Um, No

Linda, Mistress of the Impossible, set me up for a Humpty-like fall this week, with the following:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “no.”  Try to think of a specific number, as “no.” is often used as an abbreviation for “number,” and write about it. Or, use it as a word. Have fun!

I saw the word “No” and I was excited. No, is something I can speak extemporaneously (how’s that for a big word in a lead-off paragraph?) on. ‘On’, by the way, is ‘no’ spelled backwards. Of course, as soon as I wrote that, I was reminded that ‘Racecar’ spelled backwards, is still racecar. I love that palindrome. Do I get points for words with 10 or more letters? No? Damn, ‘cuz I’m onna roll here with those puppies. The racecar thing was a closing comment on the old, perhaps very old, “RaceDay” with Pat Patterson. I’m not actually sure that the Racing Guy Pat Patterson is the same guy I used to watch on The Nashville Network, which used to have better racing coverage than ESPN, but I figure it’s a good guess. I mean, how many Mr. and Mrs. Patterson’s in the world would name the son Patrick?

Of course, now I recall that heavyweight boxer George Foreman named all five of his sons ‘George’ and one of his daughters ‘Georgetta’

See, this is the problem with the SoCS prompt. As I understand the rules, you’re supposed to read the prompt and then let the voices in your head have their way in directing your fingers on the keyboard. Since I have a day-job in an In – Sure – Ance company, those voices are pretty repressed, suppressed, depressed and usually, since the other parts of my brain are doing the writing, mostly unimpressed. When they saw the “no” part of the prompt today, they started going all:

“No-no, no, no, no-no-no, no, no-no, no, no-no
Na-no, no, na-no, no-no, na-no, no-no, no, no-no, no
Nobody can do the (Shing-a-ling) like I do
Nobody can do the (Skate) like I do
Nobody can do (Boogaloo) like I do
Nobody can do (Philly) like I do…”

“Cuz, you know, those voices have been trapped in my head since before that song by the The Isley Brothers was a hit in 1963, which was waaaaaayyyyy before The Human Beinz covered it in 2012, although their version, the Human Beinz, that is, is pretty good and definitely gets to the “no-no, no…” part faster.

While the voices were already getting into the “whaaaaaaaaaaaa” parts of the song, the insurance side of my brain was reading the rest of the rules prompt and beginning to realize that Linda wanted numbers. Yeah, yeah, I know that “No. 1” is sometimes used to represent Number 1 or #1, and, for that matter “No.” is sometimes used as an abbreviation for North. I always made a joke about it when we would take the shortcut to Rt-5 in East Windsor, because we turned off CT-140 onto No. Water St. “Uh oh, no water on this street.” Yeah, it wasn’t all that funny when I said it in the truck, either.

The voices protested: “No, no-no, she didn’t capitalize the ‘n’ in ‘no’ so we figured it was the word, not the abbreviation. We’re singing, you can’t take that away from us. You know, it’s like the way you wear your hat and stuff. The voices remember Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, too, so by the time I was pointing out that Linda wanted numbers, they were thinking about “dancing ‘til three”.

Finally, the insurance neurons were able to process the wimps-way-out portion of Linda’s prompt and realized that we could write about the word “no” as in “no-no, no, no…” etc.


AttentionThe voices want to add that “No-no, no, no, no-no-no, no, no-no, no, no-no” kinda-sorta looks like one of those month-long writing prompts for people who are working on books. They think that “Nobody But Me” – The Isley Brothers’ version, should be the theme song for that writing challenge in November that everybody starts and two or three people out of 50, finish. That way, if you got bored, or need to procrastinate, or needed to get amped-up to get over a case of writer’s block, which SoCS Master John Howell doesn’t believe in, you could just play that song.

Consider it a public service from my voices to yours.

OK, done writing, no editing allowed, it’s time to go gather some photos. I think Linda said once, a while back, that adding photos doesn’t count as editing. Besides, she always says: “have fun” and how can we have fun without photos?


  1. That song is now stuck in my head. This was a perfect post for SoCS. Thanks too for the nice title of “master.” I don’t deserve it but thank you anyway. I did not know “no” spelled backwards is “on.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was fun to read. You’ve clarified why Stream of Consciousness Writing is therapeutic – we don’t have to censor our thoughts… much. We can let those repressed thoughts go wild…. to a point. And we get to experience the streams of others helping us realize we’re not that crazy…kinda. Thanks for the point that it’s okay to add photos. I enjoyed the Fred Astaire song. I think I’ll add a video.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember that song well and am now (won) singing it in my head. I love things like palindromes and when the time is 12:34 or the odometer reads 12,345.6 (if your odometer even has a point anything any longer) and where I was when the car reached 100,000 miles and so on (no).

    Time to get back to whatever it was I was doing before stopping to enjoy your ramblings, Dan. Have a great weekend, as opposed to a weak end.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Janet. I’ve written before about how I love waking up at 4:56 and I love it when I see 12:34 (well, one of them). I also like when my odometer is a palindrome. Right now, I’m waiting for 49694 – you get one every 100 miles, but I also like 49649 and I will smile if I see 56789 :)

      Sorry if the song sticks.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dan, If you are at all familiar with the off beat folk song the Great Titanic Disaster then you will not have forgotten thine ‘he walked around the wheel house once… …and the first mate said you gotta let it out captain!’ Please disregard the apparent cotradicton that both recall this. It is a very fine philosophicalAL point. Now where were we? Oh yeah stuck inside my head…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I absolutely laughed, sang and tried to think of ways to use “no.” Your post with extra ramblings and including “palindromes” was so FUN!
    How about No. 2 pencils? It would have been a one liner post for me. As a teacher, that was my first thought! I may have gone on to say, I love the smell of old fashioned pencils being sharpened and when I would assign my first year sixth graders classroom chores, their favorite two jobs were slapping the erasers together outside and twisting the metal part with the crank handle off the pencil sharpener and “emptying” the insides into a round metal trash container. Can you smell the pencil shavings, Dan? :) Your way worked out much more interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That would have been a great response, Robin! My wife prefers pencils, and we actually have a pencil sharpener hanging on the wall for her to use. I can smell the shavings (I’m pretty sure they’re cedar). I had the eraser clapping job in 4th grade, for a while.Those are great memories.If I had thought of No.2 Pencil, I might have gone with it, but there’s no guiding those voices once they escape.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Those voices of yours led us into music, palindromes, racecar and an interesting post, Dan. I will share “racecar” with my grandies. . .the Isley Brothers are great but I need to check the titles out because I forget my good guy friend, Bill’s favorite Isley Brothers song! The “no no no” part of your post reminded me of toddlers and teenagers! :)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Good read, Dan. Smiling here:) Now you have me thinking of times I’ve heard no and when I’ve said no and when I wanted to say no, but said yes. See, I’m just letting my words flow just like the stream of consciousness idea.
    Nice pictures, especially the one with the fine for honking.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. How about the “No Smoking” signs that became “Thank you for not smoking”? The mentality behind the switch, I believe, is that people will respond better to something that sounds more positive and less commanding. Not sure it works out that way, though, judging from the cigarette butts in the vicinity of those signs!

    Liked by 1 person

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