Honor System

Prompt: Honor


Hello Wednesday,

It was my parents’ wedding anniversary yesterday. Were they still alive, it would have been their… 700th or so, which is not diamond or paper anniversary but I believe is celebrated by presenting one another with life-viable planets. I mean, it has to be extra-special to stay wed for so long, right?

So they would each have had possession of a planet that could conceivably be a location for, say, space vacations, providing there was a water slide or similar amenity. Either one could also act as a back-up planet for this one, for a reasonable fee. If only all anniversary symbols were so practical.

They would get to name their planets. My mother would probably call hers “Sophie” while my dad would likely go for “Omphaloskepsis” or other cool-sounding, obscure word, since he liked puzzles and dictionaries. He liked dictionaries he could hold in his hand, not Google search screens. At my parents’ home there was a shelf under the living room window stocked with several dictionaries, a three-volume encyclopedia, almanac, Book of World Records, Thesaurus, atlas, and a French-English dictionary (we’re Canadian, what can I say). These books were called Argument Stoppers.

My mother liked words too but preferred the meditative arts to crossword puzzles: she embroidered, knit, crocheted, quilted, baked, canned.. and basically excelled at all the lost arts. Planet Sophie would look nice and have great food.

If my parents were here with me now, in my humble living room, my mother would be doing handwork by the fire and my dad would be working on a cryptic crossword, surrounded by Argument Stoppers, occasionally challenging me with a clue. My mother would also be doling out advice— strangely enough, advice I likely asked for. She was good at advice.

I would be here at my laptop, missing them terribly.

Well now, in honour of honour, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons that honour the prompt’s American spelling, “honor”?

cartoon tsa honor

cartoon trump honor

cartoon alleged killer whale


Peace and love,

~~FP

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I appreciate your concern

Prompt: Thank you


Dear Wednesday,

Today is the 18th anniversary of 9/11, one of those events that are monuments in our memory— we will always remember where we were and what we were doing when the planes crashed into the towers.

I was roused from my bed in Houston, Texas, with the words, “You need to see this.” We had visitors from the UK, who had passed through Newark airport at the same time as the terrorists responsible for the carnage on the television.

That day we went ahead with our plans to drive to San Antonio. Firemen stood at the side of the road as we drove in, each holding a huge rubber boot. They wanted donations for the first responders.

Like everyone, we were numbed by the experience, and today the same visitors are with us here in tiny town. There is a pall of remembrance hanging over the house.

I wish there was something that 9/11 taught us, or added to our consciousness, or which caused us to seek real answers in a troubled world. But no, it turned out to be mainly a political opportunity for the craven and greedy. Whatever our hearts tell us about that day remains deep inside, private and personal.

But it is Wednesday, and the prompt is “thank you”, and sure, I am grateful that the loss of life was less than it might have been that day, that I am back living in Canada, that the sun is shining, and that it is the day that I present a few of my favourite cartoons.

May I?

cartoon thank you email

cartoon thank you croaking

cartoon cat thank you


Peace and peace,

~~FP

George Carlin’s Spirit [Repost]

Prompt: Do you have a favourite quote that you return to again and again?

trap-and-rabbit1

Yes, I do have a favourite quote, Daily Prompts, thank you for asking. There are actually a number of quotes that I refer to, in my little computer notebook, that inspire and challenge me.

Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.
—Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal was a 17th century scientist and philosopher, but his words strike me as hugely relevant now. Maybe they will always be relevant, as people continue to twist the truth to suit their own personal, political, or religious agenda— and the rest of us value truth so little that we give such people power.


When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly know what you are hoping for.

I keep forgetting about this one, when I have an interesting or difficult choice to make. I think it illustrates very well that harrowing decisions are not so harrowing after all, if we are honest with ourselves. Since we find honesty so elusive, this is a nice little hack.


To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up.
—Oscar Wilde

…Speaking of honesty. Oscar Wilde’s wit is so beloved because there is such truth in it.


Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communication.
—Charlie Kaufman

To the people in the world who overshare: This one’s for you!


Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
—Albert Einstein

There’s nothing wrong with getting from A to B. It’s a valuable, efficient, and often necessary path, and I speak as someone whose view of the path is sometimes obscured. Imagination will take you everywhere, and I know that because I’ve been there. It’s really nice.


“Why is it the greatest champions of the white race always turn out to be the worst examples of it?”
—Jesse Custer, addressing the KKK, in Preacher, by Garth Ennis

Perfection. But why is that true?


The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you’ve gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?
—Chuang Tzu

I like to ponder this one while standing in line at the supermarket.


