The late Guy Clark had a song that went: “Stuff that works, stuff that holds up … stuff that’s real, stuff you feel…”

I don’t know if you took the trip to Pie Town last Saturday, but if you did, you saw stuff that’s real, stuff that works; unfettered western life, and plain-spoken folks who, in William Faulkner’s words, are “capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.”

I am reminded of an acronym that popped up a few years ago and I guess it’s still used occasionally. You know it: K-I-S-S, or Keep It Simple, Stupid. An axiom to which I still try to adhere in our sometimes overly complicated modern world, because I figure the simpler you keep things, the less chance you’ll have to get yourself in trouble.

Things like sending letters instead of emails. You remember? A letter you seal in an envelope mailed to someone you know, and not hovering around in the ether just waiting for someone to figure out an algorithm that will open it. As opposed to pre-internet days when, if you wanted to read someone else’s mail, you had to go to the trouble of heating up a kettle to steam it open.

Emails do save time, of course, but save time for “what?” is the question.

Anyway, we’re only one week away from the autumnal equinox which means mostly pleasant days ahead. But I keep thinking that the big 2004 hailstorm happened in October, so…

By the way, this Saturday we celebrate 235 years of the U.S. Constitution, which was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, by delegates from 12 states at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

It’s also Citizenship Day, a day to recognize all those who jump through the constitutional hoops to become an American citizen. Looking at some of the questions on the civics test, I’m glad I was born in Tennessee because I’m not sure if I could answer all the questions off the top of my head.

There are easy ones such as: “What is the supreme law of the land?” and “What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?” But then you get to “How many amendments does the Constitution have?” and “What are the four amendments about who can vote?” Can someone lend me a copy of the Constitution, please?

We all learned this stuff in school, of course, but if you’re from Vietnam or Malta or even the UK, you’ve got some studying up to do. Also be able to read and speak English to some degree (with no points knocked off because of an accent). Although those North Carolina accents I’m not so sure about.

A couple of weeks ago, someone told me I was lucky to have avoided coming down with the disease-that-must-not-be-named, but as of this week, my luck has run out.

Not unlike our governor, I have tried to be scrupulous with all the precautions, but that one time I let my guard down … well… that must’ve done it and here I sit, lonely, in my infected fortress of solitude waiting it out.

Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I mean, I think I felt sicker than this when I had chicken pox back a hundred years ago and was itching like crazy. Same with the measles, when I had to play tiddlywinks all by myself.

Times have changed and now that I tested positive, I’m quarantined at home watching a lot of movies. What I’ve learned from those movies, though, is if you’re the hero and get beat up in a fight, you sustain no serious injuries, especially to your face. Another thing about those fights, cracking bones sound exactly like a cabbage being broken open. Hmm.

Other things I’ve learned from movies:

  • When you find the ice cube tray is empty, just toss it back in the freezer without filling it up.
  • If you’re a police detective and call for backup, you never wait for backup.
  • You can pay a taxicab driver by pulling a random bill out of your pocket.
  • When you want to leave a restaurant, you can snap your fingers and yell, “Check!”
  • If you’re driving and having a conversation with a passenger, the car will drive itself.
  • You don’t have to say “goodbye” when hanging up the phone.
  • The news is always on when you turn on the TV.
  • You never have to use the bathroom, blow your nose or have coughing fits from swallowing wrong.

And I’ve decided that movies are just plain easier than real life because in real life there’s no script and you have to make up the plot as you go along.

But hey, just make sure you write yourself a happy ending.