Archive for August, 2013

From the Editor’s Perch…

August 26, 2013

Editor’s note:   Now if this doesn’t expand my readership, I don’t know what.  Who doesn’t want to get ahead in life?

How to Get Ahead in Life


Where I work we sell copiers.  It’s a large place – we do a large business, with a big sign on top – and almost no walk-in customers.  In fact, people rarely call us up to inquire about a copier.  Now and then, someone new with very small needs, will inquire via the internet.  But basically, no matter how prominent your dealership is, or how big your sign, in order to sell a copier you have to go find a prospect and meet with them.  Our equipment costs a lot, and has proven to be quite popular.  But it doesn’t sell itself.  This is the first rule of advancement in life: Nothing sells itself.  Somebody has to tell somebody else about it.  You want something?  You have to tell someone that.  You have to ask people to do something, if only, “look at my stuff.”  Nothing sells itself. 


Then, whether selling myself or a copier, someone has to buy.  And to get that person to buy, you have to go to them.  They rarely come to you, which means that to get ahead in life you’re probably going to have to travel.  Bob Dylan didn’t stay in Hibbing, Minnesota.   Bob Dylan had to get to New York where they were buying what he was producing.  If you have an exclusive product to offer, statistically it just makes sense that whoever needs it will be somewhere else than right across the street, especially in Hibbing.  You’re going to have to travel.  Maybe you’re lucky, and your prospect is just downtown.


When I visited New York City some years ago, what surprised me was how small some of the famous spots were.  Greenwich Village was truly ‘village’ sized.  Little Italy was, indeed, ‘little’.  And yet these spots marked the ground zeroes from where numbers of artistic movements and cultural icons have originated.  This (plus some reading I have done) causes me to state another truth which is, that the leading creative activity happens within a fairly small radius; within a very small clan.  There are companies who employ large numbers of people, most of whom use our copiers.  But it is a very small number of people who actually determine whether it is our copier they will purchase.  Decisions about your future are made by a very small clutch of people who live and work and pass their time within a very small radius.  And you have to find them and get in with them if you want to become a part of it all; if you want to get close enough to grab the gold ring.


As Woody Allen noted, “eighty percent of life is showing up”.  He meant that you had to have the work done and ready to go.  But it also means, that you are there where the work is done.  So if you’re a musician and you’re in the recording studio, even if you’re not employed as a musician, you’re ready in case they need another horn, or if they are trying to think of a musician to call.  As noted above, you’re within the radius.   Kris Kristofferson started emptying ashtrays and sweeping up at Columbia Studios in Nashville.   When you ‘show up’ there is the possibility of something happening.   You want to date that special girl?  You first concern is to be nearby, to give her the sense that you’re already somebody within her community, who she might speak with, who she has ‘seen around’.   Show up.  Be there!


All of this advice will work whether you wish to get ahead in a big way, or just in the smaller way of the day to day, especially this last trick:  Be of help.  You want something from someone, be it recognition, attention, respect or whatever – being of help is an excellent way to start.  First, it’s a nice thing to do.  And second, it markets to the person’s needs.


Wherever a person needs help is a place where that person is a prospect.  And if you fill that need, there’s a good chance they’ll make a little purchase.  And this works with anyone whether it be a wife or a child or a boss or even someone you don’t know as yet.   You want to gain your wife’s attention?  Do something she needs doing on a regular basis.  You want to make sure your son obeys?  Help him to do something he’s interested in but doesn’t know a lot about.  They will come to rely on you.  And people recognize and respect the persons who they need and depend upon.  So be of help.  Help to advance someone else and they may advance you.


(One caveat here:   A little discrimination is in order here.  Be sure that person stands within a circle you would like to share.   They might be in a circle you are trying to get out of…!   Screen your prospects.   Otherwise, you might not feel better.  Not screening their prospects is how ‘nice guys finish last’.    ‘Caveat helpor’: Let the helper beware.)


Motivational Posters by Carl Nelson and available at:


From the Editor’s Perch…

August 17, 2013

The Pyramid of Rational Thought & How It Leads to Extinction


My rational, well-informed, well-educated, scientifically minded, community minded, liberal leaning friends who apparently care more about people that I do, believe that the world would be a better place and our lives would be happier if run on a more ‘rational’ and ‘enlightened’ basis.

