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Squirrels in the Doohickey

March 12, 2017 by Diane

A subscriber to this blog encouraged her fellow bloggers to repost the first piece they ever posted. (Yeah, you, Sarah Brentyn.) So without further ado, here is my first ever post, from way back in April of 2013. And for those of you who’ve followed this blog since its inception, you deserve a medal. (Yeah, you, auntie Joan.)


It all started with the radio.

We were doing fine, dwelling in the same living space, enjoying the same music. A little country, a little classical, a whole lot of evening jazz. We were relaxing to Beethoven and cooling off to Chris Botti and singing along with Blake Shelton and then, when I wandered over to the Big Band station, the radio turned itself off. A little Artie Shaw or Benny Goodman….click. Every time.

The TV got wind of this. The TV decided to do its own brand of censoring.

When I first hooked up the television I had a smorgasbord of stations. I was hooked. It saw that I was hooked. It knew that I could be spending my time on more productive endeavors, like rewriting my novel. So it started eliminating the stations one by one until I was left with one station.

One station that aired the original Star Trek series and the old Dick Van Dyke show.

Night after night I watched Bones and Spock and Kirk “…boldly go where no man has gone before,” and then I watched Dick come home from the office in his suit and tie, tumble over the hassock and get the wind knocked out of him.

I checked the connections.

I jiggled the cord.

I called the people who are dedicated to fixing these problems, and a man wearing a hard hat drove up in a white van.

He strapped on his tool belt.

He clanked through the neighbors’ back yard.

He clattered up the telephone pole.

Twenty minutes later he was unstrapping his tool belt, flinging it into the back of the van and telling me I’ve got squirrels in the doohickey.

“They’re building condos up there,” he said. “Sharpening their teeth on the wires. AT and T will want to replace all those wires running to the house. You can spring this on your landlady now,” he said, “or wait.”

I opted to wait.

Because I knew, I knew it had nothing to do with the wires; it had to do with the fact that my radio and TV were in cahoots. They were trying to control me.

Okay…this is dysfunctional thinking. This is the kind of logic Bones might manufacture. Luckily, I had a Spock-like rational self who pointed out that the sensible thing to do was replace the radio and deal with the faulty wiring. Luckier still, I had a wise self, a Zen-like Captain Kirk, who suggested that the radio and TV were doing me a favor. They were telling me to spend less time tuning into them, and more time tuning into myself.

So I did the mindful thing.

I turned off the television.

I pulled out the meditation bench.

I settled down and straightened up and focused on my breathing and two minutes later I was channel-surfing in my head, my thoughts scampering around like squirrels in a doohickey, and I found myself wondering, what’s next? Will the blender regurgitate my breakfast smoothie? Will the vacuum cleaner suck up my faux fur slippers?

It could happen.


  1. Gale says:

    Perhaps the blender will regurgitate your faux fur slippers.

    Hey, why not? All of these appliances are in cahoots, doncha know?

    (Thanks for a peek back in time, from one of the latecomers.)

  2. Joan says:

    I remember this! Cute!!!

  3. Sarah says:

    I can’t believe this is your very first post. You’ve not changed a bit (she says as she squints at the reunion nametag…um…Diane). 😉 You just dove right in. No blabbing about it being your first post (like I did). And your amazing humor is here from the start. It’s awesome.

    P.S. I sort of remember this. Did you repost at some point or write another post about how you named your blog?

  4. Riley Bates says:

    Maybe the microwave is controlling the tv and it’s the ‘secret squirrel’ that’s responsible for all of this. LOL

    Fun read 🙂

  5. Eliza says:

    A fun beginning, Diane. As I came in later, I don’t think I ever knew where your blog name came from. It all makes sense now.
    My first post was a photo – total cheat. But I do remember agonizing over my first worded post. I must have revised it about 40 times – haha. Hitting the publish button was so scary! At least I’ve grown more comfortable about the process and hopefully, there has been some improvement. 😉

    • Diane says:

      It was pretty thrilling to me, hitting the publish button that first time. I even held a celebration with family and friends when my blog went live. I didn’t have any worries about how many subscribers I’d get, or whether they’d stick around, and whether my posts would even be enjoyable to my readers. I felt sorta like a kid, before reality sets in.

  6. mydangblog says:

    Love this throwback post–great to reminisce!

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