Editor’s Note–TFF Issue 28

Root cause analysis is important. Years ago, I owned a Chevy S-10 pickup truck. It had a rotted tailgate; it shifted like I was trying to push a toothpick through modeling clay; and it would occasionally send perfume bursts of gasoline fumes into the cab when the fuel injectors malfunctioned. But I thought it was […]

Apples Around the Dollar Tree

I stand in line at the Des Moines, IA Dollar Tree on SE 14th, six feet back from the shopper ahead of me. We are spaced properly, but he is behind his blue painter’s tape line, so I am forced to stand behind mine, lest I should open a gap that is wastefully large. I stand […]

We’re Starting to Paint Tomorrow and Moving Our Stiff in on Saturday

We bought a house in Carlisle, IA. It’s a pretty sweet place, ranch style on a corner lot, with vaulted ceilings and a finished basement, on just shy of a quarter-acre, in an established, newer, planned neighborhood, the back of which opens up onto common wilderness space that will never host development. Consequently, this guarantee […]

Don’t Pick Up Abandoned Pancakes at the Park

Will borrowed my American Eagle hoodie to wear to the Phipps Prairie Park in Silvis, IL. Later, he told me he used it to pick up a pancake he found and toss it into the woods. I was mad, but this burned out like a single spark. How mad can you be when your son […]

Jeezuz

A lady staffer at a church we used to attend always pronounced Jesus like Jeezuz, like suds, spuds, or was, with a strong emphasis on the hard, buzzing z instead of a soft s. Why did she do this? It’s because she knows the Jesus that most mainstream Christians have yet to meet: Funky Jesus […]

The Great Banana Sacrifice

Amy told me about a gardening strategy she wants to try to get our tomato plant to ripen faster. The plan involves picking the tomatoes and putting them into a brown paper bag with bananas. The bananas release ethylene, she said, a chemical that aids in the ripening of fruit. Call it original creative destruction. […]

Cut the Fruit and Pack All the Knives

“Cut the fruit and pack all the knives,” Amy said as we were packing up the house for moving and trying to determine what we could take with us on the road. Sounds like a conversation between a husband and wife, health-conscious contract killer team. * * * The fruit bowl had just been filled. […]

Dr. Rocks Off

A buddy of mine said the doctor who performed his vasectomy was named Dr. Rocks Off. Probably not how his name was spelled, but that’s what I heard, and it got me thinking. Somewhere, there’s a real Dr. Rocks Off, who casts aside traditions of modesty like garbage on the side of the highway, all […]

The Soothing Sounds of My 38-Inch Cutting Deck

I got a new day gig in the Midwest. This gig will bring us closer to our family roots and closer to real estate prices that feel grounded in reality, rather than high up in the coke-filled clouds of a subprime speculator’s drug-fueled wet dream. With cheaper real estate comes the ability to get more […]