My rational friends bemoan the fact that people act ‘crazy’.  And my liberal friends are trying every method of persuasion, from ridicule to downright contempt and hatred, to ‘reason’ individuals out of their craziness, be it religion, politics, astrology, alchemy, naturopathy, or whatever asinine thing we might think of next, like enjoying a Big Mac.  But study this diagram:

The Pyramid of Rational Thought

The Pyramid of Rational Thought

The facts of these matters seem to say otherwise.  Study this Pyramid of Life (above).

We see that the greater the intelligence of the species, the smaller its population.  This is true for every species you might say, except for humans.  Humans seem to be the exception, multiplying at a crazy pace, and ever threatening the planet’s carrying capacity.

How do we do this?

My rational friends would say that of course, that we aren’t doing this; that we are, in fact, headed for extinction, or a grand apocalypse.  And their rational explanations end in a doomsday analysis, from planetary depletion of resources, to fouling of the ecosystem, to global warming… and on and on.  And that it’s crazy and irrational to think otherwise.

However, a rational person would have to note that these folks have been making these doomsday predictions for quite some time.  Malthus, the great vertebra of the doomsday scenario, published his Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, and rational thinkers have been predicting a Malthusian catastrophe ever since.  In my youthful years it was Paul Ehrlich who took up the banner.  He’s pretty passé currently and there are lots more youthful Cassandras out there now.  You won’t have any trouble locating them.

These people are always finding meaning in nature, and well they should.  Nature is very rational.  Everything out there is running around for a good reason.  And the more intelligent the animals have become, the more they begin running about for very, very good reasons… never wasting their resources.  Until, if you extend the side of the pyramid upwards – there is no one left… and for some very, good reason.  J

My own thinking is that my rational friends’ thinking, is a good recipe for extinction. Study the pyramid.

I contend that we are crazy.  As a species we are highly irrational.  And that it is the only thing saving us from extinction.  It is our craziness, as a species, which allows us to produce the unforeseeable – and not our reason.

At one time, imagining the earth as round was thought of as crazy.  Sailing off the edge of the world was surely a crazy undertaking.  Baboons don’t do it.  Why go to the moon?  Dogs don’t do it.  Why fly?  Why look into a microscope?  You ever see a chicken wasting its time doing that?  Why count the stars?   Why put bananas on your peanut butter sandwich?  Why not kill people and take what they have?  Why waste your time worshipping?  Why read?  It is our craziness which has expanded the carrying capacity or our predicament and allowed us to flourish to this unprecedented state.

We’re all crazy.  (And especially all these informed, rational people.)  Respect this.  That’s how we stay alive.

Nuf’ said.

Diagram by Carl Nelson – no rights reserved 🙂

From the Editor’s Perch

August 9, 2013
Naked Editor Floating in Isolation Tank

Naked Editor Floating in Isolation Tank

Your Editor Becomes a ‘Psychonaut’

Both my son and wife, and a couple friends thought this was nuts, but there’s a couple things I’ve wanted to try out.  One is wearing a Ghillie suit.

Ghillie suit.  Isn't it cool!

Ghillie suit. Isn’t it cool!

The other is trying an isolation tank.  So when the wife and son left for Ohio this week, I got my chance to visit the float/sensory deprivation chamber experience outlet in the Greenlake area.    Their website says, “overcome: stress” “conquer: fear” “achieve: theta state”.  I wasn’t looking to accomplish any of these.  But, hey!  They all seem like good things.

What concerned me most going into this was first, whether I could get back out.  I wanted to be sure this ‘isolation tank’ had an internal latch.  My second worry was whether I’d be slipping into some greasy slurry formerly inhabited by lots of other sweaty, hairy, poorly bathed isolationists.  My third worry was if I’d have to do this naked?  A fourth worry was that if I fell asleep, would I drown?

