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Fic and A Story From My Life

So recently a_loquita posted a lovely little (sam/jack) fiction involving ridiculous instructions, The World's Dumbest Instructions, to which I replied with a snippet of comment fic. In the replies to that the subject of warning labels came up, and that inspired this:

Title: Caution. Coffee Is Hot.
Season: While Jacob and Selmac are blended, Daniel is alive, and Jack's a Colonel
Spoilers: Uh...No!
Warnings: Nope. And Fig? It's Certified Shipfree. Maybe even FairTrade.
Synopsis: It's a universal constant, along with death and taxes.




Caution. Coffee Is Hot.



Jacob reached up to the keypad and entered the code that the Tok'ra operative had given him, and the heavy metal door at last split diagonally, retreating into the corners of its aperture. Beyond lay what they had come for — Ra's storehouse. It was vast beyond belief, stretching back for what seemed like acres of dimly-lit space, all of it crammed with a vast and varied assortment of crates and boxes, most with the glint of the gold that was so characteristic of Goa'uld décor.

"Wow!" said Jack. "Think this is where they put the Arc of the Covenant?"

"The films of George Lucas are superior to those of Steven Spielburg," said Teal'c.

Sam was silent, frowning down at a small device in her left hand. With her right hand she was entering commands, but to no avail.

"This is useless, sir." she said. "There's so much naquidah in here that it's off the scale in any direction I point it. Most Goa'uld technology runs on naquidah, so I guess it's not surprising."

Daniel was reading labels on the boxes deciding which one he wanted to investigate first.

Jack was just about to move into position behind him, all the better to startle him with a sudden barked reminder not to touch anything without permission, when Daniel burst into laughter.

It was some time before the archaeologist, surrounded by this time by his bemused team and one blended being, was able to wipe his streaming eyes and calm his breathing enough to make himself understood.

"It's a crate for a sarcophagus. Probably one that was no longer used because it was so old, because the writing is a very archaic form of Goa'uld. It has the manufacturer's wa-....[*giggles*]...war...[*sputtering giggles*]...warning label!" That last word, as he finally got all of it out, rose into a falsetto squeak as Daniel tried manfully, but unsuccessfully to get the whole of it said without relapsing into laughter.

He slipped slowly down to the floor this time, he was laughing so hard, but within a few minutes had almost fully recovered his composure, only to lose it again when he made the mistake of looking up and catching the mystified and concerned expressions of his friends.

Finally, when his cheeks and belly were aching from the strain, and the sleeves of his jacket were covered with wet splotches from wiping his streaming eyes, he ran out of steam and grew quiet. Teal'c helped him to his feet, and Jack reached over and gently slid his glasses from their perch just above his hair line to their proper place on his nose.

"Care to share the joke with the rest of the class?" Jack asked.

Daniel bent over and began to read:

Warning!
  • Read all instructions before using sarcophagus.

  • Improper sarcophagus use may result in improper resurrection.

  • Never use your sarcophagus in or around water, as water can damage the mechanisms if the casing is in less than optimal condition, and resurrection under water may lead to drowning

  • Do not use the sarcophagus during battle, as stray weapons fire may result in an overload, with resultant explosions.

  • Never place severed limbs that do not belong to the deceased in the sarcophagus. Such limbs will be rejected within a few days of resurrection.

  • The sarcophagus is designed to regenerate, restore, and re-animate flesh, whether animal, unas, human, or Goa'uld. It is not designed for clothing, and if your God is placed within while wearing damaged vestments, you must be prepared with new robes to be donned upon resurrection. Occasionally clothing with no synthetic materials may restore successfully, but this is rare.

  • Do not place a favored pet in the sarcophagus with his master or mistress. Results will not be satisfactory. First tend to the needs of your God. The pet may be revived in a separate cycle.

  • For satisfactory results, at least 95% of all brain matter must be present, and Khnum Industries cannot be held responsible for the loss of any memories following brain injury and placement in this device.

  • Although it has become common in recent times to place pleasing herbs in the sarcophagus to provide a pleasant experience upon resurrection, certain plants, such as Valtarian pinks, and benuf berries have pleasant scents while dried, but are extremely pungent when fresh. Herbs must be chosen with care if you are not to displease your god.

  • Use of this device by those in perfect health is reserved for your God. Do not place any other healthy persons in the sarcophagus without your God's express permission.

