guest post – DeWayne White

Why the Hell Not? –

Lately, my wife and I have been going around saying “Why not? Why the hell not?” when we think of doing something as innocuous as emptying the trash. We’ll get over it in a day or two but might start it up again next week when Mom comes back into town (she has another doctors appointment so I’m pretty sure she’ll make it). She hates the big city (and anything with a population over 500 is a big city). She would rather live out in the middle of the woods by herself. That seems to be one of her favorite expressions – like the limb needs cutting off the tree. O.K. Why not? Why the hell not? And she ties a ladder to the tree, gets a chain saw, climbs the ladder and cuts off the limb. So what? Well, I think its about time she quit doing that since, at the age of 81, she did it and got knocked off the ladder when the limb hit her. She had just had the chain replaced/sharpened or something and the saw cut faster than she though it would. It only resulted in two fractures – one to the right knee and one to the left wrist. She was only laid up about a week before she was up and around again. Well, semi up and around. Most of the up and around was physical therapy for about 6 weeks. Not that she didn’t take advantage of being waited on since she had to stay with us in the big city, rather than at home some 75 miles away with just a few neighbors.

To get back to that “Why not?” thingy. I got to wondering where it came from. Not that Mom couldn’t have made it up herself, but it didn’t really sound like it. Well some searching around lead me to Holden in The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger. Yep, there were the exact words. She probably read it in 1951 when it first came out or shortly there after, saw the comment, liked it and adopted it for her own use. Was that the first – probably not exactly, but it’s old enough for me to assume that’s where it came from. Oh well, she’s passed it on to me, at least sporadically. It probably won’t die out for quite a good while. Just “Google it” and you’ll see that the expression is alive and well. BTW: Did you know there was a Catcher in the Rye Award. It’s for the Advocacy for Children from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. I’m sure Holden would not have approved. But then again, he might just say “Why not? Why the hell not?”.


DeWayne White @ White Unicorn Books

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