Well, “Float Seattle”, is a new, modern, well designed facility.  The tanks are flushed after each use and the Epsom salt plus Bromine in water solution is filtered and then reused.  The door has no latch.  And everyone gets a private, fairly spacious room with a shower.  The ‘tank’ was tall enough to stand up in and had a blue interior light which could be turned on and off.  They give you earplugs to dampen any conducted sound and also to keep the solution out.  And a slightly synthetic Jamaican/African bongo/percussion beat, which comes and goes and starts softly, reminds you when your time is up.  Yeah, and you immerse naked.

Judging from the half dozen, or more, customers which I saw, Float Seattle attracts fairly attractive, younger to middle aged introverted sorts who ‘dwell in their body’ more than others.  Not the extroverted competitive types nor the hairy wilderness trekkers, but more the urban yoga types who watch their diets and  weight and are proud of their posture and flexibility.  I stuck out a bit as I was much taller, much older, had a paunch, and am about as flexible as a rusted gate – though I am introverted.

I’d imagined the tank solution coming up to my knees, but in fact it was only around 10 inches deep.  The temperature is controlled so that you neither sweat nor chill while immersed, which for my temperament makes it a little warm for inducing sleep.  The most interesting part of my time in the tank was the experience of buoyancy.   The solution makes you so buoyant that you needn’t a headrest; your head floats naturally and comfortably.  And you needn’t fight to stay afloat.  The feeling is of lying on a soft slippery neoprene surface (or ‘hand’) which ‘lifts’, exerting the same pressure everywhere.  We all know the ‘feel’ of water when we are being the active force.  But when the water holds us up – ‘pushes back’ – the feel is quite different, very slick, very alien.  It feels like 100 percent humidity with the body fluids pushing in instead of leaking out.  It was a very odd feeling, but enjoyable.  And my one regret is that I didn’t spend more time trying different postures and playing in the solution.

Instead I rested entirely motionless.  I wanted to find out if an absolute lack of sensory information would tend me towards psychosis or even nudge me a couple psychocentimeters towards an internal chaos.  Nope.  Instead, the only mental sensation I had which I seemed pretty sure of was boredom.  My thoughts did not race.  Repressed emotions and past memories did not overwhelm me.  In fact, I found it very tedious to think at all.  If I had indeed achieved a theta state and was truly ‘inhabiting’ my body, then mentally it felt a lot like waiting in my car.

And here I can’t say if my reaction is normal, or if my particular nature is so off the charts as to completely invalidate the experience.  But frankly, being in my body is not something I particularly relish.  And probably many others do.  I generally think of my body as I think of my car.  I want my body to take me where I want to go, be reliable, be low maintenance, and not embarrass me in front of others.  But I enjoy ‘being in my body’ about as much as I would enjoy sitting in my car.  This isn’t a cry for help, or to say I would rather like someone to help me “shuffle off this mortal coil”.  But what I really enjoy doing is to ‘think’.

My big take away from this experience was a little insight into how my mind works.  In the tank, rather than having a mind brimming with competing ideas, I had just the opposite: no ideas.  No thought at all came to me, though some interior consciousness was there monitoring the whole situation.  But to think took a lot of effort and I had to figure out how to do it, as if I had been cast adrift on some deserted island.  Finally I lowered a memory  bucket in an effort to find something to think about.  Nothing came of that.  So I mentally clicked down a list of my relations and brought up one of them to consider.  But that’s all I got: an image of them which went no further.  Nothing I dredged up had any life to it.  Nothing further was generated.  No further thought came of it.  And pulling the information up was an effort.

Frankly, I’ve had a much better experience lying on my back on the bed while waiting to fall asleep with the bedroom fan blowing over me.  Thoughts of the day come and go.  An idea flares up.  A great elaboration of this idea begins, and then is put aside by another entering notion.  And I fall off to sleep.

I had always thought of the mind as a very generative thing, in a Jungian way, with all sorts of metaphors and symbols and narratives and stories struggling to reach the surface to become expressed as things and light – as if the world were a re-creation of our minds.  But as it appears, the mind is more aptly described as a little silent, smoothly running machine which produces no thoughts at all – until it is fed.  It seems that the mind is more like a little machine which works on the information of the world which we bring to it, churning out the emotions, thoughts and expressions we’re perhaps too apt to believe we generated ourselves.

