This book is dedicated to Andy Snow, a young man whom I met in an all night coffee-house in NW Portland. He was doing a simple task of clipping rings together to make a chain mail vest. Something a ‘Night of Old’ might wear. It reminded me of therapy that I did once. We talked of poetry, writing, and other topics. He is currently fighting, like we all are, to find his niche in life ( you know, bad habits ).

Later in the evening we were joined by four more young men, fresh from ‘fetish night’ at one of the local clubs. From that point on I was busy trying to sort out the multiple conversations that were being presented. Because Andy and I were both smokers, the brief moments we spent out front of the coffee-house having a Lucky Strike cigarette allowed us to continue the original con-fab we had started earlier.

Andy reminded me of a man I had met some twenty years earlier ( you know that bad habit thing ). It was during one of my visits to the ( how can I say this as vague as possible..) ‘home for ex-military personnel who had gone astray’. One day I was approached by this fellow ( notice I didn’t say “inmate” ) who presented the question, “Tell me something I haven’t already heard.”  His inquiry made me stop and think for a moment. While my new friend ( notice I didn’t say “fellow psych-patient” ) was waiting for an answer, he said to me, “OK!  I’ll go first. Did you know that ants never sleep?” While pondering the fate of the poor ant, I was presented with a certain amount of data on the life of ants that led me to believe his statement was true. Although I never actually looked up any of these ant truisms for myself, at the time it was enough just to remember this gem of wisdom.

I suppose you have guessed why I told you this story. If not, here is a hint: check out the title on the cover of the book.  For the rest of the readers that remember I still hadn’t answered his question, here was my reply; “Did you know that two wrongs don’t make a right, but three lefts will?”

I hope you enjoy my stories.     Don Van Kirk

“Never go straight; always go forward”  by Debbie


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