A new set of squiggles

By: Tom Rupp
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Happy birthday, America. We might as well continue the celebration and honor this great land. We’re not perfect, but blessed, reaching, trying.   

After rereading last year’s Independence Day column, I thought about running it again this year. After all, no one will remember it, and I kind of liked it.

Then a clip from John Belushi on Saturday Night Live came to mind where, acting as a news reporter, he says, “But nooooo!”

Isn’t it amazing how we have the same 26 letters of our English alphabet, and yet new stories (and columns) continue to be written? Twenty-two years ago, there was no published Harry Potter. Then that now-billionaire put words together and multitudes paid to read them.

A select few published authors churn out a book a year, or more. Ecclesiastes 12:12 reminds us that “there is no end to the writing of books.”

I know a couple of people who are legitimate authors of published books. I know even more who are working on something for the possibility of publication. Every time I get the notion to try and arrange some squiggles myself into a book, I find five more good books I want to read.

Just 26 squiggles, arranged in multitudinous combinations, to form ever new stories. So repeat one this week? Probably not. After all, it is only 400 words, and according to word count, I am already one-third of the way there.

Do you remember the days before automatic word count on the computer? When you had to physically count them out one-by-one? That is one of the many things I do not miss about the good old days.

It’s more of a rhetorical question, but I wonder what else we do not miss from our lives in the past? What conveniences do we now enjoy; whose lack back then made our lives more difficult?

Air conditioning comes to mind. I grew up without it. Oscillating fans were a luxury. As Dana Carvey’s grumpy old man character would say, “We sat in the heat, and we sweated; that’s the way it was, and we liked it.” We have yet to turn it on this year. It sure makes for a small electric bill.

It’s a beautiful California evening as I sit here without any air conditioning (don’t need it with the Delta breeze), putting squiggles together before I go and read someone else’s squiggles for a bit.

Tom Rupp is a resident of Folsom and a weekly columnist in the Folsom Telegraph. You can reach him at