So perhaps this old adage of ‘finding oneself’ needs to be replaced by a newer adage of ‘using oneself’.

I’d always thought the expression “it makes you think” quite presumptive – as if to say that I’d had no thoughts at all until someone’s particular point of view was pressed on me.  But now, I wonder.  If we want to know what we think, or to become productive and successful at what we do, or to even find out what we do – isn’t it best to feed ourselves experiences rather than to take it on faith that some answer to our questions will miraculously appear to us from within a sealed room?  I mean, I just tried this – if only for an hour.

Photo of Ghillie suit from Google Images

From the Editors Perch…

August 6, 2013
The Object of My Desire

The Object of My Desire

Moral of the Mini-can:

You Do Not Control Bureaucrats Anymore Than You Can Control a Roach 

            When I purchased my first home in Rainier Valley for $15,000. money was scarce, and I didn’t intend to spend any more than necessary.  So when the City of Seattle offered homeowners a lower garbage fee for using a smaller can, I immediately tried to sign up for my ‘Mini-can’.

Well, a quick way for large organizations to cut their operating costs is to replace the job of phone receptionist with voice mail options.  This has been a boon to government workers as it solves two problems in one fell swoop.  First, it demonstrates to the public that your government bureaucracy is trying to cut back on costs and that they are underfunded (ergo sum).  Secondly, it greatly decreases the time government workers have to spend responding to either disgruntled or demanding citizens – another cost-saving feature.  In fact, if the voicemail directions are vague and complex enough, and the waiting time to reach an actual human voice long enough – there is a good chance that the government worker will never have to speak with the citizen over the phone at all.  And nothing shaves costs like not having to provide the service.

So I looked up the number of the City Sanitation Services and dialed it.  For a couple successive days I waited on the line until I could no longer bear it.

But I wanted my Mini-can.   Mayor Royer, our mayor at the time, had created a satellite collection of “mini City Halls”.  These were created with the intention of allowing the citizens more direct access to the city and its services.  So I visited mine.

My mini-City Hall was only 4 blocks away and situated in the local neighborhood business district in the shop front abutting the restaurant where I had my coffee each morning, before driving to work.  The coffee shop was an inviting spot which also included a bakery.  And there was a single cash register right out in the open where people paid for their orders.  The mini City Hall was right next door and not as inviting.   The shop had been walled off with a very secure door leading back to somewhere, so that only a small space remained for a person to sit or stand.  It was painted government hues of beige.  A wood rack on the wall held flyers explaining various city services and how to qualify.  Half of this small front area was also walled off by perhaps an inch thick Plexiglas window, held in a log frame, with a 4” hole through which, if you bent down, you could speak with the person inside in a supplicating manner.  Somehow, it seems understood (for all of time), that the person seated inside will not ask you for what you want.  You have to get their attention.

(I forgot to mention that on the walls were signs warning that the swearing or threatening of any city employee would be immediately responded to by the police.)

The person, whose attention I had to get was a middle-aged bottled mostly-blonde, with the beginnings of a middle-aged spread in a red dress who was painting her nails.  Nowadays the first words out of my mouth would probably be, “Excuse me.  But are you a real person or just a cliché’ slouched there?”  Then, however, I was much more contrite when approaching official power, and just said, “Excuse me?”  She didn’t look up.  She was leaned back and probably assessing a particularly difficult ridge of nail at that moment.  I continued, “I need to get a smaller garbage can?  They have me signed up for a large one, which isn’t necessary and costs more.  So I need to change this and get a Mini- can.”  She looked up.

Not out of duty, I think, but because I had piqued her curiosity.

“You want your… Mini-can,” she said, as if she were referring to the size of my dick.

I nodded, not to be put off.

With a lot of effort, she put her stuff away and rearranged herself.

“What’s your name and address,” she said.

I told her.

She picked up the phone.

“That won’t do any good,” I offered helpfully.   “I tried phoning the Sanitation Department, but couldn’t reach the right section and when I did – if I did – I was put on hold until, well, forever…”

She nodded, but continued to use the phone.

