Saturday, January 9, 2016


It’s the twenty-first century. Not a headline, I know, but the world is wildly new and—at the same time—endlessly the same.

Part of the newness is that our phones follow us around in our pants. Satellites beam endless cute cat videos straight into our back pockets. It’s like a new day has dawned in our pants controlled by cats and their god.

And a lot hasn’t changed—not one small bit:  cats and dogs still fight, the wind still blows, and sand still gets in the cracks.

At our house it’s more and more and more about telecommuting and “the conference call.”

Why go all the way to Greece just to have a bunch of Monty Python style protestors who jump on public transportation to travel downtown to throw Molotov Cocktails at government buildings AND YOUR HOTEL, when you can sit at home and be invaded by goats? It’s a great question for a great twenty-first century.

At one point in my husband’s career, when people asked me what he did for a living, I would say, “He tapes receipts to paper.”  That’s what I saw him do after he traveled to the ends of the earth to help foreign governments get the computers going, to send the bills, to charge the people, for having the phones in their back pockets downloading cat videos.

He stays home a little more now and telecommutes. This is a method of doing business that requires a home office, headsets, and the finger point. The headsets let him talk to foreign geeks in ancient Babylonia letter-speak via satellites. The finger point is to shut me up when I come in to request his help putting out the grease fire in the kitchen.

“Sherwood, the flames are taller than—”

He twirled in his office chair, stabbed one finger at the general direction of my voice while saying, “That will never work with the QPTTS-R49-7TMMR.”  He pointed repeatedly to the headsets on his head with one finger as he spun away from me in his office chair. He returned to tapping wildly on his keyboard. The conference call went on.

The kitchen burned down.  NO. I’M KIDDING. But it’s a lot like that.

Yesterday, my husband was on a conference call when our three goats busted into his office and started snorting around looking for goat nibbles. I saw them wander in and went to help. Sherwood the husband spun around in his chair attempting to stab a manly finger at the goats. Tramp the ram sniffed his finger. The conference call went on. Tramp started to sample paper, pencils, wires, headsets, and electrical outlets.

 I closed the door—softly.

It’s all new, business transacted around an entire planet through air and space. And it’s all old; goats will still go anywhere, trying to eat everything.

Linda (Call Me) Zern


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