Thingummyjig

 

  • I find television very educating.  Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.

Groucho Marx

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there’s a thingummyjig which sits in the corner of my living room
it has a flat, black rectangular frame
with a glass screen in the middle
like a picture, but with no bright image
it was given to me with the intimation that it is impossible
to survive modern life without it

when it was gifted to me
a couple of ugly wires stuck out of the back
I cut them off as they had no aethetic value

I was told that it should be easy to make it work,
but it hasn’t done a thing in the four weeks it has been there
at first I thought it may go out and get a job
or at least
sign on at the jobcentre.
It hasn’t yet moved from the corner of the room
it hasn’t yet cooked a meal or washed up for me
it hasn’t cheered me when I feel down
it has no conversation
it hasn’t even told me I look good in this top
the only thing it seems to do is gather dust
which is perhaps a useful function if it means
that the dust isn’t landing on me

I suppose it could be worse
my friend had a similar object
moving images kept appearing on the screen
cockneys discussed murders in rough whispers
women bought dresses in the market
without checking the sizes
or even whether they liked them
endless breakfasts were consumed in a cafe
a pub echoed with angry exchanges

I wondered how she could live with a monster such as that.
I suppose she just got used to it.

This is today’s assignment for Writing 101 Day 7: Hook ’em with a quote

A blank page can be intimidating. Sometimes it’s helpful to use someone else’s words to give you a boost. Today, use a quote or passage from something you’ve read to introduce your post. You’ll see a similar technique at the beginning of a book or chapter in the form of an epigraph.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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28 thoughts on “Thingummyjig

  1. What a good quote! The first verse of your poem could be describing my new microwave although that’s not flat and black but it’s quite sleek, almost tv like and is in a corner of the living-room! My TV’s a colour portable but not watched it in ages and I think I’ve seen telly maybe two dozen times in six years. I remember when TV schedules ruled our roost but now can’t imagining going back to being a TV viewer. I feel like I saw enough in my lifetime to never need it again. Another great poem 🙂

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      1. I had years of having to sit down with my partner to watch certain things together wishing I could go back to my computer and get on with what I was intereupted from. But TV time was the only time we shared by then. I didn’t fully realise what a burden the TV routine had become until I became too ill to watch TV. I was then soon released from both those burdens and found solace in art again 🙂

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          1. I have lifelong M.E. since childhood but had other new onset symptoms from other causes. They were never seperately identified because doctors gloss over symptoms and fob me off while too exhausted to assert further than should be necessary and intolerant of a lot of prescription medicine. I’m going to take your comment as a suggestion of something to base writing on, for the day#? w101 task to take reader suggestions for topics – so thanks for asking 😀

            Health now is slightly improving and as I’m basing today’s w101 task on comments, I’m inspired by conversations with yourself and Calen and basing my writing on expanding those. I’ll link to both your homepages at the end of my post to thank you both for inspiration, encouragement and support – hope that’s ok 😀

            In return for your posing a question I can save as suggested future topic when we get to whatever that task asks of us, I’ll suggest something for you: something else about locations of childhood play 😀 – of course you don’t have to take it up. I can still feel the air in my face and through my hair and the lightness of feet soaring over that hedgerow from your recent poem 😀

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            1. ME from childhood? My heart goes out to you. It’s such a limiting, debilitating condition, and to have had it for so long… There is some chance of recovery surely – though it’s probably better not to think about that. Hope can be more devastating than acceptance.
              I’m happy for you to use my comment for your post, particularly as I’ll be in the company of Calen. She’s a wise and compassionate cookie, and a good friend.
              I started today’s W101 post this morning, but felt so tired I had to lie down before finishing it. That’s happening a lot lately. Then there was a bit of family drama. I can’t think straight, so I’LL JUST DO WHAT iCA

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            2. ME from childhood? My heart goes out to you. It’s such a limiting, debilitating condition, and to have had it for so long… There is some chance of recovery surely – though it’s probably better not to think about that. Hope can be more devastating than acceptance.
              I’m happy for you to use my comment for your post, particularly as I’ll be in the company of Calen. She’s a wise and compassionate cookie, and a good friend.
              I started today’s W101 post this morning, but felt so tired I had to lie down before finishing it. That’s happening a lot lately. Then there was a bit of family drama. I can’t think straight, so I’ll do what I can with the original, though your idea is better.
              It’s hard to use the keyboard today. I keep pressing the wrong keys.

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  2. Sorry to hear you’re having a bad day. Seasick keys are annoying aren’t they! They seem to have a life of their own shifting to the next one just as fingers have pressed them! I just read back what I wrote this morning and found I missed words and strings of text I’m sure I’d type and it doesn’t make sense in part now. Then there’s typos etc I didn’t spot.

