The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Facetious Musings

A very kind and thoughtful, anonymous commenter submitted the following:

"Best flash fiction u've done! the only 1 which rings true.the prose is leaner and more evocative than usual, and not so leaden and dull. More than just a story about loss, it's also a parable about limited imagination and stunted creativity.How sad it must be to be so narrow-minded, timid & withdrawn!"

His/her words truly brightened my spirits.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Still Blue

I am still feeling blue. There is not a helluva lot more to say than that. Perhaps tomorrow will be better.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Flash Fiction Effort

Here is my meager effort this week for Flash Fiction:

Sunshine of the Soul

He saw the orange Necco wafer on the counter top and started to cry. It was a simple, small, light orange disk of sugar flavored with orange extract, but to him it represented so much more. It represented all that he had lost and all that he could never regain again.

Wiping his hand across his face, he felt the looseness of his skin, and the bristling heaviness of the hairs of his mustache and beard. Taking off his wire-rimmed glasses, he looked away from the counter and sat in the kitchen chair and looked out the window at the newly fallen snow.

"Life is simply a path of torture." he said to no one, as he was alone. "We spend the first half of our life figuring out how to know and love people, and the last half of our life watching those we have grown to love, die."

The utter void of loneliness he felt froze him into a state of despair. Two evenings ago, life had seemed decent and kind, with him having dreamed a rememberance dream where he was small, and his mother had given him a roll of Necco Wafers as a treat.

"This one looks like the sun!" the young boy of the long gone day said in the dream to his mother as he showed her one orange wafer.

"Yes, it does." she replied, "Life is filled with joy and sunshine, always remember that."

The dream continued in a peaceful and serene manner until he was abruptly awoken by the cat who jumped on him to lay on his chest about 15 minutes before his alarm would have gone off.

He told his wife about the dream yesterday. She listened to his recollection of the beauty of that day.

Yet, last night was not so kind. Instead of a remembrance of joys of the past, he found himself in a nebulous space in his dream. He was of his current age in this dream, and here, there was nothing, no light, no darkness, no one or anything. He was in an utter void.

He screamed in despair and fear in the dream. No one heard him, for no one was there. He did not even hear his own scream, for the void did not allow sound to travel. The only item in the space, devoid of everything else was a screen. The screen was impossible to touch as it was too far away. Upon the screen was displaying a loop of film, over and over and over. The film itself showed images of those loved ones, friends, and animals that he had cared for over his life. But the images of these people and pets were simply still images of each in death. Death had befallen them and all he could do is watch and see and relive the despair.

His father, his mother, his aunts, his uncles, the images streamed past one after another and grew and grew and grew to encompass all that had died. And the loop kept repeating itself, over and over.

This was how life would play itself out from now on, he knew. The realization of this chilled his heart beyond belief.

"There is nothing! Nothing! Everything is death!" he thought in the dream.

The buzz of the alarm clock brought him out of the dream. He was drenched in sweat and exhausted beyond measure.

With a heaviness to his spirit that made his shoulders droop, he slowly got up and pulled on the rumpled clothes he had left in the corner. Walking slowly, he went from the bedroom downstairs toward the kitchen. There, on the counter was a note from his wife who had left for work an hour before. On the note, there was drawn a simple smile and a heart.

He picked up the note, and saw that she had left for him, the one lone, orange Necco wafer underneath.

Meant to cause him to smile, it unfortunately worked in the opposite. The feelings of utter loss and despair he had lived again and again through his dream welled up quickly again, and the tears streamed forth from his eyes down his cheeks.

He picked up the small candy, and took it over to the sink. Turning on the faucet and the garbage disposal, he dropped in the wafer. The whirr of the blades changed pitch as it masticated that disk of sunshine candy into bits and washed them into the sewer system.

Shutting down the faucet and disposal, he reached for his pipe, and slowly trudged out the door to head to work.

* * * * *

Again, that is it for this week.


Monday, January 04, 2010


I am feeling blue, so there is not much for me to write. I apologize.


Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Cigar

A few days ago, my 24 year old nephew was showing me his new house. He was just painting and getting much of his furniture moved in. In the entry way he had placed a newly purchased table that was designed to sit behind a davenport or sofa, but that he instead felt worked well in this location. On top of the table was a beautiful, gnarled grained box approximately 12 inches by 12 inches and 6 inches thick.

I was looking at the box appreciatively. I lifted the lid to the box, and lo and behold, to my surprise, it was a cigar humidor! And inside were roughly a dozen cigars of various shapes and sizes.

He offered me a very nice, wide gauge cigar, which I thanked him for and stuck in the pocket of the tweed sport coat I was wearing. I then forgot about it for a day.

On New Year's Eve, my wife was tired and went to bed within moments after midnight. Yet, I was still wide awake. I didn't feel like sleeping. Happily I was wearing the same sport coat, and happened to notice the cigar in the pocket.

I then had a plan. I took the cigar, and put it in my shirt pocket, took off my sport coat and instead slipped into my winter barn coat. I opened a fresh bottle of wine (my wife and I had finished the other bottle shortly before midnight), and took it and a large glass with me and sat out on the front porch, watching the snow gently fall. The cigar was a wonderful addition to the brisk, pleasant winter night.


Post Script: Yes, afterwords, I was also fortunate enough to be allowed to provide service as alluded to in the January 1st post.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


Here are the resolutions I have made for myself this year. Some may be more of a pipe dream than others. Please let me know what you think:

1. I am committing to a full year 365 days of posting here in a row.

I am envisioning a calendar such as:

Mondays - Flash Fiction Postings

Tuesdays - Interesting News (to me) in Science

Wednesdays - Exercise and Fitness

Thursdays - Work Issues

Fridays - Pipes & Libations

Saturdays - Whatever the Hell I Want

Sundays - Spiritual/Philosophical Matters

Of course, each of these dates CAN be filled with my opinions/feelings, etc. And, if the mood strikes, I will just write whatever strikes my fancy that moment.

2. I resolve to be able to do 10 chin-ups in an effort by August 2010. With my BMI now in the "normal" range, I am going to challenge myself to build the upper body muscle mass to do chin-ups.

3. I resolve to take a real stab at writing a science fiction novel. I have at least 4 different plot outlines I like, and I will force myself to find time to work consistently on one of them.

4. I vow to be more decisive in life.

5. I vow to have a helluva lot more FUN in life and not be wrangled into submission by stress.

6. I am going to decrease my consumption of pipe tobacco in a significant way. I will not be quitting, but will instead guide myself towards a pattern of pipe smoking that is more experiential and less routine.

7. I will set a new, interesting goal for walking while trying to maintain the pattern of consistency that has proven so beneficial for me.

8. I will love more (emotionally, mentally, & physically).


Friday, January 01, 2010


Just polished off a bottle of "Grand Traverse Select" red wine. I am going to head to bed. Perhaps I will be fortunate and get to service my wife.