“Yes,” she replied, when the person on the other end answered.  “I have a person here who wants his Mini-can.”  She nodded, and gave the essential information.  “Thank you.”  She hung up and turned to me.  “Your Mini-can should appear next week,” she said.

“Uh?  Oh good!” I said surprised.  “How were you able to get through to the Sanitation Department so easily, when it seemed like I tried forever?  Maybe I could have that number?”

“I didn’t call the Sanitation Department,” she said.  “I called the Mayor’s office.  And no, you can’t have that number.”

Photo from Google Images.

Quantum Traveler

August 3, 2013

In a rare meeting of entangled particles, quantum particle ‘Gary’ (right) announces a ‘quantum’ upgrade.

Quantum Upgrade Announced

In a surprise move, entangled quantum particle ‘Gary’ announced a quantum upgrade following a rare meeting with his entangled twin, ‘Larry’.   Apparently finding their lower energy field bus confining and dated, entangled particle Gary and his wife began purchase of a newer Premium ‘Provost’  Field Bus to be built from scratch in Quebec, Canada and delivered during a power surge in March of 2014.  The announcement, made August 3rd, included these specifications:

New bus2

“From scratch. They start with stainless tubing. There will be 10 to 15 people working on it every work day from now to delivery. It is quite a project.

Here are a few of the features:
We moved the drivers seat back 3 inches. I could drive it with no movement. 3 inches means I will be adjusting it forward to get comfortable. Plus the tilts, even max tilt, does not hit the cabinets. You should see how high the seat adjusts. Active massage while driving. Air adjusted steering wheel telescope and tilt.You will need sunglasses to find your way through the bus when I turn up the lights.You remember that red, blue, green make a full color gamet? Well, we can program the lights under the bus, or on the interior ceiling to be any color. And to change from color to color. Selectable. On our computer control screen.

Yes, we have that home theatre trick.

We have his and hers headsets for the TV or stereo.

We have a Full Size California King bed.

We have a washer and dryer.

We have a cool engine (that tilts). I heard it. It is quieter. But it is not as quiet as a small car.

We have a pressure washer, with a special outlet in front to wash off bugs.

We have super accurate tank gauges.

We have so many heat sources we may be a fire hazard. 4 heat pumps, with electric grids, on top. Heated floor. 4 electric forced air heaters. 5 fuel fired hot water heaters inside the coach plus two fuel fired heaters in the water bays and the storage bays. 2 electric heaters in the bays. We have a block heater for the engine. Plus, it can be pre heated with the fuel fired heater.

We have 2 each, 4 kw inverters, that have three stage battery chargers. AND we have an independent 3 stage battery charger that runs off a 30 amp circuit.

We have a battery monitor.

Our coach can be run from anywhere by cellular phone from either of our telephones or our newer iPad. Turn up the heat, check temperatures, raise or lower the blinds, unlock the door, anything doable from our controller in the bus.

We have antilock brakes plus a stability enhancement system that can control engine power or braking on individual wheels to enhance stability.

We have an anti collision system that alerts and can automatically apply engine and chassis brakes.

We have lane change alerting radar and cameras covering blind spots.

Very stable large mirrors.

Great chairs and a wonderful couch.

A big (for a motorhome) kitchen.

Two slide outs. Big slide outs. 30 inch slide. 14 and 11 feet wide.

Two exhaust fans, one in the shower, one in the bathroom.

Extra large bathroom and extra large shower (that you can stand up in.)

Redundant, pulse width modulated, water pumps for full smooth water flow.

Awnings, 5 feet on slide side, 11 feet on curb side. Motion sensors instead of wind sensors for stowing. Electrically deployed. Out and down, not just out. Full bus length both sides. Curb side lit with LEDs. A 40 foot, dense, string. Lights up the campsite.

4 apron lights on the curb side. 2 apron lights on the drivers side. Back end lit for hooking up tow vehicle at night.

Lange change lights. When I turn on the turn signal, big lights illuminate the lane I am signaling for. Helps to see vehicles in the lane at night.

A marble floor.

Carbon Fiber tail light and head light bezels. (Actually fiberglass, but looks like carbon fiber)

An entry way with elegant carved blue night lighting (Marathon Coach logo) and carbon fiber painted steel hand rails for entry. This elegant entry is a Marathon Coach signature.

