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Holly Lake Effect

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Life is a learning experience...at least that's what it is supposed to be. You can't avoid learning just because you're not in the mood to learn-you learn even while you sleep. Sometimes you are capable of going back over your life with crystal clarity and cataloguing all the things you've learned over the years. Or at least the first two or three. I for instance have learned that you don't put "thou shalt not" stuff on the end of a long root of your favorite tree just because it has sprouted a healthy offspring that you don't want. You have too many of those offsprings so it makes sense that one will have to go. What you don't know is that the stuff you have dumped on it will just race on down the root to the parent tree and snuff it. Totally. Curtains. Go get another kind of tree.
I have also learned that you never go anywhere in your car unless you've checked out all those little dials that wink strangely at you from the dashboard. Some of them are important such as the one telling you how much gasoline you have. Or the one telling you that you have a flat tire. Not that you wouldn't figure that out eventually anyway. A flat tire makes a car tilt to one side and bump quite a lot. After that's happened a few times you realize you've learned something.
I wonder what space experts learn in their lifetimes. (Maybe not to carry on a romance with somebody who is occupying the same cabin?) More recently maybe they've learned not to talk too much about NEO's-which are formally known as "Near Earth Objects" because if people find out about them and that some of them are big enough to wipe out the state of Florida (or maybe California which is going to break off from the rest of us anyway) they would freak out. The stock market would drop and quite likely there would be lots of American small businesses such as dollar stores and fix-it shops closing down for good. We can't afford to put any more hardships on American small business since that is the backbone of the American economy.

As for me I have learned that tampering with a recipe-being eclectic as the learned among us say-is sure to produce disaster especially when you have invited 24 people to dinner and you only know six of them really well. That means you only know six who will smile and say "This is delicious!" while furtively scraping the excess of the dish into the plastic baggie they have brought along just in case. Still you think it is fun to tamper with things that experts declare is un-tamperable. A little cominos, a snip of achiote, a spoonful of cream of tartar-sounds exotic and the beauty of adding these things is that you're not sure how they'll re-arrange the flavor. So it's a crapshoot as the more free-speakers among us would say. But how dull the world would be if you never took any chances! That's one of the things I've learned by getting lost in the deep woods, by walking across a very small log over a raging river and by jaywalking in a city where all the signs are in Sanskrit. Being brave enough to follow the road less traveled is a learning experience. You never know who you'll meet around the first turn and whether or not you'll be able to make conversation.
You learn by reading. You learn by watching old movies on TV. You learn by engaging in small talk with sales people. Quickly you can go from asking about whether the fabric of the pants you are holding up will stretch to how the sales person's twin grandchildren are tearing up her house and how if she'd known it she never would have asked her daughter and son in law to move in with her. You are learning things about human nature here. What to avoid. If you had a daughter with twin children you would immediately know not to invite them for the summer.
The best way to learn about things is to dive into a roomful of people, clear your throat and begin to talk in a very firm voice about the economy. Or to declare that the recent Oscar winning movie is a charade, a fraud, a no-brainer. Or finally to begin a discussion on such esoteric subjects as minimalism, Cote D'Ivoire, or peritonitis in a voice filled with eagerness to learn. You are bound to get a rise out of the man in glasses who looks like a senator or something. If you want to learn about lawn grasses you approach the couple wearing overalls. It's that simple. When you see a pair of headlights aimed at you, you quickly learn that you are seeing a car and that it is heading toward you. This could be an important piece of information. Since these are all potential learning experiences, you can pride yourself on the fact that once more you have put yourself in a position to learn something.
Learn. Awesome word, isn't it? And maybe just a little bit scarey?