“Is ‘Totally Free’ Freer Than Free?” Tanka 568

When some one claims

“Totally Free!” check small print!

Real cost hiding!


Advisor-guys cost nothing?

Who pays for the ads? And how?*


  • (Currently playing radio “commercial,” concerning “free” or sometimes “totally free” advice offerings for what you want to buy or service your want to engage comes without cost just a big naked hook dangling waiting for a bite.  TANSTAAFL!  Thanks, RAH, for the advice and thanks Spider Robinson for his short tome “Free Lunch” in homage of The Grand Master Heinlein’s “advice” which I paid for, by the way.)

“And She Brushed Off His T-Shirt, Too! Tanka 570

Only two parents

on this end-of-schoolyear eve

held each other’s hands.


All others ‘dressed to the nines;’

these two were in tees-n-shorts!*


  • (When they got out of their car, she made him stop in mid-street to dust-off his tee shirt and then they clasped each other’s hand and walked down my street to the middle school, oblivious to all else.  I saw a dozen couples – some with kids – but none touching each other or even making small talk or eye contact – along my half-block and more of the same along the facing sidewalk by the school.  I thought it weird – enough gumption to dress – one guy in sports coat and tie and his wife in mid-calf light dress – it was near-90° Fahrenheit out and the breeze had just abated when the car-herd began disgorging its well-coiffed and well-dressed passengers to attend the week-to-go school function.  All day – three times counting this time – cars had lined my street for some function or other, so I emplaced two trash bins by my walkway to preserve at least a modicum of access to the street as per usual these parental providers disregard all forms of courtesy in filling both sides of the street with their cars, trucks and truly astounding assortment of bigger vehicles, thus making virtually impassable for any service, emergency or delivery vehicle to negotiate the now too-small open lane, so I was wary this third time…but, something happened.  They cars parked on one side of the street only just about an hour before dusk. What happened?  Where were the scofflaws? Where were the curb-jumpers? Where were the clamoring kids trying a quick-cut through my vegetable garden? Where, indeed?  And then came the parade: Asian, Hispanic, Anglo, Black, Muslim and Hindu and Christian (Jew, too, I suppose).  But none but one regular smiled or waved – and she, too, this eve, was dressed to the nines.  Then the pair who gave me hope and joy: frumpled a bit, dumpy if you must, just got out of their car and walked towards each other smiling: she stopped him, went to his back side and swatted at whatever offended her eye on the back of his tee shirt.  Then, she joined his side and they both mutually reached for each other’s hand and off they walked.  I had chicken quesadillas with refried beans, sauteed onions and peppers awaiting their turn in the cast iron skillet and beer past dead cold whistling me inside so I did not get the hoped-for chance to tell them how so very much they reminded me of turning the corner to my parents’ home and seeing them, him still in his welder’s sparks-holed tee shirt and frayed but pristine blue jean bib overalls and her in her favorite blue dress just rocking on their matched chairs on the back porch holding hands and chattering away like teenage magpies taking a short break before heading out for an evening with pals. I brushed a joyous tear and turned inside as near full-dark insisted I slice cheese before toasting.)