Over ten years of my childhood, we moved eighteen times. Over two years as a teenager, our mom moved my twin sister and me nine times. Not to different countries or even across state lines and we’re not a military family. She sought independence but each launch prompted a return. Every exit, a reentry. By our eighteenth birthday, our mom kept going, leaving us with her parents for good.

The earlier moves included a pattern and rhythm. Clothing still on hangers. Pajamas, socks, and underwear out of drawers. Our mom’s record collection. My fraternal twin sister and my tomboyish clothing…

“KEN, DON’T FORGET THE TOMATOES,” Nan crowed from the kitchen. Her wet head, still partially loaded with large pink curlers, hung over the kitchen sink while she rinsed out a self-perm. “FEEL THEM TO MAKE SURE THEY’RE RIPE. KEN.”

Down the rickety steps, Pa fled for his chariot — the Chevy Luv. Nan’s love call pressed his biological accelerator. We’re a family of loud, fast talkers, competing for airspace, domination, and attention. Nan and Pa were the grandparents who helped raise my twin sister and me. In their house, yelling meant I love you.

After fifty years together, everything could…

People hatch similar ideas without contact in unison — simultaneous inventions, hive mind, collective consciousness, and zeitgeist. Moore’s Law explained how innovation builds over time and Lemley’s “The Myth of the Sole Inventor” considered creativity to exist atmospherically with availability to all.

The phenomenon happens in every field. From artistic expression to scientific discovery, sparks fly and burn everywhere. The first to market typically gains the most success. And some discoveries were initially considered absurd but later gained acceptance. Lightbulbs were deemed ridiculous and airplanes categorized as toys. As long as people create, there will be like-minded competitors and critics.

A rainbow of sunlight caught in the moist spider’s silk. Creatures vulnerable, mysterious, and ancient. Instead of protecting the arachnid’s fragile beauty, I cannot help myself. I wasn’t always afraid of spiders. But now, I panic and involuntarily scream with surprise, then kill them. You’d think they’d be afraid of me, by now, and not the other way around.

How could a giant display aggression towards the tiny and powerless? I could let them squeeze back into the cracks of their lives or shuffle the daddy longlegs outside. But, I continue to crush these creative weaving animals. The legs, so…

After a lifetime of mistakes, I let my Magic Eight Ball (MEB) decide. For a week, I gave tricky choices and options to the great ball of destiny.

Situation: The weather report lets me down. Forecast: Light showers. I could glance out my open window where a dreamcatcher is blowing something fierce but I trust your opinion more.
Should I wear rain boots?
A: Very Doubtful.
Result: MEB, thank you for your guidance. The wet weather turned into a nor’easter and as you said, my waterproof shoes weren’t enough to stay dry.

Situation: My sister demands a response to…

Question: Tell us about a time when you were strategic in order to meet your top priorities.

Specific situation: “Identified for my core competency, I was placed at the bottom of a human pyramid. When another clown said, ‘Pull my finger,’ a less empowered performer would have fallen for the gag, tugged the jokester’s finger, released an avalanche of flatulence, and launched a tsunami of guffaws.”
Task: “The best practice considering many moving parts? Hold perfectly still! In the most senior center-middle position, if I shifted, we’d roll like logs. We would’ve collapsed into a tangle of rainbow wigs and…

Larry Brilliant is notable for working with the World Health Organization to save populations around the globe. Grandma is notable for surviving hardships, raising the kids, and saving the family. Who did it better — global health leader or frugal homeopathic matriarch? You choose.

  • MOST USEFUL: He used epidemiology to eradicate smallpox OR She used hydrogen peroxide to eradicate coffee, rust, and bloodstains?

He’s a patent holder

  • BEST SOLUTION: He’s a patent holder who invented technological applications with Google, eBay, and Salesforce.org

Dawn Gernhardt

Dawn Gernhardt is a writer living in southern California.

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