  • Although this device is capable of functioning in the vacuum of space, care must be taken to ensure that there is sufficient atmosphere present to sustain life when the cycle completes.

  • BE SURE ALL BODY PARTS ARE PRESENT BEFORE STARTING CYCLE. The sarcophagus does not have an "undo" function.


There was a moment of silence, then Jacob dipped his head.

"I do not see the humor," said Selmac. "Lack of common sense is spread reasonably evenly throughout the universe, making such labels necessary, is it not?"

After another dip of the head, Jacob resurfaced.

"I think you just had'a been there," he said.

"Oh, yeah!" said Jack. "Speaking of which, make sure to include your translation in your report, Daniel. We clearly violated that fourth one with Hathor's box. Hammond's gonna love that one!"

***************

I also have a humorous little vignette from my life to share with you all. It's a look into what makes parenting so rich, varied, and unpredictable.



Every year there is an agricultural fair that takes place not too far from here, and there are animals to see, blue ribbons to win for homegrown vegetables and homemade pies, cookies, and preserves, demonstrations of things such as blacksmithing, cheap souvenirs, artery clogging foods, a demolition derby, costumed country dancers, carnival rides, and all the sorts of things you would expect to find at such an event. All the local kids look forward to it from one year to the next. These days, since I need to fit my exercise in during the middle of the day, and I don't tend to be an early riser, usually Beloved Husband takes the kids to the fair while I get that out of the way, and they clog their arteries with all the food I can't eat, go on as many rides as Beloved Husband will spring for, and return, full, happy, and clutching some cheap, garish, not-long-for-this-world prizes and souvenirs.

One year they came back with a goldfish, but that is another story for another time.

This year, unfortunately, the Whirlwind has been inclined to get wild and out-of-control with little warning, and when she does this she sometimes runs away from us. My husband was on call that weekend, and although he could go to the fair with his beeper on Sunday, when it went off, he would have to stop and take out our Tracfone and call the answering service and then the patient. He felt that given the Whirlwind's unpredictability, going with her to the fair while on call was just not possible.

So Saturday morning before he had to go in to see patients until mid-afternoon, while having breakfast with the Whirlwind (Middle Daughter, her Sleeping Over Friend, and I were all still fast asleep), he gently broke the news to her that there would be no trip to the fair this year. Things did not go well.

Whirlwind began to shriek and cry. This was a total disaster in her small nine year old world. Her whole nervous system went into OMG!Apocalypse! mode, and she went screaming, wailing, and running up the stairs, where she burst into the bedroom where the girls were sleeping, to spread the news of the calamity.

Middle Daughter more or less opened one bleary eye, used Highly Inappropriate Language, rolled over, and went back to sleep. Sleeping Over Friend, less accustomed to siblings of nine years (hers are 14 and 2) sat up in bed, said "Whirlwind, I will kill you!", lay back down in the bed, rolled over and went back to sleep.

Whirlwind, nervous system still at full bore, took Sleeping Over Friend all too seriously, and called 911. Then she calmed a bit, and by the time the call was answered, she had decided this was probably a Bad Idea and hung up, and reported the death threat to her father instead.

911 called back. Beloved Husband answered. While he was trying to explain what had happened to the 911 operator, the Whirlwind was audible in the back ground yelling "But she said she would KILL me!" 911 finally accepted Beloved Husband's version of events, but said that the police might call to check it out.

Beloved Husband woke me up, told me the story of his morning from between gritted teeth, and headed off to work. I got up and re-read the Riot Act to the Whirlwind. The police did not call back.

I was mid-way through my breakfast, and the big girls were starting theirs when the Whirlwind, who is better than a watchdog for announcing new arrivals, said "There's a police car in the driveway!"

By the time I got to the doorway, that was not quite accurate. There were two. One officer came to the door. His body language was... a mite tense. I opened the door.

"There really is no emergency, officer," I said. "My daughter has ADHD, and—"

His whole body relaxed. I told him the story. I apologized. I was just finishing up, when the second officer came to the door. The first officer turned to him.

"Her little girl has ADHD," he said, and the other officer relaxed too. Apparently calling 911 is a symptom. Who knew.

After chit-chatting some more, the officer said "Would you like me to come in and talk to her?"

I got an evil grin that would have done the Grinch proud.

"Please do!" I said.

