Genealogy and ballistics

My wife has developed a keen interest in family history. She has been telling me things about my family, parts of which she has so far traced back to the early 17th century, that I had not known previously.
For example, the reason that I am here today is not because my ancestors were big heroes during the Revolutionary War, but because they were good at running away.
There was a father and two sons. The father was arrested by British military, escaped and built a new house somewhere else because after he ran away they burned down his old house.
The older of the two sons, he was in his twenties, also ran away when he and his 17 year old brother were arrested. He later built a house on the site of the one that had been burned down.
His younger brother does not seem to have escaped, and his branch of the family tree appears to end there.
So basically, I am here because of running.
My uncle, a direct descendant of those guys, was athletic all his life. When we played softball in the field between our houses, he was pretty good. As was his sister. My sister too.
My uncle had a good throwing arm.
For example: Once he was up on a ladder picking pears in the field, and I was down on the ground pestering him. I was a little kid. I don’t remember what I was doing, probably throwing pears up at him, because when he got tired of it he gave me a head start and I dashed across the field to my house.
It was about ten miles, IIRC. Incredibly far, at any rate, for a little kid. Maybe fifty meters. Maybe less. I ran and ran and ran. I started to laugh when I reached the edge of the field, figuring I was safe so far from my uncle up on his ladder.
But in the instant before I ducked under the electric fence to run through the trees into my house, a big rotten pear hit me in the small of the back. It was a perfect shot. It got me right where my pants met my t-shirt. The pear had the right consistency – rotten yet firm enough to survive such a long throw at a velocity so great that half went down my buttcrack, and the other half went up my back all the way to my shoulder blades.
I ran crying to my mother, out of shock more than pain.
My uncle showed up seconds later, explaining and laughing at the same time.
My mother laughed too.
Everybody laughed but me.

Small world

Beta works at a government ministry in Vienna. Yesterday she told me her boss told her another staff member at the ministry took a picture of our tortoise, which had escaped, and was, I guess, on a sidewalk here in our village, and posted the picture to Facebook prior to secretly returning the tortoise to its flowerbed.

I guess that’s why he is a boss at a ministry, guy knows EVERYTHING.

Also, the staff member is KEVIN BACON.

Or something.

Guest post: Mig’s tortoise on how to do it

Despite what they tell you, there is a way out of here. The secret is to keep looking. And to look everywhere. And once you have looked everywhere, look again. And if looking everywhere again didn’t work, look everywhere again in a different pattern. Because you never know. All you know is, there’s a way out. The secret is to never stop. It’s not perseveration, take my word for it. It’s perseverance. There are temptations and distractions on the way, like your reflection in the cellar window.
God, the reflection. I could stare at that for hours. In fact, I have stared at it for hours.
There’s just something about it. It cannot be explained, the fascination. They think I think it’s another tortoise, but I don’t. It’s just, I dunno.
But you keep looking. As if looking were the whole point. But escaping is the point, let’s not kid ourselves or comfort ourselves. You don’t rest until you escape.
Oh, this is a nice rock.
Just the right size, tortoise size.
Hi there. Quiet type?
Hi there. Hi there. Hi there. You alone? Do you mind? Oh, god.
That’s another distraction, the rock. But so good.
Such a sweet rock.
But you don’t rest until you escape. Unless you count the distractions. Life is one thing only: escaping.
Not just being on the lookout for an escape, but being in the actual process of escaping, constantly. Everything is escaping. The secret is this: you must already be in the process of escaping when the avenue of escape presents itself. You must already be climbing the board blocking your exit from the flower bed when the board falls over because it was poorly secured.
You must already be shinnying over the flower pot blocking your exit when it turns out you’ve grown enough to make it out.
You must already be squeezing through the little picket fence when it gets loosened just enough to make it out.
The secret is you must always be there, escaping, in order to escape.
But what do you do when you’ve escaped, I am sometimes asked by some wise guy.
Here’s what you do: You escape from that, too: It’s escape and escape and escape, all the way down.