Custom, color matched, tool box.

Bay slides.

Automatic level. And stay level. Pumps to keep the air right.

Custom ramps for extreme leveling. Aluminum. Folding and stacking for compact storage. Strong enough for this bus. 18 inches wide.

Single track tires. 18 inches wide!

A Sub Zero refrigerator and freezer. With automatic lock.

A dishwasher.

A knife rack.

An ottoman.

13 foot ladder, collapsible.

Lights in bay doors, latches, interior of bays.

Temperature monitors in bays.

Cable chains and a place to put them. They are going to put special fenders on that won’t get damaged by the chains. Most customers of motorhomes never chain up.

Fuel tank insulated underneath and surrounded with heated bays, and the heated floor on top.

The full Prevost bus engine, transmission, lights, brakes etc. you have seen. This is a big deal.

The interior is to die for. Alice (and Alan, their interior designer) have outdone themselves.

The bed is wonderful. We get 3 sets of linens. 2 bed mattress pads, 2 duvets with 2 comforter weights.

This is the “Entertainer Chassis” designed for stable smooth ride. It has their longest wheel base and their lowest center of gravity. The single track tire is supposed to give a noticeably improved ride.

A built in vacuum.

50 inch front TV. 40 inch rear TV.

Power bar for all our electronic stuff. Power outlet next to the passenger (so the iPad doesn’t run down playing bridge).

A zoned stereo system from heaven.

We are going to purchase a new tow vehicle. 4WD.

Sirius/XM radio

Open face satellite TV, Dish Network. Local TV antenna. Cable hookup.

Apple TV. Apple AirPort Extreme WiFi connected to Sprint cellular receiver. (Only Sprint makes a fixed IP address available – which is needed to make the system connect to the on board computer.”

At press time, entangled quantum particle ‘Larry’ was on vacation from his retirement and could not be reached directly.  But through his representative he could be quoted only to have said that he found “the knife rack to be a little excessive.”
Photos by Carl Nelson and Unknown

From the Editor’s Perch…

August 1, 2013
Have you questioned Authority lately?

Have you questioned Authority lately?

Modern Life is (becoming) a Beach


            I was yelling, “This place is a f$*cking gulag!”

My son was embarrassed.

The strawberry-blonde lifeguard was giving me a frozen smile with a bit of wry twinkle to it.  I liked her.

I explained to my son later that Speaking Back to Authority was in the Grand American Tradition.  But I can’t say that at the time I appeared particularly grand.  I probably looked a lot like a big, fat older guy swearing at a young, trim, attractive life guard.

I also explained in curt words to my son that Talking Truth to Power was often not very attractive and that at the moment I didn’t care.

“You should just do what they tell you to do.  And if you don’t want to do it, don’t say anything.  Just leave,” was my son’s loud advice.

Well, I did leave.  Actually, we did leave.


What began this whole dustup was my son’s desire, when he visited me in my home office, to do something with me that day.  So I said, “This is a great day to go swimming.”

We piled everything in the car, brought the dog and drove off to find a swim area on Lake Washington.   It was a perfect day, but after driving and walking a bit around a large park on Mercer Island, there was only one place with lake access which allowed swimming.  So we piled all of our stuff into my son’s inflatable boat and walked the block through the woods from the parking lot to this swim area.   Signs surrounding the swim area though said “No Dogs Allowed” within the perimeter.  Apparently they didn’t want dogs fouling the same water as the children swam in.  Or perhaps dogs caused too many confrontations.  Whatever the reason, we attached Noodle (our dachshund) to a shady tree well back from this area and proceeded on to swim.

We’d just about gotten everything arranged on the sand when the male lifeguard yelled, “Who has the dachshund?”  We raised our hands and he said, “You can’t leave your dog unattended.”

I said the signs had only said that they had to be on a leash.  But he just repeated, “You can’t leave your dog unattended.”