Both officers trooped in. The first officer accepted and introduction and sternly lectured the Whirlwind on the necessity of keeping 911 free for true emergencies. Whirlwind was polite, and attentive, and promised that she understood what he was trying to say. Then second officer stepped in. He opened up his notebook, and took out his pen.

"What's your first name?" he said, sternly.

[solemnly] Whirlwind.

"How do you spell that?"

[quietly] W-H-I-R-L-W-I-N-D

"And your last name?"

"OurVeryCommonLastName."

He wrote that down.

"And your phone number and address?"

She gave that too.

Then: [very quietly] "Why do you need that?"

"For the record!" he said, and the two officers marched out as The Whirlwind was asking "Mom? What's a record?"

Meanwhile down at the health center, Beloved Husband was seeing a patient.

"I hope there's no trouble at your house, Doc. When I went past, there was two state trooper cars parked in your driveway!"

We may live in a small town, but life at our house is never dull!


***************


Sorry if I may have ruined anyone's illusion that life in the country is placid and slow-paced, but come on up to Vermont and spend your tourist dollars anyway. After all, there are some 255 towns in Vermont, and only one of them contains the Whirlwind!

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
amenirdis
Oct. 7th, 2011 09:54 am (UTC)
I love the sarcophagus story!

And OMG Whirlwind! That would so happen to me. Yep. Yes indeed. *giant hug*
thothmes
Oct. 7th, 2011 07:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this is the third time she's called 911. The first one she was three-ish, and really, the Health Center should know better than to put the panic button that low. The second time she was in bed with me, waiting for me to wake up on her dad's call weekend, and she was four and bored. We rather thought we had cured her of that by now.
penknife
Oct. 7th, 2011 09:56 am (UTC)
Oh, adventures with children! I totally see how that could happen, having provoked a screaming, tearful meltdown this morning by unwisely saying -- it needed to be said, but possibly not before breakfast -- "when it is winter, you will need to wear winter clothes."

I get the impression that she still personally blames me for the existence of winter, but she has calmed down and even put on a non-summer outfit, although not one that involves pants. We are going to have to work on the pants thing, since if she wears short skirts with no leggings to school in the winter, she will freeze.

But I'm not planning to bring it up again this morning.
thothmes
Oct. 7th, 2011 07:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, your post made me laugh, because I too know the feeling that children still blame me personally for laws of nature and physics. I can just see the expression that goes along with that.

As someone who is useless before that first coffee hit in the morning, I can relate to the fact that before breakfast may have been a tad beforetimes. On the other hand, you had a perfect right to expect that the moment of donning clothes for the day might have been a premiere teachable moment!
thothmes
Oct. 8th, 2011 03:06 am (UTC)
Oh, and btw, don't tell Small Person, because it won't bolster your basic argument, which as a parent I find to be sound and sensible, logical even, but I graduated elementary school in 1970, and in those days girls had to wear skirts to public school, at least in my community. The fashions of the day being what they were, this meant that I walked the half mile to the school in thin white knee socks and a mini-skirt. This was on a community in New York State on the north shore of Long Island Sound. I didn't get frost bite, nor did I succumb to hypothermia, although I did often return home with red, blotchy, itchy legs (I get hives from cold).

I was a tomboy. I would have paid all my allowance in perpetuity for a chance to do the commute in jeans instead.
sjhw_tolerance
Oct. 7th, 2011 11:28 am (UTC)
I enjoyed the sarcophagus instructions very much. Your life is never dull, is it?
thothmes
Oct. 7th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
No, it never is, but then I suppose if it ever was, I'd find a way to change that. Having four kids is rather like operating a four ring circus.

Glad you enjoyed the fic.
ziparumpazoo
Oct. 7th, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC)
Oh Thothmes. You really should write a book about the Whirlwind. And how fortunate to luck upon such an understanding pair of cops. You can imagine how many times I've tried to get adults in authority to read the riot act to my kids for things they thought were "a good idea", but instead they give the "oh it was a mistake, just don't do it again" speech and let them off the hook. (granted, neither of them have ever called 911, but they have done other stupid things in public like sprinting along a pool deck or stepping out in traffic, or refusing the use the bathroom like they were told before we got in the elevator to take the cave tour with no under-ground washrooms).
Just last night:
Me to older boy: What did you do to your thumb?
OB: Nothing. (tried to hide shredded thumb pad)
Me: Were you playing with the razor blade I put in the garbage this morning.
OB: *says nothing*
Me: Didn't you learn your lesson last month when you cut your finger on the knife checking to see if it was sharp?
OB: Yes.
Me: So? What were you thinking?
OB: It was in the garbage. I wanted to see if the razor was still good.

