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January 20, 2011


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I fainted once at Mass, which I was attending with a friend when I was about 14. Probably from the heat. I remember feeling weird and woozy and unable to stand much longer. I came to just as the ushers were dragging me out. A certain family member said, tongue in cheek mostly, that it was the Almighty's commentary on my going to a Catholic church. I still chuckle at that one.

Okay, so I wasn't a full-grown woman fainting in terror. Here's another: In novels, especially Victorian ones, overwrought people bite their lips 'til they bleed. When was the last time you did that?

Diane, to answer your question, I did that on Monday, when everyone panned my perfect Canadian accent.

Women don't faint anymore because spandex allows for the sharp inhalation that occurs when they are shocked by juveniles jumping out from behind doors at them, whereas whalebone corsets weren't quite so forgiving.

I think Kathy is exactly right. I think women fainted more because they were wrapped in some serious things that wouldn't let them breathe. The lack of oxygen always had them on the verge of fainting, so any little thing put them over.

As for Willie's guitar, I think it's where he keeps his weed, and it would be too much of a bother to clean it out and get a new one.

Steve C.

As a repeated fainter, my doctor once told me that almost 50% of the population will experience Vasovagal Syncope, about 5% of the population will faint from it repeatedly. I think that victorian era writers must have had a higher proportion than normal of the afflicted in their relatively small social circles. That and the whale bone thing.

My friend, Cathy Hutton, and I used to make ourselves pass out for fun. Fail-proof directions: Do several minutes of deep knee bends. Stick your thumbs in your mouth. Blow as hard as you can without letting any air escape.

Not a lot to do in Irvona, PA.

I don't live there anymore so I've stopped. If I move back someday, I'll probably revisit the practice.

And people still have nervous breakdowns. Not that I have any personal insights into the matter whatsoever.

Further questions?

Irvona! I get all my suits in Irvona!

Yes, people have nervous breakdowns, but if someone says, "He had a nervous breakdown," it doesn't shut down the questioning, as it once did. It only invites more questions--demands more questions, even from people who don't want to know the answers.

In general, we talk so badly about mental illness in this country--in fact, we can't talk about it without having a nervous breakdown--that I'm not positive we didn't talk about it better back when we didn't talk about it at all.

Hitchhiking might just be gone in the US. I picked up a lovely young fellow in Canada( in 2006) who told me before he got in the car that he was texting my license plate to his Mom. Upon further inquiry , he explained that he had just turned 16 (or maybe 15) and all the kids in his area hitchhike to Vancouver and back using this texting/sending images of the car and plates to their parents type thing. He was trying to Camp the whole way. I thought it seemed like a downright fun idea!

Hell of a point, Bee. It might be said that two measures of a healthy and civilized society are:

1. It's safe enough for vigorous young people to hitch-hike.

2. It contains enough vigorous young people to take advantage.

My dumb question: why do the rhetorical stylings of David Murray seem to appeal to a disproportionately Candian audience?

I might faint over Willie having nicer hair than me...

Though I am a fainter about needles - not proud, but there you are.

It's a damn good question, Jason. Every once in awhile, I try to thin 'em out a little by saying something obnoxious about Canada, but they just come back in greater numbers.

Like meeses.

My son recently completed 55 (yes 55) hitchhikes around Europe after a semnester studying in Sweden, even one courtesy of the German police at terrifying speeds! And in case you're wondering he survived them all - and is back in Sydney Australia studying again. He's 22.

I have also fainted - when I nearly cut the top off my finger slicing passionfruit.

Jason: as one of the "meeses" let me help you out with that question. We keep coming back because Canadians are a curious bunch, who love a challenge.

David's odd habit of saying things to try to start a fight perplexes us, but, of course we're mostly too polite to do more than try to understand what, exactly, he's on about, and why he seems so cranky about it.

We like our curmudgeons as much as the next country, and so we're fond of David and his quirky little notions!

Does that help?

And I love it when the Neighbors to the North write things like "what, exactly, he's on about." It's all quite symbiotic, you see.

Thanks for the lovely tune, David.

Anyway, Willie doesn't look like that anymore.

He cut that thing off.

[There is a God.]

PETA is up in arms about all the rodents that are now homeless.

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