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One point of view


When I hike to the end of a long trail and see a beautiful sunset or a sparkling river, a single thought always occurs to me: did I turn off the oven?
My friends have dragged me out for hikes along the woodland wilds of America. They’re trying to get themselves in shape and to get me out of my desk chair.
I like my desk chair. It has adapted to my contours. If I keep hiking, soon I’ll have no contours left. Plus, I think better on my seat than on my feet, so I don’t see why I have to get off one and onto the other.
Writing and hiking aren’t so different. One puts you under strain, makes you breathe fast, and causes beads of sweat to pop out on your forehead. The other requires boots.
The only thing that would get me to willingly leave my chair, apart from a cheese sampler, would probably be a book tour.
Not that I’ve ever been invited to go on one. There’s some sort of arbitrary requirement about needing to write a book in the first place.
I don’t think that’s necessary. Nobody actually reads what the visiting author has put out. Nobody actually reads, period.
If I said I was the person who wrote “Hamlet,” or “The Iliad,” or — why should I be modest? — “Green Eggs and Ham,” would anyone really check?
Even if anyone did, would anyone be seriously inconvenienced by the fact that I am not Dr. Seuss?
Anyone may be a go-getter, but they sure sound like a whiner to me.
Despite the fact that the last time I attended a book fair was when my age had fewer than two digits, I bet that the people who go haven’t changed much.
People don’t want to buy reading material when they go to a book fair. All they want is to get an autograph and one of those finger pointer toys that are sold for a dollar.
I never got one of those. I mean the finger pointers. I never got autographs either, but I was more bummed out about the toys.
I think a book fair, starring me, would be splendid. Sure, I might not have written a book, but I can tell tales.
I remember I went hiking once with a pal and her dog. We walked uphill for over an hour.
The only time I made more effort to get someplace was to a restaurant with not just a cheese sampler, but a proper smorgasbord.
In order to see the best view — I’m talking about the hike, not the food — we needed to leap across a four-foot gap in the rocks.
Down below were signs of the hikers who had come before. Here, a water bottle. There, a scrap of cloth. Wedged in a pine tree, a finger pointer.
But the view beckoned. Pausing only to pick up her dog, my friend ran forward and sailed over the gap.
Then it was my turn. Banishing the thought of whether or not I left the stove on, I leaped.
Boy, what a view: trees and mountains and empty sky, and a river snaking across the rocks below. The danger was worth it.
Fine, I’ll admit it was a two-foot gap. No? How about one foot? Four inches?
I assure you that should I be invited on a book tour, or at least to a book fair, I’d fit right in with the other storytellers.
If anyone cares to send an invitation, they’ll know where to find me. I’ll be coming ‘round the mountain.

Copyright 2024 Alexandra Paskhaver, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.