Wolf at the Door

By Slim Wolfe

The article about teen texting etiquette in the May issue is a good reminder that socialization is largely a factor of limits and boundaries. One Santa Fe teenager recently told a story of going cold turkey (a drug addict’s expression for quitting a habit) for five days. People of my age never had that kind of habit as teenagers – but didn’t feel particularly limited if they couldn’t use their mobile devices to preen their egos and store their information. Life went on.

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Slim Wolfe

I can remember when printing a photo was less common than it is today. Newspaper columns, ads, flyers and business cards hardly ever showed a smilin’ face, and readers had to form whatever thoughts they might according to printed words. What a hardship! I haven’t seen a doctor’s or dentist’s diploma on the wall lately, but I guess they feature prominent faceshots where they used to list the school and the degree. So I’m putting the world on notice: if anyone thinks I rate an obituary when I croak, be kind enough to use a photo of my gnarly hands, not my face. It’s my hands which have done whatever might be worth remembering.

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Unintended Consequences

 By Slim Wolfe

I live in one of the Southwest’s raggedy towns, which suits me just fine, because it’s as far away as a person can get from the American dream of straight streets, neat little boxes, well-kept lawns and mortgages. There was a tradition of creative hard-scrabble building here which must jar the eye of any first-time visitor from the outside world of “normalcy”; odd shapes, used materials, piles of salvage, sometimes mislabeled as Blight. The place is as flat and barren as most of the San Luis Valley: no streams, nothing that grows to more than waist height, a habitat shared by rabbits and hares, prairie dogs, ant hills and a few birds.

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Course Correction

By Slim Wolfe

From the President on down to the economics prof at the local school, they’re all making verbal capital out of the economic crisis and the imminent death of the middle class, but maybe it’s time to define our terms. Economic crisis might be defined easily, as when people are reduced to eating ground tree-bark and scavenged weeds, as, say, in the American south after the Civil War, or in rural China after the cultural revolution. Another example would be during the German siege of Leningrad when boiled wallpaper glue was a staple of many people’s diet. Having to let the cleaning lady go, or downsizing from an oversized house in the suburbs doesn’t seem to me to qualify as a crisis, though it might fit the euphemism “course correction.” According to the high priest of the free market, the gods of capital will occasionally deign to descend to our mortal plane and show us a better way.

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Unlikely Capitalist

By Slim Wolfe

Back in the mid-nineties, when Colorado Central was fairly young, I was approached by a singer-songwriter to provide hammered-dulcimer backup for the guitar-and-vocal repertoire she wanted to record. On the strength of our recording, we were booked at the Steam Plant but unfortunately our live show didn’t live up to the promise of the recording and most of the audience departed early. The Mountain Mail review described her as inebriated and expressed some sympathy for me. Gentleman that I aspired to be, I wrote a letter excusing her on the grounds of neurological ailments (being drunk could be called that) but I hesitated to submit the letter to the Mail since the publisher had a tendency to edit letters and alter the context (my opinion) On impulse, I sent the letter to Ed. I didn’t know him, he didn’t know me, and he might well have rejected the letter as nothing more than some disgruntled musician’s dirty laundry, but it promptly appeared and I was encouraged to submit a series of letters over many years.

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