We are easily seduced. We believe we "get it" and understand the multitudinous and nuanced "Understanding of Things." We shake our heads at those that disagree on Facebook and change the channel to our own when we accidentally hear an opposing opinion. I've said this a thousand times because I'm old.
Here's 10 things to do that everyone should and no one will:
10. Shake the hand of a person who doesn't have a hand, but a hook or another prosthesis, and ask how the original equipment was lost. And listen. Write it down.
9. Interview the oldest person in your family. Ask them about their earliest memory and their most brutal/joyous. Write it down.
8. Go to Pine Valley after midnight and lay on your back in the snow or mud or grass with the wind or the mosquitoes or the ticks and look at the sky and wonder about what the same sky looked like in that exact spot 50 years ago. Five thousand years ago. Fifty thousand. Mind bend. Write it down.
7. Volunteer at a hospice. Be loving to the beloved. Write it down.
6. Find one of those old-school gumball machines and slide your nickel in and crank the dial to extract one of those purple, bumpy, grape gumballs that make your mouth pucker and sucker and douse your mouth with saliva to dilute the sugar your teeth hate. Thanks, evolution. Write it down.
5. Walk on crutches. Humbling. Not humiliating, but humbling. Write it down.
4. Start a fire with no matches or no lighter. It can be done and has been for 40,000 years but hasn't been for a hundred by anyone that anyone knows. Write it the hell down.
3. Eat raw protein, something that used to be swimming or climbing or running or hoping it wouldn't die, but did. Give in to your apex predator. Write it down.
2. Tell yourself the truth. Take a deep breath and stand in front of a mirror and tell yourself what you think of yourself. Chickens--t. Write it, loser.
Cloquet resident Parnell Thill, former Pine Knot editor, has been penning his "Notes From the Small Pond" column for decades, or at least that's what it feels like. Contact him c/o firstname.lastname@example.org