Let’s say we were to order some t-shirts for well-known personalities and see how we might improve upon the initial sentiment.
• For the Pope: “Still gives communion”
Better yet: “Always gives communion.”

• For the president: “Still tells lies”
Better yet: “Always tells lies”

• For the Democrats: “Still do tax and spend”
Better yet: “Always do tax and spend”
• For the Ford Motor Company: “Still makes great cars”
Better yet: “Almost always makes great cars”

• For Mara: “Still writes great books”
Better yet: “Always writes great books”

You get the idea. You can now go off on your own and be creative. Please send me your output (or is that “input?”).
That is the sort of linguistic trouble that Mara straightens out for me.
Now back to my t-shirt.
Let’s see what revision we can make.

How about:
“Always played with cars”

Nope – that belongs on my tombstone.
Get rid of the past tense and say:
“Always plays with cars”

That’s the winner!

Time to get out the red tape and ink pen:

Thanks Mara – all I need now is warm weather.

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