    (Answering your question/comment, I’ve never been able to sustain beyond a few weeks full-time activity such as college or work since I was thirteen – that’s the best my ‘recovery’ every got to. There may be degrees and shades of recovery-type improvement with careful management. My health’s been complicated by further issues such as sleeping in a room with a solid-fuel fire and back boiler for 3 years with an abusive ex refusing my use of the spare room, and having been the person who attended that fire for over ten years. When I moved out I didn’t realise for ages that my landlord’s boiler and gas hob were unsafe, so I had carbon-monoxide related illness too. I now have circulatory illness different from my pre-existing M.E. symptom patterns and whatever else that gets ignored by doctors.

    Anyway, enough about that, I’ve ended up writing quite a lot about it lately. Hope you feel better soon and the family drama settles somehow. Now updating my post with your homepage link.

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    1. You’ve really been through it, haven’t you?
      Having had carbon-monoxide poisoning myself, I can understand why you may not have realised what was going on. It befuddles the brain, as well as turning your skin grey and making you constantly tired and unwell.
      I’m glad you got away from the abusive ex. It couldn’t have been easy in your circumstances.
      Do’n worry yourdelf about my family drama. It’s ongoing. I only mentioned it to explain why I’m sticking to my original post, although, the way I feel right now, I may skip the post. I figure I’ve done it several times over in the past, without it being assigned to me. I’m often inspired by online conversations.

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      1. It certainly does befuddle your brain! my doc told me there’d be more carbon monoxide in my cigs than from a gas boiler! ridiculous. I f that wsa so I’d have symptoms in same way now as then. I got a replacement boiler on a govt grant then found the the hob may have been the main cause. I wasn’t worth the cost of a test mouthpiece and didn’t know to ask because I was under the carbon-monoxide influence.
        I know plenty of people who’ve been thru much worse than me 🙂 I use art as therapy one way or another whenever possible 🙂

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        1. I don’t suppose your doctor has ever been poisoned by gas, but that’s no excuse.
          I’d like to know more about your art.
          You probably have quite a bit of it on your blog, but the last few weeks have been so draining that I haven’t yet given it the attention I’d like to.
          Everything takes me a long time these days. It wasn’t always so, but my two younger children’s addictions have aged me suddenly, and my health has suffered.

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          1. In all honesty i don’t do much arty regularly enough. At some point I’ll maybe make an index page of anything arty type links. Seems a lot of us blog with health issues and disabilities of one sort or another. I reckon a lot of people have experienced indoor pollution domestic gas as safety standards were so different years ago and awareness was less. We accept so many things as safe or safe enough until science shows otherwise. I wonder it might have contributed to things like Alzheimers – i certainly would expect that sulphur from coal fires might. Anyway, I mustn’t keep rattlong away taking your reading time – have you ever tried co-enzymeQ10? It makes a huge difference for me but does seem expensive . The Linwoods nutty mix with it in is pretty good and if you only need one spoon a day instead of 3 its about £6 a pack and lasts a month in fridge. If you eat meat you maybe get enough in diet but ability of our bodies to produce or utilise it lessens with age. Something like that anyway.

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            1. Thank you for the advice. I’ll make a note to look into that Q10 stuff. I’m on a low budget but at £6 a time it probably won’t make that much difference.
              This is what imean about not looking after myself – it’s 1am and I’m shattered, but I’m still up – but not for much longer.

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              1. that’s me too, shattered but stillup ! the Linwood stuff you can add to yoghurt or cereal or all kinds of meals or baking. it seems to work well – better than capsules of equivalent mg. I needed over 600mg at some points in time so had all different types available, cost a fortune. Have to manage with very little now, sometimes none at all. Don’t work miracles but can make a big difference.

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                1. Maybe that’s what my sister uses. Is it an off-white powder? It weems to have done wonders for her. I have never seen her so well and contented though it may be because her life is more settled than ever before…
                  Wouldn’t it be good if we could get food supplements on the NHS? That’s not going to happen, because the industry is all tied up by the big pharmaceutical companies, and they don’t give a damn about our health.

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      2. I’ve linked to your homepage, I figure any visitors looking for your poem can find it having visited your latest posts first – don’t know if you get a pingback. it’s at the blog linked to my username and that one’s not on my gravatar… sorry if I make things confusing!

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          1. I do hope you mean it just looks like you don’t while you do… rather than you just don’t take good care of yourself. Writing and art are similar in those driving forces we place higher than other things others believe should come first in our priorities. I’ll be glad when I’ve more time to read some of your older posts too as so far I’m just about keeping up with reading my fave 101ers and trying to read a few odd posts from new to me blogs in reader or commons links.

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