Counterclockwise

Counterclockwise: (adj) in a direction opposite to that of the normal rotation of the hands of a clock

At the risk of admitting that I am the Duke of Doofus, I will tell you that if someone asks me to do something “counterclockwise,” I must stop, close my eyes, see a clock in my mind and reverse my path.

It’s one of those directions you often see on paper or hear given by an instructor which seems to be no problem whatsoever to some folks—and leaves me funny wisdom on words that begin with a Creeling.

I have the same sensation when I’m told to go east or west, north or south. If the sun is obviously in its morning or late afternoon position, I can occasionally pull it off but if it has snuck over my head, I am lost.

It reminds me of the time I was in the hospital, had just returned to my room after an operation and needed to go to the bathroom. I was supposed to keep my weight off my left leg, so I asked the nurse how I would be able to travel to the bathroom without injuring myself.

Her response was, “Can you hop?”

I froze.

I had not hopped since I was a small child and felt pretty certain that I would never be ‘hoppy’ again—or that if I tried, it would be a very “un-hoppy” ending.

Please forgive me for this. If you must have a laugh at my expense, just place it on my account. We will need such a running tab, for there will be more to come.


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Ammonia

dictionary with letter A

Ammonia: (n) a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent smell which dissolves in water to give a strongly alkaline solution.

I was a punk.

What I mean by that is that I was twenty years old, married with two children and thought I knew everything. And if I didn’t, it wasn’t worth knowing.

We were poor.

Not the kind of ditch-digging poor, but impoverished … because we didn’t have jobs.

We lived in an upstairs hovel that a dump might consider suitable to deposit its trash. We tried to keep it clean, striking an agreement with the cockroaches to only come out at night.

Both of my young sons were in diapers. This was long before the practicality of Pampers. We’re talking about cloth diapers, which we kept in a pail of water in preparation for the laundromat.

So one of my downstairs neighbors took it upon herself to call Children’s Services to report our lack. They showed up and complained that the house smelled like ammonia from the diapers.

It did.

It was very difficult to disguise it. It’s similar to the situation where people own a cat and insist that the kitty litter deters the odor, until you walk in and sniff the air.

Apparently the ammonia thing was a big deal to this lady from Children’s Services. We had to go to a hearing in front of a judge to discuss our dirty laundry.

The lady railed against us in front of the magistrate for a good fifteen minutes. She closed her indictment by describing in vivid detail the stench of the ammonia in our abode.

I have never felt such a collision of emotions. I was embarrassed, enraged, convicted,  confused and basically helpless.

When my accuser was done, “Your Honor” turned to me and asked me if I had anything to say. For the first time in my young adult life, I was speechless.

So the judge stepped in, sensing my plight, and cited, “Don’t all diapers smell like either poop or ammonia?”

Although my attacker tried to object and further elaborate on the odor, the judge silenced her and dismissed the case.

I had experienced the mercy of the court.

I grew up a lot that day. We tried to wash our diapers more often, to prevent ammonia from filling the air.

It is a rather nasty, stinging aroma.

 

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Ammo

dictionary with letter A

Ammo: (n.) informal term for ammunition.

My dad decided to take my older brother and I rabbit hunting.

I didn’t want to go but I had used up all my excuses trying to dodge attending school on undesirable days.

So I was dressing, getting ready for the excursion, when my brother stomped into the room and declared to everyone, “I stored the ammo in the trunk.”

He then posed for a moment, seeking approval over both his deed and proclamation. I quickly ran into the other room and hid in the closet so as not to suffer the intensity of being knuckled on the head by my older sibling.

Once inside, with the door closed, I giggled until I cried. What a doofus!

One thing was sure–all the rabbits in Delaware County were safe for another day.

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