Life’s a bitch, then you die.
—Unknown

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that life is difficult and painful. Yet think about us, you and me— I’m in a warm house with plenty of water. I have frozen lasagna defrosting in the fridge. My doctor’s office is five minutes away, and always available to me. No one will come and chop me up in the middle of the night. Children in my neighbourhood do not carry arms. Your situation is probably much the same as mine. So we are the 1% of the global population, while for the majority the above statement is often absolute truth.

There should be no 1%, not locally, nationally, or globally. There should be no 99% who live and die in suffering, while I complain about Netflix.


May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.
—George Carlin

I feel George Carlin’s spirit is protecting me from evil when I sleep.


Life may have no meaning. Or even worse, it may have a meaning of which I disapprove.
—Ashleigh Brilliant

Don’t you hate when that happens?


  • Original post: January 27, 2016.

Buried Treasure

Prompt: Success


Dear Wednesday,

A funny thing happened on my way to a deep depression.

I got away from my life for a few days simply by being a tourist in a big city for a change— walking, shopping, sight-seeing, eating, drinking, playing, getting up early, falling into bed exhausted, and forgetting I am meant to be completely miserable.

Instead of dragging myself around in a state of constant fatigue, I had energy and enthusiasm. These were like strange, quirky friends who had dropped off the radar but whose sudden reappearance made me realize how much I’d missed— and needed— them.

I found comfort in the things I do, my reactions to them, the people around me and how my words and actions could affect them for the better; I realized I am not wholly terrible and hopeless but just may have something inside me that is worthwhile and that I can share. And, importantly, that there are emotional crutches and destructive self-medications that need to be eliminated from my life.

So I’m a little busy at the moment, getting rid of the “piles” in my life, both physical and metaphorical— those heaps of things that I’ve neglected for so long.

It helps that spring is here, with all the scents of hope and renewal that it brings.

Recently I came across an old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon (they are all old now, since creator Bill Watterson retired the strip in 1995) and thought it might be fun to share some of Calvin’s life philosophy, a capsulated guide to success…

cartoon calvin ta da

cartoon calvin fort

cartoon calvin treasure

Peace and love,

~~FP

Collected Alibis

Prompt: Book


Hello Wednesday,

The Goldfinch
My Brilliant Friend
Steal Like an Artist
No Time to Spare
Calabria: The Other Italy
Interpreter of Maladies

These are all books that currently sit in my living room or on my bedside table, waiting for me to put aside my devices and pick them up and look at printed words and turn pages. Also known as, reading a book. I’ve fallen prey to that short attention span malady, where my thoughts are about as substantial as a click-bait article on my iPhone, and my concentration about as reliable as the battery on my iPhone. In other words, I was once a truly avid reader, and now I’m not.

Fortunately, I think I’ve reached the saturation point of this kind of mindless device-centric busyness. I’m now aware that it’s not just unproductive, but downright soul-destroying— and thankfully, I’ve realized that this malady is also boring.

Down with boredom, and up with books!

And on that theme, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons?

cartoon book get up

cartoon book badger

cartoon book alibis


~~FP

The Enchanted Villa

Prompt: should be Competition, but isn’t.

1964-cadillac-deville-convertible

Cassandra and I were late, we knew it, but she had a kind of wardrobe malfunction when the lace on her wedding gown got caught on the long back zipper, so frail and delicately sewn that it detached from the dress when I tried to fix it. My maid of honour duties were filled erratically that day.

To be fair (to me) Cassie only unzipped her etherial lacy gown because she said she needed an unholy back scratch, so perhaps it was more her fault than mine. She told me, as we rushed through the hotel towards the Enchanted Villa, that all the stress about the gown was worth the conquering of the itch in her back, which was located precisely in the middle spot between her shoulder blades, entirely unreachable by her, and satisfied fairly orgasmically by my sharp and newly manicured lacquered fingernails.

The Enchanted Villa was reached through a set of nondescript doors at the end of a long, wide hotel corridor, which opened into a double height entryway to a massive stone, or faux stone, facade representing the entrance to a castle of sorts, but a castle festooned with coloured lights which sparkled and, well, enchanted all visitors to the dimly lit foyer. Inside the Enchanted Villa we were to find the rest of the celebratory wedding party: the groom, four other bridesmaids, and five groomsmen. All of us were primed for the flutes of champagne and expensive nibbles on the terrace while we watched fireworks burst garishly over the water in the twilight and stole french kisses behind potted plants and generally revelled in our youth and privilege free from parents and tediously obligatory wedding guests.

But the arched doorway to the Enchanted Villa was locked.