So, while my son took our dog back to the car (which we had luckily parked in the shade), I watched our things.  A small blue-eyed boy wanted to use my son’s inflatable boat (with oars) while my son was gone, so I let him.  When my son got back, he was a little miffed that I’d let the small boy use his boat.  But I told him the boat was fine.  He hadn’t hurt it.  So, we got ourselves arranged in the water.

After getting myself situated on my deluxe air mattress (with cup holder and back rest!), and my son testing out the oars and arranging his life jacket and food supplies to suit himself within the inflatable boat – we decided to head south along the shoreline.  The shoreline curved and protruded with docks and yachts and cattails and water lilies.  It looked like fine exploration.  I’d just gotten over the rope barrier and was trying to help my son over the corks in his inflatable boat with oars, when the woman lifeguard yelled through her amplified megaphone.  “Come back within the swimming area.  You cannot go beyond the rope boundary.”

This ticked me off.  We were just ready to have fun and go exploring.  And I considered tapping my ear and ignoring her.  But the attitude of these people got under my skin, so I decided to paddle back and have some words with her.  Also, I imagined this escalating into a confrontation with the Lake Washington Water Police if I didn’t abide, and then I’d have a huge ticket to pay (or worse!), which I didn’t want.

So I strode back and said, “We’re just going to float down the way and do a little exploring.”

The lifeguard meanwhile had alerted her supervisor, who interceded.  “You can’t swim beyond the rope boundary,” the strawberry-blonde supervisor said.

“This is the only spot available to launch our little inflatable boat,” I said.

She nodded, but said, “We can’t allow you to leave the roped area.  We are responsible for your safety.”

“Well, I surely feel a lot safer,” I growled.  “What if we had rowed our boat up to just outside the roped area from across the lake, or from a boat.   Would you be responsible for us then?”

“That’s a different situation,” she said.  “If you enter this swim area, you can’t go beyond the rope float boundary.”

“So you’re saying that if a person uses this beach to access the lake, you have dominion over the whole lake?”

“We’re responsible for your safety.”

“Over the whole lake?”  I asked.

“If you enter the lake from this beach, you are not allowed to go beyond the rope boundary,” she repeated.

My thoughts ground their teeth.   ‘Why, in the world,’ I thought, ‘can’t this lifeguard just protect those people who stay within the rope boundary, and leave those of us who want to go beyond to our own devices?’

But she wouldn’t change her tune – or her words – and the disagreement escalated from there.

"Stay inside the perimeters!"

“Stay inside the perimeters!”


So we picked up our things, got back in the car, left the area and found a beach on Lake Sammamish – free of lifeguards!  We explored.  The dog swam.  No one drowned.  But as I floated in the sun on my air mattress with my life-jacketed dachshund, Noodle, lying on my stomach, it shaped these current thoughts I’m having about our government and its takeover of our healthcare system.   (It’s amazing what an immersion in Nature can do!)


If we ask the government to take care of our health needs, some nameless government employee – who you have probably never met, nor will you ever meet – will decide what our health needs are… just as this woman had decided what our access to Lake Washington would be.  And they will decide what the treatments we receive are.  And they will decide if and when we receive them.  They may also make it illegal to pay a private physician to provide care needs, as they do in Canada as I’ve heard, feeling that it undermines the system.  So, if a government bureaucrat decides to leave you to suffer or to die, there’s no practical way (besides appealing to this same government?) of escaping this fate except to fly to a foreign country for treatment, as many now do.  In other words, they are going to do their best to keep us all ‘within the floats’.

Do we want this?

There is no end to the entanglements and torments bureaucrats can provide.  Read Kafka or, visit Germany.

In Germany the government provides unemployment insurance.  If you decide to take this unemployment benefit you must be willing to accept work, within your capabilities, when it becomes available.  The Government also decided to legalize and regulate prostitution.   Then it followed, according to the bureaucrats, that if you were accepting unemployment benefits and a prostitute’s job was available – you were obliged to take that job.


It’s not that only the government bureaucrat will think and act and perform poorly.  Everybody and anybody can and will.  The problem is that the government is the ‘only game in town’.  Do we want our lives taken out of our own hands?  This was my thinking, floating on my air mattress on Lake Sammamish while my dog Noodle, lying on my stomach, chewed on his Frisbee.

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