Monthly Essays

What Next?

On a Christmas card I received a few days ago, a friend had written a short note on the right side under the card’s printed holiday wishes. It said that the places listed on the left side of the card were all the places they’d visited this year. The left side was blank.

My phone curates a few photos for me each day. I don’t know why it picks random images and calls it ‘through the years,’ but yesterday’s collage was of places I’ve been. No pictures were taken last year.

I need adventure. I need it bad!

My summer road trip out West, which would let me add stars to states on the big US map that hangs on my office wall, never got past the nebulous stage. I never made hotel reservations, let alone gassed up the car.

So what’s the plan for 2021?

I’ve decided I’ll challenge myself to learn something new. That will head this year in the right direction. Online I pulled up The Great Courses catalogue.

Inspired by reading The Queen’s Gambit and seeing the Netflix series, I chose “How to Play Chess” taught by an international chess master. Jimmie played the game, and he once tried to teach me.


Me: “Again, which piece moves diagonally?”

Me: “Wait, two up one sideways or two sideways one back?”

Me: “Can this piece jump that one?”

Jim:  ^%$#%$&^


I also signed up for “The Federalist Papers” and “The Great Questions of Philosophy and Physics.” My great questions right now are “Why did I sign up for physics?” and “Did I actually pay good money for this torture?”

If you think up an adventure for this winter, let me know. I’m all in. Meanwhile, I just scanned the topics covered in that science course. What is quantum entanglement? Do the particles move sideways or diagonally?


Doctor Sarah's Dare by [Veda Boyd Jones]Deception and Secrets–At a celebration dinner, Dr. Sarah Madison’s friends from high school days tell her she’s way too serious, intimidates men with her intelligence, and has lost her sense of whimsy. They dare her to ask out a complete stranger and not tell him she’s a doctor until she’s manipulated him into going to a fundraiser fashion show.

Across the restaurant, three doctors in Kansas City for the AMA convention discuss their college days. One asks Dr. Marshall Adams if he still has IT, the ability to pick up any gal he wants. They dare him to ask out the woman at a nearby table; she’s been casting icy glances their way. He accepts the challenge.
Thus the clever deceptions begin.
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