Tossed Salad Friday

~~ I usually receive welcome feedback from blog readers on things I write about, but not a single person said a word about my conflict about being a traitor to those I include in my writings. Did no one read it, or did I not move you, or you, or even you to offer an opinion? Hmm, that’s not encouraging.

~~ I went to the library last Saturday and took out some memoirs. Two were from people now deceased, three from more contemporary writers who were fuzzy on identifying live people in their orbit while calling out those who’ve passed on. It probably wasn’t a representative sampling as I only chose memoirs of people I thought I’d like in real life. 

Nevertheless, I did note the pattern of speaking mockingly only of the dead, and the lawyer in me decided to do some research.

Helen Sedwick, a California attorney, wrote a book entitled, Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook. She advises, “Writers face three big risks when using real people in their writing: defamation, invasion of privacy, and misappropriation of the right of publicity… Memoirists and nonfiction writers identify people by name. How can writers use real people in their work without risking a lawsuit?

“First, a simple rule. If what you write about a person is positive or even neutral, then you don’t have defamation or privacy issues. For instance, you may thank someone by name in your acknowledgements without their permission… However, if what you write about identifiable, living people could be seriously damaging to their reputation, then you need to consider the risks of defamation and privacy and how to minimize those risks. I am not talking about portraying your mother-in-law as a bossy queen bee; I am talking about portraying your mother-in-law as a drug dealer.”

~~ Therefore, I’m inclined to believe I’m good (i.e. not a traitor) because I don’t mention names and never ascribe criminality to the personalities and oddballs I memorialize here! 

~~ Dementia-ville’s newest employee has blown an electrical fuse a few times. Is it so hard to understand instructions not to use the window A/C, washing machine, microwave, and vacuum all at the same time? Or maybe she can’t hear the instructions because she’s continuously arguing with someone on the other end of her phone call who, I gather, is definitely a useless POS and perhaps her spouse.

~~ The patient is in a new zone of (seeming) obliviousness. I wonder if she still has thoughts and dreams playing in her head like a movie, or if her brain barely blips beyond keeping her heart, lungs, and some other functions operating. While I’d like to think she’s living in some faraway dimension where her loved ones interact with her and comfort her, that’s probably unrealistic. As long as she’s not painfully aware of being trapped inside a body that is both motionless and actively deteriorating, I guess it’s OK. For her and for me — I’m petrified of ending up like her, aware that each day is a tad more feckless than the day before.

~~ Overheard: “My dad was healthy as a horse. Never saw a doctor until the day he died.”

~~ Overheard: “Who does he think he’s kidding? His wife found out the last couple of girlfriends, so chances are great he’s not gotten any better at sneaking around.”

~~ Discovered: Jumping Jack Flash may be the greatest song ever to accompany blow-drying one’s hair.

~~ Did you see that tRump press conference? (Doesn’t matter which one, though I am referring to the one yesterday.) I have never witnessed a person who lies as easily as he breathes. Moreover, where's the person in the room who'll call him on any one of his multiple lies to his face?

Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend!



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