“Are we that late?” asked Cassie. We both thought we could hear fireworks, somewhere. Had the group carried on without the bride? I did the compulsory rattling of the door and pounded a few times, before I suggested we contact a suitable member of the hotel staff.

Our liaison, Mr Carmichael, was no longer on the premises, a young man at the reception desk informed us; nor could he be reached even to cope with dire wedding mishaps.

Cassandra had adopted the helpless attitude of a bride without her groom (even though I knew she was far from helpless), looked at me like a Bambi and was, I’m sure, about to bleat, so I fortified my backbone and told the reception desk person that this was UNACCEPTABLE. Not only that, I said, but the bride and I had not eaten since the early morning and were weak with hunger and had counted on the delicacies promised at the Enchanted Villa to stave off fainting spells.

He seemed startled, as if he had never in his twenty years ever been confronted or criticized, which was entirely possible, and retreated behind a door marked “Manager”. When he returned he had a large smirk and a glossy box the size of a cat kennel.

“For the bride,” he said, placing it on the counter and opening the lid. Cassie and I were already half drooling and expected a box of chocolate delights, maybe some shortbread biscuits, or perhaps the ultimate jackpot, a few slabs of exotic cheeses and chunks of charcuterie.

What we saw was soap. Beautifully wrapped soap adorned with red plastic berries and polyester poinsettias, an apparent survivor of the long past Christmas season. When the young man lifted off the first soap layer of the surprise package, he revealed a second, similarly shrink-wrapped trove of lotions and potions and a tub of perfumed bath salts. Normally the sweet aroma of these would wash over you like an attack of vertigo, but there was no smell at all. Age had dimmed the Christmas spirit.

Cassie and I looked at each other. “These are made in India, very rare,” said the young man, lying.

Cassie took each of the the contents of the box out and stuffed them into what I thought was a tiny silk purse but turned out to be an expandable silk tote in lace that matched her gown.

“OK,” I said to the twenty-something. “After the Enchanted Villa reception, we were all supposed to sail, together, to Paradise Island for the night. The rest of our party might be there. How do we get to the island?”

Paradise Island was a compact 10-room condo development on a tiny offshore man-made island belonging to the hotel, a leisurely five minute journey by boat. It was Paradise because the hotel did not underestimate the idyllic ambience that strings of white fairy lights bestowed on the exterior of a building, and because each room boasted a jacuzzi tub and a mini fridge stocked with mini bottles of sparkling wine, vodka, and fruit juices, included in the tariff.

“It’s finished,” said the older gentleman in the ticket booth, once Cassie and I had trekked the length of the hotel to reach the boat launch, which was in the same wing as the Seafood and Eat It cafe.

“Finished?”

“Last sailing was half an hour ago,” he said. “Good night.”

“Wait,” I said, and physically stopped him from slamming the booth shutter down. “Look at me. I don’t normally wear green velvet. I hate green, I hate velvet. Then look at my dear friend, the bride, Cassandra, in her lace wedding gown, separated from the man she just married, heartbroken, lost…”

Cassie was concentrating on trying to scratch her back with a tube of Indian body scrub.

“Send out an SOS,” I pleaded. The man stared at me as if I was a two-headed fish. “We need food, first. We can’t think. We are hungry. We are owed food and need food and want a hot meal now.”

After five minutes, Mr Leo appeared. I turned to thank the boat launch booth man, but the booth was shuttered and he was gone.

“Ladies, allow me to apologize for the mixup regarding the sailing to the most luxurious and exotic Paradise Island,” said Mr Leo.

“The Enchanted Villa was also closed,” I reminded him. “And the wedding party is missing. No one knows where they are. Doesn’t the hotel have phones?”

“We pride ourselves on a uniquely romantic wedding experience,” said Mr Leo.

“Huh?” said Cassie, as she moisturized her hands.

Mr Leo continued. “Our associate informed me of your request and of course we can accommodate your dining needs, even at this late hour. Can I interest you in a grilled steak? We are home to a fine red meat establishment.”

I noticed there were no clocks in the hotel. I wasn’t wearing one. I guess it was late, but had no idea at all of the time. By this stage, time had no meaning or relevance.

“Follow me,” said Mr Leo, and he led us down down down into what seemed the bowels of the hotel resort, perhaps as a way to expedite our journey? We travelled through tunnels with an insufficient number of flickering wall-mounted lamps, emerging into what looked like a food court of the kind you would find at a mall, but abandoned, and we breezed past the empty taco and pizza and Chinese platter joints and then almost past what looked like the hotel’s main grill restaurant, an expansive mahoganyish clad set of rooms with tablecloth-less tables surrounding a central hub, occupied by a lone woman with a headset.