Really, you can't win against that logic.
thothmes
Oct. 7th, 2011 07:31 pm (UTC)
The Whirlwind has had a little problem with understanding and uphholding property rights. With the impulsiveness that comes with ADHD, comes a tendency to "borrow" things that do not belong to her, without thought to the consequences on herself or others. I thought it was a "her" thing for a while, but I've found that it is a common thing (along with lying) in ADHD kids, particularly in girls. We think we have it conquered in stores now (knock wood), but I am astounded, flabberghasted, totally aghast at the number of adults who faced with a child brought in by her parents, and told to make confession and return the goods (or their monetary equivalent, if the goods had already been consumed) would, after listening to a reluctant and stuttered confession, say "Oh, that's okay, honey. Just don't do it again!"

Grrrrrr.

The only proper thing to say is "Stealing things is a very serious thing. Do you realize that if you were older you would need to go to jail if you were caught stealing? I'm glad you told me and that you brought back/paid back what you took. That was the honorable thing to do, but this must never happen again. Do you understand?"

***************

And no, you can't fight that logic, but still, I bet he never investigates that question again. Sometimes natural consequences are the only thing that works!
bluewillowtree
Oct. 8th, 2011 02:13 am (UTC)
Excellent instructions! My favorites are:

Improper sarcophagus use may result in improper resurrection.

and

Do not place a favored pet in the sarcophagus with his master or mistress. Results will not be satisfactory. First tend to the needs of your God. The pet may be revived in a separate cycle.

Also, wow, that's quite a Whirlwind story. I especially like the cops' reaction and your comment about your Grinchy grin ;)
thothmes
Oct. 8th, 2011 02:55 am (UTC)
Well, yes. At the actual moment, as the grin spread across my face, my mind was saying "and the Grinch got a wonderful, terrible idea!", and reviewing the visual in my mind's eye.
rdamel
Oct. 8th, 2011 03:01 am (UTC)
Good story--and oh, my, Whirlwind! Too bad about the fair, but at least she did have 2 police officers visit--that might have been exciting, and hopefully their reaction MIGHT stop her from dialing 911 again, unless it's truly needed. But I'm thinking, probably not.

Hang in there!
Melissa M.
thothmes
Oct. 8th, 2011 03:11 am (UTC)
Well, she's gotten all hyped up and out of control several times in the past couple of weeks (that's her at age 4 in the icon), and she hasn't called 911 since...

Yeah. I'm not counting on it either.

Glad I could entertain!
wanderingsmith
Oct. 12th, 2011 11:56 pm (UTC)
-shrug- me and a collegue got to dissillusion a relatively recently-arrived foreigner collegue about canada's rumoured niceness (no, leaving shit on your accessible patio when living in the city is *not* wise in this country either)


as for warning labels... yeah. n/c
this last while has been replete with the diametric opposite of encouragement to believe in basic human sense.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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A Few Words from the Wise

Speak to him, for there is none born wise.

-The Maxims of Ptahotep

~~~~~~~~~~


In mourning or rejoicing, be not far from me.

- an Ancient Egyptian Love Song

~~~~~~~~~~


But your embraces
alone give life to my heart
may Amun give me what I have found
for all eternity.


-Love Songs of the New Kingdom, Song #2

~~~~~~~~~~


To Know the Dark


To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is travelled by dark feet and dark wings.


-Wendell Berry

~~~~~~~~~~


Up in the morning's no for me,
Up in the morning early;
When a' the hills are covered wi' snaw,
I'm sure it's winter fairly.

-Robert Burns

~~~~~~~~~~


Visit to the Hermit Ts'ui


Moss covered paths between scarlet peonies,
Pale jade mountains fill your rustic windows.
I envy you, drunk with flowers,
Butterflies swirling in your dreams.


-Ch'ien Ch'i

~~~~~~~~~~


Mistress of high achievement, O lady Truth,
do not let my understanding stumble
across some jagged falsehood.


-Pindar

~~~~~~~~~~


Every Gaudy colour
Is a bit of truth.


-Nathalia Crane

~~~~~~~~~~


I counted two-and-twenty stenches,
All well defined, and several stinks.


-Samuel Coleridge

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