Cassandra was lagging behind the energetic Mr Leo, who was no doubt well-fed and rested and not alienated from his newly wed spouse. I took her silk purse and slung it over my shoulder, as it was both a burden and a distraction to Cassie, who had completely abandoned any sense of independence and relied entirely on me, as if I was her platoon sergeant in a war jungle.

Mr Leo approached the woman with the headphones and said, “Hello my dear, um, do you still, you know, honour the you know what, for hotel guests, if you get my meaning.”

I was astonished at his deference. She however, was not. “We are closed, and anyway need a voucher,” she said. I heard for the first time the clatter of dishes— somewhere nearby was a working kitchen. I started to salivate. I mentally urged Mr Leo to advocate for us more aggressively.

“We can eat here at this table right here,” I said helpfully, indicating the table at which Cassie had just seated herself and was rubbing her feet.

“Sorry,” said the woman. “We are not serving.”

Mr Leo looked forlorn, so I said, “I hear people in the kitchen. Just bring us whatever they are making, please, as soon as possible, right Mr Leo?”

“Come on,” said Mr Leo, “I’m sure that voucher thing can be arranged, you know, if necessary.”

The woman frowned. She turned her back on Mr Leo and said something unintelligible into her headset. Then she swung around again and said, “We can do room service.”

Cassie said, “Oh fuck” as if she had been following the conversation so far, which she hadn’t.

“Right,” said Mr Leo briskly, let’s just get you to a room!”

“I think my luggage is on Paradise Island,” Cassie said. Mr Leo didn’t hear her, as he was barrelling down the tunnel in the direction from which we had come, at marathon speed.

We crossed the main lobby of the hotel, for possibly the sixth time that day, and there was a newly parked gold Cadillac convertible in the area between the reception desk and the broad bank of windows onto the street, as part of a promotion. In it, at this apparently late hour, a porter was stretched out in the back seat, snoring. How I envied him. Cassie paused to stare, and I had to drag her away so we could catch up to Mr Leo, who was waiting impatiently by the elevators.

By this time Cassie was carrying her white sandals which so perfectly matched her wedding dress, and proclaimed to me that her feet were dead and she was too tired to go on, which I relayed to Mr Leo, who was standing right there anyway. He got a chrome luggage rack and invited Cassandra to sit on the inside platform and be transported, no problem.

We took the elevator up with Cassie perched in the luggage rack, but when we exited and tried to navigate the carpeted hallway, Cassie’s dress was too wide and long to travel without getting trampled by the wheels of the rack, so she leaned back, spread her knees, and tucked the dress between her legs. There was still enough of the stiff fabric to make a whooshing sound against the walls and room doors as we made our way down the hallway, Mr Leo seemingly telepathic about which rooms might be available, since he paused at a few, and used a key on one, much to the consternation of the occupants, a blonde man and woman who swore at him in a language I’d never heard before.

“There’s nothing!” Mr Leo finally cried when, after an interminably long time, we reached the end of yet another hallway. “I don’t know! I give up!”

“You can’t give up, Mr Leo,” I said. Cassandra’s head had dropped between her knees. She was, I assume, asleep.

My stomach had stopped growling. My feet were numb. I was so tired I couldn’t blink, lest my eyes close forever more. I stared at Mr Leo, who said he was going down to the basement to lament his failures— that there was nothing for us there. He said Cassandra made a beautiful bride, and wished the unconscious lady a happy married life. He said there were comment cards on the reception counter, and to be kind as he had tried his best.

I wheeled Cassie to the main reception area. The porter still dozed in the Cadillac convertible. The smirky young man who’d given Cassie the box of Indian toiletries was nowhere to be seen, but there was a neat box of comment cards. I took two, one each for Cassie and I, and put them in my pocket.

The front door to the street was locked, and I could see no taxis waiting at the stand in any case, so I awakened Cassie, who seemed somewhat refreshed after her nap. She put on her shoes and at my request, hot-wired the Cadillac, even though she had no driver’s licence. I took the wheel with Cassie riding shotgun and the porter napping in the back seat. I drove straight through the paned glass windows of the hotel facade and onto a nearly empty street. If there were alarm bells, I didn’t hear them.

The fresh night air was glorious, and we met no traffic nor impediments of any kind, and the porter did not wake up.


  • This story was based on an anxiety dream I had last night! I have no idea of its interpretation, and know it is not necessarily a good read, but I had to write it down just to get it out of my head.